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Best Credit Cards With No Annual Fee of June 2022

*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 June 30, 2022 . Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

Citi is an advertising partner.
Our top pick for the best overall credit card with no annual fee is the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. It earns cash back at an excellent flat rate on all purchases, so you don’t have to keep track which types of purchases earn a higher rewards rate. Plus, it comes with a lengthy intro APR on balance transfers, making it a powerful tool for paying off high-interest debt.
Best Credit Cards With No Annual Fee of June 2022
Best overall card with no annual fee Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Best credit card with a high sign-up bonus and no annual fee Chase Freedom Flex℠
Best cash back credit card with no annual fee Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Best low interest credit card with no annual fee Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum
Best for long 0% intro APRs with no annual fee Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card
Best for rewards in your top spending category with no annual fee Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
Best for choosing your cash back category with no annual fee Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Best student credit card with no annual fee Discover it® Student Cash Back
Best travel credit card with no annual fee Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Best airline credit card with no annual fee Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
Best hotel credit card with no annual fee Hilton Honors American Express Card
Best credit-building credit card with no annual fee Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Best business credit card with no annual fee Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Looking for a credit card that puts some cash back in your pocket, but don’t want to pay an annual fee? Whether you want to earn rewards, take advantage of a 0% intro APR or build credit, there’s a no-annual-fee card that can fill that need.

Based on a review of cards available through LendingTree, as well as from top issuers, we’ve selected several of the best no-annual-fee credit cards so you can find one that offers the most value for your needs.

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
Intro Purchase APR N/A
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)

The Citi® Double Cash Card is one of the leading cards for earning a flat cash back rate 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 come in the form of Citi ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, travel, to cover recent purchases and more.

The card also comes with a lengthy 0% intro APR balance transfer offer: 0% for 18 months on balance transfers. After the intro period, a 15.49% - 25.49% (variable) APR applies.

There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. A balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies if completed after 4 months of account opening. So, be sure to initiate any transfers promptly.

Beware the 3% foreign transaction fee if traveling abroad.

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

This card does not offer an introductory APR for purchases, however. To benefit the most from the Citi® Double Cash Card balance transfer offer, 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, this card is marketed toward applicants with excellent/good credit, so if your credit score is in the bad or fair range, you will not qualify for this card.

  • Citi Entertainment® offers special access to concerts, sporting events and more
  • Citi® Identity Theft Solutions
  • Use your card with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ and Samsung Pay

The Citi® Double Cash Card is one of the leading cards for earning a flat cash back rate 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 come in the form of Citi ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, travel, to cover recent purchases and more.

The card also comes with a lengthy 0% intro APR balance transfer offer: 0% for 18 months on balance transfers. After the intro period, a 15.49% - 25.49% (variable) APR applies.

There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. A balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies if completed after 4 months of account opening. So, be sure to initiate any transfers promptly.

Beware the 3% foreign transaction fee if traveling abroad.

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

This card does not offer an introductory APR for purchases, however. To benefit the most from the Citi® Double Cash Card balance transfer offer, 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, this card is marketed toward applicants with excellent/good credit, so if your credit score is in the bad or fair range, you will not qualify for this card.

  • Citi Entertainment® offers special access to concerts, sporting events and more
  • Citi® Identity Theft Solutions
  • Use your card with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ and Samsung Pay

Best For A high sign-up bonus and no annual fee

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Apply Now
on Chase's secure site
Intro Purchase APR 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 15.74% - 24.49% Variable

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ comes with a sign-up bonus that’s both generous and relatively easy to earn: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening!

Plus, it offers exceptional rewards on an ongoing basis. You can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Plus, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. Maxing out the $1,500 spending cap on rotating categories will earn you $75 in cash back per quarter before your earning rate for those categories drops to 1%.

The card also comes with intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers. Enjoy a 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, after which a 15.74% - 24.49% variable APR applies. Plus, get a 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months, after which a 15.74% - 24.49% variable APR applies.

There’s a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days. Then, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

If traveling abroad, know there’s a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

If you spend regularly on dining or drugstores, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is already a pretty solid card for you. And if your budget often lines up well with the rotating categories, even better. Some past categories have included spending such as gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores.

Finally, the sign-up bonus offers excellent value for what is a comparatively small spending requirement.

