Of the various credit card fees you can potentially be charged, the annual fee is one of the most common and can also be one of the biggest. Choosing a credit card without an annual fee could potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year, and in some cases they come with other features such as a rewards program.
No annual fee credit cards on Canstar
Looking for a credit card without an annual fee? The table below displays a snapshot of credit cards on Canstar’s database that have $0 annual fees, with links to providers’ websites. Please note the products are sorted by purchase rate and only one product per provider is displayed.
What is a no annual fee card?
As the name suggests, a no annual fee credit card is a card that has an annual fee of $0. An annual fee is charged by some providers to cover the various features offered by the particular credit card. The fee amount typically ranges between $25 to upwards of $500 for premium credit cards, depending on the features and benefits on offer.
Some cards may charge $0 for the entire time you hold the card, and others might do so for a limited time of say, one year, or as long as you meet specific spending criteria.
At the time of writing (22/1/2018), Canstar’s database reveals a wide range of fees on credit cards:
- 29 credit cards don’t charge an annual fee
- 37 credit cards charge an annual fee of less than $50
- 68 credit cards charge an annual fee between $50 and $100
- 27 credit cards charge an annual fee between $101 and $200
- 33 credit cards charge an annual fee more than $201
The table below shows the minimum, maximum and average annual fees on rewards and non-rewards credit cards at the time of writing. You can see that rewards credit cards tend to have higher annual fees than non-rewards cards.
Are your credit card reward points giving you back as much as you’re spending to get them?
|Credit card annual fees|
Source: Canstar. Data correct as of 22/01/18.
Some annual fees on rewards cards can counteract the value of the rewards (that is, if the value of the points you earn is less than the annual fee you pay), so be mindful of this when comparing rewards cards. It is also worthwhile taking into account any limits that might apply on the types of transactions that attract points.
Types of no annual fee cards
There are nearly 30 cards on Canstar’s database at the time of writing that have $0 annual fees for at least a limited period of time. There is a range of card types that offer $0 annual fees, including the below:
$0 annual fee rewards credit cards
Rewards cards might have a higher annual fee on average, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any with a $0 annual fee. Rewards cards such as these let you turn your everyday spending into rewards points, without having their value minimised by chunky annual fees.
The table below shows a snapshot of rewards credit cards on Canstar’s database that have no annual fee. Please note these products are sorted alphabetically.
$0 annual fee premium cards
Premium credit cards are in the upper echeclon of credit cards and can come with an extensive range of benefits, such as travel insurance, price protection cover, airport lounge access, concierge services and more. Finding one with a $0 annual fee can help make the most of these perks.
The table below shows a snapshot of premium credit cards on Canstar’s database that have no annual fee. Please note these results are sorted alphabetically.
$0 annual fee, 0% balance transfer cards
If you’re looking to transfer over your existing credit card debt to a balance transfer card, then paying off your debts could potentially be quicker with one that doesn’t charge an annual fee.
The table below shows a snapshot of 0% balance transfer credit cards on Canstar’s databse that have no annual fee, with links to providers’ websites. These results are sorted by the length of the 0% balance transfer period and only one product per provider is displayed.
What are some other credit card fees?
Aside from the annual fee, there are several other fees that credit card companies can charge, including:
- Foreign transaction fees: this is a percentage of the Australian dollar value of a transaction made in a currency outside of Australian dollars.
- ATM cash advance fees: a fee charged when you use your card to withdraw money from an ATM using your credit card. According to Canstar’s data this could cost you as much as 29.50% of the withdrawal.
- Late payment fees: a fee charged for failing to meet the minimum repayment on your card by the due date.
- Replacement card fees: while around two-thirds of the cards we rate don’t charge this, some providers might charge you a fee in the event that you lose your card and need a new one
- Balance transfer fees: this can be charged when you bring across your existing credit card debt to a new credit card, and is typically between 1-3% of the amount you are transferring across.
- Additional cardholder fees: a fee charged on some cards if you have another cardholder linked to your account.
It’s very important to be aware of the fees you’re paying on your credit cards. If you’re not, then check your Product Disclosure Statement.
Pros and cons of no annual fee credit cards
Below is a quick summary of the pros and cons of having a credit card with no annual fee. Note that every credit card is different, so these points may not apply to all of them.
- Can possibly save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the life of the card
- Can come with some useful promotions, perks such as a rewards program and special offers
- They may come with a higher interest rate, which means that if you don’t pay off the card in full each month, savings you make from having no annual fee could be cancelled out
- They may be basic products and come with no rewards program or other extra features you may be looking for (but as you can see in the tables above this isn’t always the case)
- The annual fee may only be $0 for a limited time or as long as you meet certain requirements, which might not suit your circumstances
Is a no annual fee credit card right for me?
This depends. Before applying for one, think about how much you spend on your credit card, whether you pay in full before the end of the interest-free period and what features suit your lifestyle and preferences. If you spend thousands a month and love to earn rewards points, then its possible you could do better with a card that has an annual fee but also offers good rewards value.
Likewise, if you travel a lot, then a card with an annual fee that gives you exclusive access to your favourite airport lounge could offer you more value. Some people who regularly carry forward a balance on their card each month find a credit card with a low interest rate might make more sense than a credit card with no annual fee that might have a higher interest rate.
We’d encourage you to weigh up your circumstances and preferences along with your credit card options before applying.