Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards: 2018

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness

Updated Jun 15, 2018

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Flat-Rate Cash Back

Grocery Shopping

Gas Spending

Dining at Restaurants and Takeout

Rotating Reward Categories

General Travel Rewards

General Hotel Rewards

Long 0% Intro Purchase APR

Long 0% Intro Balance Transfer APR

No-Fee Balance Transfers

College Students

Business Rewards

Fair or Average Credit

Bad or Limited Credit

Choosing a No Annual Fee Credit Card

Most people can benefit from having a no annual fee card or two in their wallets. You won’t have to worry about using them enough to justify a yearly fee, and they can be stored away safely until you need them.

A credit card like this is also a good option for anyone who won’t make very many purchases. If you only need a card to use occasionally, and you don’t care about top-tier rewards and benefits, a no annual fee card will probably work just fine for you.

Most credit cards without annual fees are designed for at least average or good credit, although some are available to people with poor credit too.

One of the best aspects of a no annual fee credit card is that it can be completely free to use. As long as you avoid accruing interest or other fees, you won’t need to pay anything at all for the privilege of earning rewards and improving your credit. You can do this by simply paying your balance in full each billing period. (This only applies to credit cards with grace periods, but almost every card on the market has a grace period.)

We recommend always paying your balance in full each month, whether your card has an annual fee or not. Finance charges can quickly eat away at any rewards you earn, leaving you in the hole when you were expecting some points or cash back. Not only will this save you money on interest, it will also be good for your credit scores because it helps keep your credit utilization low.

When Should You Pay an Annual Fee for a Credit Card?

Credit cards with annual fees tend to have better reward programs and extra perks compared to no-fee cards. They might offer more points per dollar, bigger introductory bonuses, and more valuable travel and shopping benefits.

Here are some of the most common reasons why you might want a card with an annual fee:

  • Bad or Limited Credit History: You don’t have the best credit history, so you may need to settle for a card with a fee that’s designed for poor or limited credit
  • Offset the Fee with Spending Rewards: You’ll spend enough to offset the annual fee, earning more rewards than you could with a no-fee card
  • A Large Intro Bonus: It has a large introductory bonus for spending a certain amount in the first few months of account opening
  • Valuable Travel Perks: There are travel benefits that you want, like free hotel stays, airport lounge access, or membership in hotel and airline loyalty programs
  • Special Card Features: It has a particular feature that you need, like the ability to transfer points
  • A Downgrade Path (Product Change): Some cards allow you to downgrade to a lesser version, with the same account history and credit line but fewer rewards and benefits

Read more about why you might want to pay for a credit card in our post, Is Paying an Annual Fee for a Credit Card Worth It?

In some cases, depending on your spending habits, a card with an annual fee can be more valuable than a card without a fee. But if you don’t spend enough the annual fee can cancel out most of the cash back or points you earn, and a no-fee card will end up being more rewarding.

You’ll have to examine your own spending to figure out if a card with an annual fee would work out in your favor. Look at how much you can expect to gain from the rewards and benefits every year, after subtracting the annual fee. If you use the card enough, you might very well come out ahead.

Selection Criteria: What Makes a Great No Annual Fee Credit Card?

  • Designed for your level of credit history and scores, as some cards are meant for excellent credit while others are meant for bad, limited, or no credit
  • A set of terms and features that suits your current needs, whether you’re looking for rewards, a long intro APR, a card to travel with, or a way to build your credit
  • A rewards program that fits your spending habits, offering points or cash back for the types of purchases you make most
  • An introductory bonus that lets you earn even more rewards
  • A 0% introductory rate on purchases and/or balance transfers, letting you pay off your balance over time without accruing interest
  • Additional perks and benefits, like discounts at particular merchants, credit score monitoring, and shopping/travel protections

The Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards of 2018

Best for Card
Flat-Rate Cash Back Citi Double Cash Card (Review)
Grocery Shopping Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Review)
Gas Spending Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review)
Dining at Restaurants and Takeout Uber Visa Card
Rotating Reward Categories Discover it® Credit Card (Review)
General Travel Rewards Bank of America Travel Rewards® Credit Card (Review)
General Hotel Rewards Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Card (Review)
Long 0% Intro Purchase APR Citi Simplicity® Mastercard (Review)
Long 0% Intro Balance Transfer APR Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card (Review)
No-Fee Balance Transfers Amex EveryDay Credit Card (Review)
College Students Discover it® for Students (Review)
Business Rewards SimplyCash Plus Business Card from American Express (Review)
Fair or Average Credit Capital One® Journey® Student Credit Card (Review)
Bad or Limited Credit Discover it® Secured Credit Card (Review)

Best for Flat-Rate Cash Back

The Citi Double Cash Card (Review) is the only no annual fee card to offer this much cash back for every purchase.

