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Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards of 2019

Jennifer Blocker
Updated on: 01/03/2019

The easiest way to get the most value out of the rewards you earn with your credit card is to avoid paying fees and interest. With the plethora of rewards credit cards on the market that do not charge an annual fee, there are more options than ever. However, avoiding interest will be up to you. All credit cards have a grace period of 21 days after a statement is issued to pay your bill. Pay within that timeframe to avoid interest and maximize your rewards. To find the best no annual fee credit card, be sure to consider reward rates and bonuses in conjunction with your spending habits.

8 Top Rated Credit Cards Without an Annual Fee

To pay or not to pay? That is the question. Although paying an annual fee can get you increased benefits and rewards, no annual fee cards should not be underestimated when it comes to rewards and perks. There is no better way to maximize the value of your rewards than to keep your out-of-pocket costs down. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a no-fee credit card. However, to get the best no annual fee rewards cards you will need good or excellent credit. Even if your credit is good, no-fee cards can be an asset to your credit health.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
Learn More
Intro APR on Purchases
0% intro on purchases for 12 months
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
14.24% - 24.24% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Venture® Rewards
about this credit card:
    • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
    • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
    • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
    • Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
    • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
    • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 14.24% - 24.24% variable APR after that
    • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
    • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn

Featured Benefits

Travel Upgrades and Savings:

Free upgrades and discounts at select hotels and resorts are part of the Visa Signature card benefits.

Complimentary Concierge Service:

Enjoy free assistance 24-hours a day, even while you’re traveling.

No Foreign Transaction Fee:

Use your card anywhere in the world and never pay additional fees.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: You’ll get bonus points for every purchase you make. No matter what you buy, you’ll earn 1.25 miles for every dollar spent. Those miles will add up fast.
  • Hassle-Free Redemptions: Miles can be applied to any travel purchases, not just airfare. On top of that, you don’t have to worry about blackout dates or limited award space because you buy the travel you want and then apply miles to the purchase.
  • No Annual Fee: It’s hard to be a rewards card that does not charge an annual fee. Every reward you earn is essentially free!
  • Sign-Up Bonus: For a no-fee card, 20,000 miles is an excellent sign-up bonus. It’s worth $200 in travel. All you have to do is spend $1,000 during the first three months you have the card.

Our Expert's Conclusion

If you’re looking for a no-fee rewards card that offers a solid sign-up bonus and hassle-free redemptions, than the the VentureOne card from Capital One is a great option. You’ll get 20,000 miles worth $200 for spending just $1,000 in 90 days, plus you’ll earn a generous 1.25 miles per dollar for every purchase.

Getting the card is a risk-free proposition because it won’t cost you a penny. Whatever miles you earn with the card are pure profit because there aren’t any fees. You can even use the card while traveling internationally, since there are no foreign transaction fees either.

  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 14.24% - 24.24% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Learn More
Intro APR on Purchases
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Regular APR
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Capital One® Cash Back Rewards
about this credit card:
    • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
    • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
    • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that
    • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
    • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees

Featured Benefits

Travel Upgrades and Savings:

With your access to the Luxury Hotels & Resorts program, you can enjoy complimentary room upgrades, early check in and late checkout, subject to availability.

Travel Protection:

Get reimbursed up to $1,500 per trip for non-refundable travel costs if your trip is canceled or ends early.

Wi-Fi:

Only A-List Preferred status members get inflight Wi-Fi at no charge.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: For every purchase you make you’ll earn 1.5% cash back. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
  • Hassle-Free Redemptions: You can redeem your cashback at any time with no minimums! You’ll either get a statement credit or a check in the mail—whatever works for you.
  • Great Sign-Up Bonus: This card comes with a sign-up bonus of $150 after spending only $500 within the first 3 months. After a few cell phone payments and trips to the grocery store, you’ll have a cool $150 very quickly!
  • No Annual Fee: No matter how you use your card, you won’t pay an annual fee. You don’t have to worry about paying a hefty annual fee and all the rewards are all yours.

Our Expert's Conclusion

Capital One’s Quicksilver card is a great card for earning cash back. If you want to simplify your wallet and you value cash more than miles and points, this is the card for you. Since you can earn 1.5 percent back on every single purchase you make and never pay an annual fee, you can earn some serious cash on everyday purchases, big ticket items, all types of travel or whatever else you choose.

