Credit Cards » Compare Credit Cards » The Best No Annual Fees Credit Cards (May 2022)
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The Best No Annual Fees Credit Cards (July 2022)

You don't need to pay an annual fee to use a great credit card. The Smart Investor experts review the best no annual fee cards of 2022

You can trust the integrity of our unbiased, independent editorial staff. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. See how we make money.

You have a choice to get a card with an annual fee or one with a free annual fee.  You might be asking: why would you get one where you have to pay something when there’s a free one available?  After all, an annual fee can range from $49 to $550 for a credit card.

The annual fee will basically provide the cardholder more valuable purchase rewards and benefits than their ‘free’ counterparts.  A good rule to follow your annual fee decision is how often you plan to use the card.  If you will be paying $49 for the card, you should earn at least $49 in rewards to break-even and maybe profit from the rewards.  If you plan on using the card sporadically, a no-fee card is better.

Mant cash back cards do not charge an annual fee.  This makes them a good option as a second card or a primary card for the budget-conscious. Besides the no annual fee benefit, all of the cards below offer rewards on everyday purchases. 

Here are The Smart Investor Select’s picks for the top no annual fee credit cards:

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

American express everyday card review 2021

Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

Reward details

1X – 2X points 2X at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 each year), then 1x on all purchases

Current Offer

10,000 points 10,000 points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months

Credit Rating

Good – Excellent

Annual Fee

$0

0% Intro

15 months on purchases

APR

14.49% – 25.49% variable

Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is a very good option among rewards cards for individuals that rank up spending at the grocery checkout and gas pump. The Everyday card offers 2X at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 each year), then 1x on all purchases . Terms Apply.

It also offers a nice welcome bonus - 10,000 points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months. Lastly, you'll enjoy 0% intro for 15 months on purchases , so if you plan a big purchase - it's another reason to consider this card.

  • APR: 14.49% - 25.49% variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7%
  • Rewards Plan: 2X at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 each year), then 1x on all purchases . Terms Apply.
  • Welcome Bonus: 10,000 points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate period: 15 months on purchases
  • Welcome Bonus
  • Rewards Plan
  • No Annual Fee
  • 0% APR Introductory
  • No Balance Transfer Fee
  • Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Variations in Reward Points’ Worth
  • Cap on higher cashback rewards
  • Not as Widely Accepted as Other Cards

  • Is there a limit to cash back? You can get the premium cashback rate on groceries until you have annual purchases in this area of $6,000. The rate then goes to 1%.
  • Can I get car rental insurance with Amex Everyday CardYes, you will get this insurance if you refuse the car rental company’s insurance coverage and you pay for the entire cost of the rental with this card.
  • Can I get pre-approved? Yes, you can get pre-approval.
  • What is the initial credit limit? It will be at least $1,000 and usually greater.
  •  How do I redeem cash back? The rewards will be credited to you in the form of a statement credit.
  •  What purchases don't earn cash back? All purchases currently will earn some level of cashback with this card.
  • Should You Move to Amex Everyday Card? If you are looking for a good all-round card that has some solid rewards and no annual fee.
  •  Why did Amex deny me? What to Do Next? You might not have met some requirements. You can ask the customer support team where your application failed and seek a remedy to this situation.
  • How to maximize rewards on Amex Everyday Card? Take advantage of the welcome bonus and make sure that you know what selected stores are eligible for the premium cashback rates.
  •  Top reasons NOT to get the Everyday Card? You spend enough on the likes of groceries that mean you will benefit from the Preferred card more than the Everyday card.

Citi Simplicity® Card

citi simplicity

On Citi Website, Terms Apply

Citi Simplicity® Card

Reward details

None

Current Offer

None

Credit Rating

Good – Excellent

Annual Fee

$0

0% Intro

12 months on purchases from date of account opening and 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer

APR

16.24% – 26.24% variable

On Citi Website, Terms Apply

If you need a card that will give you the freedom to pay off you debt without pesky fees, Simplicity by Citi offers you a perfect solution.

