No annual fee credit cards let you enjoy a range of features and perks without having to pay a yearly account fee. Depending on the type of card you choose, you’ll pay no annual fee for the life of the card or a S$0 annual fee for a promotional period (such as the first year). Other cards are fee-free if you meet certain spending goals.
Use this guide to learn how no annual fee credit cards work. Plus. how to compare the features, benefits and costs so you can find a credit card to suit your needs.
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A no annual fee credit card doesn’t charge you for yearly account maintenance, which could save you anywhere from S$30 to thousands of dollars per year. This type of credit card can be ideal if you want to keep your costs low or if you don’t use your card regularly and can’t justify paying high fees.
In Singapore, annual fee waivers on credit cards are typically offered on a 12-month, two-year or ‘for life’ basis. Just be aware that no annual fee for life credit cards usually include higher standard purchase rates than other options.
What types of no annual fee credit cards are available?
While some no annual fee credit cards are pretty basic, others offer a range of additional features and benefits. If you want to get access to other credit card features while paying a S$0 annual fee, you can use the table above to compare credit cards that combine a S$0 annual fee with a variety of other benefits. These could include rewards, air miles and complimentary extras such as luggage.
Reward credit cards with no annual fee
These cards have no annual fees and earn reward points for every S$1 spent. Depending on the card, you could also enjoy thousands of introductory bonus points when you meet specific spending requirements. For example, a card may give you 30,000 points if you spend S$3,000 in the first 3 months from when your application’s approved. This can help you get even more value from the card when you first get it.
No annual fee credit cards with 0% purchase rates offers
Want to save on interest costs as well as annual fees? A card with no annual fee and an introductory 0% purchase rate gives you a way to make interest-free purchases during the promotional period. For example, you could get a S$0 annual fee card that offers 0% p.a. on purchases for the first 6 months. After the introductory period, the 0% interest rate reverts to a standard variable rate that will apply to any balance remaining from your purchases. So this type of offer is usually popular for people who have a lot of spending to do in a short amount of time, such as around the holiday season.
Platinum no annual fee credit cards
Platinum credit cards offer more premium perks than regular ones, such as complimentary travel insurance, purchase insurance, S$0 overseas transaction fees, airport lounge access and concierge services. Depending on the card you choose, you could also get a higher rate of points per S$1 spent. Most platinum cards have annual fees that offset the value of these perks, so getting one that has a S$0 annual fee will help you get more from all the benefits on offer.
No annual fee air miles credit cards
Air miles credit cards give you a way to earn more points through your everyday spending but usually come with high annual fees – especially if there are other travel benefits on offer. But there is a selection of air miles flyer credit cards that offer no annual fee for the first year. Depending on the card and offers available, you can also get air miles cards with a reduced or low annual fee in the first year, which helps you save on costs in the short-term.
Travel credit cards with no annual fees and no foreign transaction fees
While most credit cards charge between 2% and 3.5% for transactions made in a foreign currency, some travel credit cards waive this cost and also have no annual fee. Since you’re likely to only be using a travel credit card during your holiday, you could save on your costs by choosing one with a low or S$0 annual fee.
Interest-free credit card spending hack
Many credit cards offer a number of interest-free days on purchases when you pay your account balance in full by the due date on your statement. This gives you a way to make interest-free purchases on an ongoing basis.
Benefits and drawbacks of S$0 annual fee credit cards
Save money on your credit card. The most obvious perk of these cards is that you won’t pay an annual fee. This could save you a lot of money over the life of the card.
Practical. Without the extra perks and additional benefits, no annual fee credit cards can be ideal for emergencies and when extra credit is required.
Promotional offers and deals. Some no annual fee credit cards come with promotional offers, shopping discounts, cashback and other perks that you’d regularly have to pay a yearly fee to access.
Higher interest rates. Credit card companies may charge higher ongoing interest rates on no annual fee credit cards. This could add to your costs if you regularly carry a balance from month to month.
