Many of the credit cards that offer cashback and various rewards have one significant disadvantage in the form of an annual fee. But, of course, no one wants to pay an extra $50-$150 for card maintenance, especially if you have several such credit cards.
The good news is that many banks offer users with good credit to open an account without an annual fee. Often these credit cards have less favorable bonus programs, but this rule also has exceptions. Do you want a credit card with different features and no maintenance fees? Then read this article to the end and choose one option that works best for you.
Credit Cards With No Annual Fee: Best Offers
Our team has analyzed over 50 no annual fee credit cards to develop a list of the best options. Read each of the descriptions below and choose the offer that works best for you.
Be sure to pay attention to the bonus credit card programs and the additional fees and APRs they have.
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Many financial experts consider this one of the best options for users with a credit score of more than 670 points. But look at the terms and conditions that this offer from Capital One includes:
- You’ll get 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats and 8% for those made through Capital One Entertainment.
- Five percent of the money you spend through Capital One Travel will be returned to your account as a cashback, and 3% of every dollar you leave at restaurants or stores. All other purchases will earn you 1 percent cashback.
- If you spend more than $500 in the first three months of using this card, you’ll get a $200 bonus.
- For the first 15 months, you will not have to pay APR; after that period, the rate will increase to 17.99% – 27.99% (Variable).
- It has no foreign transaction or annual fee; you must pay 3% of the balance transfer fee, which is the market average.
The only downside to this card is that you won’t get 3% cashback from big supermarkets like Target and Walmart because they’re not included in the rewards program. Instead, you’ll get 1 cent for every dollar you spend at those stores. But, of course, this drawback is so minor that we can safely call the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards the best credit card for people with good or excellent credit.
Discover it® Cash Back
Do you want great cashback with no annual account maintenance fee? Then Discover it Cash Back is an excellent option for you.
Earn 5% cash back on purchases at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, or Amazon.com by choosing the category you like best! Every quarter you’ll have the option to activate a cashback on the type you plan to spend the most, and everyone else will automatically have an unlimited 1% cashback.
- Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year (limited to $150, meaning you can earn up to $300 per year).
- The first 15 months from account opening is a 0% APR trial period; after that, the interest rate rises from 15.74% to 26.74%.
- You can redeem the rewards you earn at any time, with no minimum required.
- The annual fee is $0, as well as a foreign transaction fee.
Users cite the main disadvantage of this option as the need to activate the categories for cashback manually. However, at the same time, many call this feature convenient because it allows you to choose categories in which you plan to spend more money and thus earn more cashback. Also, in negative reviews, people talk about the $1,500 limit, after exceeding which your 5% cashback will turn into 1% (meaning you can get a maximum of $75 each quarter on categories with a 5% cashback).
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
This offer from Wells Fargo is definitely worth your attention. With it, you can get 2% unlimited cashback on all purchases and a $200 sign-up bonus (after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months) with no annual account maintenance fee!
You must have good to excellent credit to qualify for this offer, but it’s worth it. Wells Fargo allows you to pay no APR for the first 15 months of card use (after that, the APR will be 18.74% – 28.74% variable) and pay only a 3% balance transfer fee if you want to transfer debt from other credit cards.
The only significant disadvantage of this best credit card for airline miles no annual feeis that you have to have a Wells Fargo checking account to withdraw your cash rewards. Also, with this card, you have to pay a 3% fee for each foreign transaction, which does not please those who prefer to travel abroad.
Overall, it’s a great option, even if it doesn’t have the largest cashback. However, if you don’t like the offers above, you can apply for this credit card with a $0 annual fee.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of the best credit cards for getting cashback or balance transfers without an annual fee. It lets you earn 5% on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on pharmacy and restaurant purchases, and 1.5% on all other spendings. Plus, you can earn an extra 1.5% cashback on all categories in the first year of account opening!
Other terms and conditions for using Chase Freedom Unlimited include the following:
- You can enjoy a 0% APR for the first 15 months from account opening. After that period, it will rise to 18.74% – 27.49% (Variable).
- You can redeem any cashback as there is no limit on the minimum amount.
- The foreign transaction fee is 3%, and the balance transfer fee is 5%, which is the main disadvantage of this credit card.
Chase Freedom Unlimited is only available to users with a credit score above 670. However, if you can qualify and fit all the conditions described above, you can take advantage of this option and earn over $500 in the first year.
Do you like to travel and want to earn extra points for it without an annual fee? Then you can apply for the Bilt Mastercard credit card. It allows you to earn 3 points for every dollar you spend at restaurants, 2 points per dollar for travel, and 1 for all other purchases.
It’s important to note that each point is 1.25 cents, which means you can earn up to $625 for a year of using the Bilt Mastercard. In addition, this credit card has several advantages:
- It allows you to pay your rent without transaction fees. In addition, you can earn up to 1 point for every dollar you spend in this category.
- With the Bilt Mastercard, you can enjoy all the benefits of the World Elite Mastercard.
