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The Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards for June 2022

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A great no annual fee credit card can be one of the most powerful savings tools in your wallet.

These cards offer rewards, perks, and credit-building benefits to help you save money and build credit — all without the annual fee that comes with flashier premium travel cards. And as long as you pay your balances in full each month and avoid taking on other fees, you’ll reap those rewards for no cost. 

Many cards in this category are geared toward savings on your everyday purchases, which make them great options for people whose spending has lately been more focused on groceries, dining, streaming services, and other at-home spending than big travel expenses. 

Whether you’re a credit card novice looking for straightforward savings or you’re just re-evaluating what cards make sense for your evolving spending patterns, these are the no annual fee cards we believe can make the most valuable additions to your wallet:

Before You Start

Even with no annual fee, credit cards can get costly. These cards still charge high interest rates on any balances you carry month-to-month. Interest, plus fees for late or returned payments and penalty APR charges, will quickly add up if you charge more than you can afford to pay off. Before opening a new card, make sure you have a foundation of good credit habits, like paying down your balances in full and on time each month.

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Good for Flexible Rewards Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Learn More externa link icon
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site.
Good for Flexible Rewards Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
  • Intro offer:
    Earn an Additional 1.5% Cash Back
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    15.74% – 24.49% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more;. 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service. 1.5% on all other purchases.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Flexible, hybrid rewards structure made up of tiered categories and flat cash back
  • No annual fee
  • Valuable first-year bonus
  • Competitive intro APR period can be useful for paying off large purchases over time
Cons
  • Not a great choice for international travelers — you’ll incur a 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Travel bonus rewards only apply to travel booked through Chase
The Bottom Line
Chase Freedom Unlimited is NextAdvisor’s pick for the best cash back credit card for its impressive rewards and flexibility for everyday spenders. But the card’s value goes beyond its primary rewards structure. A standout first-year bonus, introductory interest offer, and boosted redemption options make this card one of the best available on the market today.

Additional Card Details

  • 0% introductory interest offer on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months after account opening, variable 15.74% – 24.49% interest thereafter; intro balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days
  • 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2025
  • Complimentary 3-month subscription to Doordash’s DashPass, followed by 50% off DashPass for 9 months (activate by 12/31/24)
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protections
Good for Building Good Habits Citi® Double Cash Card
Learn More externa link icon
Citi® Double Cash Card
Editor’s Score: (4.4/5)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site.
Good for Building Good Habits Citi® Double Cash Card
Editor’s Score: (4.4/5)
  • Intro offer:
    N/A
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    15.49% – 25.49% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
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.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Flat cash back on every purchase
  • 18-month 0% intro APR for balance transfers (15.49% to 25.49% variable APR thereafter)
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • No welcome bonus
  • 3% balance transfer fee ($5 minimum) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5)
  • Delayed cash back rewards if you carry a balance
The Bottom Line
The Citi Double Cash Card has a straightforward rewards structure that gets you up to 2% back on everything — which is great if you’re looking to maximize savings on every purchase you make. It also shines as a debt management tool, with an 18-month 0% intro rate for balance transfers (15.49% – 25.49% variable APR thereafter).

Additional Card Details

  • Extra incentive to pay down your balance in full: You’ll earn only 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and the other 1% when you pay it off
  • 18-month 0% intro period on balance transfers, 15.49% to 25.49% variable APR thereafter
  • Redeem cash back for statement credits, direct deposit, check, or convert cash back value to Citi ThankYou points
  • $25 minimum cash back redemption
  • Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening and a 3% ($5 minimum) fee applies, After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5)
Good for Maximum Cash Back Chase Freedom Flex℠
Learn More externa link icon
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site.
Good for Maximum Cash Back Chase Freedom Flex℠
Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
  • Intro offer:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    15.74% – 24.49% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Extensive tiered rewards structure
  • Rotating bonus rewards categories every quarter
  • Valuable welcome bonus offer
  • 0% introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • High ongoing APR after intro period
  • Rotating quarterly bonus categories capped after $1,500 in spending
  • Keeping track of rewards categories may be more complex than some other cash back cards
The Bottom Line
The Chase Freedom Flex card offers cash back rewards in rotating rewards categories that will let you save where you spend the most. Plus, you’ll earn rewards in ongoing bonus categories year-round.