Again, since this card has no annual fee, there’s little downside to the Quicksilver credit card. Yet, it still comes with the elevated MasterCard World Elite protections. As far as travel cards go, this is not a premium card that helps earn status, free checked bags or lounge access, but if you’re an occasional traveler or prefer to fly economy, this card is still a good bet. The cashback you earn can be used toward travel or any other purchase you make. Flexibility makes this a great card.

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Rating: 90/100
Chase Freedom®
Apply Now
Intro APR on Purchases
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Regular APR
17.24% to 25.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Ultimate Rewards®
about this credit card:
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24% to 25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
    • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
    • 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
    • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
    • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
    • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
    • No annual fee

Featured Benefits

Foreign Transaction Fee:

Best to leave this one at home when you travel abroad. You’ll be a 3% fee on all international transactions.

Why should you get this card?

  • Awesome Earning Potential: You’ll get 5 points per dollar spent in rotating bonus categories. The categories, which typically include everyday expenses like gas, dining out and groceries, change every quarter.
  • No Annual Fee: With no annual fee, the Freedom card is easy to add to your arsenal of rewards cards. It’s also great for building credit since you can keep it forever at no cost and increase the age of your credit.
  • Solid Sign-Up Bonus: While the 150 points sign-up bonus isn’t the biggest you’ll find, it isn’t bad for a no-fee card!
  • Compliments Other Ultimate Rewards Cards: It’s easy and free to transfer the points you earn with this card to other UR cards. And if you have a premium UR card, like the Sapphire Preferred, you’ll get even more value out of your points.

Our Expert's Conclusion

The short answer is yes! With no annual fee and impressive earning potential, this card is really a no-brainer. Even if you don’t have a premium Ultimate Rewards card, the Chase Freedom is still an excellent cashback card.

The only drawback is that it takes a little bit of work to get the most out of this card. You have to register every quarter for the bonus categories, and you have to remember what they are when you’re making purchases. You don’t want to use this card for all of your spending because it earns only one point per dollar in non-bonus categories.

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24% to 25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 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
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

Intro APR on Purchases
0% 15 months on Purchases
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% 15 months on Balance Transfers
Regular APR
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
ThankYou®
about this credit card:
    • Enjoy 0% Intro APR on purchases for 15 months from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer; after that, the variable APR will be 15.24% - 25.24% based upon your creditworthiness
    • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
    • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
    • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
    • Points are redeemable for gift cards to popular retailers, restaurants, and department and home stores. 2,500 ThankYou® Points can be redeemed for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com
    • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
    • No annual fee

Featured Benefits

Citi Private Pass:

Get special access to tickets to many concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more, including presale and VIP packages.

Foreign Transaction Fee:

You’ll pay a 3% fee for each transaction not in U.S. dollars.

Citi Concierge:

Specially-trained staff members are ready to help you with travel, shopping, dining, entertainment and everyday needs.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: You’ll get bonus points on all purchases in the dining and entertainment categories. Before you know it, you’ll have a stash of points after a few nights out on the town.
  • No Annual Fees: Earning rewards is fast, easy and costs nothing. They say that nothing in this world is free, except cheese in a mouse trap… and, apparently, ThankYou points.
  • 0% APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 12 months: Although I do not recommend opening a new credit card while carrying debt, it’s nice to have the option to consolidate balances and pay them off within a year with no interest.
  • Points Don’t Expire: There’s no limit to the number of points you can earn, and points don’t expire as long as the card is open. No annual fees make holding on to this card a no-brainer.

Our Expert's Conclusion

If you’re looking for a credit card that has no annual fee and earns bonus points in multiple categories, then the Citi ThankYou Preferred card is a good option. It’s also a great card for someone who wants to start earning rewards but is intimidated by complicated redemption options and point transfers.

Applying for this card costs nothing and you won’t pay a dime to keep it year after year. There’s absolutely no risk for the cardholder. Earning points means rewards at no cost.

  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR on purchases for 15 months from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer; after that, the variable APR will be 15.24% - 25.24% based upon your creditworthiness
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • Points are redeemable for gift cards to popular retailers, restaurants, and department and home stores. 2,500 ThankYou® Points can be redeemed for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No annual fee
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% 18 months on Balance Transfers*
Regular APR
15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Citi® Double Cash Reward Program
about this credit card:
    • Earn 2% cash back on purchases 1% when you buy and 1% as you make payments for those purchases
    • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time
    • 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.74% - 25.74% based on your creditworthiness.*
    • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
    • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases
    • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*

Featured Benefits

Concierge service:

Citi Concierge helps you save valuable time with a staff of specially-trained experts who are ready to assist you with your travel, shopping, dining, entertainment and everyday needs.

