The Best No Fee Credit Cards with Plenty of Perks
You may think you have to spend a ton of money each year on an annual fee to get a decent credit card. Fortunately, this is no longer the case and we’ve rounded up the best no-fee credit cards to show you how many credit card benefits you can get— all without an annual fee.
Whether you’re looking for a card offering cash back rewards, a sign-up bonus, or fun travel perks, you don’t have to pay a yearly fee to have access to any of these cards.
- Overview of the best no-fee credit cards
- Best no-fee credit cards credit cards
- American Express Blue Cash Everyday
- Hilton Honors American Express Card
- Citi Double Cash
- Discover it Cash Back
- Bank of America Cash Rewards
- Chase Freedom Flex
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- CapitalOne VentureOne Rewards
- Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards for Good Credit
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
- Summary of the best no-fee credit cards
- The bottom line
Overview of the best no-fee credit cards
|Credit card||Best for|
|American Express Blue Cash Everyday||Everyday purchases|
|Hilton Honors American Express||Loyalty to the Hilton brand|
|Citi Double Cash||Straightforward reward structure|
|Discover it Cash Back||High cashback earnings|
|Bank of America Cash Rewards||Cash rewards bonus|
|Chase Freedom Flex||Sign up bonus|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||Reward earnings without rotating categories|
|CapitalOne VentureOne Rewards||Unlimited travel rewards potential|
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||Rebuilding your credit|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card||Unlimited points potential|
Best no-fee credit cards credit cards
American Express Blue Cash Everyday
The American Express Blue Cash Everyday packs a serious punch with rewards and is one of the limited number of American Express cards without an annual fee. This card is an appropriate choice for everyday purchases because you receive 3% cash back at U.S. grocery stores on up to $6K in purchases and 2% cash back at select U.S. department stores and U.S. gas stations, and 1% on all other eligible purchases.
This card is a great choice if you frequently shop with Amazon. Each Amazon purchase with this card earns you 20% back, within the first six months of account activation (up to $200). Plus, you earn $150 back in a statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases with this card within the first six months of card membership.
The American Express Blue Cash Everyday offers a 0% Intro APR for the first fifteen months, making this card even more attractive. Although there are several travel perks for cardholders such as 24/7 Global Assistance and car rental loss insurance, you do need to watch out for the 2.7% foreign transaction fee if you need to use this card overseas.
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Another no fee card member of the American Express family is the Hilton Honors American Express. This card is a strong contender among travel cards, not only for low cost, but generous Hilton hotel rewards points.
This card combines the best of travel credit card worlds: a strong introduction offer of up to 100,000 Hilton Honors points if you spend $1,000 in the first three months and a robust rewards rate of up to 7x points per dollar spent. Other earnings include 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. grocery stores, and U.S. gas stations. Plus earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases with this card.
Cardmembers automatically advance to complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status, with a chance to earn Gold status with $20,000 in purchases. When traveling, cardholders receive car rental damage and travel insurance plus access to the 24/7 Global Assist hotline. Unlike the Blue Cash Everyday card, this card does not have any foreign transaction fees, making it ideal for use overseas.
Citi Double Cash
If you’re looking for a no annual fee card and a way to pay down a high interest credit card, then consider the Citi® Double Cash Card. Plus there is the added bonus of a straightforward rewards program for exciting earnings opportunities.
The fixed-rate earnings structure of this card is simple: earn 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% cash back when you buy plus 1% as you pay. There are no limits on categories or rotating categories, earning potential, or earning caps. When you do earn cash back, it’s converted to a statement credit, rewards or you select to receive a direct deposit.
If you need to make a balance transfer, the Citi® Double Cash Card boasts an impressive balance transfer offer of 0% intro APR for 18 months — ideal for transferring higher interest card balances so you can quickly pay off your debt. After the 18 month time period, the variable APR is 13.99% to 23.99% based on your creditworthiness.
Currently, there’s not a signup bonus or intro offer but don’t overlook this card if you’re looking for a way to avoid annual fees and enjoy a 0% intro rate for balance transfers.
Discover it Cash Back
The Discover it Cash Back is a sound choice for those looking for high cash back potential throughout the year. Your first year, you earn an unlimited amount of Cashback Match, which is an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.
