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2019

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards

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Credit Card Insider is an independent, advertising supported website. Credit Card Insider receives compensation from some credit card issuers as advertisers. Advertiser relationships do not affect card ratings or our Editor’s Best Card Picks. Credit Card Insider has not reviewed all available credit card offers in the marketplace. Content is not provided or commissioned by any credit card issuers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information, though all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on any ‘Apply Now’ button, the most up-to-date terms and conditions, rates, and fee information will be presented by the issuer. Credit Card Insider has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Credit Card Insider and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. A list of these issuers can be found on our Editorial Guidelines.

In the market for a new, inexpensive credit card? Many card issuers provide no annual fee cards, which can be convenient, low-obligation ways to take advantage of credit card features. As long as you avoid paying interest and other fees, they can be completely free and any value you get from rewards and benefits will be all profit.

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards
Brendan Harkness

By Brendan Harkness

Our Selection Criteria

  • Fits your credit profile: Find a credit card offer designed for your level of credit history and scores, as some cards are generally meant for good credit while others are meant for bad, limited, or no credit.
  • It’s got what you need: Look for a set of terms and features that suits your current needs, whether you want a decent rewards rate on certain purchases, a long intro APR, a card to travel with, or a way to build your credit.
  • Bonus reward categories: The rewards program should fit your spending habits, offering points or cash back for the types of purchases you make most.
  • Introductory bonuses: Many no annual fee reward cards include valuable intro bonuses, letting you spend a thousand or so to get a nice point or cash back bonus.
  • Introductory APRs: Quite a few cards without annual fees come with 0% introductory interest rates on new purchases and/or balance transfers, letting you pay off your balance over time without accruing interest. After the intro offer expires you’ll get a regular APR, which is typically quite high (so pay your statement balance in full each month).
  • Additional perks and benefits: You won’t find the best extra perks on cards without annual fees, but you can still do pretty well with extra reward opportunities, shopping and travel protections, free credit scores, and the occasional discount or special event access.
Is a No Annual Fee Card Right for You?
Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards
Brendan Harkness

By Brendan Harkness

Is a No Annual Fee Card Right for You?

There’s a wide variety of credit cards without annual fees. They tend to be a bit more basic than cards with annual fees, but they still offer valuable rewards, benefits, and introductory APRs that make them every bit as useful as more expensive options.

Credit cards with annual fees tend to have better reward programs and extra perks. They might offer more points per dollar, bigger signup bonuses, and better perks like lounge access and travel credits.

Still, it’s a good idea to have a no annual fee card (or a few). Many of them are perfect for everyday purchases, but they’re also handy for building credit. If you tend to go for more valuable or premium cards, no annual fee cards can serve as handy backups.

Even experienced credit card users keep cards without annual fees in their wallets. Here are some common reasons why you might want one:

  • Just getting into credit cards: Many people will find it less stressful to jump into the credit card game with a no annual fee card.
  • Useful for building credit: Getting some cards without annual fees early on can be an excellent credit-building strategy. You can typically keep them open indefinitely, and they can help improve your credit utilization and boost the average age of accounts on your credit reports more and more over time.
  • Great for everyday spending: You’ll find cards for groceries, gas, dining out, online shopping, and more. There are also plenty of flat-rate rewards cards that are perfect for any spending that doesn’t fit the bonus categories of your other cards.
  • Simple rewards programs (usually): Cards without annual fees usually have fairly straightforward rewards, with a one-time signup bonus and cash back or points you can redeem for statement credits. Rewards typically don’t expire for the life of the account, and in many cases there are no blackout dates for travel redemptions.
  • No annual fee to worry about (duh): For cards with annual fees, you have to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth each year, which could involve traveling in certain ways or shopping at specific retailers. No annual fee cards can sit in the proverbial (or literal) sock drawer until you need them (or until you need to keep them active).
  • As a downgrade option: If you have a card with an annual fee now and it’s not serving you well, you may be able to downgrade to a card with no annual fee. This is often a better idea than just closing the card because you can keep the same account on your credit reports.
  • An easy and cheap payment method while abroad: International travelers can use no annual fee cards without foreign transaction fees to avoid extra charges and trips to the money changer.
Our Selection Criteria
BEST PICK FOR

Flat-Rate Rewards

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 15.49% – 25.49% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer (Review) is one of the few no annual fee cards to offer this much cash back for every purchase. It’s even got an intro balance transfer rate that’s one of the longest on the market.

