Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Welcome Offer: One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Regular APR: 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card membership, up to $150 back. Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of card membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
  • Regular APR: 13.99%-23.99% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase. Earn 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Regular APR: 14.99 - 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: N/A
  • Regular APR: 13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: N/A
  • Welcome Offer: N/A
  • Regular APR: 26.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score: Fair to Good  (580 - 740)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: 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! Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase. Earn 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores. Earn 1% on all other purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Regular APR: 14.99 - 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Regular APR: 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: 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.
  • Welcome Offer: Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Regular APR: 11.99% - 22.99% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment Earn 2% at grocery stores Earn 1% on all other purchases
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Regular APR: 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Top Features
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • Regular APR: 13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score: Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Some of the offers on this page may have expired.

The information about the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card and the Centurion Card from American Express has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.


Bankrate helps you find the right no annual fee credit card

Choosing the best credit card with no annual fee means choosing the one suits your lifestyle and spending habits. Depending on your card usage, the issuer’s yearly charge to own a card might not outweigh the extra benefits compared to an option with no annual fee.

Bankrate makes your search easier by taking a close look at the top cards available from our partners to see which no-annual-fee credit cards truly stand out. Our credit card experts also help you understand the ins and outs of getting the most out of your card every day.

Compare the best credit cards with no annual fee

Card Name Our pick for … Bankrate Review Score
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card Best overall cash back card with no annual fee 4.8 / 5
(Read full card review)
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Families 4.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Best overall rewards card with no annual fee 4.6 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi® Double Cash Card Flat-rate cash back 4.7 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One Platinum Credit Card Best for free credit monitoring 3.7 / 5
(Read full card review)
Chase Freedom Flex℠ Cash back in multiple categories 4.5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card Travel expenses 4.3 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it® Cash Back Rotating cash back categories 4.7 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Dining & entertainment with no annual fee 4.6 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Rewards+® Card Points on everyday purchases 4.6 / 5
(Read full card review)

A closer look at the best no annual fee credit cards

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why it’s the best cash back card with no annual fee

The Capital One Quicksilver might not have the flashiest cash back program, but the 1.5 percent rate on every purchase, every day is both steady and reliable.

Our review

In addition to a good rewards rate, cardholders have access to perks including emergency card replacement, auto rental insurance coverage and fraud coverage. The card also puts out the welcome mat with an easily obtainable sign-up bonus ($200 cash bonus after spending $500 within the first three months). Sure, you can find higher rewards rates and sign-up bonuses, but for a no annual fee card, the Quicksilver has a lot to offer.

Read the full review and find out how to apply.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Why it’s the best no annual fee card for families

The rewards categories are tailor-made for families: 3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1 percent) and 2 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. You also earn 1 percent cash back on other eligible purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits.

Our review

Those who devote a significant portion of their income to food, fuel and fashion can earn considerable cash back rewards with this card. And with no annual fee, it’s almost a no-brainer. One thing to consider: If you spend more than $260 per month on groceries, you’re probably better of with the upgraded version of this card, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which charges an annual fee of $95 ($0 first year, see rates and fees) but offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) terms apply.

Read the full review and find out how to apply.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Why it’s the best rewards card with no annual fee

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is the Swiss Army knife of credit cards. It offers a generous 1.5 percent cash back on general purchases. But you’ll also earn 3 percent cash back on dining at restaurants and drugstore purchases, as well as 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Our review

If you want a no annual fee card with several ways to earn and versatile redemption options, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great choice. And if you’re thinking about applying, now is a good time: The current welcome bonus is $200 cash back after you spend just $500 in your first three months. However, travelers should note that the Chase Freedom Unlimited charges a 3 percent foreign transaction fee, making it less attractive for international use.

Read the full review and find out how to apply.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Why it’s the best no annual fee card for flat-rate cash back

This card earns unlimited 2 percent cash back on all eligible purchases (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay for those purchases). With a flat-rate rewards system, you don’t have to adjust your spending habits to focus on different types of purchases.

Our review

This card offers an attractive combination of low maintenance and high rewards potential. With no spending categories to track and no annual fee to worry about, it doesn’t get much easier than the Citi Double Cash Card. Plus, your rewards redemption can be as simple or strategic as you want, with options including statement credits, direct deposit, checks and converting to ThankYou points. There’s currently no welcome offer, making it somewhat less competitive in the short term, but we think the long-term value is enough to make it worthwhile, all things considered.