The main benefit the card offers is the long 0% intro APR - it applies for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening and 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer (16.24% - 26.24% variable after that), so the card can be a perfect fit if you need to payoff your debt or in case you plan a big purchase soon.

  • APR: 16.24% - 26.24% variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5% (whichever is greater)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Rewards Plan: None
  • Sign Up bonus: None
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate period: 12 months on purchases from date of account opening and 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer
  • No Annual Fee
  • Long 0% intro APR
  • Citi Perks
  • No Rewards System
  • 5% Balance Transfer Fee

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard_registered_ credit card review

On HSBC Secure Website

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard

Reward details

Unliimited 1.5 cash rewards on every $1 you spend

Current Offer

3% intro cash back on all purchases in the first 12 months

Credit Rating

Good – Excellent

Annual Fee

$0

0% Intro

APR

13.99% – 23.99% Variable

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard is a straight forward cash back rewards card for those looking simplify their rewards. This Mastercard is offered though HSBC which a larger multinational bank based out of Britain.

This card has a generous 3% cash back on all spending in the first year and a competitive 1.50% cash back on all other spendings. Also, the HSBC Cash Rewards does not have an annual fee.

One of the top notch benefits is the 0% Introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months months from Account opening. The ongoing APR for the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard is a 13.99% – 23.99%. 

  • APR: 13.99% - 23.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $10 or 4%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Rewards Plan: Unliimited 1.5 cash rewards on every $1 you spend
  • Sign Up bonus: 3% intro cash back on all purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, up to the first $10,000
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate period: 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Introductory Bonus
  • Cashback on Purchases
  • No Annual Fee
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate on Balance Transfers and Purchases
  • Anniversary Bonus
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Balance Transfer Fee
  • Cap on Rewards
  • Redemption Minimum
  • Longer Introductory Rates, Better Pure Cashback Cards
  • High APR

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature®

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

On U.S Bank Website, Terms Apply

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature®

Reward Details

Up to 4X points 4x points at restaurants, take-outs & deliveries, 2x points at supermarkets, gas stations & streaming servicesm and 1 point for 1 dollar on all other purchases

Current Offer

20,000 points 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening

Credit Rating

Good – Excellent

Annual Fee

$0

0% Intro

12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers

APR

14.99% – 23.99% variable

On U.S Bank Website, Terms Apply

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card is extremely beneficial to both new and existing customers.

Cardholders can earn 4x points at restaurants, take-outs & deliveries, 2x points at supermarkets, gas stations & streaming servicesm and 1 point for 1 dollar on all other purchases These points have no expiration date and can be redeemed whenever the account is open. When you reach 2,500 points, you can either redeem them as statement credits or request that they be deposited into your account.

On purchases and balance transfers, there is a 0% introductory APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, followed by a variable APR ranging from 14.99% - 23.99% variable. Finally, there are no annual fees or charges for shopping from international merchants because both are set at zero dollars.

  • APR: 14.99% - 23.99% variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Rewards Plan: 4x points at restaurants, take-outs & deliveries, 2x points at supermarkets, gas stations & streaming servicesm and 1 point for 1 dollar on all other purchases
  • Sign Up bonus: 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate period: 12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers
  • High Rewards Rate & Sign Up Bonus
  • No Annual Fee
  • 0% Intro
  • No Points Expiration
  • High Credit Needed

How much is 10,000 points worth?

Points are available on the Altitude Go, and they are typically worth 1.5 cents each. This means that depending on your redemption method, 10,000 points could be worth $150.

Is it good credit card?

Given that the card has no  annual fee, it provides some decent rewards. They are worth serious consideration if you are looking for an everyday card without having to worry about hefty annual fees.

Does the altitude card offer pre approval?

Pre-approval is available at US Bank, but only for offers received via email or mail. Furthermore, if you are an existing customer, you may receive a pre-approved offer via your online account. There is no online tool for interested potential customers to use to check the status of their pre-approval. When you complete the online application form, you are submitting a complete application, which will include a hard credit pull.

