Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The APR shown represents the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.
Finding a credit card with no annual or ongoing fees can help keep your overall card costs down. Use the table below to compare balance transfer, 0% purchase and credit-builder cards with no annual fee.
What is a no annual fee credit card?
No-fee credit cards let you enjoy a range of benefits without paying a yearly or monthly account fee. Depending on the type of card you choose, you can enjoy no fees for the life of the card or zero fees for a promotional period (such as the first year you have the card). Credit cards with no ongoing fees can help keep your costs low, and are more affordable if you don’t use your card regularly and therefore can’t justify paying high fees.
However, credit cards that involve an annual or monthly fee typically come with more rewards than no-fee cards, so consider how you use your card. It may be the case that added benefits such as travel insurance or cashback on purchases outweigh the expense of the fees involved.
Credit card jargon explained
- Annual fee. Sometimes known as an account fee, this is a flat fee you pay each year in order to use your credit card. However, this generally only applies to premium cards, and many credit cards have no annual or ongoing fees.
- APR. The annual percentage rate (APR) is designed to be a benchmark for consumers, providing an annual summary of the cost of your card. As well as the interest, the APR also takes into account any compulsory charges – like an account fee (if there is one). However, crucially, providers only have to award the advertised APR to 51% of those who take out the credit card – the other 49% could be offered a different (higher) rate, at the provider’s discretion. That’s why it’s often referred to as the representative APR.
- Interest rate. This is the percentage rate you may be charged on purchases or other card transactions if you don’t pay them off within your interest-free period. Interest rates can be either fixed or variable, meaning they can stay the same, or go up and down, over time.
What is the best no annual fee credit card?
There isn’t one no annual fee credit card that will be best for everyone, and having no annual fee is just one of the features you should look for when comparing credit cards. Understanding what you want to get out of your credit card is the most important factor when choosing the best credit card for you.
For example, if you’re looking to earn rewards on your everyday spending, you might want to consider a cashback or rewards credit card, while if you’re looking to cover the cost of a large purchase, or move an existing debt, a 0% purchase or balance transfer card might be a better option.
Once you’ve decided on the type of card that best suits your needs, you can then take any annual fees into account when comparing cards.
How to choose the best no annual fee credit card
When it comes to choosing the type of credit card that’s right for you, you should keep the following questions in mind:
- How often do you use your credit card? If you rarely use a credit card but still want one for unplanned expenses or emergencies, a no annual/monthly fee option will give you the features that you need without burning a hole in your pocket while you’re not using it.
- Do you carry a balance? No annual/monthly fee credit cards sometimes have higher interest rates than others, which can mean it takes longer – and is more expensive – to clear a balance. If that’s the case, you might want to consider a low interest credit card instead.
- Do you have existing debt? If you have existing debt, getting a no annual/monthly fee credit card could tempt you to spend more money than you can afford. Aim to pay off your current debts, or consider a balance transfer credit card to save money on interest charges.
- What credit card benefits do you want? No annual/monthly fee credit cards sometimes have fewer perks than other options. If you’re interested in features such as rewards programmes and complimentary insurance, make sure you look at a range of cards and consider these factors as well as the annual or monthly fee so that you can find an option that suits all of your needs.
- Will you use the credit card after the zero annual/monthly 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/monthly fee cost, you might want to consider switching cards to a zero fee option before the annual fee applies.
Pros and cons of no 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 or monthly fee. This could save you a significant amount over the life of the card.
- Practical. Without the extra perks and additional benefits, no annual/monthly fee credit cards can be ideal for emergencies and when extra credit is required.
- Promotional offers and deals. Some no annual/monthly fee credit cards come with promotional offers, frequent flyer programmes and other perks that you’d regularly have to pay a yearly fee to access.
As there are many types of zero annual or monthly fee cards on the market, it’s important to consider your financial situation and how you intend to use the card. Make sure to consider not only the conditions of the fee, but also the other features, benefits and costs of the card before you apply.
Credit card cost comparison
Credit card limit: £2,000
- Outstanding balance: £5000
- Interest rate:19.9%
- Monthly repayment: £50
- Total interest: £47
Credit card limit: £2,000
- Outstanding balance: £500
- Interest rate: 29.9%
- Monthly repayment: £50
- Total interest: £71
Frequently asked questions
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