January 11, 2019, Written By John H. Oldshue
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There are plenty of different credit cards on the market, many with tempting offers and rewards, so it can be hard to figure out which card is best for you. Some credit card companies charge a fee when you are first approved for a card which is an expense you can avoid if you search for a “no annual fee” credit card. Credit cards without an annual fee are attractive because you aren’t paying a yearly premium just to use a line of credit.
While no annual fee credit cards are attractive, some of these cards have fewer rewards. If you get a credit card without an annual fee, you might not be able to amass as many bonus points or cash back rewards. But for many consumers, a credit card without an annual fee is still the right choice, and one that will ultimately leave you with more cash in your pocket.
Here are 10 of the top credit cards with no annual fees:
The Citi® Double Cash card gives cardholders a terrific opportunity to earn cash back twice: 1% cash back at the time of purchase and another 1% when payment is made, for a total of 2% cash back. This card offers 18 months of 0% APR introductory financing on balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. After the promotional financing rate expires, cardholders will have an interest rate of 15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable) on the remaining balance, depending on your creditworthiness. The card comes with Citi’s Price Rewind service, which refunds the difference in price when an eligible purchase undergoes a price decline within 60 days. Other benefits include a trip cancellation and interruption policy, worldwide travel accident insurance, rental car coverage, and a 24/7 concierge service.
The Capital One® Quicksilver® card is a very attractive cash rewards credit card that also comes with no annual fee and a relatively low APR. You receive 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. Then, the on-going APR is 15.24% - 25.24% (Variable) depending on your credit worthiness. The rewards are incredibly strong and easy to understand. Cardholders receive 1.5% back on all purchases with no limit to the amount. In addition, you receive a $150 bonus after you spend $500 during the first three months of card ownership. The card does have a balance transfer fee of 3%, but no foreign transaction fees. You need “good” credit to qualify for this card.
The Capital One® SavorOne Cash Rewards Card is marketed to people who love dining out or creating meals at home. Cardholders earn 1% cash back on all purchases, but the rewards are particularly good on dining out and entertainment (3% cash back) and grocery store purchases (2% cash back). New SavorOne cardholders receive a $150 cash bonus when they spend $500 within the first three months of being a card member. The SavorOne card offers an introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, the rate increases to 15.24% - 25.24% (Variable), depending on the cardholder’s credit.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card offers 30,000 bonus points when new cardholders spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening their account, which is a cash redemption value of $300. In addition to the introductory offer, you can earn 3X points on eating out or ordering in; gas, transit and ride shares; travel; and popular streaming services. All other purchases earn one point per dollar. The card also has a 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply). Balance transfers must be made within 120 days of opening the account in order to qualify for the introductory rate and fee. After the introductory period, the rate will be 14.74%-27.24% (Variable) APR, depending on your creditworthiness. There is no annual fee for this card.
The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards card has an ongoing APR of 14.24% - 24.24% (Variable) depending on your credit worthiness. It has an attractive sign-up bonus of 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months, which is equal to $200 in travel. You will then earn 1.25 miles per dollar spent on every purchase. Reward miles do not expire, and there is no limit to the number of miles you can potentially earn. Cardholders can use miles to fly on any airline and stay at any hotel, and there are no blackout dates on these rewards. There are no annual fee or balance transfer fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees, an attractive feature for the traveler. Consumers with “good” credit may qualify for this card.
The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card enables you to earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months. Cardholders will earn an unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on all purchases, and 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Google PayT, during the first 12 months from account opening. The card also has a 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply). Balance transfers must be made within 120 days of opening the account in order to qualify for the introductory rate and fee. After the introductory period, the rate will be 16.24%-28.24% (Variable) APR, depending on your creditworthiness. Cardholders also receive up to $600 protection on their cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when their monthly cellular telephone bill is paid with their Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card. The card has no annual fee.
Along with no annual fee on the Citi Simplicity® card, the card comes with one of the best introductory offers of any major credit card: 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 21 months as well as on purchases for the first 12 months of card ownership. Subsequently, cardholders can expect an APR of 16.24% - 26.24%* (Variable) depending on their credit worthiness. The card also has no late fees or penalty fees. The card does not have a rewards program. You’ll need an excellent credit profile to be approved for this card.
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card is an outstanding cash back card. It offers 1% cash back on all purchases, but 2% on transactions made at grocery stores and at wholesale clubs, and 3% on a category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, home improvement/furnishings or drug stores. These increased payouts are applicable on up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter. Cardholders can update their choice category for future purchases once each calendar month using the Mobile banking app or Online banking, or do nothing and the category stays the same. If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, you can receive a 25% – 75% rewards bonus on every purchase. New customers can earn a $150 sign-up bonus after spending $500 in the first 90 days of being a cardholder. In addition, new applicants will get 12 billing cycles of 0% APR on both new purchases and balance transfers. The balance transfers must be completed within 60 days of account opening, and a 3% balance transfer fee applies. The card has an APR ranging from 16.24% - 26.24% Variable, depending on your credit worthiness. The card has no annual fee but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee on transactions made outside of the United States.
Bank of America also offers a very competitive card for the the traveler: the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card. The card offers 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases with no limit, and the rewards never expire. Each point is worth one cent as a statement credit towards travel purchases, including hotels, flights, vacation packages, rental cards, cruises and baggage fees. Cardholders receive 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%. New cardholders can earn 25,000 online bonus points if they spend $1,000 on their card within the first 90 days of opening the account. That is worth $250 in travel statement credits. New customers will get 12 billing cycles of 0% APR on new purchases. After the introductory rate expires, the standard APR of 17.24% - 25.24% Variable will apply, depending on your credit worthiness. The card has no annual fee, and something very important to travelers: no foreign transaction fees will be placed on transactions made outside of the United States.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card has no annual fee, and comes with a 15-month introductory period where the APR is 0% on both purchases and balance transfers. Cardholders earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases and there is no limit to the amount that can be earned. New customers will earn a $150 bonus after they spend $500 on purchases during the first three months after opening an account opening; an additional $50 bonus can be earned after they spend $5,000 during the first year.
Each of the cards on this list requires either a good or excellent credit score. These cards are extremely attractive, and credit card companies know that consumers want to get a card without an annual fee.
It’s great to be able to get out of one of the many fees that are associated with credit cards. If you have worked hard to achieve or maintain great credit, you will likely be eligible to choose from one of these cards. Make sure that apart from the no annual fee, you are selecting a credit card with characteristics that fit your lifestyle and purchase patterns. When you are deciding between several cards, be sure to research the terms and conditions of every card you are considering to fully understand the charges you may be incurring.