Citi® Double Cash Card
Apply Now

Citi® Double Cash Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 14.99%–24.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • The only card that earns you cash back twice on every purchase with: unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases*
  • $100 cash bonus for spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.99%–24.99%, based on your creditworthiness*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • No Category Restrictions, No Caps, No Enrollments in Rotating Categories
  • No Annual Fee
Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back for every purchase you make
    • 1% back when you make a purchase
    • 1% back when you pay for that purchase
Introductory Bonus
  • $100 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • return on spend: 20%

You 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.

Other Key Terms & Features

  • 0% intro APR for 18 months for balance transfers
  • Price Rewind Tool: To make sure you don’t pay more than you need to
  • Monitor your FICO 8 Credit Score: Based on your Equifax credit report
  • Quick Customer Service: Say “representative” when calling customer support to be connected with a rep more quickly
  • Mastercard Benefits: Including Purchase Protection, Extended Warranties, Trip Cancellation, and others
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions: Provides help if you become a victim of identity theft

Read more in our Review of the Citi Double Cash Card

Runners Up

  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
  • $150 introductory bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

 

  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
  • $200 introductory bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers for 12 months

 

  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
  • $150 introductory bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers for 9 months

 

  • 1.5X miles per purchase (equivalent to 1.5% cash back)
  • Double miles your first year
  • Intro offer of 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers for 14 months

 

Best for Grocery Shopping

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express® (Review) offers cash back bonus categories for groceries and gas that last all year.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express®
Apply Now

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express®

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 14.24%–25.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
  • Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.
  • Earn Cash Back: 3% U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 2% U.S. gas stations & select U.S. dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • No annual fee. Plus, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 14.24% to 25.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and restrictions apply.

There are some other cards with rotating reward categories that can provide more cash back for these purchases, but only for three months out of the year. This credit card offers those rewards year-round.

Spending Rewards
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1% cash back)
  • 2% cash back at:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back for all other purchases
  • Amex Offers: additional cash back and discounts at select retailers
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • equivalent to 15% cash back

Other Key Terms & Features

  • 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • Amex Offers: Discounts at specific retailers, like SamsClub.com, TurboTax, Etsy, and many more
  • Save 10% on some utilities: Take advantage of occasional offers to save on certain utilities, like cable, satellite TV, and cell phone bills
  • Lowest Hotel Rates Guaranteed: Book eligible hotels through Amex Travel to get a guaranteed low price
  • Complimentary ShopRunner Membership: Register for free two-day shipping and returns at select online retailers
There’s an upgraded version of this card that does have an annual fee, the Blue Cash Preferred Card (Review). It costs $95 and offers 6% back at supermarkets, 3% back at gas stations and select department stores, and has a $200 introductory bonus. It might be right for you if you’ll spend more than about $2,600 on groceries and $1,300 on gas per year with it.

Read more in our Review of the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

Runners Up

  • 3% back on gas
  • 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months for purchases and balance transfers

 

  • 5X points at gas stations
  • 3X points at grocery stores
  • Potential value of 1 cent per point but limited redemption options,
  • Must be PenFed member

 

  • 5% cash back in rotating categories, which include grocery stores
  • Double cash back the first year
  • 0% intro APR for 14 months for purchases and balance transfers

 

  • 5% cash back in rotating categories which include grocery stores
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers

 

Best for Gas Spending

The Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) offers good rewards for gas and some other categories, along with a relatively large and easy-to-get introductory bonus.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 14.49%–24.49% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and 3% on gas for the first $1,500 in combined grocery/gas purchases each quarter
  • No annual fee
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then 14.49%—24.49% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers.
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25%-75%. Click "Apply Now" to learn more about Preferred Rewards.
  • Now with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
Spending Rewards
  • 3% cash back at gas stations
  • 2% cash back at:
    • grocery stores
    • wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back for all other purchases
  • BankAmerideals: 5-10% cash back and more at select retailers
Redemption Bonus Offer
  • 10–75% redemption bonus for redeeming into an eligible Bank of America or Merrill Lynch bank account
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • equivalent to 30% cash back

The 3% and 2% reward categories are limited to the first $2,500 in combined spending every quarter. After that you’ll earn 1% cash back on gas and groceries.

