Best Credit Cards With No Annual Fee: How to Apply for a Credit Card Annual Fee Waiver

Best Credit Cards With No Annual Fee: How to Apply for a Credit Card Annual Fee Waiver

As you may know, banks and financial companies rely on credit card annual fees as a source of income. However, due to cutthroat market competition, most credit cards offer fee waivers for the first 1–5 years nowadays. But what about when the fee waiver period ends? Which credit cards offer a permanent annual fee waiver? How much do other credit cards charge in annual fees, and what are their fee waiver requirements? What are the ways to apply for credit card fee waivers?

No sweat, that’s why MoneySmart is here to answer these burning questions! Let’s dive in!


Table of contents: No annual fee credit card

😎MoneySmart Credit Card Comparison💳
Best Miles Credit Card Best Airport Lounge Credit Card Best Dining Credit Card Best Online Shopping Credit Card
Best Cashback Credit Card Best Supermarket Credit Card Best No Annual Fee Credit Card Best Octopus AAVS Credit Cards

What is a credit card’s annual fee?

Back in “ancient times,” the operating costs of credit cards were high, and a fixed fee was charged to customers once a year to maintain the rewards and benefits. But now most credit cards offer at least a first-year fee waiver, and some new cards even offer a permanent fee waiver.


Best no-annual-fee credit cards in Hong Kong

Credit card annual fees (mostly around HK$600–HK$2,000) can put a dent in your wallet. Luckily, most banks offer fee waivers for new customers, so you can save some dough. However, beware of premium credit cards’ waiver periods. Here is an overview of the best perpetual, no-annual-fee credit cards:

Annual Fee Waiver Credit Cards Overview in Hong Kong
No Annual Fee Credit Card New Customer Annual Fee Waiver Annual Fee
Hang Seng MMPOWER World Mastercard Perpetual annual fee waiver HK$0
Hang Seng enJoy Card Perpetual annual fee waiver HK$0
Standard Chartered Smart Card Perpetual annual fee waiver HK$0
DBS Compass Visa First year HK$1,800
EarnMORE UnionPay Diamond Card First 2 years HK$1,500
CNCBI Motion Credit Card First year HK$1,200
DBS Black World Mastercard First year HK$3,600
Standard Chartered Cathay Mastercard First year HK$2,000
WeWa UnionPay Diamond Card First 2 years HK$1,500
Citi Rewards MasterCard First year HK$1,800
Citi Cash Back Card First year HK$1,800
Citi PremierMiles Card First year HK$1,800
DBS Live Fresh Credit Card First year HK$1,800
HSBC Visa Signature Card First 2 years HK$2,000
HSBC Red Credit Card Perpetual annual fee waiver HK$0
Dah Sing MyAuto Credit Card First 2 years HK$1,800
Dah Sing British Airways Platinum Card First 2 years HK$1,800
Hang Seng MUJI Card Perpetual annual fee waiver HK$0
CCB eye Credit Card Perpetual annual fee waiver HK$0

Featured no-annual-fee credit cards with the the most cashback

There are many credit cards that offer permanent fee waivers for those who are not big credit card users. If you’re looking for credit cards that offer the most cash back, here are 2 good options:

  • Standard Chartered Smart card 
  • Hang Seng enJoy card

These cards offer both great rewards and permanent fee waivers.

Standard Chartered Smart Card

The Standard Chartered Smart Card is a killer in the cashback field. First, you can get up to 8% cash back for Deliveroo and 5% for merchants, streaming services, music apps, etc. What makes it stand out from other cards is its 3-month free installment. So now you can be less concerned about spending too much when you can split the bill!

Standard Chartered Smart Card welcome offer

You now can enjoy HK$1,200 cashback as a welcome offer with a new application for SCB Smart Card! Accumulated eligible transactions of HK$4,000 within the first month from the date of card issuance can enjoy HK$1,200 CashBack or 2 Passes to Plaza Premium First Hong Kong , and that’s not all. MoneySmart has some exclusive offers to sweeten the deal.

 

Standard Chartered logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
5% rebate|Waive foreign exchange fee
Cash back on spending at designated stores of HKTVmall
5%
Cash back on local spend
5%
MoneySmart Exclusive Offer
HK$2,380
MoneySmart Exclusive:

【Welcome Offer up to HK$3,580 !】From now until 31 May 2024, New Cardholders who successfully apply for Standard Chartered Smart Card now via MoneySmart to get B&W Pi5S2 In-ear True Wireless  earbuds  (value: HK$2,380) or $800 ParkNshop vouchers or $800 Apple store gift card!

