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Best Credit Cards With No Annual Fee of September 2021

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It 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 August 30, 2021 . Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

Looking for a credit card, but not willing to fork over the money for an annual fee? We don’t blame you — annual fees can run upwards of $500.

Some may think annual fee cards are the only way to enjoy generous rewards and exclusive benefits, but cards with no annual fee can be just as beneficial. Whether it’s earning rewards points or cash back, saving on interest payments with intro 0% APR periods or simply building credit, some no-annual-fee cards have a lot to offer.

Based on a review of cards available through LendingTree, as well as from top issuers, we’ve selected several of the best cards with no annual fee so you can find one that’s right for you.

Best Credit Cards With No Annual Fee of September 2021
Best overall card with no annual fee Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Best cashback card with no annual fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Best for dining with no annual fee U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
Best airline card with no annual fee Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
Best no annual fee card for intro APR Citi Simplicity® Card
Best no annual fee student card Discover it® Student Cash Back
Best no annual fee low interest card USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card
Best no annual fee business card Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
Best no annual fee secured card Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Best For Overall no annual fee card

Citi<sup>®</sup> Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Citi® Double Cash Card

Apply Now
on Citibank's secure site
Introductory APR N/A
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

The Citi® Double Cash Card from our partner Citi sets the standard for earning flat-rate cash back on every purchase. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Rewards can be redeemed as checks, statement credits, deposits to an eligible Citi checking or savings account (or a checking account used to pay the card bill) or converted to Citi ThankYou® points.

There’s also a lengthy intro 0% APR balance transfer offer — 0% for 18 months on balance transfers. After the intro period, a 13.99% – 23.99% (variable) APR applies. However, there is a balance transfer fee of 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

The Citi® Double Cash Card is a top-notch cash-back card that comes with a good balance transfer offer.

The Citi® Double Cash Card does not offer an introductory APR for purchases, however. To benefit the most from this card, be sure to complete your transfer within four months from account opening to take advantage of and maximize the benefit of the intro offer. After completing your transfer, make regular monthly payments with the goal of paying your balance in full before the end of the intro period. Citi won’t charge you a late fee the first time you miss a payment due date, which can give cardholders peace of mind, but it’s a good idea to avoid the risk of missing payments and set up autopay.

Also, if you have bad or fair credit, you will not qualify for this card, as excellent/good is needed.

  • Citi Entertainment®: With this card you’ll get exclusive access to entertainment events including concerts, sporting events, dining events and more. Go to citiprivatepass.com for more information.
  • 24-hour fraud protection: Citi will alert you if they encounter fraud on your card.
  • Citi® Identity Theft Solutions: This service allows you to get help from a Citi® Identity Theft specialist to deal with the fallout of identity theft or credit fraud, even if it happened on a card from a different company.
  • Choose your payment due date: You can choose from select dates in the beginning, middle or end of the month to make your payment. Not all dates are available, and you can only change your due date twice a year.
  • 24/7 customer service: Call the number on the back of your card and just say, “Representative,” and you can get help with your account, 24 hours a day.
  • Citi® Concierge: You can contact the concierge service by phone or email at any time for help with a variety of needs such as travel, shopping, dining and more.
  • Apple Pay®: You have the ability to add your card to Apple Pay® for hassle-free payments.

The Citi® Double Cash Card from our partner Citi sets the standard for earning flat-rate cash back on every purchase. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Rewards can be redeemed as checks, statement credits, deposits to an eligible Citi checking or savings account (or a checking account used to pay the card bill) or converted to Citi ThankYou® points.

There’s also a lengthy intro 0% APR balance transfer offer — 0% for 18 months on balance transfers. After the intro period, a 13.99% – 23.99% (variable) APR applies. However, there is a balance transfer fee of 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

The Citi® Double Cash Card is a top-notch cash-back card that comes with a good balance transfer offer.

The Citi® Double Cash Card does not offer an introductory APR for purchases, however. To benefit the most from this card, be sure to complete your transfer within four months from account opening to take advantage of and maximize the benefit of the intro offer. After completing your transfer, make regular monthly payments with the goal of paying your balance in full before the end of the intro period. Citi won’t charge you a late fee the first time you miss a payment due date, which can give cardholders peace of mind, but it’s a good idea to avoid the risk of missing payments and set up autopay.