Other Key Terms & Features

  • 12-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • FICO 8 Credit Score monitoring: Based on your TransUnion credit report
  • Price Protection: Get reimbursement if you find an eligible purchase being advertised for a lesser price
  • Other Mastercard Benefits: Like Extended Warranties, 24-hour Travel Assistance Services, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waivers, and others
  • Identity Theft Resolution Services: Provides help if you believe you’re a victim of identity theft

Read more in our Review of the Bank of America Cash Rewards Card

Runners Up

  • 2% back at gas stations and restaurants
  • Double cash back the first year
  • 0% intro APR for 14 months for purchases and balance transfers

 

  • 5X points at gas stations
  • 3X points at grocery stores
  • Potential value of 1 cent per point but limited redemption options
  • Must be PenFed member

 

  • 5% cash back in rotating categories which include gas stations
  • Double cash back the first year
  • 0% intro APR for 14 months for purchases and balance transfers

 

  • 5% cash back in rotating categories which include gas stations
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • 15-month intro offer of o% APR for purchases and balance transfers

 

Best for Dining at Restaurants and Takeout

The Uber Visa Card, issued by Barclays, is a great option for dining of all kinds. It’s also not too shabby when it comes to travel and online spending.

Uber Visa Card
Apply Now

Uber Visa Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 16.49%, 22.24%, or 25.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn $100 for spending $500 in the first 90 days
  • Earn 4% back on dining, like restaurants, take-out, bars, and UberEATS
  • Earn 3% back on airfare, at hotels, and with travel agencies
  • Earn 2% back on eligible online purchases, including Uber (excludes third-party payments like PayPal, utilities, and more)
  • Points don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
  • $50 annual credit for streaming services if you spend $5,000 per year
  • Up to $600 mobile phone insurance if you pay your phone bill with your card
  • 15.99%, 21.74%, or 24.74% Variable APR for purchases and balance transfers
Spending Rewards
  • 4% cash back on dining, including restaurants, take-out, bars, and UberEATS
  • 3% cash back on airfare, at hotels, and with travel agencies like Airbnb
  • 2% cash back on eligible online purchases, including Uber (excludes third-party payments like PayPal, utilities, and more)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $100 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 90 days after account opening
    • equivalent to 20% cash back

Other Key Terms & Features

  • $50 Annual Online Subscription Service Credit: Get $50 toward services like Netflix and Hulu when you spend $5,000 or more with your card per year.
  • Invitations to Exclusive Events: Get occasional offers to events in big cities around the world
  • Mobile Phone Protection: Up to $600 in coverage for mobile phones against damage and theft
  • No foreign transaction fee: No fees for transactions made outside the U.S.
  • FICO 8 Credit Score monitoring: Keep tabs on your FICO credit score, as based on your TransUnion credit report

Runners Up

  • 3% cash back on dining
  • 2% back at grocery stores
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500
  • 9-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers

 

  • 3% cash back at restaurants and gas stations
  • $200 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • 10 cents donated to the Drive to End Hunger for every restaurant purchase

 

  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations
  • Double cash back the first year
  • 0% intro APR for 14 months for purchases and balance transfers

 

Best for Rotating Reward Categories

The Discover it Credit Card (Review) is our top pick for rotating cash back categories thanks to its Cashback Match.

Discover it®
Apply Now

Discover it®

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 11.99%–23.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year automatically - only for new cardmembers*
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com and more - up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers for 12 months-then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 11.99%–23.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • New Freeze ItSM on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.*
  • Free FICO® Credit Score on statements, online & by mobile app.* And 100% U.S.-based service any time.
  • No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on first late payment & paying late won't raise your APR.*
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text and never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms & other info by clicking “Apply.”
Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent per quarter, in categories that rotate throughout the year (see calendar below)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Discover Deals: 5–50% cash back at a variety of retailers
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • Cashback Match: new cardmembers get double the cash back earned in the first year

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.

