Best Credit Cards With No Annual Fee for July 2022

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Midtier credit card often cost about one hundred dollars per year, and some credit cards’ annual fees can breach several hundred dollars. While the trade-off for this expense typically resides in great rewards, better welcome bonuses, statement credits and other perks, many credit cards with no annual fee can offer a comparable slice of benefits. If you don’t use your credit card often enough to justify the expense of an annual fee, or just want your card to be low maintenance, the picks below represent some of the best credit cards you can get with no annual fee.

Intro OfferIntro Offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back!

APR15.74% – 24.49% Variable

Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • 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

Annual Fee$0

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months

Balance Transfer APR15.74% to 24.49% Variable

Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Foreign Transaction Fees 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Penalty APR Up to 29.99%

  • 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

Our Take

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card wins the spot for best no-annual-fee credit cards for a few reasons. This card offers an extensive cash-back rewards program, allowing you to earn more rewards on eligible travel, dining and drugstore purchases than you could with the other best no-annual-fee cards. 

The welcome bonus adds even more cash back. For the first year, you earn an additional 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 in purchases, for up to $300. This card also offers a 15-month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers (15.74% to 24.49% variable APR thereafter). 

Best travel card with no annual fee

Intro Offer25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening – that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.

APRSee Terms

Intro Purchase APRSee Terms

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don’t expire.

Annual Fee$0

Balance Transfer APRSee Terms

Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Late Payment Fee See terms

Foreign Transaction Fees None

Penalty APR up to 29.99% APR

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don’t expire.

Our Take

This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

With the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, you earn 1.5 points (equivalent to 1.5 cents) for every dollar spent on any purchase, anywhere. These points can be redeemed for statement credits against travel expenses (like hotels and flights) and restaurants, with no restrictions on airlines, websites or dates. You’ll also enjoy no foreign transaction fees, so anywhere you travel to, you can use this credit card without penalty. The sign-on bonus and introductory APR make this a well-rounded everyday credit card, as well.

Intro OfferN/A

APR15.99% – 25.99% (Variable)

Intro Purchase APR0% for 20 billing cycles on purchases

Recommended Credit Good/Excellent

Reward RatesN/A

Annual Fee$0

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% for 20 billing cycles on balance transfers

Balance Transfer APR15.99% – 25.99% (Variable)

Balance Transfer Fee Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater

Foreign Transaction Fees 2% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in U.S. Dollars. 3% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in a Foreign Currency

Our Take

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card is a no-frills card with no annual fee that won’t earn you rewards, but its long introductory APR period on both purchases and balance transfers makes it an excellent card for anyone looking to pay down debt. The balance transfer fees are on par with similar cards, but the 20-billing-cycle introductory 0% APR time frame on purchases and balance transfers can offer you extra time to pay down other credit card debt, interest-free (15.99% to 25.99% variable APR thereafter).

Best customized rewards with no annual fee

Intro Offer$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

APRSee Terms

Intro Purchase APRSee Terms

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases).
  • Earn automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases).
  • Earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases.

Annual Fee$0

Intro Balance Transfer APRSee Terms

Balance Transfer APRSee Terms

Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Late Payment Fee See Terms

Foreign Transaction Fees 3%

Penalty APR Up to 29.99% APR

  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases).
  • Earn automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases).
  • Earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases.

Our Take

This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers a lot of flexibility. Unlike most credit cards where you can choose a category, this one doesn’t rotate — making it a valuable tool you can use all year long. You can earn 3% cash back on the category of your choice, on up to $2,500 of expenditure per quarter in combined 3% and 2% categories, then 1% thereafter. The default category selection is gas, and for all others you must manually switch the selection through your account. Alternatively, this card would also be selected as the best no-annual-fee credit card for online shopping, as that is another category you can manually choose.

Intro OfferEarn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

APR16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% Variable APR

Intro Purchase APR0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening

Recommended Credit Excellent, Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Annual Fee$0

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers

Balance Transfer APR16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% Variable APR

Balance Transfer Fee up to 5%; min: $5

Foreign Transaction Fees 3%

Penalty APR None

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Our Take

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card offers an unlimited 2% flat cash rewards structure, making this a simple but powerful card. There’s no worrying about reward limits or bonus categories — you’ll earn a flat rewards rate on eligible everyday purchases. Plus, if you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of opening your account, you’ll earn a $200 cash rewards welcome bonus. You can also take advantage of the low introductory APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, as this is a well-rounded card.

Check out our full review of the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card for more details.

FAQs

What does ‘no annual fee’ mean?

It means the card issuer will not charge you a yearly cardholder fee. Cards with no annual fees may have other fees though — such as security deposits, transaction fees, late payment fees and balance transfer fees. Many different types of cards offer no annual fee, such as most student credit cards.

What else should I consider about credit cards with no annual fees?

If you use your card more and want access to better incentives, it is easy to make the switch. Alex Miller, CEO and founder of Upgraded Points, said, “No-annual-fee credit cards tend to have a ‘sister’ card with an annual fee. You can upgrade from a no-annual-fee to an annual fee card, usually with little to no hassle.” With these upgraded cards, you can typically earn even more rewards.

Are annual-fee cards ever worth it?

Sometimes. If you’re new to using credit cards or do not plan to charge many expenses, then having a card with an annual fee will not be in your best interest since you won’t take advantage of the incentives enough to justify the cost. 

Meanwhile, there are instances where the opposite applies. “Annual-fee cards are worth it for people who spend more money because they have much higher bonuses on spending categories,” said John Taylor Garner, CEO and founder of Card Curator. “And their points/miles are worth a lot more, especially when redeemed for travel.”

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash-back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles — with the understanding that everyone’s financial situation is different — and the designated function of a card. 

For cash-back credit cards, for example, key factors include the annual fee, the “welcome bonus” and the cash-back rate (or rates, if they differ by spending category). For rewards and miles cards, we calculate and weigh the net monetary value of a card’s respective perks. And with balance transfer credit cards, we analyze specs such as the duration of the introductory 0% APR period and the balance transfer fee, while acknowledging secondary factors such as the standard APR and the length of time you have to make a balance transfer after you open the account.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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