- It offers up to $5,000 insurance for travel.
However, compared to the options described above, it also has many disadvantages. First, the Bilt Mastercard has no intro APR period, although it is also designed for people with good credit. In addition, it has no welcome bonus, which is also frustrating for users.
Of course, it is not the most profitable option in terms of APR, which can reach 28%, but it is the best choice for those who travel frequently or want to save on fees while paying rent.
Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card
Another excellent option for those with good credit is the Wells Fargo Autograph, which has a $0 annual fee and allows you to earn 3% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, travel, or transportation or 1% on all other purchases.
The first 12 months from account opening are a period of intro 0% APR, which increases to 18.74%, 23.74%, or 28.74% variable at the end. In addition, if you spend $1,500 in the first three months of using Wells Fargo Autograph, you can earn a $300 bonus. The last of the critical benefits of this option is the ability to get up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft.
The only significant disadvantage of the Wells Fargo Autograph is that you must spend your earned points on travel, credit cards, or online shopping. In addition, you won’t be able to withdraw them to your other account and use them as regular money.
Overall, the Wells Fargo Autograph is one of the best credit cards with no annual fee.
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
This credit card will give you a welcome bonus of $200 after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening. Plus, it has a generous 5% cash back on categories you can choose and activate each billing cycle (up to the first $500 spent) and 1% cash back on all other spendings.
For the first 15 months, you can enjoy no APR, which at the end of this period increases to 17.74% – 27.74% (Variable). However, it is essential to note that this card has the disadvantage of a high balance transfer fee of 5% and a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
You must have good to excellent credit to take advantage of this offer. The Citi Custom Cash Card lets you earn up to $350 the first year you use the card.
What Credit Cards With No Annual Fee Are?
Usually, when you choose a credit card with cashback or other rewards, you pay an annual fee of $50 to $150 to maintain it. So, for example, financial experts often say that you should choose a card with a welcome bonus of at least three times the annual fee for the offer to be genuinely beneficial. But there is another option for getting the most out of credit cards, and that is to choose one that has no maintenance fee at all.
Of course, the main drawback of such credit cards is that they are designed for users with good to excellent credit. But don’t worry; banks have offers for those with less than 670 FICO points as well.
How to Choose Credit Cards With No Annual Fee?
As you understand, no one credit card fits all users. This is because each of us has a different spending profile. For example, someone eats at cafes and restaurants more often and goes on a trip every month so that these people will find other credit cards suitable.
If you have found several options that do not have an annual fee, and you do not know how to choose the best among them, you can use the following tips:
- Check whether you meet the requirements of the bank.
Often credit card issuers have income and credit score requirements for users who want to take advantage of their offers.
- Explore the bonus program.
Look at your major spending categories and choose among all the credit cards that earn the most cash back for those categories. That way, you can achieve the most points.
- Look at APR.
The ideal option is getting a credit card with a low regular APR and a long period of intro 0% APR. That way, you can save hundreds of dollars in the first year after you open your account.
- Note the additional fees.
For example, if you travel frequently, you should choose credit cards with minimum foreign transaction fees.
How to Use Credit Cards With No Annual Fee
A credit card with no annual fee works like any other credit card. When you open your account, the bank determines a minimum credit limit for spending within. If you pay back the entire amount you spend at the end of each month, you won’t have to pay an APR. If you carry the balance monthly, however, you’ll have to pay an interest rate on the amount you owe.
Often these cards have cashback, meaning that some of the money you spend will be returned as points or extra bonuses. At the end of each month, quarter, or year (depending on the bank’s terms), you can spend these bonuses on purchases at partner stores or transfer them to your checking account and spend them as regular money.
Who Can Qualify For a Credit Card With No Annual Fee?
Banks generally design credit cards with no annual fee for users with good to excellent credit. But don’t worry; even if you have less than 670 FICO points, you can still take advantage of such offers. Of course, they won’t have generous cashback or extra sign-up bonuses, but you won’t have to pay a hefty annual fee either.
The only category of people who are unlikely to qualify for such credit cards is those with no credit history. In that case, you are better off building credit with secured cards first and only then looking for offers with cashback and no annual maintenance fees.
Are Credit Cards With Annual Fees Ever Worth It?
Credit cards with no annual fees are a great way to save money, and often even earn more with the help of cashback and extra bonuses. Do it if you have good credit and can take advantage of similar bank offers. However, look at the APR because it can be higher than credit cards with annual fees.
Between the two offers, always try to choose not the one with no annual fee but the one with a lower APR.
Sources Used in Research for the Article:
- Wells Fargo Active Cash® Credit Card, Wells Fargo, https://creditcards.wellsfargo.com/active-cash-credit-card?DTATST=H1EFM8G&sub_channel=SEO&vendor_code=G
- Unlimited Cashback Match, Discover, https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/cash-back/it-card.html
- SavorOne Rewards from Capital One, Capital One, https://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/savorone-dining-rewards/