Foreign Transaction Fee:

3% of each purchase transaction in U.S. dollars.

Why should you get this card?

  • No Annual Fee: You’ll never have to pay anything for this card. That means all of the rewards you earn are pure bonus!
  • 2% Cash Back on Everything: You don’t need to keep track of specific categories that earn more or less cash back; everything earns 2%!
  • No Caps on Your Earning: Some credit cards that offer higher cash back have a cap on how much you can earn, but not with the Citi Double Cash.
  • Late Fee Pass: If you accidentally miss a payment, Citi has you covered and won’t charge you a late fee–but only once.

Our Expert's Conclusion

The Citi Double Cash mostly makes sense under two circumstances. The first is for someone who is seeking simplicity. Since the Double Cash card doesn’t have rotating or any other type of bonus categories to worry about, all you have to do is swipe, pay off your card and reap the benefits!

The second type of person that the Double Cash makes sense for is someone who has a few other rewards cards that cover popular purchase categories, like groceries, gas and travel, but they’re looking for a card for other purchases that otherwise would not earn a bonus. The Double Cash is a great option for that!

  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases 1% when you buy and 1% as you make payments for those purchases
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time
  • 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.74% - 25.74% based on your creditworthiness.*
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

Intro APR on Purchases
0% 12 months on Purchases
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% 21 months on Balance Transfers
Regular APR
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Citi® Diamond Preferred®
about this credit card:
    • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that the variable APR will be 14.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness
    • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 14.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness
    • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balance, are paid in full
    • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
    • $0 liability on unauthorized purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions
    • No annual fee
    • Free access to FICO® Scores

Why should you get this card?

  • Saving on Balance Transfers: Transferring balances from credit cards or other debts on which you are paying interest is a great way to save some money. However, the Citi Diamond Preferred card charges a fee of $5 or 3 percent of the balance, whichever is greater, when you conduct a balance transfer. So you should be sure the interest savings are greater than the balance transfer fee before you make this decision. In addition, balance transfers must be completed within the first four months of account opening in order to qualify for the promotional 0% APR.
  • Saving on Purchases: The savings available on new purchases are arguably the best use of the introductory 0% APR. This is because new purchases, unlike balance transfers, do not come up with an upfront fee. Therefore, you can use this feature to completely avoid interest and fees as long as you pay off the entire balance before the 21-month 0% APR period is over. You must make at least the minimum payment to maintain the promotional rate.

Our Expert's Conclusion

The primary benefit of the Citi Diamond Preferred card is the 21-month introductory 0% APR. This benefit is very useful for people trying to get out of debt or for people anticipating a large purchase which they would like to pay off over time without incurring interest charges.

If you are currently paying a high interest rate on another credit card and have a considerable balance, transferring that balance to the Citi Diamond Preferred card could result in significant savings. If you are in debt, interest payments and late fees can make paying off your credit card balance seem difficult because these fees offset any potential reduction in the principal. However, making a balance transfer to a credit card with a 0% intro APR can be a successful strategy for reducing your debt.

Since the Citi Diamond Preferred card has a 21-month 0% APR period, you can essentially take your current balance and divide by 21 to determine how much you will have to pay each month in order to pay the debt off completely before interest charges begin.

  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that the variable APR will be 14.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 14.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balance, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • $0 liability on unauthorized purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions
  • No annual fee
  • Free access to FICO® Scores

Compare No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Compare all credit cards by RE® Value, which is an estimate of how much you will earn during first year of credit card use minus annual fees.