  • 2% cash back for every purchase you make
    • 1% back when you make a purchase
    • 1% back when you pay for that purchase

Cardholders can use the Double Cash everywhere to earn 2% back, without worrying about any bonus categories or which card might be better for which purchases.

2% back for every purchase is rare, but you can get close to that with the new Apple Card. You’ll need an iPhone but you’ll earn 2% cash back for every purchase made with Apple Pay, so if the merchants you frequent take contactless payments you’ll be in the clear. You’ll also get 3% back for Apple, iTunes, and App Store purchases.

  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, and then 15.49% – 25.49% (Variable)
  • Free FICO credit score: Monitor your FICO Bankcard Score 8, based on your Equifax credit report.
  • Quick customer service: Say “representative” when calling customer support to be connected with a rep more quickly.
PayPal Cashback Mastercard®

PayPal Cashback Mastercard®

  • 2% cash back for every purchase
  • No foreign transaction fees
View card details
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
  • $150 introductory bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 16.49% - 25.24% Variable APR
View card details
Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles

  • 1.5X miles per dollar for every purchase (equivalent to 1.5% cash back)
  • Miles Match: Double miles in your first year, awarded at the end of your first year
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 14 months, then 13.74%–24.74% Variable APR
View card details
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
  • $150 introductory bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% 15 months, then 15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR
View card details
American Express Cash Magnet® Card

American Express Cash Magnet® Card

  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
  • $150 introductory bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.49–25.49% Variable APR (Rates & Fees)
View card details
2 5
BEST PICK FOR

Rotating Bonus Categories

Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card

Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 13.74%–24.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card (Review) is our top pick for rotating cash back categories thanks to its unique Cashback Match. Check out the gift card redemption options to get at least $5 added to each redemption.

  • 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent per quarter (then 1%), in categories that rotate throughout the year
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Cashback Match: Cash back earned in the first year is doubled

Take note that you must manually activate your 5% cash back rewards every quarter, and you won’t earn at the 5% rate until you do. This is as simple as logging in and clicking “Activate.” You can activate months in advance, so be sure to do so.

  • Free FICO credit score: Track your FICO Score 8 over time, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Social Security number alerts: Get notified if your SSN is found on any of thousands of risky dark web sites.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 14 months, then 13.74%–24.74% Variable APR
  • No foreign transaction fees
Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

  • 5% cash back in rotating categories (up to $1,500 spent per quarter, then 1%)
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 16.49% - 25.24% Variable APR
View card details
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

  • 5% cash back in your choice of two categories per quarter (up to $2,000 spent per quarter)
  • 2% cash back in your choice of one everyday category
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 90 days
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 billing cycles on Balance Transfers*, then 15.49% - 24.99%* Variable APR
View card details
BEST PICK FOR

Food (Restaurants and Groceries)

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 16.24%–26.24% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) is one of the most flexible cash back cards around, with a 3% bonus category you can change every month. Dining is one of your choices, along with quite a few other useful options, and you’ll always get grocery stores for one of your smaller categories.

  • 3% cash back in one category of your choice:
    • Gas
    • Online shopping
    • Dining
    • Travel
    • Drugstores
    • Home improvement/furnishings stores
  • 2% cash back at:
    • Grocery stores
    • Wholesale clubs
  • Spending limit: 3% and 2% rewards only up to $2,500 per quarter, then 1%
  • $200 cash rewards bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
    • Return on spend: 20%
  • Free FICO credit score: Check your FICO Score 8 for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Shopping and Travel protections: Price Protection, Extended Warranty Protection, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, and more.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 billing cycles, then 16.24%–26.24% Variable APR
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • 3% cash back on Dining and Entertainment
  • 2% cash back at Grocery stores
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% 15 months, then 15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR
View card details
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent per year, then 1%)
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.49–25.49% Variable APR (Rates & Fees)
View card details
BEST PICK FOR

Travel Rewards

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 13.74% - 23.74% Variable

The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card (Review) is an excellent no-fee travel rewards credit card you can use to pay for an upcoming vacation or trip, with an incredible rate at Hotels.com and the ability to transfer points to a variety of airline partners.