The 5% cash back calendar for the Discover it for 2018 is:

Quarter 5% Cash Back Category
January – March Gas Stations & Wholesale Clubs
April – June Grocery Stores
July – September Restaurants
October – December Amazon.com & Wholesale Clubs

You can redeem cash back at any time, and for any amount.

Other Key Terms & Features

  • 14-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fee: You won’t be charged extra for purchases made outside the U.S.
  • FICO 8 Credit Score monitoring: Track your FICO score over time, based on your TransUnion credit report
  • Price Protection: Get reimbursement if you pay too much for eligible items
  • Social Security Number Alerts: Get notified if your SSN is found on any thousands of risky websites

Read more in our Review of the Discover it Credit Card

Runners Up

  • 5% cash back in rotating categories which include grocery stores
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers

 

  • 5% cash back on your choice of two categories per quarter
  • 2% back on your choice of one everyday category
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 90 days

 

Best for General Travel Rewards

The Bank of America Travel Rewards® Credit Card (Review) is an excellent no-fee option to pay for an upcoming vacation, with good spending rewards and a valuable introductory bonus.

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card
Apply Now

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 15.24%-23.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases from the Bank of America Travel Center
  • 10,000 online bonus points if you make at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be a $100 statement credit towards travel purchases
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - no blackout dates and restrictions
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
  • Now with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases, then 15.24% - 23.24% Variable APR
  • Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25%-75%. Click "Apply Now" to learn more about Preferred Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 1.5X points per dollar on every purchase
Redemption Bonus Offer
  • 10–75% redemption bonus for redeeming into an eligible Bank of America or Merrill Lynch bank account
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days after account opening
    • equivalent to 20% cash back

Other Key Terms & Features

  • 12-month 0% intro APR for purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee: You won’t pay an additional fee for purchases when traveling outside the country
  • FICO 8 Credit Score monitoring: Based on your TransUnion credit report
  • Visa Signature Benefits: Like Travel and Emergency Assistance, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, and a Personal Concierge
  • Identity Theft Resolution Services: Provides help if you believe you’re a victim of identity theft

Read more in our Review of the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card

Runners Up

  • 1.5X miles per dollar
  • Double miles the first year
  • $30 annual in-flight WiFi credit
  • 0% intro purchase APR for 14 months

 

  • 10X miles at Hotels.com/venture
  • 1.25X miles for other purchases
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000
  • 12-month 0% intro APR for purchases

 

  • 4% cash back at restaurants
  • 3% back on hotels and airfare
  • 2% back for online purchases, including Uber
  • $100 cash bonus for spending $500

 

Best for General Hotel Rewards

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card (Review) offers an excellent rate for hotels, equivalent to 10% cash back. But you’ll need to do all your spending at Hotels.com to get that value.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 13.49%, 19.49%, or 23.49% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Introductory bonus of 20,000 miles for spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $200 in travel redemptions
  • Earn 10X miles at Hotels.com/venture
  • Earn 2X miles per dollar on every other purchase
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles don't expire and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Visa Platinum or Visa Signature benefits and protections
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One® CreditWise - see your monthly credit score anytime and get automatic alerts
Spending Rewards
  • 1.25X miles per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • equivalent to 20% cash back equivalent

Other Key Terms & Features

  • 12-month 0% intro APR for purchases
  • Luxury Hotel Collection: Perks for eligible hotel bookings, like a $25 food and beverage credit and a best available rate guarantee
  • Shopping Discounts: Get discounts at select retailers, like Lenovo, Overstock.com, and Target.com
  • Fine Wine & Food: Benefits at over 50 wineries in Sonoma Wine County, California, and discounts at select restaurants
  • Sports and Entertainment Offers: Exclusive offers and discounts at sports and cultural events

Read more in our Review of the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card

Runners Up

  • 3X points at eligible hotels
  • 2X points on gas, utility, and grocery store purchases
  • 15,000 bonus points after making the first purchase

 

  • 15X points Choice Privileges memberships and eligible locations
  • 5X points on purchases of Choice Privileges points or gift cards
  • 2X points on every other purchase
  • 32,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • 8,000 anniversary bonus points every year that you spend $10,000 or more
  • 10% point bonus on stays purchased with Choice Hotels

 

Best for Long 0% Intro Purchase APR

If you need a card with a long 0% intro APR for purchases, the Citi Simplicity Mastercard (Review) is as good as it gets.