  • Cellphone protection
  • Free access to your VantageScore with Chase Credit Journey
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Earn a $5 Lyft credit when you take three rides in a calendar month
  • Get a $5 Fandango Reward after spending $20 at Fandango or on Fandango’s streaming service
  • Purchase a HelloFresh meal kit delivery plan and get 5% back to use toward your next delivery
  • Complimentary year of ShopRunner membership (enrollment required)

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ comes with a sign-up bonus that’s both generous and relatively easy to earn: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening!

Plus, it offers exceptional rewards on an ongoing basis. You can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Plus, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. Maxing out the $1,500 spending cap on rotating categories will earn you $75 in cash back per quarter before your earning rate for those categories drops to 1%.

The card also comes with intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers. Enjoy a 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, after which a 15.74% - 24.49% variable APR applies. Plus, get a 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months, after which a 15.74% - 24.49% variable APR applies.

There’s a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days. Then, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

If traveling abroad, know there’s a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

If you spend regularly on dining or drugstores, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is already a pretty solid card for you. And if your budget often lines up well with the rotating categories, even better. Some past categories have included spending such as gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores.

Finally, the sign-up bonus offers excellent value for what is a comparatively small spending requirement.

  • Cellphone protection
  • Free access to your VantageScore with Chase Credit Journey
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Earn a $5 Lyft credit when you take three rides in a calendar month
  • Get a $5 Fandango Reward after spending $20 at Fandango or on Fandango’s streaming service
  • Purchase a HelloFresh meal kit delivery plan and get 5% back to use toward your next delivery
  • Complimentary year of ShopRunner membership (enrollment required)

Best For Cash back with no annual fee

Wells Fargo Active Cash<sup>®</sup> Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Apply Now
on Wells Fargo's secure site
Intro Purchase APR 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% Variable APR

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is a top-notch cash back credit card. Cardholders earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases. Plus, you can earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.

If you need to finance a big purchase, take advantage of the 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening. After, a 16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% Variable APR applies. There’s also a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, after which a 16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% Variable APR applies.

The balance transfer fee is 3% intro for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5%; min: $5.

Note that this isn’t an ideal card for international travel as it comes with a foreign transaction fee of 3%.

If you want a card that has it all, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card might be as close as you can get. It comes with a top-notch cash back program, a valuable sign-up bonus and solid 0% intro APR periods on both purchases and balance transfers.

Your cash back can be redeemed in a variety of ways:

  • To cover past purchases made on your card
  • As a credit to a qualifying Wells Fargo credit card, checking account or mortgage
  • For cash from a Wells Fargo ATM (requires an ATM card or a debit card)
  • Toward gift cards from a variety of retailers

However, if you’re willing to spend time optimizing your spending on two or more cards with elevated rewards rates for your most common spending categories, you may be able to earn more cash back than you would just using this flat-rate card alone.

  • 24/7 access to the Visa Signature Concierge
  • Cellphone protection
  • Benefits when staying at a property in the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is a top-notch cash back credit card. Cardholders earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases. Plus, you can earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.

If you need to finance a big purchase, take advantage of the 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening. After, a 16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% Variable APR applies. There’s also a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, after which a 16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% Variable APR applies.

The balance transfer fee is 3% intro for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5%; min: $5.

Note that this isn’t an ideal card for international travel as it comes with a foreign transaction fee of 3%.

If you want a card that has it all, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card might be as close as you can get. It comes with a top-notch cash back program, a valuable sign-up bonus and solid 0% intro APR periods on both purchases and balance transfers.

Your cash back can be redeemed in a variety of ways:

  • To cover past purchases made on your card
  • As a credit to a qualifying Wells Fargo credit card, checking account or mortgage
  • For cash from a Wells Fargo ATM (requires an ATM card or a debit card)
  • Toward gift cards from a variety of retailers

However, if you’re willing to spend time optimizing your spending on two or more cards with elevated rewards rates for your most common spending categories, you may be able to earn more cash back than you would just using this flat-rate card alone.

  • 24/7 access to the Visa Signature Concierge
  • Cellphone protection
  • Benefits when staying at a property in the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection

Best For Low interest rate with no annual fee

Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum

Highlights
  • No annual fee
  • Credit line of up to $25,000
  • Interest rate as low as 7%
  • Free car rental insurance

In a world where many credit cards have APRs of 20% or higher, the Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum stands out with a much lower 7% - 18% (variable).