  • 10X miles per dollar on purchases from Hotels.com/venture (until 01/31/20)
  • 1.25X miles per dollar on all other purchases
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $200–$400 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 20%–40%
  • Mile transfer: To a variety of airline loyalty programs.
  • Luxury Hotel Collection: Provides benefits during eligible hotel stays, like a $25 food and beverage credit, complimentary WiFi, automatic room upgrades, and more.
  • Shopping and Travel protections: Purchase Security, Roadside Dispatch, an Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, and more.
  • Purchase APR: 0% 12 months, then 13.74% - 23.74% Variable APR
  • No foreign transaction fees
Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • 3% cash back in one category of your choice each month, including Travel purchases
  • 2% cash back at Grocery stores and Wholesale clubs
  • $200 cash rewards bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 billing cycles, then 16.24%–26.24% Variable APR
View card details
Uber Credit Card

Uber Credit Card

  • 5% back in Uber Cash on Uber purchases (Uber rides, Uber Eats, JUMP bikes and scooters)
  • 3% back in Uber Cash on Dining, Airfare, at Hotels, and with Travel agencies like Airbnb
  • $100 in Uber Cash for spending $500 in the first 90 days
  • No foreign transaction fee
View card details
Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles

  • 1.5X miles for every purchase (equivalent to 1.5% cash back)
  • Miles Match: Double miles the first year, awarded at the end of the first year
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 14 months, then 13.74%–24.74% Variable APR
  • No foreign transaction fee
View card details
2 3
BEST PICK FOR

Long 0% Purchase APR

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Fair
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 14.24%–25.24% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

If you need a card with a long 0% intro APR for purchases, it will be hard to beat the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card.

The Visa Platinum provides 20 billing cycles at 0% APR for purchases. After that, the regular 14.24%–25.24% Variable APR applies.

That’s quite a long time compared to most cards, and it’s available for both purchases and balance transfers if you’d like.

  • Free VantageScore credit score: Check your VantageScore 3.0, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Shopping and Travel protections: Including Cell Phone Protection, Extended Warranty Protection, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, and more.
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months, then 13.74%-27.24% Variable APR
  • Perks: Free FICO Score 9 from Experian, Cell Phone Protection, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Roadside Dispatch, and more.
View card details
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.49–25.49% Variable APR (Rates & Fees)
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 spent per year, then 1%)
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
View card details
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.99%–25.99% Variable APR
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 spent per year) and Amex Travel
  • 20% point bonus for making at least 20 purchases in a billing period
  • 10,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
View card details
Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 16.49% - 25.24% Variable APR
  • 5% cash back in rotating categories, up to $1,500 spent per quarter
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
View card details
2 4
BEST PICK FOR

Long 0% Balance Transfer APR

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

For a long balance transfer card offer, look no further than the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever (Review).

There are no rewards with this card, but you’ll get 21 months at 0% APR for balance transfers, along with 12 months at 0% for purchases. After those periods are up, you’ll get a regular rate of 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable).

You’ll have to pay a fee of 5% for balance transfers, however, with a minimum of $5.

This fee could add up to quite a lot, so you may want to check out our runners up below, some of which have slightly shorter intro periods but no transfer fees. And take a look at the 0% purchase APR cards above, which may feature great offers for balance transfers as well.

  • Citi EasyDeals: Get discounts and coupons at a selection of local retailers.
  • Citi Private Pass: Access to presale and preferred tickets to concerts, sporting events, dining experiences, and more.
  • Citi Concierge: Call for non-emergency help with a variety of tasks, like finding gifts or making reservations.
  • Say “representative” when you call: Speak with a customer support rep more quickly.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

  • Purchase APR: 0% for 12 months, then 15.24%–25.24% Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 21 months, then 15.24%–25.24% Variable
  • Perks: Free FICO Bankcard Score 8 from TransUnion, Citi Easy Deals, Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty, and more.
View card details
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, then 15.49% – 25.49% (Variable) APR
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
  • 2% cash back for every purchase: 1% back for purchases, 1% back for payments
View card details
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.99%–25.99% Variable APR
  • No transfer fee for the first 60 days
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 spent per year) and Amex Travel
  • 20% point bonus for making at least 20 purchases in a billing period
View card details
Chase Slate®