Read the full review and find out how to apply.

Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Why it’s the best no annual fee card for free credit monitoring

The Capital One Platinum allows you to build credit with responsible use, even when your score isn’t its best — it accepts fair to good credit. And free credit monitoring makes it easier to track your credit-building journey.

Our review

If you’re on a mission to build credit and want to avoid fees on the way, look no further than the Capital One Platinum. Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, plus an automatic review for a higher credit limit after six months. The card’s fraud protection and emergency card replacement services are also worthy of your attention. Just remember that you shouldn’t expect much else beyond the ability to build credit and a few extra perks. This card offers no rewards and no zero-interest introductory APR for purchases or balance transfers. Also, the regular APR on this card is 26.99% (variable), which is not ideal for the cardholder planning to carry a balance.

Read the full review and find out how to apply.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Why it’s the best no annual fee card for cash back in multiple categories

You earn 5 percent cash back in rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 per quarter in purchases (activation required, 1 percent thereafter). Non-rotating cash back categories earn 5 percent on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3 percent at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, and 3 percent on drugstore purchases.

Our review

The number of categories with high cash back rates make this card quite valuable, and the lack of an annual fee increases its value even more. That said, the bounty of rewards categories is a doubled-edged sword — If you don’t like the idea of having to keep track of several categories, you’ll probably fare better with a card that offers a simpler rewards structure.

Read the full review and find out how to apply.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Why it’s the best no annual fee card for travel expenses

You can use your Capital One miles to book hotels, flights and rental cars through Capital One’s website, or you can use your card to book travel through another service or website and redeem your miles as a statement credit to cover the cost. In the travel rewards world, the freedom to book your rewards travel however you like is huge.

Our review

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card can help you take more trips while telling annual fees to take a hike. You’ll earn 1.25X miles on every eligible purchase with the card, making it a great card for everyday use. The lack of a foreign transaction fee also allows for you to swipe abroad without any worry of incurring additional costs. And lastly, don’t forget about the current welcome offer: 20,000 miles if you spend just $500 within the first three months of opening an account.

Read the full review and find out how to apply.

Discover it® Cash Back

Why it’s the best no annual fee card for rotating cash back categories

The Discover it Cash Back offers generous returns on bonus categories that rotate every quarter (activation required). The Discover cash back calendar covers a broad range of categories including retailers, restaurants and gas stations.

Our review

If you take full advantage of the card’s bonus categories (spending $1,500 every quarter), you could earn $300 cash back in a year, not counting your 1-percent earnings in non-bonus spending. Factoring in the lack of an annual fee, this card is a prime contender in the cash back field. Just remember that you’ll need to activate the rotating bonus category each quarter to earn the 5 percent cash back rate (on up to $1,500 in purchases and 1 percent after). If you’re looking for a no-maintenance card, you might find the Discover it Cash Back to be a challenge.

Read the full review and find out how to apply.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why it’s the best no annual fee card for dining and entertainment

This card’s cash back rates on dining and entertainment (3 percent) and grocery store purchases (2 percent) are generous.

Our review

Food and fun? Yes. Annual fee? No. The Capital One SavorOne could be a comfortable fit for dining and entertainment enthusiasts who want to cash in on their hobbies without worrying about an annual fee. Additionally, new cardholders can earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within three months of opening an account.

Read the full review and find out how to apply.

Citi Rewards+® Card

Why this is the best no annual fee card for points on everyday purchases

This card earns 2X Citi ThankYou Points on two of the most practical spending categories: supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).

Our review

What’s really noteworthy is that the “plus” in Citi Rewards+ refers to the unique feature that rounds your rewards points up to the nearest 10 on individual purchases, giving everyday purchases more rewards-earning potential. The round-up feature makes the Citi Rewards+ a solid choice for people whose everyday spending habits tend toward “a little here and a little there,” rather than large purchases. On the flip side, your rewards redemption options are limited to gift cards, Amazon.com and BestBuy.com purchases, travel purchased through Citi, and statement credits to cover select purchases.

Read the full review and find out how to apply.

What does ‘no annual fee’ credit card mean?

Certain credit cards charge an annual fee, meaning that you have to pay a fee every year to own the card. A no annual fee credit card doesn’t require this type of charge.