The card doesn’t have much in the way of features beyond that — there’s no 0% intro APR period and you won’t earn rewards or a sign-up bonus.

However, if you need to carry a balance once in a while, the Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum is one of the best cards available for such situations.

Note that this isn’t an ideal card to take abroad, given that it charges a 1% foreign transaction fee.

If you’re looking for a low interest credit card and have Excellent/Good credit, the Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum deserves to be at or near the top of your list.

You’ll have to join Lake Michigan Credit Union, but membership eligibility is easy to meet. You can qualify based on where you live, work or worship, through a family member who already banks with the credit union or by contributing $5 to the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Foundation.

  • Free car rental insurance
  • 24-hour member service

In a world where many credit cards have APRs of 20% or higher, the Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum stands out with a much lower 7% - 18% (variable).

The card doesn’t have much in the way of features beyond that — there’s no 0% intro APR period and you won’t earn rewards or a sign-up bonus.

However, if you need to carry a balance once in a while, the Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum is one of the best cards available for such situations.

Note that this isn’t an ideal card to take abroad, given that it charges a 1% foreign transaction fee.

If you’re looking for a low interest credit card and have Excellent/Good credit, the Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum deserves to be at or near the top of your list.

You’ll have to join Lake Michigan Credit Union, but membership eligibility is easy to meet. You can qualify based on where you live, work or worship, through a family member who already banks with the credit union or by contributing $5 to the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Foundation.

  • Free car rental insurance
  • 24-hour member service
The information related to the Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum 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 Long 0% intro APRs with no annual fee

Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card

Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card

Apply Now
on Wells Fargo's secure site
Intro Purchase APR 0% intro APR up to 21 months from account opening
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 14.49%-26.49% Variable APR

The Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card offers the longest 0% intro APR periods for both purchases and balance transfers that we’ve found.

Cardholders get a 0% intro APR up to 21 months from account opening , after which a 14.49%-26.49% Variable APR applies. And there’s also a 0% intro APR up to 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, after which a 14.49%-26.49% Variable APR applies.

The balance transfer fee is 3% for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5%; min: $5.

Note that you initially get an intro APR period of 18 months, and by making on-time payments of at least the minimum, you have an opportunity to earn an extension of up to three months.

If traveling abroad, pick a different card to take with you, because this one has a 3% foreign transaction fee.

If you need almost two years of no interest, and you’re not concerned about rewards or a sign-up bonus, the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card is well worth your consideration. Whether you need to finance a big-ticket item or transfer debt from a high-interest card, the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card is a rock star.

Just beware that if you’ve opened a Wells Fargo credit card in the past 15 months, you might not qualify for this card’s intro APRs. And if you’ve opened a Wells Fargo credit card in the past six months, you might be flat-out rejected for the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card.

  • Cellphone protection
  • Roadside dispatch

The Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card offers the longest 0% intro APR periods for both purchases and balance transfers that we’ve found.

Cardholders get a 0% intro APR up to 21 months from account opening , after which a 14.49%-26.49% Variable APR applies. And there’s also a 0% intro APR up to 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, after which a 14.49%-26.49% Variable APR applies.

The balance transfer fee is 3% for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5%; min: $5.

Note that you initially get an intro APR period of 18 months, and by making on-time payments of at least the minimum, you have an opportunity to earn an extension of up to three months.

If traveling abroad, pick a different card to take with you, because this one has a 3% foreign transaction fee.

If you need almost two years of no interest, and you’re not concerned about rewards or a sign-up bonus, the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card is well worth your consideration. Whether you need to finance a big-ticket item or transfer debt from a high-interest card, the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card is a rock star.

Just beware that if you’ve opened a Wells Fargo credit card in the past 15 months, you might not qualify for this card’s intro APRs. And if you’ve opened a Wells Fargo credit card in the past six months, you might be flat-out rejected for the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card.

  • Cellphone protection
  • Roadside dispatch

Best For Rewards in your top spending category with no annual fee

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Apply Now
on Citibank's secure site
Intro Purchase APR 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card comes with a unique rewards program that automatically adapts to your spending: Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

If you max that out each month, that’s $25 per month in cash back at the elevated rate.

