Credit Cards with no annual fees

Co-author: William Jolly

A high annual fee on your credit card can add up over time. So, if you’re not seeing the value for the fee you’re paying, a card without an annual fee is one option worth considering.

Of the various credit card fees you can potentially get 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 programme.

No annual fee credit cards on the Canstar database

Looking for a credit card without an annual fee? The table below displays a snapshot from Canstar’s database of credit cards that have $0 annual fees, sorted by purchase rate.

Credit cards with no annual fee
Provider Product Purchase rate Annual fee
American Express Airpoints card 0% for the first 6 months, reverting to 19.95% p.a. after that $0
ASB Visa Light 13.50% $0
Kiwibank Mastercard Zero 16.90% $0
Warehouse Money Purple Visa Card 19.95% $0
Warehouse Money Visa Card 19.95% $0

Source: Canstar. Data correct as of 21/03/18.

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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 (21/03/2019), Canstar’s database reveals a wide range of fees on credit cards:

  • 5 credit cards don’t charge an annual fee
  • 16 credit cards charge an annual fee of less than $60
  • 8 credit cards charge an annual fee between $60 and $100
  • 10 credit cards charge an annual fee above $100



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 to the types of transactions that attract points.

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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 New Zealand dollar value of a transaction made in a currency outside of New Zealand Dollars
  • ATM cash advance fees: a fee charged when you use your card to withdraw money from an ATM using your credit card
  • 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 currently aware, then check your Product Disclosure Statement.

Related Article: 11 Credit Card Fees: How Much Do They Really Cost?

Pros and cons of no annual fee credit cards

Choosing a card with no annual fee will, of course, have its advantages and disadvantages. Below is a quick summary of the pros and cons of no annual fee cards, but remember that every credit card is different, so each of these points may not apply to all credit cards.

Pros

  • A card without an annual fee could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the life of the card.
  • No annual fee cards can come with some useful promotions, perks such as a rewards program and special offers.

Cons

  • No annual fee cards 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.
  • Depending on the type of card you choose, you may have a basic card that comes with no rewards program or any other extra features.
  • The annual fee may only be $0 for a limited time or as long as you meet certain requirements such as a spending target, 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 it’s possible that a card that has an annual fee but also offers good rewards value could be a better option for you.

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 could have a higher interest rate.

We’d encourage you to weigh up your circumstances and preferences along with your credit card options before applying. Canstar’s database includes 37 cards from 11 providers, so why not weigh up your options?

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