Additional Card Details

  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers (15.74% – 24.49% variable APR thereafter) ; intro balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days
  • 5% cash back on qualifying Lyft rides through March 2025
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Cell phone protection
  • Free credit score and monitoring
  • Access to Chase Offers savings
Good for Everyday Spending Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Learn More externa link icon
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Editor’s Score: (4.1/5)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site. See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.
Good for Everyday Spending Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Editor’s Score: (4.1/5)
  • Intro offer:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    15.49%-25.49% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
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. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Everyday rewards categories
  • No annual fee
  • Valuable welcome offer
  • 0% introductory purchase APR for 15 months
Cons
  • $25 minimum cash back redemption
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee (See Rates & Fees)
The Bottom Line
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express offers cash back on your everyday purchases at U.S. gas stations, supermarkets, and department stores for no annual fee, plus a great welcome bonus. But if you spend more heavily in certain categories, a higher-earning everyday rewards card like the $95, ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year) Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express might make more sense. (See Rates & Fees)

Additional Card Details

  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months from the date account opening, then 15.49%-25.49% variable APR
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit
  • Access to presales and exclusive seating through American Express Experiences
  • Travel and purchase protections
  • Amex Pay It, Plan It
Good for Future Travel Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Learn More externa link icon
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
Apply Now externa link icon At Capital One’s secure site.
Good for Future Travel Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
  • Intro offer:
    20,000 miles
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    15.24% – 25.24% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of trip options. Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day.

Good for Rotating Bonus Cash Back Discover it® Cash Back
Discover it® Cash Back
Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
Good for Rotating Bonus Cash Back Discover it® Cash Back
Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
  • Intro offer:
    Cashback Match™
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    12.74% – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
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. Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • 5% back in popular categories like grocery stores, gas stations, or Amazon.com purchases throughout the year
  • No annual fee and no late fee on your first late payment.
  • 15-month intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Cashback Match at the end of your first 12 months
Cons
  • High ongoing variable APR
  • Limited redemption options for rewards
  • Must keep track of rotating bonus categories to maximize rewards
The Bottom Line
The Discover it Cash Back stands out — and earns a spot among our best cash back credit card picks — due to its generous revolving rewards structure, which gives cardholders the chance to earn 5% cash back upon activation (up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases, then 1%) in categories that change throughout the year. There’s no annual fee, and you can save money on interest with an introductory APR for a limited time.

Additional Card Details

  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 12.74% to 23.74%
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • All quarterly rotating categories for the ur annpcoming yeaounced in advance
  • 5% category earn only applies after you activate rewards each quarter (bonus rewards do not apply retroactively if you wait to activate mid-quarter)
Good for Flat Cash Rewards Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Learn More externa link icon
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Editor’s Score: (4.6/5)
Apply Now externa link icon At Wells Fargo’s secure site. See Rates & Fees.
Good for Flat Cash Rewards Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Editor’s Score: (4.6/5)
  • Intro offer:
    $200 cash rewards
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% Variable APR
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • Valuable welcome bonus
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% variable APR thereafter)
  • Cellphone and travel protections
Cons
  • High variable APR after introductory offer ends
  • No bonus categories to maximize
  • 3% foreign currency conversion fee
The Bottom Line
The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card comes with an enticing 2% cash rewards on purchases, along with a valuable welcome bonus. You won’t pay an annual fee, and can also benefit from the 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (followed by a variable APR of 16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49%).

Additional Card Details

  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (followed by a variable APR of 16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49%).
  • Cell phone protection worth up to $600 when you pay your bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card (subject to a $25 deductible)
  • Visa Signature® Concierge service
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Roadside dispatch
Good for Choice Rewards Categories U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card
Learn More externa link icon
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site. See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.
Good for Choice Rewards Categories U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
  • Intro offer:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    15.99% – 25.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

5% cash back on your first $2,000 in eligible net purchases each quarter on the combined two categories you choose. 2% cash back on your choice on one everyday category, like Gas Stations, Grocery Stores or Restaurants. 1% cash back on all other eligible net purchases.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Pick your bonus rewards categories
  • 0% intro APR offer for purchases and balance transfers
  • No annual fee
  • Cash welcome bonus offer
Cons
  • Quarterly caps limit 5% cash back
  • Introductory APR offer does not apply to purchases
  • Limited rewards redemption options
  • Must reactivate categories each quarter
The Bottom Line
The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa takes some thought to maximize, but can offer great savings. You’ll earn 5% back in two categories you choose each quarter, as well as 2% back in one of three everyday spending categories. There’s no annual fee, and an introductory offer for balance transfers can help you save by consolidating debt.