Categories eligible for 5% cash back include:

  • Restaurants
  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores
  • Select travel
  • Select transit
  • Select streaming services
  • Drugstores
  • Home improvement stores
  • Fitness clubs
  • Live entertainment

There’s also a valuable sign-up bonus with a relatively easy-to-meet spending target: Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

You can get your cash back either as a statement credit to your card or a direct deposit into a bank account.

If you need to finance a big-ticket item, the card offers a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. After, a 15.49% - 25.49% (variable) APR applies.

And there’s a 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers. After, a 15.49% - 25.49% (variable) APR applies. The balance transfer fee is 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

This isn’t the best card to take abroad; there’s a 3% foreign transaction fee.

If you spend heavily in one of the 10 categories where the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card earns 5% cash back on, you may want this card in your wallet. With the $500 monthly spending cap on the elevated rate, you can earn $300 in cash back annually, not including the cash back you’ll earn at the lower rate.

Plus, it comes with solid 0% intro APR periods on both purchases and balance transfers, which will come in handy for consumers looking to finance an expensive purchase or transfer debt from another credit card.

  • Citi Entertainment® offers special access to concerts, sporting events and more
  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection
  • Use your card with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ and Samsung Pay
  • Easily lock your card with Citi® Quick Lock
  • Free access to your FICO® Score

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card comes with a unique rewards program that automatically adapts to your spending: Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

If you max that out each month, that’s $25 per month in cash back at the elevated rate.

Categories eligible for 5% cash back include:

  • Restaurants
  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores
  • Select travel
  • Select transit
  • Select streaming services
  • Drugstores
  • Home improvement stores
  • Fitness clubs
  • Live entertainment

There’s also a valuable sign-up bonus with a relatively easy-to-meet spending target: Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

You can get your cash back either as a statement credit to your card or a direct deposit into a bank account.

If you need to finance a big-ticket item, the card offers a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. After, a 15.49% - 25.49% (variable) APR applies.

And there’s a 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers. After, a 15.49% - 25.49% (variable) APR applies. The balance transfer fee is 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

This isn’t the best card to take abroad; there’s a 3% foreign transaction fee.

If you spend heavily in one of the 10 categories where the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card earns 5% cash back on, you may want this card in your wallet. With the $500 monthly spending cap on the elevated rate, you can earn $300 in cash back annually, not including the cash back you’ll earn at the lower rate.

Plus, it comes with solid 0% intro APR periods on both purchases and balance transfers, which will come in handy for consumers looking to finance an expensive purchase or transfer debt from another credit card.

  • Citi Entertainment® offers special access to concerts, sporting events and more
  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection
  • Use your card with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ and Samsung Pay
  • Easily lock your card with Citi® Quick Lock
  • Free access to your FICO® Score

Best For Choosing your cash back category with no annual fee

Bank of America<sup>®</sup> Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Apply Now
on Bank Of America's secure site
Intro Purchase APR See Terms
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR See Terms

When your budget fluctuates, a credit card that lets you change your cash back category monthly can come in handy.

With the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, you’ll earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases. You can select from the following for your 3% category:

  • Gas
  • Online shopping
  • Dining
  • Travel
  • Drug stores
  • Home improvement/furnishings

If you max out the $2,500 spending cap on purchases eligible for 3% every quarter, you’ll earn $75 in cash back per quarter at the elevated rate. Plus, you can earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

There’s a See Terms, after which a See Terms applies. And there’s a See Terms, after which a See Terms applies. The balance transfer fee is either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

If traveling internationally, beware this card’s 3% foreign transaction fee.

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card can fill many niches. Perhaps you’re a road warrior who spends heavily on gas while traveling the country. Or maybe you’re a frequent online shopper who loves seeing packages show up on your doorstep.

The great thing about this card is that you can change your 3% category as frequently as every month, meaning you can switch things up when you know your spending will be different from one month to the next.

  • Use your card with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ or Samsung Pay
  • Opt in to access your FICO® Score

When your budget fluctuates, a credit card that lets you change your cash back category monthly can come in handy.