Temporary S$0 annual fee. Unfortunately, not all of these cards offer no annual fee for the life of the card. If your card only has a S$0 annual fee for a promotional period, make sure you know when the standard annual fee will apply and how much it is to avoid any surprise costs.
When comparing credit card deals, it’s important to consider your financial situation and how you intend to use a card in order to help you find the best no annual fee credit card for you.
What should I consider before applying for a no annual fee credit card?
If you’re interested in getting a no annual fee credit card now, ask yourself these questions to help compare your options:
How often do I use my credit card? If you rarely use a credit card but still want one for unplanned expenses or emergencies, a no annual fee option will give you the features that you need without burning a hole in your pocket while you’re not using it.
Do I carry a balance? The higher interest rates typical of no annual fee credit cards can make them expensive if you carry a balance. If that’s the case, you might want to consider a low-interest credit card instead.
What credit card benefits do I want? No annual fee credit cards sometimes have fewer perks than other options. If you’re interested in features such as rewards programs and complimentary insurance, make sure you look at a range of cards and consider these factors as well as the annual fee so that you can find an option that suits all of your needs.
Will I use the credit card after the S$0 annual fee promotion ends? If the card comes with no annual fee for a promotional period, consider whether you want to use the card once the introductory period ends. If the card doesn’t have a competitive interest rate or extra features to outweigh the annual fee cost, you might want to cancel the card before the annual fee applies. Alternatively, you could ask your bank if they’ll reward your loyal custom by extending your fee-waiver period.
What other fees and charges will I pay? While a S$0 annual fee can help you save on costs, it doesn’t mean you’ll be getting a free credit card. As well as interest rates, make sure you check for other costs that could apply, such as foreign transaction fees, late payment fees and cash advance costs. This will help you find a credit card that’s affordable based on how and when you plan to use it.
What else should I look out for in a card’s terms and conditions? When comparing your options, you may want to find out if an annual fee waiver applies to the primary cardholder only; or whether it also applies to any supplementary cards too. You’ll also want to be sure you are fully aware of any conditions (or forfeits) which may be attached to any fee waiver.
Frequently asked questions
This may be possible as long as you don’t have a balance on the card and cancel it before the annual fee is applied. Contact your provider to confirm exactly when the annual fee is charged, so you don’t accidentally pay it before cancelling the card.
The annual fee is usually charged upon account activation, with payment required by the due date on your first statement or first credit card bill. You can repay your annual fee in full or over time by making a payment to your credit card account.
If you have a card with a promotional no annual fee offer, the fee will usually apply 12 months after you were approved for the card. If you don’t want to pay this fee when the offer ends, confirm with your bank when the annual fee will be charged and cancel your card before that time.
Some banks package home loan deals to include fee waivers on your other accounts, including credit cards. For instance, some institutions waive fees for their credit cards when you also take out a home loan package with them. Contact your credit card provider to find out if this option is available, or if there are any other ways you can continue to pay no annual fee.
Technically, there is no such thing as a “free credit card” because there is always the potential cost of interest if you carry a balance, as well as other fees that may apply for certain transactions (such as cash advances or purchases made overseas). But if you have a no annual fee card and pay off your account balance in full by the due date on each statement, you can get an interest-free period for your purchases that could allow you to use the card without paying any fees or charges.
To keep your travel costs down, you may want to consider a credit card with no annual fee and no overseas transaction fees or a card that offers complimentary travel insurance. Also, make sure that the card you’re using is accepted wherever you’re travelling and that it isn’t restricted by economic sanctions.
Business credit cards can offer no annual fee promotions, but most of them charge high annual fees as they come with a lot of extra features. Compare business credit cards here.
Amy Bradney-George is the acting editor for Finder X and a senior writer for credit cards and Finder Green. She has more than 13 years' experience as a journalist and writer, with bylines in publications including The Equity Magazine, The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC News and produce industry website FreshPlaza. Amy has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Drama from Griffith University, and when she’s not putting (virtual) pen to paper, she spends her time as an actress.
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