Credit Card
Bonuses & Rewards
First Year Rewards
FEES
RE® value
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 20,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 30,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$500
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$500
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $150 sign-up bonus.
  • $360 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$510
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$510
Radisson Rewards™ Visa® Card

Radisson Rewards™ Visa® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 30,000 Gold Points® sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 Gold Points® for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$205
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$205
U.S. Bank Cash 365™ American Express® Card

U.S. Bank Cash 365™ American Express® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $150 sign-up bonus.
  • $360 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$510
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$510
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $150 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$390
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$390
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 25,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 36,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$610
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$610
JetBlue® MasterCard®

JetBlue® MasterCard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$571
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$571
Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 75,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 72,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$470
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$470
Diamond Resorts International® MasterCard®

Diamond Resorts International® MasterCard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2,500 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$198
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$198
Wyndham Rewards® Visa® Card

Wyndham Rewards® Visa® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 15,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$281
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$281
Princess Cruises® Rewards Visa® Card

Princess Cruises® Rewards Visa® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$340
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$340
Carnival™ World MasterCard®

Carnival™ World MasterCard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 FunPoints® sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 FunPoints® for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$340
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$340
Holland America Line Rewards Visa® Card

Holland America Line Rewards Visa® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 5,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$290
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$290
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $150 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$390
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$390
SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $0 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240
Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240
AARP® Credit Card from Chase

AARP® Credit Card from Chase

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$340
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$340
NFL Extra Points Credit Card

NFL Extra Points Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$340
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$340
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $0 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

More Details
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$615
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$615
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 15,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 36,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$510
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$510
Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 150 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$242
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$242
AT&T Access Card From Citi

AT&T Access Card From Citi

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$340
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$340

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

More Details
Expedia® + Card from Citi

Expedia® + Card from Citi

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 15,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$244
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$244

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

More Details
Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Card

Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 5,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$323
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$323
U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Select+ Card

U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Select+ Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 FlexPoints® sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 FlexPoints® for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$507
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$507

Three Ways No Annual Fee Credit Cards Can Keep Your Credit Healthy

Each facet of your credit habits will help determine your credit score. Although paying your bills on time is a major factor that usually accounts for about 35 percent your score, there are other factors that you may not have considered. For instance, how many accounts you have and how long you’ve had them can make up as much as 25 percent of your overall score. To keep your credit healthy and your score on the rise, consider the benefits of no annual fee credit cards that you may not have thought of before.

  • Way #1: Starting Your Credit Portfolio

    No annual fee cards are imperative to establish yourself in the credit arena. First, get familiar with your spending habits. Credit cards can be a great tool to help track your spending and see where your money is going. This can help you create a budget and prevent you from carrying a balance. If you know you might need to carry a balance, aim for a no annual fee credit card with a promotional 0% interest rate or an ongoing low apr.

    Keeping balances low is especially important if you have not been given a high spending limit. You never want use more than 30 percent of your credit on any card as it will negatively impact credit utilization, which is worth about a third of your credit score. When starting out in the world of credit you will probably find yourself being granted small credit limits. You may get cards with limits as low as $500. In which case, just carrying a balance of $250 can put you at 50 percent credit utilization. Having several no annual fee credit cards can keep your out-of-pocket costs down while extending your overall amount of credit. This will prevent small balances from having a big impact.

  • Way #2: Establishing Revolving Accounts

    Your credit mix is about 10 percent of your credit score. If you are trying to build your revolving accounts you should have several no fee credit cards for a solid foundation. You should have at least 11 accounts, but more than 21 is optimal. However, never apply for too many cards in a short time span. This may make you seem desperate for credit which looks risky to a bank. Also, too many hard inquiries can drop your credit score.

    If you have 22 or more long term revolving accounts, opening or closing some additional accounts won’t have as much of an impact if you have an established credit history then if you are just starting out. These don’t have to all be credit cards. Having several different lenders on your credit report makes you seem like less of a risk.

    Maintaining accounts is as important as opening them. More accounts equals more credit which is better for your debt to credit ratio, especially if you need to carry a balance. If this number goes over 30 percent it can have an unfavorable effect on your credit score.

    For example, if you have 3 cards with a $5,000 limit each, for a total of $15,000, and you have an outstanding balance of $5,000 between the three accounts, you would be at 30 percent debt to credit. But if you closed one of those accounts, the debt would go up to 50 percent of your usable credit, which would have a negative impact on your credit score. Debt to credit ratio is responsible for 30 percent of your score.

  • Way #3: Lengthening Your Credit Age

    Keep accounts open to lengthen your credit history. No annual fee credit cards are ideal for this as keeping them doesn’t cost anything if there is no balance. Credit age accounts for 15 perecent of your credit score. Your credit age should be at least seven years, but more than nine years will help optimize your credit score. This is done as an average, so when you open new accounts it factors in and effectively takes time away from older accounts.