With the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, you’ll earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases. You can select from the following for your 3% category:

  • Gas
  • Online shopping
  • Dining
  • Travel
  • Drug stores
  • Home improvement/furnishings

If you max out the $2,500 spending cap on purchases eligible for 3% every quarter, you’ll earn $75 in cash back per quarter at the elevated rate. Plus, you can earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

There’s a See Terms, after which a See Terms applies. And there’s a See Terms, after which a See Terms applies. The balance transfer fee is either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

If traveling internationally, beware this card’s 3% foreign transaction fee.

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card can fill many niches. Perhaps you’re a road warrior who spends heavily on gas while traveling the country. Or maybe you’re a frequent online shopper who loves seeing packages show up on your doorstep.

The great thing about this card is that you can change your 3% category as frequently as every month, meaning you can switch things up when you know your spending will be different from one month to the next.

  • Use your card with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ or Samsung Pay
  • Opt in to access your FICO® Score

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
Intro Purchase APR 0% Intro APR for 6 months on purchases
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 14.49% - 23.49% Variable APR

This card offers a high cash back rate in a variety of spending categories that change every quarter. You’ll 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. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

There’s a $1,500 spending cap on the 5% rate each quarter, after which you’ll earn just 1% on all purchases. Also, you must activate the new categories every quarter — Discover typically sends reminders.

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.

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 a 0% Intro APR for 6 months on purchases from the date of account opening. After, a 14.49% - 23.49% Variable APR applies.

The Discover it® Student Cash Back is designed for college students looking to establish and build their credit through responsible card usage. And because Discover provides access to your FICO® Score, which is updated monthly, you can easily track your progress in building credit.

You can also sign up for alerts in case there are inquiries on your credit report (indicating that you’ve applied for credit or someone else has applied for credit using your information) or if your Social Security number is found on the Dark Web.

Last but not least, the card earns cash back at a generous rate for those willing to activate a new category every quarter. The Discover cash back calendar for 2022 is as follows:

  • Jan–March: Grocery stores (excludes Walmart and Target) and fitness club and gym memberships
  • April–June: Gas stations and Target
  • July–Sept: Restaurants and PayPal
  • Oct–Dec: Amazon.com and digital wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Garmin Pay)
  • Access your FICO® Score for free
  • No penalty APR and no late fee on your first late payment
  • Free Social Security number alerts (enrollment required)
  • Easily freeze and unfreeze your card with Freeze it®

This card offers a high cash back rate in a variety of spending categories that change every quarter. You’ll 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. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

There’s a $1,500 spending cap on the 5% rate each quarter, after which you’ll earn just 1% on all purchases. Also, you must activate the new categories every quarter — Discover typically sends reminders.

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.

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 a 0% Intro APR for 6 months on purchases from the date of account opening. After, a 14.49% - 23.49% Variable APR applies.

The Discover it® Student Cash Back is designed for college students looking to establish and build their credit through responsible card usage. And because Discover provides access to your FICO® Score, which is updated monthly, you can easily track your progress in building credit.

You can also sign up for alerts in case there are inquiries on your credit report (indicating that you’ve applied for credit or someone else has applied for credit using your information) or if your Social Security number is found on the Dark Web.

Last but not least, the card earns cash back at a generous rate for those willing to activate a new category every quarter. The Discover cash back calendar for 2022 is as follows:

  • Jan–March: Grocery stores (excludes Walmart and Target) and fitness club and gym memberships
  • April–June: Gas stations and Target
  • July–Sept: Restaurants and PayPal
  • Oct–Dec: Amazon.com and digital wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Garmin Pay)

  • Access your FICO® Score for free
  • No penalty APR and no late fee on your first late payment
  • Free Social Security number alerts (enrollment required)
  • Easily freeze and unfreeze your card with Freeze it®

Best For Travel card with no annual fee

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now
on Capital One's secure site
Intro Purchase APR 0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 16.49% - 26.49% (Variable)

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card earns 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 miles on hotels and rental cars booked through capital one travel. Plus, earn 5 miles per $1 spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

Redeem miles for past travel purchases, to book new travel or transfer them to a variety of travel partners.

Plus, you can earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel. And if you need to finance a big purchase, you’ll appreciate the 0% intro on purchases for 15 months, after which a 16.49% - 26.49% (variable) APR applies.

As befits a travel card, you don’t have to worry about a foreign transaction fee; this card charges none.