Additional Card Details

  • 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 billing cycles, followed by a variable APR of 15.99% to 25.99%
  • Zero fraud liability
  • Contactless payment options
  • Travel and purchase protections through Visa Signature program

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards of June 2022

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Good for: Flexible rewards

Earn 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase, 3% cash back on dining and at drugstores, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. You can also earn an additional 1.5% back on purchases for the first year, up to $20,000 spent (worth up to $300 cash back), and there’s a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then 15.74%–24.49% variable APR with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. It also has an intro balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater) in the first 60 days.

Citi Double Cash Card

Good for: Building good habits

Earn up to 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off the purchase. You’ll also get a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 18 months from account opening with the Citi Double Cash Card. The ongoing variable APR is 14.74%-24.74%.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ 

Good for: Maximum cash back

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent each quarter in rotating bonus categories after activation. Also earn 5% on travel booked through Chase, 3% cash back on dining and at drugstores, and 1% cash back on everything else. You’ll qualify for a $200 welcome bonus after spending $500 within three months of account opening with the Chase Freedom Flex, and there’s a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers 15.74%-24.49% ongoing variable APR . There’s an intro balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater) in the first 60 days.

Blue Cash Everyday from American Express

Good for: Everyday spending

Earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases annually, then 1%), plus 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on other purchases. You’ll earn a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 within six months of account opening with the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express. The ongoing variable APR for this card is 15.49%-25.49%.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Good for: Future Travel

Earn unlimited 1.25x miles on every purchase. You’ll also earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 within three months of account opening. The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card has a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 15.24%-25.24% variable APR after that.

Discover it Cash Back

Good for: Rotating Bonus Cash Back 

Earn 5% cash back on revolving quarterly bonus categories (up to $1,500 in quarterly spending, then 1%), plus unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases with Discover it Cash Back. Instead of a cash welcome bonus, Discover will automatically match all cash back you earn within the first year. The card also has an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable APR of 12.74% – 23.74%. 

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

Good for: Flat Cash Rewards

You can earn flat 2% cash back on all purchases, unlimited. You can earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 within the first three months. The Wells Fargo Active Cash Credit Card also has a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, with a variable APR of 16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% after that.

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card

Good for: Choice Rewards Categories 

The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card offers 5% cash back on your first $2,000 each quarter on combined categories that you choose (among fast food, home utilities, gym and fitness centers, and more); 2% cash back on your choice between grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants; and 1% on all other purchases. You’ll get a $200 welcome bonus after spending $1,000 within the first 120 days of account opening. The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card has a 0% introductory period for balance transfers for 15 billing cycles, and a variable APR of 15.99% to 25.99% after that.

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards Summary

What It’s Good ForRewardsIntro Offer
Chase Freedom UnlimitedFlexible Rewards• 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase

• 3% cash back on dining

• 3% cash back at drugstores

• 1.5% cash back on every other purchase
Earn an additional 1.5% back on everything you buy, up to the first $20,000 spent in the first year
Citi Double CashBuilding Good Habits Unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase (1% as you spend, 1% as you pay)0% interest on balance transfers for 18 months (14.74%-24.74% variable APR thereafter)
Chase Freedom FlexMaximum Cash Back• 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in combined quarterly spending)

• 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase

• 3% back on dining and at drugstores

• 1% back on everything else
$200 welcome bonus after spending $500 within the first 3 months of account opening
Blue Cash Everyday from American ExpressEveryday Spending• 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in spending annually, then 1%)

• 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores

• 1% cash back on everything else
 $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of card membership
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit CardFuture Travel1.25x miles on every purchase20,000 bonus miles after spending $500 within the first 3 months of account opening
Discover it Cash BackRotating Bonus Cash Back• 5% cash back on revolving bonus categories, up to $1,500 in quarterly spending, then 1% after that

• 1% on all other purchases
Automatically match all cash back earned within the first year
Wells Fargo Active Cash CardFlat Cash RewardsUnlimited 2% cash back on all purchases$200 welcome bonus after spending $1,000 within the first three months
U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature CardChoice Rewards Categories• 5% back on up to $2,000 in combined quarterly spending in two choice categories, then 1% back

• 2% back in one category between grocery stores, gas sations, and restaurants quarterly

• 1% cash back on all other purchases
$200 welcome bonus after spending $1,000 within the first 120 days of account opening

What is a No Annual Fee Card?

