Credit card fees and how to (mostly) avoid them

Posted in Banking tips

In terms of fees, most of your day-to-day use of your credit card probably won’t cost you any more than your annual card fee. Here’s the low-down on other fees that could apply, and ways to avoid them.

Annual fee

This one’s pretty difficult to avoid. Depending on the type of credit card you have, it could be as low as about $30 (for a low fee card) and up to $300 a year (for a premium card ). Usually, the more features a card has – like rewards points and complimentary insurances – the higher its annual fee.

If your card has features that you’re not using, it might be a good time to change your credit card to something with a lower annual fee. Read about the important questions when choosing the right card for you.

If you are a NAB shareholder or you have a home loan package, you could be able to get a credit card with no annual fee (although you will pay an annual package fee).  Make sure you check; this could save you plenty!

Cash advance fee

Put simply, cash advances are expensive, so save them for emergencies only. Our cash advance fee is a percentage of the amount you advance, meaning the larger your cash advance, the higher your fee. It’s a one-off fee for each cash advance, but interest charged is also from the day you access the funds until it’s paid off in full.

So make sure you know what counts as a cash advance – withdrawing cash is not the only way. Get the details in our post avoiding credit card interest (Part 1).

Late payment fee

This fee explains itself: if you’re late with your monthly credit card payment, you’ll see this fee on your next statement.

To avoid this fee you need to at least make your minimum payment by the date shown on your statement. (When you read about avoiding credit card interest you’ll see that making the minimum payment is not enough to avoid interest.)

Our fee is less than some other banks, but you’d still probably prefer to avoid being charged at all, right?

Setting up a regular payment could help you to ensure you are never late on your payments. You can read more about this in avoiding credit card interest (Part 2).

International transaction fees

Depending on the type of credit card you use (Visa®, MasterCard®, or American Express®) and the exact type of transaction, this fee can vary. But it’s always a percentage of the total you spend.

You don’t have to be overseas for this fee to apply. If you’re an online shopper, remember that any purchase you make with an international store or in any international currency (like USD or GBP) will attract an international transaction fee.

Repeat statement fee

This is much less common than the other fees we’ve just gone through, but it’s important to cover every possible fee.

If you ask us to post you a copy of an old credit card statement, we’ll charge you a fee. The easiest way to avoid this is to set up Smart Statements online through NAB Internet Banking. You can download statements for an open account going back as far as seven years. See How to set up Internet Banking.

Fees for non-NAB ATMs

These technically aren’t “credit card fees”, since they apply no matter what sort of NAB card you put in the machine. You’ll probably have to pay a fee if you use an ATM other than a NAB ATM or rediATM to check your balance or get money out.

These fees are “direct charged” by the bank or company that owns the ATM. You’ll see the amount onscreen and have the option to cancel your selection rather than pay the fee and continue.

Download the NAB app for your smartphone and use it to locate NAB or rediATMs near to you when you’re out and about; it could save you a lot in fees.

Things we don’t charge fees for

Unlike some banks, we don’t charge fees for:

  • going over your credit limit (but we do have the right to decline the purchase)
  • replacing lost or stolen cards
  • producing transaction evidence (which is part of the process if you dispute a transaction)

Credit card surcharges

This isn’t a fee from your credit card provider. Some businesses both locally and overseas will charge you a ‘surcharge’ for using a credit card. It’s usually a percentage of the purchase you’re making and these fees can add up, so it pays to be aware of this when you’re shopping.

Interest is another story, though, so it’s a good idea to read about avoiding credit card interest.

Did you find this article helpful?

If you have some useful tips on avoiding fees to share, or if there’s anything else you’d like to know, leave us a comment below.

For more information:

American Express is a registered trademark of American Express Company.
MasterCard® and the MasterCard® Brand Mark are registered trademarks of MasterCard® International Incorporated.

Tags: Credit cards

Skip to topic


22 Responses to Credit card fees and how to (mostly) avoid them

  1. daniel says:

    I need to link the international transaction fee with the actual transaction in my statement so that I can claim it for work purposes. But in the statements, they seem randomly organised and so I’m unable to link them. Am i missing something or is this an area of improvement for the NAB?

    • NAB says:

      Hi Daniel, thanks for the feedback – I’ll pass this onto the Credit Cards team. The separation of fees is intended to be more transparent- however, these fees can be seem randomly organised at times and it’s an area of improvement for us. If you have any transaction queries in the meantime, don’t hesitate to email us at ^JL

  2. deb says:

    Do you have any accounts that don’t charge international fees? We took out a visa debit account 4 years ago to travel & it worked brilliantly but now that seems to have changed & I can’t see anything similar.