If you’re carrying a balance on another card, take advantage of this card’s intro APR: 0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months. After, a 16.49% - 26.49% (variable) APR applies. The balance transfer fee is 3%.

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card doesn’t come with the premium benefits you may find on more expensive travel cards. But for the occasional traveler who wants to earn miles for a $0 annual fee, this card is a fine choice. You’ve got flexibility in how you use your miles, and you can rest easy knowing the miles you earn won’t expire for the life of the account.

  • Free access to your VantageScore with CreditWise
  • Capital One Shopping (applies coupons to online shopping when available)
  • Virtual card numbers for safer online shopping
  • Extended warranty
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Easily lock your card in the Capital One mobile app
  • Capital One Dining and Capital One Entertainment

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card earns 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 miles on hotels and rental cars booked through capital one travel. Plus, earn 5 miles per $1 spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

Redeem miles for past travel purchases, to book new travel or transfer them to a variety of travel partners.

Plus, you can earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel. And if you need to finance a big purchase, you’ll appreciate the 0% intro on purchases for 15 months, after which a 16.49% - 26.49% (variable) APR applies.

As befits a travel card, you don’t have to worry about a foreign transaction fee; this card charges none.

If you’re carrying a balance on another card, take advantage of this card’s intro APR: 0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months. After, a 16.49% - 26.49% (variable) APR applies. The balance transfer fee is 3%.

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card doesn’t come with the premium benefits you may find on more expensive travel cards. But for the occasional traveler who wants to earn miles for a $0 annual fee, this card is a fine choice. You’ve got flexibility in how you use your miles, and you can rest easy knowing the miles you earn won’t expire for the life of the account.

  • Free access to your VantageScore with CreditWise
  • Capital One Shopping (applies coupons to online shopping when available)
  • Virtual card numbers for safer online shopping
  • Extended warranty
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Easily lock your card in the Capital One mobile app
  • Capital One Dining and Capital One Entertainment

Best For Hotel card with no annual fee

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Apply Now
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
Intro Purchase APR N/A
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 17.24%-26.24% Variable

Many hotel credit cards come with a stiff annual fee. The Hilton Honors American Express Card, however, offers excellent value with a $0 annual fee. You can earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.  Plus, you can earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of Membership.

Additionally, cardholders earn points at a generous rate for numerous common spending categories: Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio, 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations AND 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

There’s no intro APR; the regular APR is 17.24%-26.24% variable. Don’t worry about a foreign transaction fee, because the Hilton Honors American Express Card charges none.

To see rates & fees for the Hilton Honors American Express Card please click here.

Hilton is one of the largest hotel chains and has more than 6,800 properties worldwide. If your preferred home away from home is often in the Hilton family, the Hilton Honors American Express Card offers a chance to rack up Hilton Honors points. Plus, it conveys automatic Hilton Honors Silver status, with the chance to earn Hilton Honors Gold status by spending $20,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year.

  • Access to Broadway shows, concerts and more with American Express Experiences
  • Terms apply

Many hotel credit cards come with a stiff annual fee. The Hilton Honors American Express Card, however, offers excellent value with a $0 annual fee. You can earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.  Plus, you can earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of Membership.

Additionally, cardholders earn points at a generous rate for numerous common spending categories: Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio, 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations AND 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

There’s no intro APR; the regular APR is 17.24%-26.24% variable. Don’t worry about a foreign transaction fee, because the Hilton Honors American Express Card charges none.

To see rates & fees for the Hilton Honors American Express Card please click here.

Hilton is one of the largest hotel chains and has more than 6,800 properties worldwide. If your preferred home away from home is often in the Hilton family, the Hilton Honors American Express Card offers a chance to rack up Hilton Honors points. Plus, it conveys automatic Hilton Honors Silver status, with the chance to earn Hilton Honors Gold status by spending $20,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year.

  • Access to Broadway shows, concerts and more with American Express Experiences
  • Terms apply

Best For Earning airline miles for no annual fee

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

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

Apply Now
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
Intro Purchase APR N/A
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 17.24%-26.24% Variable

While many airline cards charge an annual fee, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card‘s annual fee is $0. Plus, it makes earning miles easy for dining and purchases with Delta: Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

There’s also a welcome offer with a relatively low spending requirement: Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

The card’s APR is 17.24%-26.24% variable and the foreign transaction fee is none.