A no annual fee credit card works the same as any other credit card, but you are not required to pay a yearly fee to the issuer for card ownership.

That doesn’t mean you can forgo all fees. Even with a no annual fee card, you may take on fees for transactions you make in a foreign currency, late payments, cash advances, balance transfers, and more. And if you carry a balance, you’ll also pay interest charges on any amount you don’t pay by your statement due date.

Always read through the terms and conditions carefully to understand your card’s specific fee schedule.

How to Choose the Best No Annual Fee Credit Card 

There are many no annual fee credit cards to choose from, and many can help you add value to your spending without any added fee. Here’s how to choose the one that works best for you: 

Know where your credit stands 

The best credit card for you depends on which credit cards you can qualify for. That’s why it’s important to understand your credit report and score before applying. Most no annual fee credit cards that are geared towards rewards or cash back require good to excellent credit. If you have less than perfect credit, there are other no annual fee options that make better starter cards for building credit. 

Compare the rewards and perks 

With no annual fee, you’ll automatically start getting value from your card by choosing rewards that align with your spending habits. By maximizing the rewards on purchases you make regularly and that are already in your budget, you can ensure you get the best value over time. Beyond the card’s rewards, you’ll get extra value if the card includes additional perks, such as travel and purchase protections or partner discounts. 

Watch out for any additional fees and interest 

Even without an annual fee, a credit card can include other costs, such as balance transfer fees or foreign transaction fees. And if you keep an outstanding balance on your credit card, interest can add up quickly. Look for a credit card with few fees, and practice good credit habits to avoid interest and hurting your credit.

How to Maximize a No Annual Fee Card

The best way to maximize your no annual fee credit card is to use its rewards and perks and building credit while avoiding interest. If you practice good credit habits, like paying your balance in full each month, you can earn rewards on your most frequent spending — without an annual fee or interest.  

Make sure you read the card details on the issuer’s site and your individual card agreement terms to understand every perk and benefit you qualify for. Rewards are the best way to maximize your value — make sure you use your card every time you shop in an eligible bonus category — but added benefits can go a long way, too. 

Don’t forget about any welcome bonuses you might be eligible for as well. Understand any spending requirements you’ll need to meet to score the welcome bonus offer, if the card has one. Before you apply, review your budget and monthly spending to make sure you’re able to spend that amount without taking on debt, which can wipe out any rewards value quickly.

Is a No Annual Fee Card Right for You?

Cards with no annual fee can offer valuable benefits and savings on your everyday spending. They’re also a low-cost tool for boosting your credit score, with regular use and on-time payments (as long as you don’t carry a balance and take on high-interest debt). 

These cards are perfect for credit beginners or seasoned card users alike, and can benefit anyone looking for straightforward reward structures that don’t require too much effort (or spending) to gain value.

But for big spenders, or those who value added benefits and perks, annual fee cards often offer value that far exceeds their yearly cost. These cards are typically rewards credit cards, and may charge fees ranging from $95 all the way up to $550 and beyond. But in exchange, you’ll find higher rewards rates, added benefits like partner discounts and credits, flexible redemptions with issuer rewards programs, and other perks that can quickly outweigh the annual fee — if your spending habits align with what the card offers.

To determine whether a no annual fee or annual fee card is right for you, look back at your past spending habits and see how they match up with a card’s rewards. Also look for any added benefits or annual credits, and determine whether they align with purchases you would have made anyway. Then, you can estimate whether your potential rewards value will be enough to exceed the annual fee.

Pair Your No Annual Fee Card with Other Credit Cards

No annual fee cards offer valuable savings on their own, but they can also help you shore up your overall credit card strategy. Many of the cards on our list become even more valuable when you pair them with other cards to maximize rewards. 