Citi Simplicity® Card
Apply Now

Citi Simplicity® Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 15.24%–25.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.24% to 24.24% based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • No late fees - Ever
  • No penalty rate - Ever
  • No annual fee - Ever
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day.

The Simplicity card provides 18 months at 0% APR for purchases. That’s quite a long time, and it’s available for either purchases or balance transfers if you’d like. But we actually suggest a different card for balance transfers.

Other Key Terms & Features

  • No late fees, ever
  • Say “representative” when you call: Speak with a customer support rep more quickly
  • Price Rewind Tool: Get reimbursement if you pay more than was necessary for eligible items
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions: If you believe you’ve become a victim of identity theft, Citi is there to help
  • Mastercard Benefits: Which include Purchase Protection, Extended Warranties, and others

Read more in our Review of the Citi Simplicity Mastercard

Runners Up

  • 18-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • No rewards
  • Mastercard travel benefits

 

  • 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • 3% back at U.S. supermarkets
  • 2% back at gas stations and select department stores
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $1,000

 

  • 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at grocery stores and Amex Travel
  • 20% point bonus for making at least 20 purchases in a billing period

 

  • 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • 5% cash back in rotating categories
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening

 

Best for Long 0% Intro Balance Transfer APR

For a long balance transfer card offer, look no further than the Citi Diamond Preferred (Review).

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
Apply Now

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 14.24%–24.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Get a 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 21 months. After that, the APR will be 14.24%–24.24% Variable based upon your creditworthiness.*
  • Get a 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer.
  • Citi® Easy DealsSM Get what you want for less. Earn Citi Easy Deals Points for the purchases you make with your card.
  • Redeem your points for great online deals on name-brand merchandise, gift cards and even local deals.
  • Let our 24/7 concierge service help book your hotel rooms, flights and more.
  • $0 liability on unauthorized purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • No annual fee*

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. 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 pick for the best no-fee balance transfer card, which has a shorter intro period.

Other Key Terms & Features

  • Citi EasyDeals shopping portal: Get discounts and coupons at a selection of retailers
  • Citi Private Pass: Access to presale and preferred tickets to concerts, sporting events, dining experiences, and more
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions: If you believe you’ve become a victim of identity theft, Citi is there to help
  • Say “representative” when you call: Speak with a customer support rep more quickly
  • Citi Concierge: Call for non-emergency help with a variety of tasks, like finding gifts or making reservations

Read more in our Review of the Citi Diamond Preferred Card

Runners Up

  • 18-month intro offer of 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • no late fees

 

  • 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • No transfer fee for the first 60 days
  • Monitor your VantageScore 3.0 based on your TransUnion credit report

 

  • 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • No transfer fee for the first 60 days

 

  • 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • No transfer fee for the first 60 days
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar at grocery stores and Amex Travel
  • 20% point bonus for making at least 20 purchases in a billing period

 

Best for No-Fee Balance Transfers

There are a few cards that offer balance transfers for no extra fee, but the Amex EveryDay Credit Card (Review) stands out for having a good rewards program as well.

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Apply Now

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 14.24%–25.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Reward® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 20% more points: Make 20 or more purchases with your Card in a billing period and get 20% extra points on those purchases less returns and credits. Terms and limitations apply.
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • You can use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points to pay for all or part of your flight, hotel booked and paid in advance, vacation or cruise booking.
  • No annual fee. Plus, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 14.24% to 25.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and limitations apply.

It provides 15 months at 0% APR for balance transfers and purchases, with no fee for transfers made in the first 60 days. You’ll also get:

Spending Rewards
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on purchases at:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar)
    • the Amex Travel website
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Amex Offers: additional cash back and discounts at select retailers
Redemption Bonus
  • A 20% point bonus if you make at least 20 purchases in a billing period
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • equivalent to approximately 10% cash back or more

Not only do you get a great no-fee balance transfer offer, you’ll earn rewards for spending too. And if you’re making many purchases per month, 20 or more, this card provides a reward for all that spending.

If you value a Membership Rewards point at 1 cent each, you’ll normally earn a 2% cash back equivalent when spending at supermarkets and Amex Travel. If you get that point bonus it will be a 2.4% cash back equivalent. And if you can redeem your points for more than 1 cent each, you’ll get an even better rate than that.

