Say I get approved for a credit line/card and it has no annual fees. If I never use any credit, do I still have to pay money to the lender?

Just wondering because I don't want to have any surprise bills when I haven't used the credit for any purchases yet.

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    A long time ago, I had a credit card that waived the annual fee provided that I charged at least $3000 per year on the card, I have no idea whether similar terms are included in current credit-card contracts. Some current affinity Rewards cards (get 50,000 airline miles 80,000 hotel points as a reward for opening the account) do not give these rewards unless $X has been charged within the first three months, etc.; but these usually are annual fee cards (with the first year's fee waived). Feb 25, 2016 at 20:54
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    Note: in some cases, you may need to use it at least once to activate it, or it may be cancelled as they may think you never received the card.
    – Joe
    Feb 25, 2016 at 21:18

3 Answers 3


You'll need to read all the fine print with your particular credit card, but in general, if there is no annual fee and you don't make any purchases, you don't pay anything.

  • Really make sure to read the fine print. I've seen cards that have a "minimum monthly payment" of the maximum of X% of the balance or a flat fee (eg 15% or $20)
    – Vlad274
    Feb 25, 2016 at 21:54
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    @Vlad274, are you sure that wasn't a minimum finance charge? Which is the minimum interest that will be charged on the balance. That could also be minimum payment calculation, which is only applicable if there's a balance. But definitely read the fine print. If if's a card from a large bank not known for sub-prime consumer lending you're probably fine never using it. Its the sub-prime lenders that really do the wacky things like force a minimum spend.
    – quid
    Feb 25, 2016 at 22:20

I've got cards with no annual fee that don't get used--I never see a bill from them.


If the card has no annual fee, you can keep it for as long as you like and you will never get charged. I advise you to GoPaperless so you stop getting the $0 bills every month.

Many cards have the fee waived for the first year. If you have such a card, you should make sure to cancel it when you stop using it, or when the fee waiver expires.

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