^Annual fee for first year only.
Frequently Asked Questions about No Annual Fee Credit Cards
Not sure whether no annual fee cards are for you? Check out our handy little guide for finding the best credit card for you and start comparing the cards that matter.
What is a No Annual Fee Credit Card?
If you choose a no annual fee credit card, then you will not pay an annual fee to use it. There are different types of no annual fee credit cards - some that will only have no annual fee for a certain period, and some that will have no annual fee for the life of the credit card. No annual fee credit cards can also come with other features, such as balance transfer offers and rewards programs, but for the most part, this type of credit card usually has no frills or extra features.
Why would I need a No Annual Fee Credit Card?
There are many different credit cards on the market, with various features to suit different spending habits. If you want to pay off existing credit card debt, then a balance transfer credit card is a good choice. If you tend to carry a balance on your credit card, then you might want a low interest rate credit card. However, if you always pay your balance in full or you rarely use your credit card, then a no annual fee credit card might be the best choice for you.
If you prefer to use cash and debit cards, and only use your credit card for emergencies, then a no annual fee credit card could be very beneficial. If you don't use your credit card, then you don't want to spend $50 or $60 a year for it just to sit in your wallet.
If you always pay off the full balance of your credit card each month, then features such as the credit card's interest rate will not affect you. Instead, you should think about saving money on annual fees. As you will pay nothing in interest and nothing in annual fees, a no annual fee credit card should be the cheapest type of credit card for you.
When would a No Annual Fee Credit Card not be a good idea?
No annual fee credit cards do not suit everyone. Credit card providers that offer no annual fee credit cards need to make their money back on lost fees, so there will usually be a trade-off with the other credit card features. No annual fee credit cards may charge noticeably higher interest rates, which means if you don't pay off your balance in full each month, then you may be hit with a higher interest charge.
If you use your credit card to make big purchases that you cannot pay off within one month, then a no annual fee credit card is less likely a good idea. The interest rate on no annual fee credit cards can go up to about 20% p.a. This means that if you leave a large purchase on your no annual fee credit card unpaid for a long period of time, then you will be charged 20% interest on it. Compare this to a low interest rate credit card that charges 10% interest p.a. and the difference you pay in interest will really add up.
While some no annual fee credit cards do offer some rewards and perks, many are no-frills options. If you use your credit card frequently but pay off the balance each month, then you probably want to earn rewards for doing this. You might find a no annual fee credit card with a rewards program that suits you; otherwise, it might be better to choose a credit card that focusses on providing rewards while charging a low annual fee.
Any credit card you choose will have features and benefits as well as disadvantages. The best thing to do is to think about how you used your credit cards in the past, and how you want to use your credit card in the future. Doing this should give you an idea of what type of credit card will work best for your spending habits.
What's the best way to use a No Annual Fee Credit card?
You can use a no annual fee credit card in the same way as any other credit card. However, just as there are certain rules for using other types of credit cards, there are also certain rules to follow to make the most out of your no annual fee credit card.
One of the most important things to remember is to always pay off the balance in full each month. This means you will not be charged the higher amounts of interest that are usually associated with no annual fee credit cards.
Many no annual fee credit cards will come with a 55 day interest free period. This means you will have up to 55 days before you are charged interest for purchases made on your credit card. However, don't make the mistake of thinking all your credit card purchases will attract the full 55 day interest free period. This is the maximum length of time, so to take advantage of it you will need to make the purchase on the day of your new statement period. If you know you have to make a large purchase on your no annual fee credit card, try to plan it so you take full advantage of the 55 day interest free period.
You should also make sure you find the best no annual fee credit card for you. There are some no annual fee credit cards that include balance transfer offers, rewards programs, and lower interest, so if you find a good deal then be sure to snap it up.
What types of No Annual Fee Credit Card are there?
No annual for the first year
As with many credit cards, you will be given an introductory offer to hook you in, but this offer will only last a certain period of time. Some no annual fee credit cards will only have no annual fee for the first year, after which you will start paying the annual fee each subsequent year.
Be aware of what the annual fee will be after the introductory period. It may be the case that you can get a better deal on a credit card with the same features that will charge less in annual fees over the longer-term, but doesn't have that introductory offer.