    • NAB says:

      Hi Deb, if you have a Gold Banking account, you can still make international transactions with no fees until 10th August, 2012, after which these fees will apply. Our traveller card offers no NAB ATM or point of sale fees when you travel. More info here. ^JL

  3. Jason says:

    Are there any fees associated with paying your credit card balance using direct debit?

    • NAB says:

      Hi Jason, paying your credit card by cash deposit, cheque, internet banking funds transfer or direct debit, do not attract any fee’s from us ^SM

  4. Evan Li says:

    I have noticed recently that the International transaction fee is now 3% and not 1.5% to 2.5%. Can I know since when this has changed? I have not received any notice about this change. And on the NAB website it is still showing 1.5% to 2.5%.

    Regards and thanks

  5. Jan says:

    Hi, do I always have to pay ATM fees when I use other ATMs than the NAB Atms ? I read somewhere that you can get these fees back ? Is that right or am I wrong ?

    • NAB says:

      Hey Jan, when using a non NAB or Redi ATM, the ATM provider may charge you a fee to use their ATM directly. This is a fee charged by another ATM provider, as such we will not be able to refund it. ^RW

  6. charly says:

    Hi admin. I just want to make an inquiry. I am planning to book a hotel in the philippines for this coming christmas and since it’s an online booking on their website, they are asking for my credit card details. They said that they will charge the payment for the hotel on my account 7 days prior to my arrival. I would like to know if this will incur extra charge and if AUD will automatically convert into Philippine peso when they charge the payment to my NAB credit card? Thanks.

    • NAB says:

      Hi Charly,

      I’m not sure what currency the Merchant will be charging you on however your credit card will be charged in AUD.

      You will incur a currency conversion fee at the rate of 3% of the AUD value of the transaction.

      Hope this helps! ^SN

  7. Nas says:

    Why am I being charged international transaction fees of 3% when I am using my debit card. I can understand such a charge for a credit card but definitely not for a debit card. NAB is charging the exchange rate that it wants and that is steep as is but the 3% is not justified when the money is coming out of my account through the debit card. Your fees schedule does not clarify this distinction I.e debit card vs credit card . I am quite unhappy about being charged 3% for using my own money.

    • NAB says:

      Hi Nas,

      When you make purchases in a currency other than Australian dollars or with an Internationally designated Merchant the International Transaction fee applies.

      The fee is 3% of the transaction amount (in Australian dollars) and it applies to all NAB cards (NAB Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards, NAB Visa debit cards and NAB debit cards).

      For example, if a purchase from a merchant based in the UK converts to $86.05 Australian dollars; the applicable international transaction fee would be $2.58. The same fee would be applicable if you were to make a purchase in Australian Dollars by an overseas based Merchant (ie the same UK Merchant).

      If you’re travelling overseas and want to avoid those fees, you might want to look into purchasing a NAB Traveller card which you can load up with up to 10 different currencies – more here ^SN

  8. Scott says:

    Hi there.

    Since when do we get charged for using our own money via a nab visa debit card whilst travelling overseas ? I always remember you would market yourself as no fees on debit cards. Yet I’ve just returned from overseas to find hundreds of dollars in transaction fees.
    I would’ve been better if using my credit card be actually earning points. Now it’s costing me money to use my own money!!
    Does that make sense?
    “More Give Less Take” should “Give More Take More”

  9. Vaibhav Mehrotra says:

    Hi Could you please clarify, If I have an amex card, can I pay my card with NAB Banking? Is there any fees levied on payment to Amex from NAB?

    • NAB says:

      Hi Vaibhav,if the AMEX is part of our consolidated card products (such as the NAB Qantas Rewards card and the NAB Velocity Rewards cards) you’re not able to pay a bill from your AMEX card via internet banking. However, you can call the merchant directly and provide them with your AMEX card number to make the payment. NAB doesn’t charge any additional fees for you using the AMEX but you’ll need to check with the merchant to see if they do ^BH

  10. Tim says:

    If a apply for a NAB Qantas Rewards Premium Card offer of 60,000 points (if I spend $1,500 within 90 days) when is the annual the annual card fee of $250 payable?

  11. Geoff Ruffell says:


    Was initially surprised and shortly after appalled at the 1% fee on recent payments made in $A for accommodation and rental cars.

    This is a monster of a fee given the banking involved is merely transactional, and does not involve FX conversion.

    My learned wife has advised I should have used a non-NAB card (28 Degrees). I would have had I known in advance about this type of fee. it not possible to still use NAB for international transactions and either avoid these fees or at least incur only a reasonable fee?

    Regards, Geoff

    • NAB says:

      Hi Geoff, if you’re making a transaction in AUD with your NAB card at an Australian based merchant no fee should be applied – the fee only applies in currencies other than AUD or if the merchant processed the transaction overseas and this applies to all NAB cards, for more information on the fees I’ve included a link here ^TC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>