Also, if you have bad or fair credit, you will not qualify for this card, as excellent/good is needed.

  • Citi Entertainment®: With this card you’ll get exclusive access to entertainment events including concerts, sporting events, dining events and more. Go to citiprivatepass.com for more information.
  • 24-hour fraud protection: Citi will alert you if they encounter fraud on your card.
  • Citi® Identity Theft Solutions: This service allows you to get help from a Citi® Identity Theft specialist to deal with the fallout of identity theft or credit fraud, even if it happened on a card from a different company.
  • Choose your payment due date: You can choose from select dates in the beginning, middle or end of the month to make your payment. Not all dates are available, and you can only change your due date twice a year.
  • 24/7 customer service: Call the number on the back of your card and just say, “Representative,” and you can get help with your account, 24 hours a day.
  • Citi® Concierge: You can contact the concierge service by phone or email at any time for help with a variety of needs such as travel, shopping, dining and more.
  • Apple Pay®: You have the ability to add your card to Apple Pay® for hassle-free payments.

Best For No annual fee cashback card

Blue Cash Everyday<sup>®</sup> Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Apply Now
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
Introductory APR 0% on purchases for 15 months
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 13.99%-23.99% Variable

Consumers who spend a lot on grocery shopping will appreciate the cashback rate offered by the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. Earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. Terms apply.

Rewards can be redeemed as statement credits, and you may also be able to redeem rewards for gift cards or merchandise from time to time.

There’s a welcome offer as well — $100 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

If you’re in the market for a cashback credit card that offers generous rewards on everyday purchases, such as groceries, gas and department store merchandise, you should look at the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

The supermarket category includes supermarkets located within the U.S. that offer a wide variety of food and household products, such as meat, fresh produce, dairy, canned and packaged goods, household cleaners, pharmacy products and pet supplies. Note, superstores, convenience stores, warehouse clubs and specialty stores do not qualify for this category.

The U.S. gas station category includes merchants that primarily sell gasoline to consumers. Gas purchased from superstores, supermarkets or warehouse clubs that sell gasoline are not eligible for the higher rewards rate.

U.S. department stores include the following: Bealls, Belk, Bloomingdale’s, Bon Ton Stores, Boscov’s, Century 21 Department stores, Dillard’s, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Stein Mart.

If you need to finance a large purchase and pay it off over time, you can do so interest-free for more than a year with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. The card offers an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 15 months. Once the promotional period ends, a regular APR of 13.99%-23.99% variable will apply to any unpaid portion of the balance.

You are limited to earning the higher cashback rate to the first $6,000 you spend at U.S. supermarkets per year.

Additionally, the elevated rewards rates at supermarkets, gas stations and department stores only apply to locations inside the U.S.

To see the rates and fees for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance. 
  • Global Assist® Hotline. Traveling more than 100 miles from home qualifies you for 24/7 access to the Global Assist® Hotline. This feature offers various services that range from medical, legal and financial information to select emergency coordination and assistance services. Note, you’re responsible for the costs charged by any third-party service providers.
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership (enrollment required). Receive free two-day shipping from ShopRunner on eligible items at more than 100 participating stores when you enroll at com/americanexpress.
  • Entertainment access. Cardholders receive exclusive access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events in select cities. Events include Broadway shows, concert tours, sporting events and more.
  • Fraud protection: You won’t be held responsible for any fraudulent charges.

Consumers who spend a lot on grocery shopping will appreciate the cashback rate offered by the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. Earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. Terms apply.

Rewards can be redeemed as statement credits, and you may also be able to redeem rewards for gift cards or merchandise from time to time.

There’s a welcome offer as well — $100 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

If you’re in the market for a cashback credit card that offers generous rewards on everyday purchases, such as groceries, gas and department store merchandise, you should look at the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

The supermarket category includes supermarkets located within the U.S. that offer a wide variety of food and household products, such as meat, fresh produce, dairy, canned and packaged goods, household cleaners, pharmacy products and pet supplies. Note, superstores, convenience stores, warehouse clubs and specialty stores do not qualify for this category.