No annual fee for life
A no annual fee credit card that offers no annual fee for the life of the credit card is generally a much better option. This means you will not pay an annual fee for as long as this account remains open. Make sure to read the small print, as there may be certain terms and conditions that apply.
No annual fee as a special discount
If you have other accounts with your chosen credit card provider, then the annual fee for your credit card may be waived. Financial institutions want to have as much of your business as possible, so they might offer to give you a no annual fee credit card if you have other linked accounts with them.
Low annual fee
The word 'low' is used subjectively to describe the annual fee compared to the market average. The card may have a lower than average annual fee compared to the rest of the credit cards in the market.
The best way to understand this difference is by comparing the credit cards. An example of this could be a 'low annual fee' of $30, compared to an average of $57. This obviously depends on which cards are being compared.
What types of No Annual Fee Credit Card are there?
As previously mentioned, the no annual fee credit card can also come with other benefits apart from paying no annual fee. When choosing any type of credit card, it's important to compare all the features that are important to you.
Obviously, if you are choosing a no annual fee credit card, then try to get the best option on annual fees as possible. A no annual fee for life credit card will generally be much more beneficial than a credit card that only has no annual fee for the first year.
Luckily, there are some great deals for balance transfers on some no annual fee credit cards. If you have existing credit card debt, then a balance transfer credit card will give you a certain period of time where you will pay low or no interest on transferred balances. Make sure to pay off the full transferred balance, as no annual fee credit cards usually charge higher interest than other credit cards. Any balance left unpaid at the end of the introductory period will be charged at this higher rate.
However, if you manage to pay off the full amount then you may have gotten yourself a great deal - a low interest period to pay off your credit card debt, and paying no annual fee while you do it. You may have to do some searching to find the best deal, but they may be out there.
When choosing between most credit cards, the interest rate you will be charged is very important. However, if you want a no annual fee credit card, then the best way to use the credit card is to make sure you pay the balance in full each month. With no carry-over balance each month you will have no interest charged on your account, negating the point of choosing a low interest rate credit card.
Nevertheless, as no one can predict the future, there might be occasions when you are unable to fully pay off the balance on your credit card. In situations such as these, it can be beneficial to have a low interest rate attached to your credit card.
Interest Free Period
Most credit cards now offer an interest free period. This is usually 55 days, but can sometimes be 44 days. During this period you will not pay interest on your purchases, so if you make a purchase on the first day of your new statement period, you will have 55 days interest free until you have to make a payment. Bear in mind this is the maximum amount of time - you will not receive 55 days interest free on all purchases. The further into your statement period, the smaller your interest free period will be.
Can I do a balance transfer on a No Annual Fee Credit Card?
If you do some research you may be able to find a no annual fee credit card with a good deal on balance transfers. Just be sure to only transfer as much as you can pay off during the introductory low-interest period, as no annual fee credit cards tend to revert to a higher interest rate than other credit cards.
Can I earn rewards with a No Annual Fee Credit card?
Many of the no annual fee credit cards will not offer any other features. Credit card providers will usually offer minimal perks with no annual fee credit cards as they are not receiving an annual fee in return. Credit cards with rewards programs generally attract a higher annual fee, which is why you should only choose this type of credit card if you are really going to benefit from it. Sometimes the amount you pay in annual fees will negate the amount you actually get back in rewards. However, there are some no annual fee credit cards that offer good rewards programs, so do your homework and you might find one for you.
Are annual fees that important?
How you use your credit card will determine how much annual fees will matter to you. Choosing any type of credit card will generally involve some sort of trade-off. If you choose a rewards credit card, you will usually pay higher annual fees. If you choose a low interest rate credit card then it will usually have some sort of annual fee. If you choose a balance transfer credit card, you should not use your card for purchases until the transferred balance has been paid off.
However, if your main priority is paying no annual fee, then a no annual fee credit card is probably your best option. You might make some trade-offs in the amount you pay in interest or with a lack of other features and benefits, but if you are the type of credit card user that suits this type of card, then the no annual fee credit card could be an excellent choice.
A No annual fee card can be a great back up source of funds to be used in an emergency. A tip is to keep the no annual fee credit card out of the wallet. If you accidently lose it, you have a back up source off money when you need it.
Is a No Annual Fee credit card suitable for you?
I don't want to pay an annual fee!
I always plan to pay off the balance in full
Yes I don't plan on using the card very often