    For instance, if you have a card for 5 years, getting a second card will drop the age of your credit history to 2.5 years. Therefore, it is good to have several revolving accounts on your credit history for a significant period of time before you consider opening and closing new accounts.

    Closing accounts can also shorten your credit age. Be aware that some credit bureaus will remove dormant accounts after a period of time. To prevent creditors from closing an old card account, use it to make a small purchase and pay it off. This way the account doesn’t look unused.

Top 5 Reasons to Pay an Annual Fee for a Credit Card

There can be some clear benefits to getting a card that has an annual fee. For the most part, the higher the annual fee, the better the perks and benefits the card will come with. If you are considering paying an annual fee for a credit card, consider the shape of your overall credit first. Although the perks and benefits usually outweigh the cost, you should be sure to have your credit basics down before you begin to play the advanced game.

  • Reason #1: Big Bonus

    Getting a good sign-up bonus can be one of the biggest draws for credit card seekers. Some are attracted by the numbers, and others are attracted by the potential value. Some bonuses can be large enough for an entire vacation if you know how to use your points and miles to maximize their value.

    When considering a bonus, one of the biggest factors is how much you must spend to get it and in what amount of time. For the most part, the larger the bonus the more you will have to spend to get it. Although there are cards that will reward you just for making your first purchase, in most cases you’ll have to spend from $500 to $2,000 in three months. Sometimes, for a small requirement like $500, they may want you to complete that spending in the first thirty days.

  • Reason #2: Travel Benefits

    Some of the most valuable perks that can make an annual fee worth the cost are the travel benefits. To avid travelers, many of these perks are priceless. Things like preferential treatment, which can prevent you from getting bumped off an overbooked flight or land you in first class even though you only purchased a coach ticket, are invaluable if you travel often.

    You may be wondering why you would continue to pay an annual fee after you already got the sign-up bonus. Well, many of these cards have benefits and bonuses that are awarded annually, like the companion fare that comes with the Alaska Airlines cards. Another example is the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. While it has an annual fee of $49, you earn a free night at any IHG property every time you renew the card. That can easily be worth several hundred dollars.

    Many of the best travel rewards credit cards help you to raise your rank within a certain loyalty program. Many of these loyalty programs have different status levels based on a tier system, and you guessed it, the higher your status the better the perks and rewards. This is mostly relevant for co-branded airline and hotel cards. Other travel benefits that make it worth paying an annual fee include free checked bags, lounge access and other types of preferential treatment, like TSA PreCheck.

  • Reason #3: High Reward Rate

    Cards that charge an annual fee can easily outshine no annual fee cards when it comes to the reward rate, which is the amount of points or miles you will earn for the money that you spend. Paying an annual fee on a certain card can even make the rewards you earn on others more valuable.

    For instance, if you pay the annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can transfer rewards earned on other Chase cards to the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. The value of a point also increases from 1 to 1.25 cents with the Preferred card if you redeem through the UR travel center. If you have a lot of points to redeem, this can easily significantly up the total value. The Ultimate Rewards site works with many partners, including airlines, hotels and car rental companies, which may be running promotions that can also add to the value of your rewards.

  • Reason #4: Specified Spending

    If you frequent a certain airline or hotel and are looking to get something out of it, carrying their card may help you reach your targeted goals. If the rewards from this card help you meet a targeted goal, such as earning free nights or saving money on baggage fees, paying an annual fee is a no brainer. Not only can you get better rewards on cards with annual fees, but better perks too.

  • Way #5: Protection

    In some cases an annual fee may be worth it for increased protection. Some cards offer increased protection in the forms of insurance, purchase protection or coverage for incidentals like trip cancellation. If you know these increased benefits can save you money or, more importantly, save you from a major headache, the annual fee can be a drop in the bucket.

FAQs

Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment below.

  • What kind of rewards can I get from a no annual fee credit card?

    The typical return for many rewards cards is between 1% and 2%. That would be 1 to 2 cents awarded per dollar spent. There are some instances where you can earn 5% rewards even with a no annual fee credit card.
    Some cards have rotating categories or run promotions where you can get a higher reward rate on particular items when shopping with one of their partners. A card that gives you 5% back in rewards is like a nickel return per dollar. There are plenty of good rewards to be had with no annual fee credit cards, and yes, that 5% earn isn’t only for the big spenders. It is possible to use a no annual fee credit card to reap these types of returns.
  • What are the best no annual fee rewards credit cards?