Chase Slate®

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 17.24%–25.99% Variable APR
  • No transfer fee for the first 60 days
View card details
BankAmericard® Credit Card

BankAmericard® Credit Card

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 billing cycles, then 15.24%–25.24% Variable APR
  • No transfer fee for the first 60 days
View card details
2 5

The information related to Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

BEST PICK FOR

Fair or Average Credit

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Our rating
Min. credit level No Credit
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 26.99% Variable

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® (Review) is marketed as a student card, but anyone can actually apply for it. This makes it a good option to help build or rebuild your credit, for students and non-students alike. It even offers a bit of cash back, with a bonus for paying by the due date.

  • 1% cash back for every purchase
    • 1.25% cash back for every purchase when you pay on time
  • Higher credit line: Get access to a higher credit line after paying your first five monthly payments on time.
  • Capital One CreditWise: Monitor your VantageScore 3.0, based on your TransUnion credit report, and see data from your report as well (available to anyone).
  • Shopping and Travel protections: Extended Warranty, Travel and Emergency Assistance, Travel Accident Insurance, and more.
  • No foreign transaction fees
Deserve Pro Mastercard

Deserve Pro Mastercard

  • 3% cash back on Travel and Entertainment
  • 2% cash back at Restaurants
  • 12-month Priority Pass Select membership for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days ($27 fee per person per visit)
  • Deserve looks at expanded criteria when you apply for better approval odds, and must connect to your bank account as part of its credit underwriting process.
View card details
Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

  • Access a higher credit line: After making your first five monthly payments on time
View card details
Discover it® Student Cash Back

Discover it® Student Cash Back

  • 5% cash back in rotating categories, up to $1,500 spent per quarter
  • Cashback Match: Double cash back in the first year
View card details
Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

  • Designed for small business owners with fair or average credit
  • 1% cash back on all purchases
View card details
2 4
BEST PICK FOR

Bad or Limited Credit

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Bad
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 24.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card (Review) is a secured credit card, which means it requires a refundable security deposit when you’re approved. It doesn’t have an annual fee, but it will require some money to get.

The Discover it Secured will take a security deposit of $200 to $2,500. Your credit limit will be equal to the deposit you make. Every eight months, Discover will review your account and creditworthiness. If it deems you a responsible credit user, your deposit may be refunded and you can continue using the card.

Secured cards are designed for people with bad, limited, or no credit, so they usually come with pretty unfavorable terms. But the Discover it Secured is different, and even provides a decent rewards program. Not only that, your cash back is doubled for the first year! That’s even better than some reward credit cards.

  • 2% cash back on the first $1,000 spent per quarter at:
    • Restaurants
    • Gas stations
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Cashback Match: Cash back earned in the first year is doubled
  • Free FICO credit score: Keep tabs on your FICO Score 8, based on your TransUnion report, and get tips to improve your credit scores.
  • Social Security number alerts: Get notified if your SSN is found on any of thousands of risky dark web sites.
  • Balance Transfer APR: 10.99% for 6 months, then 24.74% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fees
Deserve Classic Mastercard

Deserve Classic Mastercard

  • Perks: Rebates for Mint Mobile Wireless, Lemonade Insurance, and Feather furniture
  • Deserve looks at expanded criteria when you apply for better approval odds, and must connect to your bank account as part of its credit underwriting process.
View card details
Petal Cash Back Visa® Card

Petal Cash Back Visa® Card

  • 1%–1.5% cash back: 1% initially, 1.25% after 6 on-time monthly payments, 1.5% after 12 on-time monthly payments
  • Petal Card is issued by WebBank, Member FDIC. WebBank may check your current financial record as part of the application process by looking at your bank account and other credit accounts.
View card details
Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

  • Security deposit: $200 –$2,500
  • Can apply without a bank account at a Citibank location
View card details
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

  • Security deposit: $49–$1,000
  • Access a higher credit line: After making your first five monthly payments on time
  • No foreign transaction fees
View card details
Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card

Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card

  • Security deposit: $300–$10,000
  • Must have a Wells Fargo checking or savings account
View card details
2 5

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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