【Referral Bliss: Treats for You and Your Loved Ones - Earn Extra HK$100 for Every Referral! 】Unlock extra rewards by referring your friends and family to our fantastic credit card deals! Not only will they enjoy the good deals, but you'll also be rewarded with a referral bonus of 1,000 SmartPoints for each successful application! No cap on the maximum reward amount!

【Smart Card x The Coffee Academics - Blue Monday no more! 】Enjoy Buy-1-Get-1-Free offer of any beverage on HK$45 or below EVERY MONDAY!

Valid until 31 May 2024

Hang Seng enJoy card

The Hang Seng enJoy card is another option to consider when it comes to cashback. The cashback is offered in the form of yuu reward points, which can be earned by making purchases at various convenience stores, supermarkets, and restaurants.

What is yuu reward point?

Think of it like this: for every dollar you spend, you earn one point. For every 4,000 yuu points earned, you can get a deduction of HK$20 from your bill.

With the Hang Seng enJoy card, you can earn up to 4X yuu reward points year-round for spending at enJoy Card merchants. This means that for every 4,000 yuu points earned (which only requires spending HK$1,000 with 4X yuu rewards points), you can get a HK$20 cash rebate. That’s a 2% cash rebate—not too shabby!

Hang Seng enJoy Card welcome offer

You can now take home 120,000 yuu points as a welcome offer from Hang Seng Bank, plus MoneySmart’s exclusive offers.

Hang Seng Bank logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Up to 4x Points to spend as cash
Annual fees
Perpetual annual fee waiver
Cash back on local spend
2%
Welcome Offer
Up to 120,000 yuu Points
MoneySmart Exclusive:

【Make Every Grocery Trip Count: Enjoy the Limited-time Offer up to HK$1,298!】
From now until 31 May, new credit card customers* who successfully applied for the Hang Seng enJoy Card via MoneySmart simply spend HK$600 within 30 days after card issuance, can enjoy an extra ACER Trunk Sport 4-wheel Frame Luggage 20” (Retail Value: HK$1,298) or HK$800 Apple Store Gift Card or HK$800 PARKnSHOP Supermarket voucher! You can also enjoy up to 120,000 yuu Points (equivalent to rewards worth HK$600) upon meeting the specified spending requirements!

Valid until 31 May 2024

Featured no-annual-fee credit cards with airport lounge access

A credit card that has airport lounge access but no annual fee seems impossible. But WeWa UnionPay Diamond Card and EarnMORE UnionPay offer quite a deal: as long as you spend at least HK$12,000 for 2 consecutive months, you can get 3 visits per year to LoungeKey airport lounges.

Though these 2 credit cards do not offer perpetual annual fee waivers, you can easily waive the annual fee by following the tips below.

EarnMORE UnionPay: 2% rebate for all spending

PrimeCredit logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Earn 2% cashback from everyday spending
Min. Annual Salary
HK$0
Cash back on overseas spend
2%
Cash back on local spend
2%
MoneySmart Exclusive:

【MoneySmart Exclusive Offer】Want to get extra $300 vouchers from MoneySmart?  From now until 31 May 2024, new customers who successfully applied for EarnMORE UnionPay Diamond Card via MoneySmart, can enjoy 3,000 SmartPoints without further spending! Use your SmartPoints to redeem vouchers of your choice worth HK$300 in the Rewards Store(over 20+ brand vouchers including Apple / Wellcome/ HKTVmall etc)!. Click here for more details. T&C applied. (fulfilled by MoneySmart)





[PrimeCredit x MoneySmart] From now until June 30, apply EarnMORE UnionPay Diamond Card through MoneySmart and earn extra HK$200 cash rebate + Welcome offer: HK$670 cash rebate (included the extra up to 2% cash rebate) Or  OTO Vanda 2.0 massage chair (VN-05) (Suggested price: HK$13,800) Or German Pool Smart Air
Purifier Fan (EFB-426HM-SC) (Suggested price: HK$2,480) Or Up to HK$90K Interest-free and Handling Fee-free Cash Instalment Program or Tertiary Student: HK$400 Klook e-Gift Card (**Extra reward will be fulfilled by PrimeCredit)



【Referral Bliss: Treats for You and Your Loved Ones - Earn Extra HK$50 for Every Referral! 】
Unlock extra rewards by referring your friends and family to our fantastic credit card deals! Not only will they enjoy the good deals, but you'll also be rewarded with a referral bonus of 500 SmartPoints for each successful application! No cap on the maximum reward amount!