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

The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card is the lowest in a line of co-branded Delta Amex cards, and doesn’t come with some of the premium perks the others do (such as a free checked bag or priority boarding). However, it’s also the only one with a $0 annual fee. In short, this card is good for the casual Delta flier who wants to earn miles but doesn’t want to pay an annual fee.

Plus, the card offers a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on eligible Delta in-flight purchases.

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

  • Access to ticket presales and exclusive events with American Express Experiences
  • Terms apply

While many airline cards charge an annual fee, the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card‘s annual fee is $0. Plus, it makes earning miles easy for dining and purchases with Delta: Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

There’s also a welcome offer with a relatively low spending requirement: Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

The card’s APR is 17.24%-26.24% variable and the foreign transaction fee is none.

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

The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card is the lowest in a line of co-branded Delta Amex cards, and doesn’t come with some of the premium perks the others do (such as a free checked bag or priority boarding). However, it’s also the only one with a $0 annual fee. In short, this card is good for the casual Delta flier who wants to earn miles but doesn’t want to pay an annual fee.

Plus, the card offers a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on eligible Delta in-flight purchases.

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

  • Access to ticket presales and exclusive events with American Express Experiences
  • Terms apply

Best For Credit-building credit card with no annual fee

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

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Intro Purchase APR N/A
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 24.49% Variable APR

For consumers with poor/limited 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 cash back bonus at select merchants.

There’s also a sign-up bonus for new cardmembers. Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Finally, after seven 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 are 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, simply meaning no deposit is required.

A great feature of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is that it earns cash back. And, unlike some unsecured cards for people with 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 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 access
  • Discover Identity Alerts
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card online
  • U.S.-based customer support available 24/7

For consumers with poor/limited 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 cash back bonus at select merchants.

There’s also a sign-up bonus for new cardmembers. Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Finally, after seven 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 are 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, simply meaning no deposit is required.

A great feature of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is that it earns cash back. And, unlike some unsecured cards for people with 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 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 access
  • Discover Identity Alerts
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card online
  • U.S.-based customer support available 24/7

Best For Small business credit card with no annual fee

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

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Apply Now
on Chase's secure site
Intro Purchase APR 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 13.99% - 19.99% 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 features for a $0 annual fee.

Cardholders 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.

If your business has a big purchase coming up, take advantage of the 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months. After, a 13.99% - 19.99% Variable APR applies.

Finally, earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. But be aware this card isn’t a great choice if business takes you abroad, due to a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

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 to finance a large purchase, you’ll enjoy the 0% intro APR and valuable sign-up bonus.

  • 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 features for a $0 annual fee.

Cardholders 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.

If your business has a big purchase coming up, take advantage of the 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months. After, a 13.99% - 19.99% Variable APR applies.

Finally, earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. But be aware this card isn’t a great choice if business takes you abroad, due to a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

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 to finance a large purchase, you’ll enjoy the 0% intro APR and valuable sign-up bonus.

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

Side-by-side comparison of the best credit cards with no annual fee

Credit cardBest for
Citi® Double Cash Card OverallEarn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressCash back3% 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. 1% cash back on other purchases. Terms apply. Cash back can be redeemed in the form of a statement credit.
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® CardDiningEarn 4X points on dining, takeout, and restaurant delivery, 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, gas stations, EV charging stations and on streaming services. Plus, a $15 credit for annual streaming purchases like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify®, Apple Music, Disney+, HBO Max and more! And earn 1X points on all other eligible purchases.
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express CardAirline milesEarn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
Citi Simplicity® CardIntro APRNo rewards.
Discover it® Student Cash BackCollege students5% 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. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® CardLow APRNo rewards.
Ink Business Cash® Credit CardSmall business ownersEarn 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.
Discover it® Secured Credit CardBuilding credit2% 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.

To see rates & fees for the Hilton Honors American Express Card please click here.
To see rates & fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card please click here.

Pros and cons of credit cards with no annual fee

  • May earn cash back, points or miles
  • Often come with 0% intro APR periods
  • Can build credit history at no cost
  • Won’t offer premium travel benefits
  • Might have a lower sign-up bonus

Is it possible to switch to a credit card with no annual fee?