The U.S. gas station category includes merchants that primarily sell gasoline to consumers. Gas purchased from superstores, supermarkets or warehouse clubs that sell gasoline are not eligible for the higher rewards rate.

U.S. department stores include the following: Bealls, Belk, Bloomingdale’s, Bon Ton Stores, Boscov’s, Century 21 Department stores, Dillard’s, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Stein Mart.

If you need to finance a large purchase and pay it off over time, you can do so interest-free for more than a year with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. The card offers an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 15 months. Once the promotional period ends, a regular APR of 13.99%-23.99% variable will apply to any unpaid portion of the balance.

You are limited to earning the higher cashback rate to the first $6,000 you spend at U.S. supermarkets per year.

Additionally, the elevated rewards rates at supermarkets, gas stations and department stores only apply to locations inside the U.S.

To see the rates and fees for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance. 
  • Global Assist® Hotline. Traveling more than 100 miles from home qualifies you for 24/7 access to the Global Assist® Hotline. This feature offers various services that range from medical, legal and financial information to select emergency coordination and assistance services. Note, you’re responsible for the costs charged by any third-party service providers.
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership (enrollment required). Receive free two-day shipping from ShopRunner on eligible items at more than 100 participating stores when you enroll at com/americanexpress.
  • Entertainment access. Cardholders receive exclusive access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events in select cities. Events include Broadway shows, concert tours, sporting events and more.
  • Fraud protection: You won’t be held responsible for any fraudulent charges.

Best For No annual fee dining card

U.S. Bank Altitude<sup>®</sup> Go Visa Signature<sup>®</sup> Card

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

Apply Now
on U.S. Bank's secure site
Introductory APR 0% for 12 billing cycles on purchases*
Annual Fee $0*
Regular Purchase APR 14.99% - 23.99%* (Variable)

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card offers a lavish rewards rate on dining purchases: Earn 4X points on dining, takeout and food delivery, 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services and gas stations, and 1X points on all other eligible purchases.

While some other cards also earn 4X on dining, such as the American Express® Gold Card and the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, those cards charge an annual fee. By contrast, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card has an annual fee of $0*.

Points are worth approximately 1 cent each. Redemption options include cash back, travel, merchandise, gift cards and more. There’s also a generous sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card is designed for consumers who are looking for a cashback card with a high rewards rate on dining and food delivery services, as well as groceries, gas and streaming services.

The dining category includes a broad range of eateries, including restaurants, fast food establishments and bars. The grocery store category includes supermarkets; however, purchases made at discount or retail stores that sell groceries may not qualify.

Cardholders receive an automatic statement credit of $15 per year following 11 consecutive months of streaming service purchases, including Netflix, Hulu, Apple Music, Spotify and more.

And if you want to finance a large purchase, you can do so for a year with the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card. Cardholders receive a 0% for 12 billing cycles on purchases* on purchases, then a regular APR of 14.99% - 23.99%* (variable) will apply.

The card also offers a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 billing cycles for balances transferred within 60 days from account opening. After that, an APR of 14.99% - 23.99%* (variable) will apply to any unpaid portion of the balance.

  • Foreign transaction fee: None.
  • Pay with a tap wherever contactless cards are accepted.
  • Add your card to your mobile wallet.

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card offers a lavish rewards rate on dining purchases: Earn 4X points on dining, takeout and food delivery, 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services and gas stations, and 1X points on all other eligible purchases.

While some other cards also earn 4X on dining, such as the American Express® Gold Card and the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, those cards charge an annual fee. By contrast, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card has an annual fee of $0*.

Points are worth approximately 1 cent each. Redemption options include cash back, travel, merchandise, gift cards and more. There’s also a generous sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card is designed for consumers who are looking for a cashback card with a high rewards rate on dining and food delivery services, as well as groceries, gas and streaming services.

The dining category includes a broad range of eateries, including restaurants, fast food establishments and bars. The grocery store category includes supermarkets; however, purchases made at discount or retail stores that sell groceries may not qualify.

Cardholders receive an automatic statement credit of $15 per year following 11 consecutive months of streaming service purchases, including Netflix, Hulu, Apple Music, Spotify and more.