Even after the end of your first year, the Discover it® Cash Back continues to offer high cash back potential by using rotating categories for its loyalty program. Depending on the rotating category, you earn up to 5% cash back on everyday purchases. All purchases earn at least 1% cash back. As an added bonus, your cash back never expires and you can use it online with Amazon and Paypal purchases.
The Discover it® Cash Back offers a competitive 0% Intro APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers. After your 14 months, the variable APR is 11.99% to 22.99%. And if you like to travel, you’re covered there too. This card has zero foreign transaction fees. Although this card doesn’t have a traditional travel rewards points or program, the unlimited Cashback Match your first year and other perks of the card make the Discover it Cash Back one of the best no annual fee credit cards to choose.
Bank of America Cash Rewards
The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card provides a way to earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening. Depending on your spending habits, this may be the quickest way to earn cash back from any credit card.
But the rewards don’t stop after 90 days, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card allows you to earn 3% cash back in a category of your choosing, and you can change your category at any time. Your rewards rate also includes 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in quarterly purchases) and you earn an unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
Cash back and an additional $200 aren’t the only bonuses with this card. The 0% APR introductory rate for the first 12 billing cycles following the opening of your account, after which is 13.99% to 23.99% APR, gives you the chance to save big bucks on interest payments. If you’re traveling, be aware of the 3% foreign transaction fee with this card. Otherwise, the Bank of America Cash Rewards card is ideal for everyday purchases.
Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex is a preferred card because you’re rewarded for everyday purchases while redeeming for fun travel rewards. This card features a signup offer where you earn $200 after spending $500 three months from account opening. You also enjoy 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and after that a 14.99% to 23.74% variable APR.
The Chase Freedom Flex allows you to earn 5% on travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal and 3% on dining and drugstore purchases (not including Target and Walmart purchases). Another bonus is you earn 1% on all other purchases. Each quarter you choose a rotating category and earn another 5% on the selected category, further increasing your chance to earn substantial cash back (up to $1,500 per quarter).
The Chase Freedom Flex offers trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance for your travel needs. If you need this service while traveling, you would be reimbursed up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable passenger fares if for some reason your trip is canceled or cut short by approved situations. But be aware– the Chase Freedom Flex card does have a 3% foreign transaction fee if you use it overseas.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
For those who want to maximize cash back on travel purchases, earn a signup bonus but steer clear of confusing rewards programs then the Chase Freedom Unlimited may be your go-to. Similar to the Chase Freedom Flex card, there is a current sign up bonus offer of $200 cash back on $500 of purchases in the first three months maximizes your earnings in a short amount of time.
The difference with this card versus the Freedom Flex is you earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, no matter the category and 5% on all travel purchases. You’ll earn 3% back on dining, restaurants, and drugstores (not including Target and Walmart).
The 0% introductory APR for 15 months and 14.99% to 23.74% afterward makes the Chase Freedom Unlimited ideal for those who need to limit their fees the first year. Like the Freedom Flex, the biggest drawback to this card is the 3% foreign transaction fee if you use the card overseas. But the unlimited cash back, no annual fee, and rewards that never expire mean you can save plenty of money throughout the year in other areas.
CapitalOne VentureOne Rewards
If you want a program even easier to keep up with while earning as many travel rewards as possible, then those with excellent credit should take a look at the CapitalOne VentureOne Rewards card. The card is simple — earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day no matter the category.
There are other perks for those who open an account including 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $500 on new purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. If the signup bonus isn’t tempting enough, perhaps the 0% intro APR for 12 months (then 15.49% to 25.49% variable APR after that) will seal the deal.
Your miles earned can be redeemed for a wide variety of rewards, including hotel and airline purchases, travel, and experiences. You can also use your rewards on Amazon or Paypal for the ultimate in redemption flexibility. This card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee when making purchases outside of the United States, making it a great option for overseas travelers.
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards for Good Credit
Perhaps you like the structure and rewards possibilities of the CapitalOne VentureOne Rewards card but you don’t have the 700+ credit score required to qualify for the card. The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards for Good Credit is another option, with credit score approvals for those with good credit (at least a 580 or higher).
