The 9 Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards of October 2022


A credit card can be a great tool, helping you build credit or earn rewards. You’ve probably seen that some credit cards charge annual fees, whereas some don’t. Sure, it may be worth it to pay an annual fee for a credit card, especially if you get plenty of perks. However, many of the best no annual fee credit cards are also worthy competitors, even offering similar benefits without forking over a fee.

The Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards

  • Wells Fargo Active Cash Card: Best for cashback rewards
  • Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for entertainment and dining
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best for travel rewards
  • Chase Freedom Flex: Best for Bonus Variety
  • Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express: Best for everyday purchases
  • Wells Fargo Reflect Card: Best introductory offer
  • Hilton Honors American Express Card: Best for hotel stays
  • Citi Double Cash Card: Best for twice the rewards
  • Discover It Cash Back: Best for quick approval

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

Best for Cashback Rewards

Key Features

  • Generous signup bonus
  • Intro APR period
  • Rewards don’t expire

This is one of the best no annual fee credit cards if you’re looking for a great flat-rate cash back rewards credit card, as you’ll be able to earn unlimited 2% back on all qualifying purchases. Plus, if you can meet the spending requirements, you’ll be able to earn the $200 sign up bonus. What’s more, it offers a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers and up to $600 in cell phone protection if it ends up being stolen or damaged.

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

Annual fee

$0

APR

17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% variable APR

Signup bonus

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days

Credit requirements

Good to excellent

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit

Best for Entertainment and Dining

Key Features

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 8% cashback on Vivid Seats tickets
  • Dining and grocery rewards
Aside from the easier requirements for the sign up bonus requirements, this no annual fee credit card offers high rewards earnings for those who like to spend on entertainment and dining. More specifically you’ll earn up to 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases, unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars if you book through Capital One Travel, unlimited 3% back on dining, grocery stores, and entertainment, and 1% on all other qualifying purchases.

If you like to travel, you may be happy to know that there is no foreign transaction fee. You can also take advantage of a 0%

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit

Annual fee

$0

APR

17.99% – 27.99% variable

Signup bonus

Earn $200 after spending $500 in purchases within the first three months

Credit requirements

Good to excellent

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

Best for Travel Rewards

Key Features

  • Redeem awards with Amazon
  • Credit monitoring tool
  • 0% APR on balance transfers
The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers you access to some of the best travel rewards redemptions through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal — you can also redeem rewards for cash back. Aside from the excellent sign up bonus, you’ll be able to earn 5% back on travel purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.

You’ll also get access to credit score monitoring, 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and no minimum to redeem rewards. However, you will be charged a foreign transaction fee, so this

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

Annual fee

$0

APR

17.24% – 25.99% variable

Sign up bonus

Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 spent on qualifying purchases in the first year

Credit requirements

Good to excellent

Chase Freedom Flex Card

Best for Bonus Variety

Key Features

  • Rewards can be complicated
  • Multiple bonus categories
  • Credit monitoring tool

The Chase Freedom Flex card replaces the popular Chase Freedom card. Flex is a clever name for this card because it has a lot of muscle. Besides having no annual fee there’s a generous $200 bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months of opening. There is also a way to get up to 5% cashback when you go to gas stations, movie theaters and grocery stores. You can also get cashback for spending money with Amazon, eBay, PayPal and Walmart. The catch is that some rewards are good for certain times of the year and not others. It’s up to the customer to track this complicated rewards system.

Chase Freedom Flex Card

Annual fee

$0

APR

17.24%-25.99% variable

Signup bonus

$200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within three months of opening an account.

Credit requirements

Good to excellent

Blue Cash EverydayCard

Best for Everyday Purchases

Key Features

  • Gas and grocery rewards
  • Longer bonus period
  • Good for large expenditures

If you’re looking to maximize your purchases for your grocery and gas station spending, this credit card allows you to earn 3% cash back at gas stations, U.S. online retailers, and U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year each), and 1% afterwards. You’ll also earn $7 in cashback each month if you use your credit card to enroll in eligible streaming services, such as Disney+ and Hulu. While the 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months is great, it’s only available for balance transfers.