And if you want to finance a large purchase, you can do so for a year with the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card. Cardholders receive a 0% for 12 billing cycles on purchases* on purchases, then a regular APR of 14.99% - 23.99%* (variable) will apply.

The card also offers a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 billing cycles for balances transferred within 60 days from account opening. After that, an APR of 14.99% - 23.99%* (variable) will apply to any unpaid portion of the balance.

  • Foreign transaction fee: None.
  • Pay with a tap wherever contactless cards are accepted.
  • Add your card to your mobile wallet.

Best For No annual fee airline card

Delta SkyMiles<sup>®</sup> Blue American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

Apply Now
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
Introductory APR N/A
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 15.74%-24.74% Variable

The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card card is unique among other airline credit cards as it has a $0 annual fee. Many other airline specific credit cards, or travel credit cards in general, come with annual fees ranging from $95 to $550.

This card also offers a more flexible rewards rate than some other airline travel cards. Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at restaurants, now worldwide. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Since you can earn the higher rewards rate from spending at U.S. restaurants, your miles will increase faster than if you used a card that earns a high rate on only airline purchases.

The card also comes with a relatively easy to earn welcome offer: earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months.

To see the rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, please click here.

Though the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card doesn’t offer some of the benefits that more premium, annual fee co-branded Delta Amex cards do (such as a free checked bag or priority boarding), it still offers value to the occasional Delta flier. Miles can be redeemed for booking travel, upgrades, covering a variety of fees and more.

And don’t worry about a foreign transaction fee — there is none.

  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary coverage)
  • Enjoy exclusive access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events via Entertainment Access. See Broadway shows, concerts, sporting events and more
  • Terms apply

The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card card is unique among other airline credit cards as it has a $0 annual fee. Many other airline specific credit cards, or travel credit cards in general, come with annual fees ranging from $95 to $550.

This card also offers a more flexible rewards rate than some other airline travel cards. Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at restaurants, now worldwide. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Since you can earn the higher rewards rate from spending at U.S. restaurants, your miles will increase faster than if you used a card that earns a high rate on only airline purchases.

The card also comes with a relatively easy to earn welcome offer: earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months.

To see the rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, please click here.

Though the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card doesn’t offer some of the benefits that more premium, annual fee co-branded Delta Amex cards do (such as a free checked bag or priority boarding), it still offers value to the occasional Delta flier. Miles can be redeemed for booking travel, upgrades, covering a variety of fees and more.

And don’t worry about a foreign transaction fee — there is none.

  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary coverage)
  • Enjoy exclusive access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events via Entertainment Access. See Broadway shows, concerts, sporting events and more
  • Terms apply

Best For No annual fee card with an intro APR

Citi Simplicity<sup>®</sup> Card

Citi Simplicity® Card

Apply Now
on Citibank's secure site
Introductory APR 0% for 18 months on Purchases
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Whether you need to make a big purchase and pay it off over time or need to transfer existing debt from a high interest credit card, it’s worth considering the Citi Simplicity® Card .

The intro 0% APR offers are lengthy:

  • 0% for 18 months on purchases. After, a 14.74% - 24.74% (variable) APR applies.
  • 0% for 18 months on balance transfers. After, a 14.74% - 24.74% (variable) APR applies.

There’s a standard balance transfer fee – either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

 

The Citi Simplicity® Card , issued by our partner Citi, is a great option if you have a large amount of high interest debt that you need to pay down, need to make a big purchase and finance it for more than a year, or if you have a tendency to miss your payment due date.

Along with offering one of the longest introductory periods currently available for purchases and balance transfers, the card provides helpful tools, such as automatic account alerts and the ability to choose your payment due date. Plus, you will not be hit with late fees or penalty APRs if you happen to make a late payment.

You won’t earn a sign-up bonus or rewards on the purchases you make with the Citi Simplicity® Card . That said, it’s best to prioritize paying off your full balance before the intro purchase or balance transfer offer ends over earning rewards on new purchases.

