I wrote several times about different cards I’ve been trying and using, but I thought it was a good opportunity to focus on those cards with no annual fees. Choosing the right card can make a huge change in your everyday spending and how much you can save by the end of the year.
I believe that a solid strategy when looking for a credit card in 2022 is to focus on (1) reducing maintenance fees, and (2) getting cash back or a reward for each transaction.
NOTE: These are cards with no annual fees. Check out this post for the best credit cards in Sweden right now.
Over my last 15 years as a consumer, I changed several times my credit card and spending strategy. I had phases where I was mainly focused on the rewards I was getting, but in the current world’s situation, points and miles are getting harder to use and less flexible.
In this post, I present my top 3 free credit cards, plus one card I believe is really good for travelers that give you the first year for free. Let’s get started.
Why use a credit card?
If you don’t have a credit card yet, don’t think of them as a way of getting into debt necessarily, or spending money that you don’t have. Yes, credit cards are a way to pay for stuff when you don’t have the money, but you will also get charged interest on your purchases.
Instead, you should see a credit card as a safer, more secure, and more flexible alternative to debit cards.
Credit cards vs. debit cards: main advantages
- Opportunity to build credit (improve your UC credit score). Check out my post on credit score in Sweden here.
- Earn rewards such as cashback, miles, or points
- Protection against credit card fraud, especially when traveling.
- No foreign transaction fees (or better rates)
- Increased purchasing power
- Not linked to checking or savings account
- Putting a hold on a rental car or hotel room
What is the Best Free Credit Card in Sweden?
1. Bank Norwegian Visa
I have covered this card in the blog many times. You can check out my post “5 Reasons Why You Should Get a Bank Norwegian Card”. Here’s a summary:
- It’s a Visa card (universally accepted)
- Rewards on all your purchases
- Up to 45 days of interest-free credit on every purchase
- Invite friends and get 200 SEK in free travel
- Apple Pay
- Dental protection (optional).
- Rewards can only be used for free flights or hotels.
- You need to be over 23 years old to apply.
If you are looking for a walkthrough, watch my video on the top 5 reasons to get this card
2. Resurs Classic Mastercard
Resurs Bank is a niche bank (it does not provide everyday services like checking or salary accounts), but it has come up with a quite competitive credit card lineup.
Their free option is Resurs Classic, and it is one of my favorite tools to beat inflation: you can split your purchases into up to 6 interest-free installments! And, since the card lets you pay for invoices, you can use it for home renovations, contractors, home appliances, etc.
My favorite card is actually Resurs Gold (which is 245kr / year), as you also earn points on all your purchases. It also gives you a free savings account to get 1.3% interest on your money (with deposit guarantee). Make sure to check this post and read more about Resurs Gold.
- Completely free! No annual fees
- Split payments up to 6 months interest-free.
- Apple Pay and Google Pay
- Up to 60 days of interest-free credit on every purchase.
- Pay for invoices
- Transfer money to a bank account directly from your credit card
- No points or cashback on your purchases (Try Resurs Gold instead)
- No savings account
- Extra cards cost 50kr (for family members)
- No referral program for friends and family
3. American Express AMEX Green or SAS Classic
- Bonus points on everything!
- Up to 55 days of interest-free credit on every purchase.
- Invite a friend and get your money back, and collect points with someone you like.
- Supplementary travel insurance with cancellation protection is included.
- Apple Pay and Google Pay
- Buy concert tickets before everyone else. Fast track at Avicii Arena (Globen)
- Some shops do not accept American Express.
- If you chose the SAS Classic Card, rewards can only be used in SAS (free flights with EuroBonus points).
I won’t lie, I have been in love with the American Express concept for a long time. I love their brand and how they’ve built it. Their customer service. Their cards, and the rewards.
I have a long history with them and tried many flavors of their cards, and it’s because of that history that I will try to be the least biased here.
Is Amex the right card for you?
Honestly, if you don’t enjoy dealing with your finances and you would rather prefer not to worry and just use a single unique card for everything, then this is probably not the right choice for you.
Let me explain. Let’s start with the cons. Many, many, many, many shops, even in 2022, don’t accept American Express. This means that if you order this card, you will most likely end up anyway having to use your debit card or some other alternative.
In addition, you will get lots of points. Hundreds, thousands, and even millions. But, to use them, you need to sit down and understand how you can translate those points into something that is meaningful to you. A simple option is to just use those points to pay for your bill (like cash back, or credit statement). But it has many more opportunities than that, like for example being able to get free flights and hotels. It can be very lucrative and it is a fun game.
Now, if you don’t mind spending an extra couple of hours figuring that out, or you actually would like to consider more than just one credit card in your wallet, then AMEX is a no-brainer.
There are just so many opportunities with their cards. You enjoy very high purchase limits, get almost 2 months of interest-free payments, and they have a fantastic referral program: if you invite friends and family, both you and them get rewards. Plus, they support Apple Pay, and they have excellent adoption internationally (especially in the US).
4. Marginalen Bank Traveller
Marginalen Bank has been stepping up the last few years in all its products and is now offering a quite competitive folio. They offer a range of cards, Traveller and Gold, and their own point system.
The Marginalen Traveller Mastercard option is interesting, as you get one of the market’s most comprehensive travel insurance when looking at the price range. In addition to this, you get points on all purchases you make on the card and these can later be used to book trips with or buy products in the points shop.
- Great travel insurance
- Points in everything you buy. Redeem the points for flights, hotels, and car rentals.
- 25% discount in over 200 online stores.
- Up to SEK 120,000 in credit.
- Up to 50 days of interest-free credit on every purchase. You can also split the payments into 6, 12, or 24 months.
- Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
- Free for the first year.
- It has a fee after the first year, but you can try it for a whole year and see if it is a good fit for your wallet and expenses 🙂
Overall, a fantastic option to have in your credit card arsenal. I really love the concept of being able to have interest-free payments. It is a fantastic tool when you want to pay for holidays, travel, or even unplanned emergency expenses and you don’t want to take the hit all at once. Native support for Apple Pay and Google Pay is a big win!
Being a Mastercard, it will be broadly accepted so you don’t need to worry on that front.
I hope this post is useful and promise to keep it regularly updated with the most updated info.
If you have any further questions or wish to brainstorm or chat, feel free to reach out to me anytime on Instagram!