7 Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards

7 Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Credit cards have gotten increasingly flashy in recent years, with tons of different options for hotel credit cards, business credit cards, travel cards, and more.

Paying an annual fee on a credit card can be worth it if the rewards you earn and cardmember benefits justify it. But you might be surprised to hear that when you choose one of the best no annual fee credit cards available, you can still earn hefty rewards.

If you're the kind of person that does not believe in having to pay to use a credit card, then applying for one without an annual fee is probably a good option.

The best no fee credit cards can also be a good fit for those new to credit card use, or those managing a large amount of debt—thanks to many options within this category offering generous introductory APR rates as well.

If you fit this distinction of a new or debt-ridden credit card user, you might also consider prepaid cards, secured credit cards, credit cards for students, and best credit cards for little to no credit.

Whatever your reason, there's a no annual fee credit card option perfect for you. Check out our list below for our top picks of the best credit cards with no annual fee for cash back, travel rewards, and debt management.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated October 11, 2019 but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

7 Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards

  • 7. Citi Simplicity® Card
  • 6. BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
  • 5. HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card
  • 4. Citi® Double Cash Card
  • 3. Chase Freedom®
  • 2. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card
  • 1. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Best Balance Transfer Credit Card for Long-Term Use

Citi Simplicity® Card

Best Balance Transfer Credit Card for Long-Term Use: Citi Simplicity® Card
Get from Citi
283 Clicks
Variable APR
15.49% - 25.49%
Cash Advance APR
15.49% to 25.49%
Rewards Rate
n/a
Annual Fee
$0
Intro APR
0% on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months
Bonus Offers
n/a
82 % Editor Score
86 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Generous with fees
  • Extended introductory APR promotion
  • Set your own due date

  • No late fees or penalty APR
  • No annual fee
  • No rewards program
  • High balance transfer fee
Expert Ratings

Application Process: Apply online and get a response within 60 seconds.

Bonus Offers: None.

Rewards: None.

Annual Fee: None.

Details:Citi Simplicity® Card »

Best Credit Card with No Annual Fee for Travel Rewards

BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card

Best Credit Card with No Annual Fee for Travel Rewards: BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
Variable APR
16.49% - 24.49%
Cash Advance APR
See terms.
Rewards Rate
1.5 points per dollar
Annual Fee
$0
Intro APR
0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles
Bonus Offers
20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases
76 % Editor Score
82 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Earn rewards quickly with 1.5 points per $1 spent
  • Even though there's no annual fee, you can still earn a high signup bonus of 20,000 points after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months (equivalent to $200 of travel credit)
  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and no interest in the first 12 months of using the card!

There's a lot to love about the BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card. First, there's the introductory APR of 0% for the first 12 months. More generally, the credit card offers a competitive rewards rate and a decent signup bonus. No foreign transaction fees are the cherry on top that makes this a great travel rewards credit card in its own right.

Overall, this is the best flat-rate flexible travel rewards credit card that offers generous bonuses despite having no annual fee. Its perfect for those that do not have an airline preference and love to travel.

If you're carrying a balance, the high APR may be a turnoff once you get past the introductory period. Honestly, if you fly a lot, it's not the best card for you. There are plenty of other travel credit cards that cater to those who fly frequently.

Expert Ratings

Application Process: Apply online or call their toll-free number if you'd rather go through the process with a human.

Annual Fee: None, none, none!

APR: A nice 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months, then a variable APR of 15.99% to 23.99% after.

RewardsPoints can be redeemed for travel statement credit that can be used on flights, hotels, rentals and other related purchases.

Bonus Offers: Get excited to earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months of account opening, which is equivalent to $200 of travel credit. If you're an active Bank of America checking or savings customer, get an additional 10% bonus customer points. Preferred Rewards clients can get up to 25-75% bonus points. The Points Guy calls this card a "no-brainer" if you're an existing Bank of America customer.

Details:BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card »

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card
Get from HSBC
327 Clicks
Variable APR
15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24%
Cash Advance APR
27.24%
Rewards Rate
1.5% Unlimited Cash Back on all purchases
Annual Fee
$0
Intro APR
0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 12 months. Variable APR of 15.24%, 19.24%, 25.24% will apply after the Introductory period.
Bonus Offers
Introductory 3% Cash Back for 12 months
Penalty APR
32.24%
80 % Editor Score
89 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Offers a decent rewards rate
  • APR promotion on balance transfers
  • Travel benefits

  • Travel perks include no foreign transaction fees, lost luggage coverage, and travel accident insurance
  • Pay no interest on balance transfers for 12 months
  • APR promotion doesn't include purchases
  • Charges an above-average balance transfer fee
Expert Ratings

Application Process: Apply online, and get a decision within 60 seconds or less.

Rewards: Earn 1.5% cash on all purchases. Also, get a 10% anniversary bonus on all cash rewards earned each year, effectively increasing your rewards rate to 1.65%.

Bonus Offers:None.

Annual Fee: None.

Details:HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card »

Best Total Cash Back Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best Total Cash Back Card: Citi® Double Cash Card
Get from Citi
320 Clicks
90 % Editor Score
90 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Earn an industry-leading rewards rate
  • Get a pass on your first late fee
  • No annual fee

  • Get an effective 2% rewards rate on all purchases
  • No caps on rewards
  • The card no longer offers a 0% introductory APR promotion
  • Its APR is high

Application Process: Apply online, and get a decision within 60 seconds or less.

Rewards: Earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase, then 1% back when you pay it off. You can claim your rewards as a statement credit, gift card, or a check in the mail, with a minimum cash back redemption amount of $25 required.