Blue Cash EverydayCard

Annual fee

$0

APR

16.99%-27.99% variable

Signup bonus

Earn a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases within the first six months

Credit requirements

Good to excellent

Wells Fargo Reflect Card

Best Introductory Offer

Key Features

  • 2-year bonus period
  • Up to $600 cellphone protection
  • Balance transfer fees

This Wells Fargo credit card offers one of the longest 0% introductory APR at 18 months for purchases and qualifying balance transfers, making it a great choice if you’re looking to pay down debt quicker or want some breathing room with interest-free purchases. Unfortunately, there are no rewards earnings, but you do get other perks such as $600 worth of cell phone protection if your phone is stolen or damaged, and access to deals and discounts from participating merchants.

Wells Fargo Reflect Card

Annual fee

$0

APR

15.99% – 27.99% variable APR

Sign up bonus

None

Credit requirements

Good to excellent

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Best For Hotel Stays

Key Features

  • Hilton Honors Silver status
  • 100K bonus points to start
  • Global assistance hotline

The Hilton Honors American Express credit card may seem like it will only benefit you if you stay at Hilton properties. That’s not the case. Points that can be redeemed for stays can also be amassed when the card is used at restaurants, grocery and gas stations — all the most popular places where we spend money. This is the most basic of the Hilton Honors credit card but it’s also the only one without an annual fee for as long as you have the card. It is a good card for international travelers because there is no foreign currency transaction fee.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Annual fee

$0

APR

18.74% to 27.74% variable

Signup bonus

100,000 points to be used toward Hilton hotel stays; expires Oct. 26, 2022 but likely to be extended.

Credit requirements

Good to excellent

Citi Double Cash Card

Best for Twice the Rewards

Key Features

  • 2% cashback rewards
  • Uncomplicated rewards system
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

The beauty of the Citi Double Cash credit card is that customers earn 1% cashback when they make a purchase and 1% when they pay it off. The quickest way to collect the rewards is to take them as statement credit. That’s one way to pay off the bill! The rewards do expire so make sure that you use them within a 12-month period. That’s another good reason to use them to pay off the bill. If you are using the card for balance transfers, the intro APR 0% for 18 months.

Citi Double Cash Card

Annual fee

$0

APR

16.99%-26.99% variable

Signup bonus

$200 after spending $1,500 within the first six months of opening the account

Credit requirements

Good to excellent

Discover It Cash Back Card

Best for Quick Approval

Key Features

  • No penalty for first late payment
  • Free FICO credit score
  • Rotating bonus categories

There are lots of categories in which to earn cashback bonuses but the catch is the customer needs to keep track of the quarterly changes. You need to activate them online to get the benefits ranging from 1% to 5%. Use of the card at grocery stores and fitness clubs in the first quarter will provide cashback rewards and the last quarter includes Amazon plus digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. Discover announces the cashback calendar in advance. The rewards can be redeemed as credits to your account, direct deposits to another account, payments at select retailers and as gift cards (

Discover It Cash Back Card

Annual fee

$0

APR

14.99% – 25.99% variable

Signup bonus

Unlimited cashback match after one year.

Credit requirements

Excellent

What is a No Annual Fee Credit Card?

A no annual fee credit cards are ones where the issuer doesn’t charge cardholders an annual fee. This fee is usually charged by issuers for the privilege of using a certain credit card, which may contain many benefits such as rewards, earning potential, free features, and more. In other words, a no annual fee credit card means you don’t have to pay anything to access the features available, with some exceptions.

No annual fee credit cards tend to be best suited for most cardholders, but may be better suited for new credit card users — you can dip your toes into how a credit card works without too much of a financial commitment, especially if you’re new to the world of earning rewards.

It’s also a good choice for those who are looking to build their credit and don’t want to have to pay extra fees in order to use a credit card. Many credit cards with no annual fees are available to those who have low or fair credit scores.

How Do No Annual Fee Credit Cards Work?

No annual fee credit cards don’t charge you a fee yearly to use their credit card. Some may not charge you a fee at all, while some might waive the annual fee in the first year to entice you to sign up for a higher tier credit card — you’ll most likely be charged in your second year onward.

Depending on the kind of credit card you sign up for, you may be able to access perks such as cash back or earning points towards rewards like hotels and flights. Some may even offer a low introductory rate — in many cases as low as 0% — up to a certain period of time.

Yes, it means you can earn some free stuff or save even more money through rewards without having to pay anything.

Keep in mind that using a no annual fee credit card doesn’t mean you won’t pay anything at all. They work much like credit cards with annual fees in that you’ll be charged interest if you carry a balance, and even a penalty APR if you’re late on your payment after a certain date.