Valid until 31 May 2024

WeWa UnionPay Diamond Card: Airport lounge access with no annual salary requirement

PrimeCredit logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Min. Annual Salary
HK$0
Local, Overseas and Online Spending via selected mobile payments
Up to 6%
Cash rebate on travel spending and designated spending categories
4%
MoneySmart Exclusive:

【MoneySmart Exclusive Offer】Want to get extra $300 vouchers from MoneySmart?  From now until 31 May 2024, new customers who successfully applied for WeWa UnionPay Diamond Card via MoneySmart, can enjoy 3,000 SmartPoints without further spending! Use your SmartPoints to redeem vouchers of your choice worth HK$300 in theRewards Store (over 20+ brand vouchers including Apple / Wellcome/ HKTVmall etc)!. Click here for more details. T&C applied. (fulfilled by MoneySmart)



【PrimeCredit x MoneySmart】From now until June 30 2024, successfully applied WeWa UnionPay Diamond Card through MoneySmart and earn extra HK$200 cash rebate + Welcome offer: Delsey S-Series 30 inch Front
Loader Expandable Suitcase or Panasonic nanoe® Hair Dryer (EH-NA9K) or HK$500
Cash Rebate or up to HK$90,000 Interest-free and Handling Fee-free Cash Instalment Program or Tertiary Student: HK$400 Klook e-Gift Card (Extra reward will be fulfilled by PrimeCredit)



【Referral Bliss: Treats for You and Your Loved Ones - Earn Extra HK$50 for Every Referral! 】Unlock extra rewards by referring your friends and family to our fantastic credit card deals! Not only will they enjoy the good deals, but you'll also be rewarded with a referral bonus of 500 SmartPoints for each successful application! No cap on the maximum reward amount!

Valid until 31 May 2024

Best credit card with no annual fee to earn miles

HSBC Red Credit Card

Among all the air miles credit cards, you can choose the HSBC Red Credit Card to earn miles without any annual fees. Although the overall rewards redemption rate may not be as attractive as other miles credit cards, the advantage is that it has a permanent waiver of the annual fee. Plus, you can also enjoy 4% cash back or HK$2.5/mile for online shopping!

HSBC logo
Bank Promo
Min. Annual Salary
HK$120,000
RewardCash Rebate
Up to 4%
Cash back on Supermarket purchases
2%

5 easy ways to apply for an annual fee waiver

Most banks or financial institutions waive the first-year annual fee for credit cards to attract new customers. However, after the first-year waiver period, how can we apply for a waiver of the annual fee for the following year? Here are 5 easy ways to apply for a waiver of the annual fee.

1. Call the bank to waive your annual fee

If your credit card does not state the conditions for an annual fee waiver, or if the conditions are stated but not met, you can try calling the bank 11 months after the card is issued or after the annual fee is charged to see if you are eligible for a waiver.

Generally, as long as you pay your bills on time and frequently use the card for transactions, the bank will waive the next year’s annual fee for you immediately.

Check out Credit Card All-in-One Hotline Shortcuts Guide for details.

2. Annual fee waiver with spending requirements

Some credit cards specify in their terms and conditions that cardholders can have their annual fee waived for the following year if they spend a certain amount within a year

Credit Card Annual Spending Requirement
American Express Blue Cash Credit Card HK$25,000
American Express I.T Cashback Credit Card HK$25,000
BEA Flyer World Mastercard HK$90,000
Citi Cash Back Credit Card HK$100,000
Citi PremierMiles Credit Card HK$100,000
Standard Chartered Asia Miles Mastercard HK$150,000

 3. Waiving credit card annual fees for designated customers

Even if the spending requirements are not met, some credit cards will waive the annual fee for designated customers (usually those who hold other accounts with the issuing bank).