Other Key Terms & Features

  • Amex Offers: Discounts at specific retailers, like Shutterfly.com, Harry’s Razors, Contacts Direct, and many more
  • Save 10% on some utilities: Take advantage of occasional offers to save on certain utilities, like cable, satellite TV, and cell phone bills
  • Lowest Hotel Rates Guaranteed: Book eligible hotels through Amex Travel to get a guaranteed low price
  • Complimentary ShopRunner Membership: Register for free two-day shipping and returns at select online retailers
  • Amex Shopping and Travel Benefits: Like Extended Warranties, Return Protection, Global Assist Hotline, and many others

Read more in our Review of the Amex EveryDay Credit Card

Amex offers another version of this card, the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Card (Review). But it has a $95 annual fee, a balance transfer fee, and only offers 0% APR for 12 months.

Runners Up

  • 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • No transfer fee for the first 60 days
  • Monitor your VantageScore 3.0 based on your TransUnion credit report

 

  • 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • No transfer fee for the first 60 days
  • Monitor your FICO 8 Credit Score based on your TransUnion credit report

Best for College Students

The Discover it for Students (Review) is surprisingly rewarding for a student credit card, designed for limited or no credit. This card actually has the same rewards program as the regular Discover it (Review).

Discover it® for Students
Apply Now

Discover it® for Students

For People with
No Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 14.24%–23.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year automatically - only for new cardmembers*
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com and more-up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on first late payment & paying late won't raise your APR.*
  • Free FICO® Credit Score on statements, online & by mobile app.* 100% U.S.-based service any time. Text alerts when payment is due & a free mobile app to stay on top of your account.
  • New Freeze ItSM on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.*
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text-and never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card
  • 0% intro APR* on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 13.99% - 22.99%.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms & other info by clicking “Apply.”
Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent per quarter, in categories that rotate throughout the year (see calendar below)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Discover Deals: 5–50% cash back at a variety of retailers
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • Cashback Match: new cardmembers get double the cash back earned in the first year

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. You need to log in and click “Activate” to do this, and it can be done months in advance.

The 5% cash back calendar for the Discover it for Students for 2018 is:

Quarter 5% Cash Back Category
January – March Gas Stations & Wholesale Clubs
April – June Grocery Stores
July – September Restaurants
October – December Amazon.com & Wholesale Clubs

Other Key Terms & Features

  • $20 Good Grades Reward: Get $20 cash back for every year in which your GPA is 3.0 or higher, for up to five years
  • 6-month 0% intro APR for purchases, 6-month 10.99% Variable APR for balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fee: You won’t be charged extra for purchases made outside the U.S.
  • FICO 8 Credit Score monitoring: Track your FICO score over time, based on your TransUnion credit report
  • Price Protection: Get reimbursement if you pay too much for eligible items
  • Social Security Number Alerts: Get notified if your SSN is found on any thousands of risky websites

Runners Up

  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations
  • Double cash back the first year
  • 0% intro purchase APR for 6 months

 

  • 3% cash back on gas
  • 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months for purchases and balance transfers

 

  • 1.25% cash back for every purchase when you pay on time
  • Higher credit line after first five monthly payments on time

 

  • Available to international students
  • No SSN needed to apply
  • 1% cash back for all purchases
  • Free year of Amazon Prime Student

 

Best for Business Rewards

The SimplyCash Plus Business Card from American Express (Review) offers up to 5% cash back, and gives small business owners a variety of purchases to choose from for the 3% bonus category.

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
Apply Now

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 13.49%, 18.49% or 20.49% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for 9 months
  • 5% cash back at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers
  • 3% cash back on the category of your choice from a list of select categories and 1% cash back on other purchases
  • American Express OPEN Business benefits
  • Terms and limitations apply
Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back:
    • at U.S. office supply stores
    • on wireless phone services purchased directly from U.S. providers
  • 3% cash back on your choice of 1 category:
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
    • Car rentals from select rental companies
    • U.S. gas stations
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. purchases of advertising in select media
    • U.S. purchases of shipping
    • Purchases of hardware, software, and cloud computing services from select U.S. providers
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

The 5% and 3% categories apply to the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases per year. Then 1% will be awarded.