This card does have a higher APR, 26.99%, without any kind of intro offer. But for those looking to rebuild their credit and earn cash rewards, then this card is ideal.
You have access to all the other rewards, including earning 1.5% cash back on every purchase, which can be redeemed for all the fun categories. You can choose if you want to use cash back with PayPal, Amazon, or redeem for hotel and flight rewards. Your rewards never expire either, so they’ll be waiting on you when you’re ready.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card offers multiple incentives for this credit card, along with no annual fee. For starters, cardholders earn 20,000 bonus points when they spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months. This is worth a $200 cash redemption value. Not too bad for the first ninety days.
The earnings continue while you earn 3x points on eating out and ordering in, gas stations,rideshares, transit, flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals. Oh, and you’ll also earn 3x points on popular streaming services too! If your spending habits don't fall into one of those categories, no worries. You still earn 1x points for all other purchases. Your points never expire either, so you can save them for something spectacular or use them as you go along.
Extra benefits of this card include no foreign transaction fees and added cell phone protection. The Cellular Telephone Protection Plan reimburses the eligible cardholder for damage to or theft of a cell phone. Even though this is supplemental coverage if you already have cell phone insurance, it’s nice to have this extra protection.
To top it all off, there is a 0% Introductory APR for the first 12 months, then the new rate is 14.49% to 24.99%. If you need to transfer a balance from another credit card, you’ll enjoy the same 0% introductory rate for 12 months, although there is a 3% balance transfer fee.
Summary of the best no-fee credit cards
Here’s a quick rundown of the cards, the APR, and the credit score needed to obtain credit. Remember, your APR is determined by many factors, including who the credit issuer is and your credit history, so your exact APR will vary.
|Credit Card||APR||FICO credit score needed|
|American Express Blue Cash Everyday||0% first 15 months, then 13.99% to 23.99%, based on creditworthiness||690 and above|
|Hilton Honors American Express Card||15.74% to 24.74%||690 and above|
|Citi Double Cash||13.99% to 23.99%||700 to 850|
|Discover it Cash Back||0% 14/mos then 11.99% to 22.99%||670 to 850|
|Bank of America Cash Rewards||0% 12/mos then 13.99% to 23.99%||670 to 850|
|Chase Freedom Flex||14.99% to 23.74%||670 to 850|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||14.99% to 23.74%||670 to 850|
|CapitalOne VentureOne Rewards||15.49% to 25.49%||700 to 850|
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||26.99%||580 plus|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card||14.49% to 24.99%||670 to 850|
How do I know which is the best no-fee credit card?
If you’re contemplating adding a new card, first you need to decide what your most important financial goal is for your credit card. Whether it’s cash back, travel rewards, or a low-interest rate for instance. Once you narrow in your top priority, then you’ll know which is the best no-fee credit card for you.
Here are a few other questions to ask when reviewing the best credit cards:
- How much cash back or rewards points potential does the card offer?
- Ease of redemption – how often do the points or rewards expire and what hoops do you jump through to access your rewards?
- How competitive are the introductory rates?
- Is there a balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees if I need them?
- Does this card benefit my spending habits?
How can I maximize my no-fee credit card?
Be sure your card offers low transaction fees, such as with balance transfers or foreign transaction fees. If you’re getting hit with extra charges every time you need your card, then it’s not worth it even without an annual fee.
It’s vital to compare credit cards side-by-side, so you know the features and see where a card has advantages over another card. And choose a card that fits your financial goals and lifestyle. For instance, if you rarely travel then pick a cash back card or rewards program eligible for gift cards or merchandise.
Who should use a no-fee credit card?
A no-fee credit card is a great option for those who want access to cash back or travel rewards, but don’t want to spend extra each year for an annual fee. Obviously, since you won’t be charged an amount each year, your budget stays intact and you won’t be surprised when an extra annual charge hits your statement.
Getting a no-fee credit card is an affordable way to have access to the same benefits most other rewards cards offer. Why spend more money if you don’t have to?
The bottom line
It’s a smart financial decision to look for the best no-fee credit cards. You don’t waste your hard-earned money and you can still take advantage of various reward earning opportunities. Whether you use these cards for everyday purchases or your major travel plans, you won’t have to worry about the pesky annual fee so many other credit cards charge.
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