In many cases, yes. If your issuer offers cards with an annual fee and cards with no annual fee, you may be able to request a product change from the former to the latter. You may also hear product changes called “downgrading” or “upgrading” depending on whether the new card is considered more or less premium than the original.

Note that issuers can impose restrictions on what product changes they’ll allow, such as requiring your account to be open for a certain amount of time, disallowing changes to a particular card or requiring changes to be kept within the same “family” of cards (those earning cash back vs. those earning points, for example).

Typically, a product change keeps your existing account information and does not require a hard inquiry. But you generally can’t earn a sign-up bonus through a product change, where you might if opening a new card.

When is a credit card with an annual fee worth it?

In some cases, paying an annual fee might be worth it for a card with premium benefits and rewards.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a top travel credit card, and charges a commensurate $550 annual fee. That fee gets you, among other things, airport lounge access with a Priority Pass™ Select membership (enrollment required), a $300 annual travel credit and the ability to transfer points 1:1 to various travel partners.

It may also be worth paying an annual fee for the right credit-building card.

We typically recommend avoiding credit cards with expensive annual fees targeted at people with subprime credit — but there are a few solid cards with reasonable annual fees meant to help people with poor or fair credit improve their credit scores. For example, the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is a secured card requiring a $200 minimum security deposit and charging a $35 annual fee. But unlike most credit cards, it doesn’t require a credit check to apply, making it ideal for people with poor/limited credit who want to rebuild.

Frequently asked questions about credit cards and annual fees

Some credit cards charge an annual, which is assessed yearly on your card anniversary date and added to your balance. Typically, cards that charge an annual fee fall into two categories:

  • Cards for people with bad credit may charge an annual fee, because applicants will likely struggle to qualify for better options.
  • Cards that come with valuable benefits, such as travel cards offering insurance protections such as lost baggage or rental car insurance, or priority boarding or other perks.

Yes. In fact, some of the best rewards and cash back cards charge no annual fee.

There are numerous types of credit cards with no annual fee, including cash back cards, cards earning points or miles, 0% intro APR cards and cards meant to build credit (such as secured cards).

Some cards automatically come with a waived annual fee for the first year, with the fee kicking in the second year.

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 in the case of consumers who had a travel card but weren’t able to travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

If your issuer won’t waive your annual fee, consider asking for a product change to a card with no annual fee instead.

If you have a poor credit score and are looking for a card with no annual fee, a secured card is likely to be your best bet. With a secured card, you submit a deposit to the issuer in the amount of your desired credit limit, and this protects the issuer if you don’t pay off what you charge to the card.

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is a strong choice for a secured card with which to rebuild your credit score. It requires a $200 minimum deposit and charges a $0 annual fee. Plus, Discover begins monthly reviews after seven months, evaluating whether you qualify to graduate to an unsecured card and get your deposit back.

To see rates & fees for the Hilton Honors American Express Card please click here.
To see rates & fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card please click here.

Methodology

In selecting the best credit cards with no annual fee, we evaluated factors including rewards programs, APRs, and accessibility to consumers with varying levels of credit.

Some of the rewards cards on this list earn cash back, while others earn points or miles; which is best will depend on how you intend to use the card.

In addition, many of the cards here offer a chance for new cardmembers to earn a sign-up bonus, which was weighed as a positive factor.

Some of the cards on the list offer 0% intro APR periods, making them good choices for consumers looking to pay off debt without incurring interest for a certain amount of time.

Finally, useful features such as extended warranty or rental car protection were evaluated as well.

Glen Luke Flanagan

  • Expertise: Personal finance, credit scoring, credit cards
  • Education: Radford University, East Carolina University

 


 

Glen Luke Flanagan is a senior credit card writer for LendingTree. He joined the team in June 2019, and covers topics including new credit cards, how your credit score works and what you need to know about credit card interest.
 
Before joining LendingTree, Glen worked in journalism and government communications. As a journalist at newspapers in North Carolina and South Carolina, his reporting won awards from the North Carolina Press Association and the South Carolina Press Association, respectively.
 
Glen earned his bachelor’s degree in media studies with a concentration in journalism from Radford University, graduating summa cum laude in May 2014. He also earned a master’s degree in English with a concentration in technical and professional communication, as well as a graduate certificate in marketing, from East Carolina University in May 2022.

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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.