No Annual Fee Credit Cards

For the most part, credit cards are useful financial tools that offer real value to their users. From the availability of credit and purchasing power to a lengthy list of rewards and membership perks, it’s a great privilege to own a credit card today. From free trans-Atlantic flights to lengthy hotel stays, all free of charge, a credit card is something that should be respected and used when it’s worth using.

These perks and advantages can vary from card to card, and even from one credit card company to another. Providers such as American Express are well-known for the benefits they offer to their own card holders, giving them everything from hotel room discounts to free concierges. Likewise, many other credit cards specialize in improving the lives of their members through perks and advantages.

That’s all good, provided it’s really free. But just like the drinks at a casino – which are paid for with the money most consumers end up losing – or the peanuts at a bar – which are there to make people thirsty and thus drink more – they’re often a false ‘benefit’ at all. In many cases, in fact, you’ll end up paying a premium to access these ‘free perks’ through your credit card’s annual fees and charges.

Many credit cards charge a once-off charge to users, known as an initiation fee. This is particularly true for higher-end cards, especially those with a great deal of benefits for their end users. The well known American Express Centurion card is a good example of this. The card itself has both a once-off initiation fee and a series of annual fees designed to encourage users to ‘maintain’ membership.

The end result of this is that despite offering numerous perks – or, in the case of the Centurion, an incredible amount of different perks – the card itself isn’t that much of a deal. Those free rooms in top hotels, the free lunches, the concierge service, the free taxis, the low card fees, and even rooms to use as a mobile office – they’re all paid for at some point, and it’s primarily through card fees.

While the high end of credit card users are likely uninterested in saving a few thousand annually on fees, many others are. It’s real money that’s often spent, particularly on small fees like charges for a single transaction, currency conversion, or likewise. In this brief guide, we’ll explain how you can use a no annual fee credit card to avoid, or otherwise minimize, all of these credit card charges.

Firstly, it’s often better to minimize, rather than outright avoid, credit card charges. In many cases, a great deal of charges can be minimized by switching to a card that rewards spending instead of just punishing it. These include cash-back credit and charge cards, and a number of cards that offer more rewards than they charge to the consumer, such as high-bonus credit cards.

On the charge card side of the equation, the American Express Plum card is a competitively priced and easily available option. With a minimum of account fees and up to two percent of your account spending ‘cashed back’ to you, this is a great option for cutting down your fees substantially. It’s an easy card to manage, accruing no interest until the balance is repaid, with an unlimited credit line.

However, it’s a small business card from American Express’s small business division, and thus it’s a card that’s only available through your own LLC or S-Corp business. For consumers, there are some other options available, both from American Express and from other card companies. These include a range of zero-fee credit cards, designed to improve the shopping experience for all customers.

For those based in the United States, these include a variety of zero-fee cards from Chase Bank and Bank of America. Both of these banks offer cards with no fee structure at all, including during all of the card’s application processes. For those looking for a zero-fee card, these are a good option. Keep an eye out for high interest rates, however, as they tend to be present on these types of credit cards.

For people based outside of the United States, global banks such as HSBC offer a variety of low-fee or no-fee credit cards. These include the HSBC No Annual Fee card, which has no annual fees for a member or card holder. This card also has no recurring fees when used, along with a 55-day interest free window, various perks and benefits dependent on the user’s country, and other major benefits.

It’s also often worth looking at local banks within your area, many of which are able to issue credit cards with no fee structure attached. Remember that the credit card itself is issued by your bank – a company like American Express or VISA only handles transactions. As such, it’s up to your bank to set the fee structure. This means that fees can vary wildly from one bank to another, even locally.

Low-fee, no-fee, or minimal-fee, it’s important to find a credit card that’s compatible with your own buying style. Many no annual fee credit cards make up for their lack of fees with higher interest and other unwanted expenses – these are best avoided. Research, compare, and search locally, and you’ll be able to find a card that meets your expectations, both in buying power and in minimal card fees.