  • Citi® Identity Theft Solutions. You can contact a Citi® Identity Theft Solution Specialist to assist you with identifying compromised accounts and advise you on filing police reports and taking steps to recover from identity theft.
  • 24/7 customer service. Get help with almost any account question by calling the customer service number on the back of your card and speaking with a representative at any time.
  • Choose your payment due date. Have the flexibility to change your due date to a day that works for you. There are select available due dates in the beginning, middle or end of the month. Keep in mind, not all dates are available and it may take up to two billing cycles to process your request. You can only change your due date twice a year.
  • Automatic account alerts. Set up alerts to remind you about balance levels, payment due dates and when you go over your limit.

Whether you need to make a big purchase and pay it off over time or need to transfer existing debt from a high interest credit card, it’s worth considering the Citi Simplicity® Card .

The intro 0% APR offers are lengthy:

  • 0% for 18 months on purchases. After, a 14.74% - 24.74% (variable) APR applies.
  • 0% for 18 months on balance transfers. After, a 14.74% - 24.74% (variable) APR applies.

There’s a standard balance transfer fee – either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

 

The Citi Simplicity® Card , issued by our partner Citi, is a great option if you have a large amount of high interest debt that you need to pay down, need to make a big purchase and finance it for more than a year, or if you have a tendency to miss your payment due date.

Along with offering one of the longest introductory periods currently available for purchases and balance transfers, the card provides helpful tools, such as automatic account alerts and the ability to choose your payment due date. Plus, you will not be hit with late fees or penalty APRs if you happen to make a late payment.

You won’t earn a sign-up bonus or rewards on the purchases you make with the Citi Simplicity® Card . That said, it’s best to prioritize paying off your full balance before the intro purchase or balance transfer offer ends over earning rewards on new purchases.

  • Citi® Identity Theft Solutions. You can contact a Citi® Identity Theft Solution Specialist to assist you with identifying compromised accounts and advise you on filing police reports and taking steps to recover from identity theft.
  • 24/7 customer service. Get help with almost any account question by calling the customer service number on the back of your card and speaking with a representative at any time.
  • Choose your payment due date. Have the flexibility to change your due date to a day that works for you. There are select available due dates in the beginning, middle or end of the month. Keep in mind, not all dates are available and it may take up to two billing cycles to process your request. You can only change your due date twice a year.
  • Automatic account alerts. Set up alerts to remind you about balance levels, payment due dates and when you go over your limit.

Best For No annual fee student card

Discover it<sup>®</sup> Student Cash Back

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Introductory APR 0% for 6 months on purchases
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR

This card offers a high cashback rate in a variety of spending categories that change every quarter. Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

Rewards can be redeemed as statement credits, deposits into a bank account, gift cards or charitable donations, and you can also use rewards to pay on Amazon.com and PayPal.

And each school year that your GPA is 3.0 or higher, earn a Good Grades Reward in the form of a $20 statement credit (this can be earned for up to five consecutive years).

There’s also a sign-up bonus for new cardmembers: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

Plus, if you need to finance a large purchase over a few months, there is an intro APR offer of 0% for 6 months on purchases from the date of account opening. After that, a 12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR applies.

This card is designed for students looking to establish and build their credit through responsible card usage, and they can monitor their progress with Discover’s free Credit Scorecard tool. With Credit Scorecard, scores are refreshed every month, and it sends alerts for any unusual activity.

The Discover it® Student Cash Back’s highest bonus categories must be activated online each quarter, and this could be a hassle for some students who don’t want to bother or would prefer a card offering a flat-rate rewards program.

Here is Discover’s 5% cashback calendar for 2021:

  • Jan-March: Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS
  • April-June: Gas stations, wholesale clubs and select streaming services
  • July-Sept: Restaurants and PayPal
  • Oct-Dec: Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com
  • Simple cashback redemption. You can easily redeem your cash back for a variety of options at any time and for any amount. And don’t worry if your account gets closed — Discover will credit your remaining cash rewards.
  • Freeze it®. With Freeze it, you can easily freeze your card in seconds with the Discover app or online — adding a level of security if your card is misplaced. While your account is frozen, Discover will not authorize new purchases, cash advances or balance transfers.
  • Discover® Identity Alerts. Discover looks out for you by monitoring your account daily and sending alerts if a new account has been listed on your Experian credit report or if your Social Security number appears on thousands of risky websites.
  • 100% U.S.-based customer service. You can speak to a representative 24/7 about any account related questions.
  • No penalty APR. Paying late won’t increase your APR, but still make it a point to pay on time each month.
  • No fee on your first late payment. Discover provides you with one late payment fee waiver, so use it as a reminder to set up autopay or reminders.

