A few key points to note: fees haven’t changed dramatically in the last three years. No-frills cards often don’t have the cheapest annual fees: the banks are presumably assuming that cost-conscious customers who use these services will be savvy about avoiding other fees and charges, so they’re effectively setting the fee to ensure the card is a profitable business choice. Reward-based cards have much higher annual fees: if you’re not regularly utilising the rewards schemes, it might actually be cheaper to switch to a less “rewarding” but less expensive alternative.
The annual fee isn’t the only issue to consider, of course: interest-free periods, reward schemes, extra benefits and ease of repayment options are all likely to factor into your decision. But if your preferred card costs a lot more than the numbers here, no matter which category it fits into, it might be worth asking why.
If you are hunting down a new credit card, online resources such as Credit Card Finder, Fumzup and Mozo can help you rate and compare options.
Lifehacker’s weekly Loaded column looks at better ways to manage (and stop worrying about) your money.
Angus has been writing professionally about technology since 1994 and breaking it for even longer. He is based in Sydney but spends a frankly unhealthy portion of his life on the road, tracking down the latest stories. In 2011, he won the IT Journo Award For Best Consumer Technology Journalist and Consensus IT Writers Award for Best Technical Writer for his work on Lifehacker; about time too.