    There are many great credit cards that do not charge an annual fee. Ultimately it depends what you are looking to get out of the card. Most major banks offer a good rewards card with no annual fee. The card that would be best for you will depend on what you expect to do with your points and where you use your card.
    Chase Freedom® is a great option because you can earn 5% rewards on rotating categories up to $1,500. Plus you only have to spend $500 in three months to get the sign-up bonus. In addition, if you upgraded to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which does charge an annual fee, you could transfer your points to increase their value. You could also redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel center for even more savings. The Chase Freedom is great on its own, but I love having options.
    Amex and Citi both have great no annual fee cards that earn rewards and receive bonuses. Citi and Amex also both provide the ability to transfer points to travel partners, as well as making purchases directly through their respective online travel portals. More importantly, they also have some of the highest sign-up bonuses in this category. Both of the Hilton Honors cards are great. The Amex version comes with an 80,000-point bonus, and the Citi version offers 75,000 points. These bonuses are awarded in Hilton Honors points, which can be redeemed for hotel stays. If you are not planning on a hotel stay, then you might want to go with the Amex Everyday card or the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card. Both have more flexible redemption options and no annual fee.
    Capital One, Discover and Bank of America all also offer good rewards earning credit cards with bonuses and no annual fee. There are also cards that allow you to earn rewards and bonuses that can be redeemed on cruises. If you shop often on Amazon, there is a card for that too. There are many rewards credit cards without annual fees.
  • Are there credit cards for bad credit that don’t charge an annual fee?

    Yes, there are several cards that you can get if you have bad credit that don’t charge an annual fee. However, interest rates on these cards are usually steep. You can easily avoid an annual fee but be careful because credit cards available for those with bad credit sometimes charge other fees, like a monthly maintenance fee. These are usually not the most well-known cards. I would stick to dealing with cards that are branded by reputable sources, such as familiar banks. Do your research and read the fine print. If your credit is bad I would advise getting a secured card.
    Discover and Capital One both offer good secured credit card options that do not charge an annual fee. They also report to the typical credit bureaus, which is imperative if you are trying to improve your credit score. You can start a Capital One Secured account with as little as a $49 deposit. This is not a fee as it is fully refundable.
    There is also a secured version of the Discover it card that has no annual fee. You will need to deposit at least $200 to open that account, which will in turn give you a $200 line of credit. The great thing about this card is it even lets you earn cash back. That’s right, you’ll get 2% back on up to $1,000 spent at restaurants and gas stations, and 1% on everything else.
    On top of obtaining the card, you should use it and pay it off monthly. This will help build your credit faster than just having the card. At all costs, do not carry a balance on a secured card as the interest rates are high. Plus, carrying a balance will not bode well for your ultimate goal, which is improving your credit.
  • What is the best airline credit card with no annual fee?

    It would depend on what airline you fly most and what your ultimate travel goals are. Several carriers do offer cards with no annual fee, but if you vacation often and want the best travel rewards, sign-up bonuses, perks and benefits, you should consider paying an annual fee. Many cards will waive the fee for the first year.
    Just for a little bit of co-branded airline credit card basics, among the three big domestic legacy carriers, Delta and American Airlines offer no annual fee options, while United does not. Delta offers Amex cards, while American Airlines cards are MasterCards that offered by either Barclay or Citi. The Citi AAdvantage cards are not fee-free, but Barclaycard’s offerings include a no-fee option. United’s Visa cards are offered by Chase.
    But that’s not all. Many newer carriers also offer no-fee cards, including JetBlue and Southwest. Even Korean Air has the SkyBlue SKYPASS Visa® Card that has no fee. The point is that whether the carrier is small, large, domestic or international, there are many options to choose from while avoiding an annual fee.
    If you use a specific carrier often, it is probably a good idea to have their card. You should even consider an annual fee due to the perks that typically come with those types of cards. However, if you aren’t married to a specific airline and want to keep your redemption options open, a simple Capital One VentureOne might be right for you. For additional options with flexible redemptions, you should consider Chase, Citi or Amex cards which have the possibility to be transfer points to many different airline partners. The best cards for airline miles may not be branded by an airline at all.
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