For instance, Citi Double Cash offers up to 2% cash back on every purchase — that means you can use this card to get a baseline 2% discount on everything you buy. But to maximize your rewards even more, you might pair Citi Double Cash with another rewards card that offers a higher savings rate in specific categories, like the American Express® Gold Card. It charges a $250 annual fee (See Rates & Fees), but you’ll get 4x points at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in U.S. supermarket purchases, then 1x) and 3x points on flights booked on Amextravel.com or directly with airlines, plus additional benefits. By combining the spending power of both of these cards, you can earn a base 2% back wherever you shop, and a higher rewards rate in the categories you spend most, like dining and groceries — while only paying a single annual fee.

This strategy can work even more effectively between cards from the same issuer. For example, you may choose to open a Chase Freedom Unlimited card for your everyday spending. But you might also decide you want to open a $95 annual fee Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card before booking your next trip. With both cards in your wallet, you can maximize rewards using the two cards individually, and when you’re ready to redeem, pool your rewards into your Chase Sapphire Preferred account. Because that card earns a 25% boost when you redeem for travel through Chase, you’ll not only benefit from the combined total, but also level up the value of your Freedom Unlimited rewards when you redeem.

Downgrading Annual Fee Cards to No Annual Fee Cards

If you’re paying an annual fee on a credit card that you no longer get value from, the cost of keeping it in your wallet can add up quickly. But closing a credit card account altogether — especially if it’s an account you’ve held for a long time — can lower the overall age of your accounts, negatively affecting your credit score.

As an alternative, you may be able to negotiate a product change with your issuer, and downgrade your annual fee card to a no annual fee option without the credit hit.

Each issuer has its own guidelines for product changes. With American Express, for instance, you can only make changes among cards that earn the same types of rewards. In other words, you may request to change your Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express to a Blue Cash Everyday Card, while you’d be unable to do the same with a Membership Rewards-earning Platinum Card.

If you’re interested in a product change, the best way to determine what you may be eligible for is calling the issuer directly using the phone number on the back of your card.

Pros and Cons of No Annual Fee Cards

Pros

  • Low cost

  • Rewards generally focused on everyday spending

  • Even with infrequent use, leaving the card account open won’t cost you

Cons

  • May have lower rewards rate or fewer benefits than annual fee cards

  • Redemptions may not be as flexible

  • Other fees may still apply

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does no annual fee mean?

A no annual fee card is a credit card which you can own and use at no cost. You will still incur interest on any balances you carry, and may be charged fees for things like balance transfers, cash advances, foreign transactions, and more. No annual fee cards can serve several different purposes — whether you’re looking to earn rewards, build credit, or pay down debt — but they may not always offer as much rewards value or as many added benefits as cards with an annual fee.

Are annual fees ever worth it?

An annual fee may be worth it depending on your spending habits and card needs. Cards with an annual fee may offer higher rewards rates or more premium benefits compared to cards with no annual fee. To help determine if a card’s annual fee is worth it, calculate how much value you expect to get each year in rewards or cash back based on your regular spending, and make sure it surpasses the cost of the card and the value you may get from a comparable no annual fee option.

What’s the best travel credit card with no annual fee?

To determine the best travel card with no annual fee for you, you should determine the specific benefits you’re looking for and compare different travel rewards credit card options before applying. One of our favorite no annual fee travel credit cards is the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. You’ll earn an unlimited 1.25x miles on every purchase, which you can redeem toward future travel expenses.

What’s the best cash back credit card with no annual fee?

Many of the best cash back credit cards charge no annual fee. Cash back cards offer one of three rewards structures (or a combination thereof): flat cash back, tiered cash back rewards, or rotating quarterly cash back categories. You can determine the best for you by evaluating which card’s rewards best align with the categories in which you spend most.

What are the best no annual fee credit cards for no credit?

If you’re looking for a credit card to build your credit score, there are plenty of options that charge no annual fee. The best card for you will depend on your credit-building and spending goals, but you can start by comparing our picks for the best credit cards for people with no credit — nearly all of the cards on this list charge no annual fee.

Methodology

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

A no annual fee credit card offers significant savings and credit-building opportunities, whether it’s the only credit card you carry in your wallet, or you’re looking to add low-cost everyday rewards to your broader card portfolio. To determine the cards on this list, we focus on card details we believe most essential for those considering a no annual fee card, such as rewards value and simplicity, added benefits and intro offers, and ease of pairing with other cards. 

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express Gold Card, click here.

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