Annual Fee: None.

Details:Citi® Double Cash Card »

Best Promotional APR Credit Card for Cash Back Rewards

Chase Freedom®

Best Promotional APR Credit Card for Cash Back Rewards: Chase Freedom®
Get from G.glopm
318 Clicks
Variable APR
16.24% - 24.99%
Cash Advance APR
26.24%
Rewards Rate
1.5%
Annual Fee
$0
Intro APR
0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
Bonus Offers
Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
85 % Editor Score
97 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Unlimited cash-back rewards for qualifying purchases
  • Promotional APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers
  • No annual fee

  • Earn up to 5% cash back on everyday purchases
  • Offers a decent sign-up bonus
  • Charges a high balance transfer fee
  • The card's rewards program is somewhat complex
Expert Ratings

Application Process: Apply online and get a response within 60 seconds.

Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate; unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Bonus Offers: Score a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases during your first 3 months as a cardholder. Get $25 more when an authorized user makes their first purchase in the same 3 month period.

Annual fee: None.

Details:Chase Freedom® »

Best for Flat-Rate Cash Back

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card

Best for Flat-Rate Cash Back: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card
Get from G.glopm
304 Clicks
Variable APR
24.99%
Cash Advance APR
24.99%
Rewards Rate
1.50%
Annual Fee
$39
Intro APR
n/a
Bonus Offers
n/a
82 % Editor Score
93 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Unlimited flat 1.5% cash back rate on all purchases
  • Easily obtainable bonus of $150 when you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months of account opening
  • Value Penguin calls it one of the best cashback cards for low spenders

Travelers will appreciate that there are no foreign transaction fees associated with this credit card. Everyone will appreciate that you don’t have to be purposeful to collect your rewards, as the Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card offers a flat, unlimited 1.5% cash back rate on all purchases.

If you’re new to the world of credit cards, this card might be your perfect match. But if you’re a little more of an experienced user, you can certainly find higher percent cash back credit cards for a small annual fee that will likely be more than justified. A related example? The Capital One Spark Cash for Business credit card. Additionally, you may be interested in using one of the best Capital One credit cards for balance transfers... until you find out that it comes with a 3% balance transfer fee.

Expert Ratings

Application Process: Apply online just as you would with the other best Capital One credit cards on this list.

Annual Fee: Absolutely no annual fees! Definitely a perk of this credit card.

Rewards and Redemption Options: It’s very simple: earn an unlimited flat rate of 1.5% cash back, which does not expire. You can redeem this cash back as a statement credit or cheque.

Bonus Offers: Just about anyone using this credit card will earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within 3 months of account opening.

Details:Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card »

Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Best Overall Cash Back Credit Card: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Get from Z.zenaw
313 Clicks
Variable APR
16.24% - 24.99%
Cash Advance APR
26.24%
Rewards Rate
1.50%
Annual Fee
$0
Intro APR
0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months
Bonus Offers
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
86 % Editor Score
87 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • If you have more than one Chase credit card, you can earn more by transferring points and splitting your spending between the two cards
  • Freedom and flexibility: the flat 1.5% cash back rate isn't limited to a specific category
  • The bonus offers are easily attainable and include a $150 bonus after spending $500 within 3 months after opening. Plus, you'll earn a $25 bonus after you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the same period.

There's a lot to love about the Chase Freedom Unlimited cash back credit card. It provides a high rewards rate with no nonsense in terms of rotating spending categories - just a flat 1.5% back on every purchase you make with the card. With responsible use, you won't have to pay a penny to use this card, as there's no annual fee. 

As far as actually getting the cash back you've earned, there's no minimum required for redemption, and cash back earnings can be redeemed for any amount (unlike the Chase Freedom card, which requires a minimum $20). On top of that, there's a relatively small minimum spend required to earn the lucrative account opening bonus.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card doesn't offer any specific bonus categories, due to its nature as a flat-rate cash back credit card. So those who know their high-spending categories (like groceries, for example) may want to opt instead for a cash back credit card that caters to their spending habits.

While going through this list, you'll also notice that it's not the highest flat-rate cash back card around. There's also a foreign transaction fee, so if you want a credit card specifically for international travel you should look into opening a credit card that caters specifically to travelers. 

Expert Ratings

Application Process: Online, over the phone, or at a branch. Online is the easiest method, but it's nice to know that you have options!

Annual Fee: No annual fee! How's that for maximizing the money in your pocket? Balance transfer fees are $5 or 5% of the transferred amount (whichever is greater).

APR: 0% for the first 15 months, then a variable APR of 16.24% to 24.99%. 

RewardsYou can redeem your rewards as cash back in the form of:

  • Bank account deposits
  • Statement credits

Or, you can also redeem rewards using the Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent each and may be claimed through the Ultimate Rewards portal for:

  • General merchandise purchases made through the portal, or third-party retailers (such as Amazon)
  • Travel purchases 

Bonus Offers: Earn a $150 bonus after spending $500, within 3 months after opening a new account. Additionally, you can also earn $25 if you opt to add an authorized user of the card, and that person makes their first purchase within the 3 month period.

Details:Chase Freedom Unlimited® »

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Article Staff

Maddy Osman creates engaging content with SEO best practices for marketing thought leaders and agencies that have their hands full with clients and projects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website, www.The-Blogsmith.com and read her latest articles on Twitter: @MaddyOsman.

Editor Jenna Holtz
Researcher Ronnie Langston
Art Director Cherry Barbacena

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