This card offers a high cashback rate in a variety of spending categories that change every quarter. Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

Rewards can be redeemed as statement credits, deposits into a bank account, gift cards or charitable donations, and you can also use rewards to pay on Amazon.com and PayPal.

And each school year that your GPA is 3.0 or higher, earn a Good Grades Reward in the form of a $20 statement credit (this can be earned for up to five consecutive years).

There’s also a sign-up bonus for new cardmembers: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

Plus, if you need to finance a large purchase over a few months, there is an intro APR offer of 0% for 6 months on purchases from the date of account opening. After that, a 12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR applies.

This card is designed for students looking to establish and build their credit through responsible card usage, and they can monitor their progress with Discover’s free Credit Scorecard tool. With Credit Scorecard, scores are refreshed every month, and it sends alerts for any unusual activity.

The Discover it® Student Cash Back’s highest bonus categories must be activated online each quarter, and this could be a hassle for some students who don’t want to bother or would prefer a card offering a flat-rate rewards program.

Here is Discover’s 5% cashback calendar for 2021:

  • Jan-March: Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS
  • April-June: Gas stations, wholesale clubs and select streaming services
  • July-Sept: Restaurants and PayPal
  • Oct-Dec: Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com

  • Simple cashback redemption. You can easily redeem your cash back for a variety of options at any time and for any amount. And don’t worry if your account gets closed — Discover will credit your remaining cash rewards.
  • Freeze it®. With Freeze it, you can easily freeze your card in seconds with the Discover app or online — adding a level of security if your card is misplaced. While your account is frozen, Discover will not authorize new purchases, cash advances or balance transfers.
  • Discover® Identity Alerts. Discover looks out for you by monitoring your account daily and sending alerts if a new account has been listed on your Experian credit report or if your Social Security number appears on thousands of risky websites.
  • 100% U.S.-based customer service. You can speak to a representative 24/7 about any account related questions.
  • No penalty APR. Paying late won’t increase your APR, but still make it a point to pay on time each month.
  • No fee on your first late payment. Discover provides you with one late payment fee waiver, so use it as a reminder to set up autopay or reminders.

Best For No annual fee low interest card

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

Highlights
  • Enjoy USAA's lowest rate card
  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no penalty APR
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

We recommend always paying your card off in full each month to avoid incurring interest charges, but sometimes rolling over a balance may be unavoidable. In such situations, the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card is a good card to have on hand with its very reasonable 6.90% - 23.90% variable APR.

You must be a USAA member in order to apply. Those eligible to join USAA include United States military members and veterans, precommissioned officers and spouses and children of USAA members. Also, there is no rewards program associated with this card.

USAA members looking for a low-interest card with $0 annual fee can benefit from the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card. While this card lacks a rewards program, if you’re able to qualify for the lower end of the APR range, the card can be your go-to for emergencies.

If you are a USAA member who wants to earn credit card rewards, the USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® is a good alternative to the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card.

The USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® lets you earn one point for every dollar spent. Additionally, cardholders can earn 2,500 points after your first purchase using the card. The APR is 6.90% to 23.90% variable.

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel emergency assistance
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Baggage delay reimbursement
  • Extended warranty protection

We recommend always paying your card off in full each month to avoid incurring interest charges, but sometimes rolling over a balance may be unavoidable. In such situations, the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card is a good card to have on hand with its very reasonable 6.90% - 23.90% variable APR.

You must be a USAA member in order to apply. Those eligible to join USAA include United States military members and veterans, precommissioned officers and spouses and children of USAA members. Also, there is no rewards program associated with this card.

USAA members looking for a low-interest card with $0 annual fee can benefit from the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card. While this card lacks a rewards program, if you’re able to qualify for the lower end of the APR range, the card can be your go-to for emergencies.

If you are a USAA member who wants to earn credit card rewards, the USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® is a good alternative to the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card.

The USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® lets you earn one point for every dollar spent. Additionally, cardholders can earn 2,500 points after your first purchase using the card. The APR is 6.90% to 23.90% variable.

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel emergency assistance
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Baggage delay reimbursement
  • Extended warranty protection
The information related to the USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card has been collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply.

Best For No annual fee business card

Ink Business Cash<sup>®</sup> Credit Card

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Apply Now
on Chase's secure site
Introductory APR 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 13.24% - 19.24% Variable

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is a great card for businesses that spend at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services. Not only will you enjoy a higher rate on these purchases than with competing cards, but you will also get a solid intro period for new purchases, allowing you to take time to pay off new transactions without accruing interest — all great benefits for $0 annual fee.

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card offers a competitive cash back rate in typical business spending categories. Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.

Redemption options include cash back, gift cards, travel and more.

There’s also a sign-up bonus: Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card can help offset the cost of everyday business expenses. You can use your points to redeem for cash through an account statement credit or electronic deposit into an eligible checking or savings account, for gift cards or for travel. When you use points to redeem for gift cards and travel, each point is worth $0.01, which means that 100 points equals $1 in redemption value.

Plus, if you need time to pay off a large purchase, the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card offers the following intro APR: 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, after which an APR of 13.24% - 19.24% variable will apply.

  • Free employee cards
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Primary auto rental collision damage waiver

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is a great card for businesses that spend at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services. Not only will you enjoy a higher rate on these purchases than with competing cards, but you will also get a solid intro period for new purchases, allowing you to take time to pay off new transactions without accruing interest — all great benefits for $0 annual fee.

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card offers a competitive cash back rate in typical business spending categories. Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.

Redemption options include cash back, gift cards, travel and more.

There’s also a sign-up bonus: Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card can help offset the cost of everyday business expenses. You can use your points to redeem for cash through an account statement credit or electronic deposit into an eligible checking or savings account, for gift cards or for travel. When you use points to redeem for gift cards and travel, each point is worth $0.01, which means that 100 points equals $1 in redemption value.

Plus, if you need time to pay off a large purchase, the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card offers the following intro APR: 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, after which an APR of 13.24% - 19.24% variable will apply.

  • Free employee cards
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Primary auto rental collision damage waiver

Best For No annual fee secured card

Discover it<sup>®</sup> Secured Credit Card

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Introductory APR N/A
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 22.99% Variable APR

For consumers with limited/bad/poor credit, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card allows you to build credit history and earn cash back. It’s a secured card, meaning you must submit a security deposit that will serve as your credit limit. The security deposit can range from $200 to $2,500.

Purchases made with the card earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

Rewards can be redeemed as statement credits, electronic deposits into other accounts, gift cards and charitable donations, and you can also pay with your cashback bonus at select merchants.

There’s also a sign-up bonus for new cardmembers. Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

Finally, after eight months of having your card, Discover begins conducting monthly reviews to see if you qualify to get your deposit refunded and graduate to an unsecured card. Note that your behavior across all your credit products — not just those with Discover — is considered.

Whether you’ve struggled with credit in the past or you’re completely new to credit and want to get off to a great start, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card can help you on your journey.

It’s a secured credit card, meaning you must submit a security deposit (a minimum of $200 up to $2,500) equal to the amount of your credit line. In the event you don’t pay off what you charge to the card, Discover will use the deposit to recoup that loss. In other respects, secured cards function just like regular credit cards (also known as unsecured cards).

A great feature of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is that it earns cash back. Unlike some unsecured cards for bad credit, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card doesn’t hit applicants with expensive fees and confusing terms. It’s consistently one of our top credit card choices for building credit.

  • Reports account activity to all three credit bureaus
  • No penalty APR and no late fee on your first late payment.
  • Free FICO Score
  • Discover Identity Alerts
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card online
  • U.S.-based customer support available 24/7

For consumers with limited/bad/poor credit, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card allows you to build credit history and earn cash back. It’s a secured card, meaning you must submit a security deposit that will serve as your credit limit. The security deposit can range from $200 to $2,500.

