No fee credit cards
If you are looking for a credit card that doesn’t charge an annual fee and is easy to use, then you could consider a no fee credit card.
A card with a zero fee might work for you if you only use your card occasionally, or you only spend small amounts on it from time to time. A no free credit card could also be suitable if you want a simple and straightforward credit card with no added extras.
If, however, you want rewards, perks, points or benefits like travel insurance, then you might consider a card with an annual fee instead. A travel reward card could give you travel points and access to lounges at airports. If you travel frequently this could be a great benefit and would make it worth paying a small annual fee in order to receive the perks.
The best no annual fee or low fee credit card is the one that is most suitable for your lifestyle. Think about how and when you would use a credit card to work out which type of credit card would be best for you.
What are credit cards with no annual fee?
No fee credit cards are very simple – you don’t pay any fees to have the card. The no fee credit card might be free indefinitely, or it might be just for a promotional period – for example the first six months or year after you take it out.
You will potentially still pay charges if you don’t pay off the balance in full every month, or if you pay off some of the balance. That is because with some zero fee credit cards you will still be charged interest on the outstanding balance.
Other zero fee cards may have no annual charge and no interest on debt that you transfer over from another card, although you will probably have to pay a transfer fee to move your debt.
How do they work?
A no annual fee credit card is very simple – which is why they are very popular. When you apply for the card there is no charge, and if you pay your credit balance off each month you will not be charged any interest either
They could be the best credit card for you if you want a straightforward, low-cost credit card that you don’t have to worry about, or you need one to keep tucked away for emergencies and big purchases.
A zero fee credit card is cheap and simple and might be the best option if you want to keep your costs down.
What you need to be aware of
Even though no annual fee credit cards don’t charge you an annual fee, you will still pay costs if you go over your credit limit or don’t pay off your minimum monthly amount. Most will charge you an interest rate on the outstanding balance on your card, although this depends on the type of credit card you choose.
What are the benefits and disadvantages?
There are many benefits to having a no fee credit card. They are simple and easy to use and there are no ongoing costs if you pay the balance off in full every month.
What’s more, if you have a reward credit card with no annual fee then you get the benefit of any rewards, perks or cashback without having to work out whether the rewards outweigh the cost.
For reward credit cards with an annual fee you would need to decide whether the benefits best suited your lifestyle and the value of the benefits was worth more than the annual fee.
The disadvantage is that fee free credit cards do not usually offer the great rewards packages that come with cards that charge an annual fee.
For example, if you are looking for travel miles, complimentary travel insurance or generous cashback incentives then you will probably have to pay an annual fee on your credit card. You will need to work out whether this is cost effective in the long run.
Who would suit a no fee credit card?
A zero fee credit card would best suit someone who wants a simple credit card, would like to keep their costs down, or who uses their credit card only occasionally.
A no annual fee credit card might not suit someone who often has a high amount of outstanding debt on their card. That is because no annual fee credit cards often charge higher interest rates.
How to find the best no fee credit cards
You can use our interactive comparison tool to find the best no free credit card that suits your needs.
You can filter the search criteria based on Popularity, Longest balance transfer period, Lowest APR or Longest Purchase Period.
How do I apply?
Use our comparison tool to find the best zero fee credit card that suits you best, and then click Apply. Some credit card providers offer a free credit card eligibility check before you make a formal application. This allows you to see whether you are likely to be approved for the card without the application appearing on your credit reference file.
What to consider
No annual fee credit cards can offer a flexible option for borrowing and making purchases. You might use a zero fee credit card as your everyday card for spending, or you might keep it for emergencies.
You can find out more about the different types of cards.
What to watch out for
You will still be charged to use a no-fee credit card, but this will be 'hidden' through having fewer card-rewards or higher interest rates.
It is not a 'free' to use card as there will still be interest charges and transfer fees to pay, as well as late payment fees if you miss any monthly repayments on due balances.
You could also be charged additional fees for using your card overseas, unless your credit card offers no foreign fees as a benefit. There are specific travel credit cardsfor this purpose.
Find out more about credit card charges here.
Rewards no annual fee credit card?
Typically a no-annual fee card is a simple no-nonsense credit card that just does exactly what it says on the tin, if you want a card simply to make credit purchases with or to transfer a balance to, this is the card for you.
However, you will enjoy less rewards than with a card that charges an annual fee to use, this is the trade-off of having a cheaper card. But many supermarket no annual fee credit cards still offer retail point schemes that can help you save on your grocery shopping.
Will I get the best interest rates with a no-annual fee credit card?
It's unlikely, the interest rates will typically be slightly higher than a card that charges a fee to compensate, but you should still enjoy competitive interest rates.
With or without an annual fee, getting the best interest rates depends on your credit score, a credit card for those with bad credit can charge interest as high as 59% whereas with good credit can typically be around 15%.
Most cards offer interest free introductory periods, depending on whether it’s a balance transfer or purchase card.
What does 'popularity' mean?
Cards are ranked by the number of clicks they get on the site in the past 48 hours.
The most clicked on cards are at the top, the least at the bottom. This reflects how popular they are with visitors to Uswitch.com.
Does Uswitch compare all the credit cards on the market?
We compare credit over 100 credit cards from all of the major banks and credit card providers.
However, we do not compare all the credit cards that are available in the UK.
This is because some credit card providers have offers that are only available exclusively through their own website or branch, or through other comparison websites - in the same way some credit cards are exclusively available through Uswitch.
There are also many credit cards that are only available to people in member organisations and clubs.
To find out more about the different terms we use for credit cards you can use our online guide.
What does it mean if a card is listed as an 'advertisement' or 'promotion'?
We sometimes receive payment from card providers to display their cards in prominent locations.
These are adverts and are designed to be distinct and separate from the other cards on our comparison tables. We hope this makes it clear which cards are top-of-table deals and which cards are paid for promotions.