Other Key Terms & Features

  • Amex Offers: Additional discounts at select merchants, including ZipRecruiter, Boxed.com, H&R Block, and many others
  • Employee Cards: Get up to 99 employee cards for free
  • Expanded Buying Power: Spend a certain amount over your credit limit each billing period, which needs to be paid back along with the minimum payment for that period
  • Amex OPEN Business Benefits: Including specially-trained customer service, business features, and account/spending management tools
  • Reports to Business Credit Bureau: Amex business cards report positive activity to Small Business Financial Exchange, and negative activity to the regular consumer credit bureaus along with Dun & Bradstreet
  • Amex Shopping and Travel Protections: Like Purchase Protection, Travel Accident Insurance, a Baggage Insurance Plan, and others.

Read more in our Review of the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card

Runners Up

  • 5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services
  • 2% back at gas stations and restaurants
  • $300 cash bonus for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers for 12 months

 

  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent per year
  • Amex OPEN benefits

 

  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
  • $200 cash bonus for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • 9-month 0% intro APR for purchases

 

  • 3X points per dollar through Bank of America’s Travel Service, powered by Orbitz.
  • 1.5X points per dollar for all other purchases
  • 25,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 60 days
  • 9-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers

 

Best for Fair or Average Credit

The Capital One Journey Student Credit Card (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.

Capital One® Journey® Student Credit Card
Apply Now

Capital One® Journey® Student Credit Card

For People with
No Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 24.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases, pay on time and that goes up to 1.25% cash back
  • Higher credit line after making first 5 payments on time
  • No annual fee
  • Made for students with limited or no credit
  • 24.99% APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
Spending Rewards
  • 1% cash back for every purchase
    • pay on time and that goes up to 1.25% cash back

Other Key Terms & Features

  • 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
  • Capital One Second Look Account Monitoring: Real-time fraud monitoring to help keep your account secure
  • No foreign transaction fee: You won’t pay extra for purchases outside the U.S.
  • Shopping and Travel Protections: Which include Extended Warranties, Travel and Emergency Assistance, Travel Accident Insurance, and more

Read more in our Review of the Capital One Journey Student Card

Runners Up

  • 3% cash back on travel and entertainment
  • 2% back at restaurants
  • Deserve looks at expanded criteria when you apply for better approval odds

 

  • A very simple card
  • No rewards
  • Basic benefits
  • Higher credit line after first five monthly payments on time

 

  • A good card for students
  • 5% cash back in rotating categories
  • Double cash back the first year
  • 0% intro APR for 6 months

 

  • For small business owners with average credit
  • 1% cash back on all purchases

 

Best for Bad or Limited Credit

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.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Apply Now

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

For People with
Bad Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 24.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year automatically - only for new cardmembers*
  • 2% cash back at restaurants and on gas - up to $1,000 per quarter.* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • New Freeze ItSM on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.*
  • Free FICO® Credit Score on statements, online & by mobile app.* And 100% U.S.-based service any time.
  • No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on first late payment & paying late won't raise your APR.*
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text and never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms & other info by clicking “Apply.”

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 8 months, Discover will review your account and credit history. If they deem you a responsible credit user, they may decide to refund your deposit and allow you to 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.

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back on the first $1,000 spent per quarter at:
    • restaurants
    • gas stations
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Discover Deals: 5–50% cash back at a variety of retailers
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • Cashback Match: new cardmembers get double the cash back earned in the first year

Other Key Terms & Features

  • FICO Credit Scorecard: Keep tabs on your FICO 8 Credit Score, based on your TransUnion report, and get tips to improve your credit scores
  • 6-month 10.99% Variable intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fee: You won’t be charged extra for purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Price Protection: Get reimbursement if you pay too much for eligible items
  • Social Security Number Alerts: Get notified if your SSN is found on any thousands of risky websites

Read more in our Review of the Discover it Secured Card

Runners Up

  • Can apply without a bank account at a Citibank location
  • No rewards,
  • Basic benefits
  • Security deposit of $200 to $2,500

 

  • Security deposit as little as $49 in some cases to get a $200 credit line
  • Maximum deposit of $1,000, no rewards

 

  • High possible credit limit, with security deposit of $300 to $10,000
  • Must have a Wells Fargo checking or savings account

 

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