There are also other types of fees to consider such as ones for balance transfers, foreign transaction fees, and cash advance fees. Meaning, it’s a good idea to understand how all these fees work and when issuers charge them before signing up for a credit card.

Pros and Cons of No Annual Fee Credit Cards

These pros and cons about no-annual fee credit cards will help you decide if this kind of credit card is right for you.

Pros

Can build credit more affordably: Those who have low or fair credit may prefer to not have to pay anything to use a credit card to build their credit. A no annual fee credit card is an affordable way to do so.

Low cost way to earn rewards: Those who are dipping their toes into credit card rewards can start to learn how it all works without having to worry about paying an annual fee.

Cons

There are other fees: Even if you don’t have to pay an annual fee, you may need to pay other ones, such as interest for carrying a balance, cash advance fees, and foreign transaction fees.

Rewards may not be as lucrative: Rewards credit cards with annual fees generally tend to offer better rewards compared to no annual fee counterparts, such as higher earnings, and luxury travel perks like free checked bags and airport lounge access.

What to Look For in a No Annual Fee Credit Card

Choosing a no annual fee credit card is generally the default for most cardholders. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice.

Before making your decision, figure out if it’s worth it for you to get a credit card with an annual fee. For instance, are the perks and benefits worth it? Will you using the credit card outweigh or offset the costs of paying an annual fee?

Even if you believe it’s worth it, you may be able to access the benefits you want using a combination of several different no annual fee credit cards. Of course, it’s worth noting that it’s important to be responsible with your credit card usage considering the financial consequences involved.

To help you figure out what to look for in a no annual fee credit card, consider what you want to use it for.

Consider questions such as:

  • What will I spend the most on? If you tend to use a credit card a lot at gas stations or at restaurants, for instance, some credit cards offer extra rewards for these types of purchases. It’s worth it to search for a credit card based on how you spend your money in order to get the most out of every dollar.
  • Do I want to earn rewards? It’s fine if you’re not interested in earning cash back or points, like if your priority is to build credit. If you do, then consider the types of rewards you want and compare credit cards that offer similar ones. Just as important, think about how easy it is to redeem the rewards you do earn.
  • What kind of benefits do I want? Aside from rewards, consider other benefits that credit cards offer, such as fraud protection, extended warranties on purchases, and rental car insurance.
  • Do I want to spend the time figuring out rewards? Some credit cards give you great changes at maximizing every dollar, but you may need to take some extra steps such as opting into earnings categories each quarter, or learn which spending categories offer better earnings. If that’s too much for you, a credit card with flat-rate rewards may be a better choice.
  • Am I planning on carrying a balance? Unless you plan on paying off your balance each month, it may be a wise choice to look for credit cards with a lower APR, or ones that offer a 0% introductory APR. Be sure to understand what the interest rate will be after the introductory period is over.
  • Will I qualify for this credit card? It doesn’t matter if you find a credit card you like if you won’t be approved for it. Check your score and look for credit cards that are intended for those that fall within your credit range.

Whatever credit card you end up choosing, we highly recommend reading the fine print to understand your cardholder responsibilities, such as when the due date for payments will be and how to earn rewards if that’s a feature available to you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About No-Annual Fee Credit Cards

There are a lot of questions about no-annual fee credit cards and we’ve gathered the answers to those most commonly asked.

Why Do Some Credit Cards Have Annual Fees?

Some credit cards charge annual fees in order to offer cardholders more features and benefits, such as higher rewards, earnings and access to things like airport lounges. Some issuers also charge fees if you’re considered a risky borrower, such as those who have low credit scores. The fee helps to offset the risk they’re taking on you using the credit card. 

Can I Get a No Annual Fee Credit Card with Bad Credit?

It’s possible to get a no annual fee credit card if you have no or bad credit history. However, the options available to you may be more limited compared to someone who has better credit. For instance, you may receive a higher APR, and credit cards that don’t offer rewards.

Do No Annual Fee Cards Offer rewards?

Yes, credit cards with no annual fees do offer rewards, which can include cash back or points towards things like free flights and hotel stays. Keep in mind that the rewards structure may not be as good as credit cards that charge an annual fee. 

Contributor Sarah Li-Cain is a personal finance writer based in Jacksonville, Florida, specializing in real estate, insurance, banking, loans and credit. She is the host of the Buzzsprout and Beyond the Dollar podcasts.




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