You might think of an annual fee as payment for having access to special benefits provided by a specific card, which may include:

As an example, consider The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. The $595 annual fee (See Rates and Fees) might be eye-popping, but the tradeoff includes a rewards rate per dollar spent (5X points on certain qualifying travel expenses through amextravel.com) much higher than what you find with most no-annual fee cards.

At the same time, many credit cards offer rewards programs, travel perks and other items of real value without charging a yearly fee. Many of the top-selling cards offered through Bankrate.com have no annual fee or offer to waive the fee for the first year.

Also, a 2019 survey by Discover suggests that consumers are more likely to have a satisfying experience with a no annual fee card:

Annual fee cards No annual fee cards
Consumers “very satisfied” with their credit cards 35% 70%

Source: Discover Financial Services

With any credit card, whether the benefits justify the expense of an annual fee is up to you, the consumer. A credit card with no annual fee is often an economical choice, and you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice much quality if you choose carefully.

Who should get a no annual fee card?

Just about anyone could benefit from the addition of the right no annual fee credit card. If you’re trying to decide whether to get one, consider your experience as a cardholder, typical spending habits and financial priorities to determine whether you fit any of the following consumer types:

New credit card users

If you’re new to the world of credit cards, a card with no annual fee might be the right choice until you become more experienced. You won’t have to worry about developing a strategy to maximize the card’s benefits to compensate for an annual fee. Being diligent about monthly payments should make it easier to upgrade to a higher-level card when the time is right.

Credit builders and rebuilders

Not having an annual credit card fee added to the mix makes it easier to keep your budget simplified, which can be a welcome relief for anyone building or rebuilding their credit. A number of cards designed for people with no credit history or bad credit don’t charge annual fees (although secured credit cards typically require a one-time security deposit).

Debt managers

Some no annual fee cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases, balance transfers or both. These cards can provide a temporary interest-free window to pay for a large purchase or a balance transferred from a different credit account.

Experienced cardholders looking to diversify

Those who already own top-tier cards might find the addition of a carefully chosen no-annual-fee card worth their time. Credit card combinations, like pairing a premier travel card with an everyday cash back card, could round out your plastic portfolio.

Occasional credit card users

A card with no annual fee doesn’t require big spending to offset that yearly expense, making it a simple and economical choice.

Are credit cards with annual fees worth it?

When it comes to credit cards, no-annual-fee fee might seem like a no-brainer. However, while certain situations might be ideal for a no annual fee card, there are times where an annual fee is justified.

When it’s worth the fee

With an annual fee card, you can think of the price as paying a yearly subscription for premium benefits. If it fits your budget, an annual fee card often features better rewards rates, comprehensive travel perks or more generous sign-up bonuses.

Plenty of annual fee credit cards can pay for themselves — just be sure it’s affordable for you. To see if an annual fee card is truly worth it, estimate how much your typical yearly spending would earn you in rewards and consider the value of the card’s perks and benefits. Then compare this value to the card’s annual price tag. Big spenders, frequent travelers and small business owners in particular should do the math on whether an annual fee is worth the value.

When it’s not worth the fee

Credit card beginners might have an easier time learning the basics with a no annual fee card. They’re also more likely to be in the early stages of their careers, with less room in their budgets to absorb the cost of an annual credit card fee.

For some cardholders, the true value of credit cards lies in their convenience instead of their potential for rewards. Not everyone has the same interest in cash back or travel miles, or the willingness to balance them against an annual credit card fee. If stockpiling rewards doesn’t interest you, a no annual fee card is likely the better choice.

How we chose our top no annual fee credit cards

All credit cards from our partners are rated with a 5-star scoring system. For cards in this category, we focused on the merits of each selection apart from charging no annual fee. Those specific criteria included:

Rewards rate and value

To help you get the best returns on your spending, from cash back to travel rewards

Redemption options

To highlight cards that let you redeem your rewards in a useful, flexible way

Extras and discounts

To identify cards that offer retail discounts, insurance coverage and other perks that improve their overall value

Variable APR

To include cards that offer reasonable interest rates in case you carry a balance

More information on credit cards with no annual fee

Here are some additional Bankrate resources on no-annual-fee credit cards:


Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, loans, mortgages and other personal finance products for Bankrate since 2018. His work has also appeared on websites including Nasdaq.com, Zillow.com and The Simple Dollar. He was previously an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina. Send your questions about credit cards (and fantasy baseball) to bbridges@bankrate.com.

Have more questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.

Frequently Asked Questions

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.