Purchases made with the card earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

Rewards can be redeemed as statement credits, electronic deposits into other accounts, gift cards and charitable donations, and you can also pay with your cashback bonus at select merchants.

There’s also a sign-up bonus for new cardmembers. Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

Finally, after eight months of having your card, Discover begins conducting monthly reviews to see if you qualify to get your deposit refunded and graduate to an unsecured card. Note that your behavior across all your credit products — not just those with Discover — is considered.

Whether you’ve struggled with credit in the past or you’re completely new to credit and want to get off to a great start, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card can help you on your journey.

It’s a secured credit card, meaning you must submit a security deposit (a minimum of $200 up to $2,500) equal to the amount of your credit line. In the event you don’t pay off what you charge to the card, Discover will use the deposit to recoup that loss. In other respects, secured cards function just like regular credit cards (also known as unsecured cards).

A great feature of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is that it earns cash back. Unlike some unsecured cards for bad credit, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card doesn’t hit applicants with expensive fees and confusing terms. It’s consistently one of our top credit card choices for building credit.

  • Reports account activity to all three credit bureaus
  • No penalty APR and no late fee on your first late payment.
  • Free FICO Score
  • Discover Identity Alerts
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card online
  • U.S.-based customer support available 24/7

FAQs about credit cards and annual fees

Some credit cards charge an annual fee — this is a fee you pay to carry the card, whether or not you use it.

Typically, cards that charge an annual fee fall into one of two categories. Cards for people with bad credit may charge an annual fee, because applicants will likely have trouble qualifying for better cards. Cards with valuable benefits, such as travel cards aimed at frequent fliers, may also charge an annual fee.

Many consumers will be fine with a credit card that doesn’t have an annual fee. It’s possible to earn generous rewards and even get useful benefits on a card with no annual fee. However, there are a few cases where an annual fee card is worth it:

 

  • When you travel frequently enough to make benefits such as travel credits and airport lounge access worth paying for a card like The Platinum Card® from American Express ($695 annual fee).
  • If you spend heavily in certain categories. For example, those who spend a lot at supermarkets may benefit from the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee).
  • When you’re rebuilding from bad credit (a score of less than 580), a card such as the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card ($35 annual fee) might approve you when cards without an annual fee won’t.

 

To see the rates and fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.
To see the rates and fees for the The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Some cards automatically come with a waived annual fee for the first year. For example, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card charges a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. In some situations, it may also be possible to call your issuer and ask for your annual fee to be waived — especially if you can show that you aren’t going to get much value from the card during the year, such as carrying a travel card during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

If your issuer won’t waive your card’s annual fee, another option is to see if you can request a product change to a different card with no annual fee. This way you keep the account open (this is helpful, because the age of accounts contributes to your credit score) and may be able to keep rewards you’ve earned on the card. For example, you could request to downgrade from a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to a Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, or a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to a Chase Freedom Flex℠.

 

To see the rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here.

To see the rates and fees for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.
To see the rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, please click here.
To see the rates and fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.
To see the rates and fees for the The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
To see the rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here.

Glen Luke Flanagan

Overview

Glen Luke Flanagan covers credit card news for LendingTree.com. He joined the team in June 2019. His work ranges from reviews of new cards to in-depth pieces on protecting your financial information, and his background is in journalism and government communications. 

Experience

As a journalist in North Carolina and South Carolina, Glen covered topics including city government, state government, local businesses, public safety and more. During his time at The State newspaper, Glen’s work appeared on the websites of newspapers across the United States owned by The McClatchy Company. His reporting at The News Herald and The State newspaper won awards from the North Carolina Press Association and the South Carolina Press Association, respectively.

Education

Glen earned his B.A. in media studies with a concentration in journalism from Radford University, graduating summa cum laude in May 2014. After graduation, he participated in a Dow Jones News Fund training and internship. Out of more than 600 applicants, only 86 were accepted into the DJNF program that summer. He was later one of approximately two dozen fellows selected from journalists across the country to participate in the University of South Carolina’s 2016 Media Law School, which was sponsored by the American Board of Trial Advocates. This program gave fellows an intensive crash course in public records, bankruptcy law, podcasts and more.

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The above offers and/or promotions may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available. Check the Issuers’ website for more details.