Many banks offer free credit cards. You can read about the advantages and possible fees of free credit cards here.
Free credit cards are especially popular if you already know that you only want to use the credit card occasionally, don’t need any additional services, or want to get such a card for the first time. Customers can now choose from a large number of free credit cards.
What is the difference between a regular credit card and a free one? Credit cards are generally considered “free” if the card-issuing bank waives a basic fee to be paid annually, the so-called annual fee. Providers charge an annual fee, especially if the credit card offer comes with additional services such as insurance or bonus programs.
The annual fee is charged regardless of the actual use of the payment card. Usage fees may apply with a free credit card, as with other offers. In addition to the annual fee, the best free offers also do without the international transaction fee and cash withdrawal fees. You can read more about the fees that can be incurred with a free credit card below in the guide.
Basically, free credit cards are suitable for everyone. In their main function as a means of payment, they are in no way inferior to chargeable credit cards. This means that holders can use free credit cards for card payments and cash withdrawals with a high level of acceptance around the world.
However, users usually have to do without additional services that offer credit cards with an annual fee. However, if required, the services can be taken out independently of the credit card. In order for a credit card with an annual fee to pay off, the additional services included must be fully utilized.
You can apply for a Mastercard free of charge as well as a Visa credit card. In addition, the choice of providers is also very large: whether Santander (BestCard Basic), Barclaycard (Barclays Visa), Norisbank (norisbank Mastercard), Advanzia (Mastercard Gold) or DKB (Visa debit card) – you should consider in advance how you want to use the free credit card later.
FOCUS Online partner cardscout has compiled a list of recommended free credit cards here.
For example, would you like to withdraw money worldwide free of charge or is it more important to you that you can use your credit card for cashless payments? You should also answer the question of whether you need a credit card with a credit line for yourself. Especially if you want to let your children use the credit card, for example, it is advisable to pay attention to a card that is only used as a credit card.
A comparison of the offers is worthwhile. Because even if the credit cards have in common that no basic fee is due for them, they differ in the additional services. The Santander subsidiary Openbank, for example, offers a ten percent discount when booking a trip through partners such as Booking.com. Discounts on travel are also part of the Barclays Visa. The card also includes insurance such as internet delivery protection. Such free credit cards are ideal for paying on the Internet.
You should pay particular attention to the additional services: Often the free credit card is only available in connection with a current account. In many cases, this is also free of charge, such as with the Consorsbank Visa Card or the DKB Visa debit card, which add the credit card to your account. However, it is important to take a close look at the conditions of the account. Important questions are: Is the account free? And: Is a minimum monthly payment required or does the account have to be actively used as a salary account? (This is not the case with the mentioned Consorsbank and the DKB.)
Customers should always be aware of the fees that may apply when using a credit card. Because even free models have their price in some cases. Here is a short check list of what is important:
It is clear that a free credit card will not offer what a card with an annual fee does. Credit cards for which basic fees are incurred often include very extensive insurance benefits and services, which of course also have their price. For this reason, Visa credit cards, MasterCard credit cards and American Express cards are only free if they only contain basic credit card functions.
Nonetheless, the no annual fee credit card offers are already very satisfying, especially if you combine the cards. So if you compare, you will find the cards that can be connected best for the respective need. In Germany, the Santander BestCard Basic, the Barclays Visa and the DKB Visa debit card are particularly popular. The DKB Visa card has been one of the best free credit cards for many years. The norisbank Mastercard and the fee-free Mastercard Gold are also common. The free N26 Mastercard is becoming more and more popular. The special thing about this offer: The credit card can be managed completely via an app. Every transaction is reported to you by push message, so that misuse is noticed early on. In addition, the ICS Visa World is interesting as a free credit card because it is particularly useful when traveling in the euro area outside of Germany. A credit card comparison is recommended to check whether your credit card requirements can only be covered by a model with an annual fee or with a free card.
If you are looking for a suitable credit card, you can compare over 100 credit cards here.