As for the Standard Chartered credit cards, the annual fee is waived for “Priority Banking” customers, “Premium Banking” customers who meet the minimum total balance requirement, or Bonus Payroll Account customers.

4. Exchanging points for an annual fee waiver

Instead of using points to waive the annual fee, it’s better to try your luck by calling the bank’s hotline. Only use your points as a last resort if the request for a waiver is denied.

5. Apply for exemption from the annual fee through the app

Some banks have made it easier to apply for an exemption from annual fees through their apps. (No more phone calls!) Standard Chartered Bank’s app even has an option for applying for an annual fee exemption, making it a breeze for its cardholders.

Credit cards that are not eligible for an annual fee waiver

Some credit cards target high-income earners and offer special privileges and services, and many premium credit cards explicitly state that they do not offer annual fee waivers.

For example, the Citi Prestige Card, which requires an annual income of HK$600,000, charges an annual fee of HK$3,800, which must be paid immediately upon approval. Similarly, the American Express Platinum Card has a high annual fee of HK$7,800 and cannot be waived. In return, these cards offer higher rewards points/miles and generous perks such as unlimited access to airport lounges.

Citibank logo
Citi Welcome Offer: 30,000 Miles
Minimum Income Requirements
HK$600,000
Miles Conversion (local spend)
HK$6 = 1 Mile
Miles Conversion (overseas spend)
HK$4 = 1 Mile
American Express logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Up to 50% savings at designated restaurants
Min. Annual Salary
HK$300,000
Cash back on local spend
1%
Miles Conversion (local spend)
$6 = 1 Mile

Credit card fee waiver hotline

Here’s a handy list of hotline shortcuts to help you with your credit card annual fee waiver.

Bank Waive Annual Fee Hotline Shortcut
AEON 2895 6262 Please contact customer service representative directly
American Express (Amex) 2277 1010 Please contact customer service representative directly
Bank of China (BOC) 2853 8828 Press 3 > 4 > 2
Bank of Communications 2239 5559 Please contact customer service representative directly
Bank of East Asia (BEA) 3608 6628 Press 2 > 3 * > 3 > 1
China CITIC Bank International 2280 1288 Press 3 > 3 > 3
China Construction Bank (CCB) 3179 5533 Please contact customer service representative directly
Chong Hing Bank 3768 8888 Please contact customer service representative directly
Citibank 2860 0333 Please contact customer service representative directly
Dah Sing 2828 8168 Press 2 > 6
DBS 2290 8888 Press 3 > 1 > 1
Fubon Bank 2566 8181 Press 2 > 1 > 4 > 1
Hang Seng 2398 0000 Press 3 > 6
HSBC 2233 3000 Press 2 > 3 > Say “Waive annual fee”
ICBC Asia 2189 5588 Please contact customer service representative directly
OCBC Wing Hang Bank 2815 1123 Please contact customer service representative directly
Prime Credit 2269 8899 Press 2 > 4 > 5
Standard Chartered 2886 4111 Press 2 > 1
Shanghai Commercial Bank 2818 0282 Press 3 > 5
Wing Lung Bank 2309 5555 Press 2 > 4

Frequently asked questions about credit card annual fees

Can all credit cards apply for an annual fee waiver?

Unfortunately no. For example, some high-end credit cards with more services and benefits, such as Citi Prestige, AE Platinum Credit Card, and AE Platinum Card, cannot waive annual fees.

Is a permanent waiver of annual fees applicable for supplementary cards?

Some banks offer their designated customers a permanent waiver of credit card annual fees, but this offer may not be applicable for supplementary cards. The annual fee for supplementary cards may differ from that of the primary card, so it is important to carefully review the related fees and exemption requirements before applying for a supplementary card.

If I fail to meet the minimum spending requirement, can I still apply for an annual fee waiver?

If you fail to meet the minimum spending requirement, you can call the customer service hotline to apply for an annual fee waiver. Some banks also offer their designated customers a permanent waiver of annual fees.

Before applying, remember to carefully read the terms and conditions.

What can I do if I want to waive annual fees?

Except for credit cards that cannot waive annual fees, there are 5 ways to apply for a waiver, including opening a designated bank account, spending a specified amount with the card, calling the bank hotline to apply, redeeming points for an annual fee waiver, and applying for a waiver through the bank app.

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Wanna stay ahead of the herd? Let’s check out the MoneySmart blog for more financial tips!

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