What are the card income requirements?

The Altitude Go card requires excellent credit, but one of the most important factors for U.S Bank is your credit rating rather than your income status. 

Do the reward points expire?

You don’t need to worry about expiry dates.  U.S Bank clearly states that the points for the Altitude Go card never expire.

 

SoFi Credit Card

SoFiCreditCard

On SoFi Website, Terms Apply

SoFi Credit Card

Reward details

Up to 3% cash back 3% cash back rewards for a year when you set up direct deposit with SoFi. After that, earn 2% unlimited cash back on purchases when redeemed toward investing, saving, or paying down an eligible loan with SoFi

Current Offer

Up to $200 up to $200 when you fund an invest account as well as a checking and savings account

Credit Rating

Good – Excellent

Annual Fee

$0

0% Intro

None

APR

12.99% – 24.99% Variable

On SoFi Website, Terms Apply

The SoFi credit card is a straightforward card that offers 3% cash back rewards for a year when you set up direct deposit with SoFi. After that, earn 2% unlimited cash back on purchases when redeemed toward investing, saving, or paying down an eligible loan with SoFi, but it is designed slightly differently than other cards with comparable rewards. There are no foreign transaction fees or annual fees with this card.

You can save your cash back rewards and use them to save, invest, or pay off a SoFi loan. While you don't have to be a SoFi customer to get the best rewards, this makes the card an appealing option for those who already have SoFi accounts.

Because the SoFi credit card is a Mastercard, it includes additional benefits such as discounts from participating merchants and up to $1,000 in cell phone protection.

  • Rewards Plan: 3% cash back rewards for a year when you set up direct deposit with SoFi. After that, earn 2% unlimited cash back on purchases when redeemed toward investing, saving, or paying down an eligible loan with SoFi
  • APR: 12.99% - 24.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $10 or 5% (whichever is higher)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • Sign Up bonus: up to $200 when you fund an invest account as well as a checking and savings account
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate: None
  • Encourage Savings
  • Unlimited Cash Back
  • Innovative App
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Average Cashback
  • Balance Transfer Fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

chase freedom unlimited card
On Chase Secure Website / Terms Apply

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Reward details

1.5% – 5% 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, 3% on drugstore purchases and 1.5% cash back on all purchases

Current Offer

Up to $300 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

Credit Rating

Fair

Annual Fee

$0

0% Intro

15 months on purchases and balance transfers

APR

15.74% – 24.49% variable
On Chase Secure Website / Terms Apply

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card provides an enthralling combination of lavish rewards, including a 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, 3% on drugstore purchases and 1.5% cash back on all purchases. It offers a nice sign-up bonus of 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.

Another beenfit worth mentioning is the long 0% intro APR - 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (15.74% - 24.49% variable after that). Overall, Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of the best options in the market, especially for those who are looking to save the annual fee.

  • APR: 15.74% - 24.49% variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Rewards Plan: 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, 3% on drugstore purchases and 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Sign Up bonus: 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
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate period: 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Cash Back Rewards + Sign Up Bonus
  • 0% APR on Balance Transfers & Purchases
  • No Annual Fee
  • Protection & Free Credit Score
  • Balance Transfer Fee
  • Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Less Relevant For Frequent Travelers

  • Is there a limit to cashback rewards? There is no cap.
  • Can I get car rental insurance with a Chase Freedom Unlimited card? Yes, when you rent the car and pay for all of it with this card and do not accept coverage from the rental company.
  • Should You Move to Chase Freedom Unlimited card?  This is a good fit for people who are looking for no annual fee card including good cashback rates that do not change.
  •  Why did Chase Freedom Unlimited card deny me? You might not have met one of the requirements for this card. You can talk with a member of the customer support team to see what the issue is and how you might be able to rectify it.
  •  How hard is it to get a Chase Freedom Unlimited card? It is not very hard to get this type of card once you meet all of the straightforward requirements.
  •  How to maximize rewards on the Chase Freedom Unlimited card?
  • You can choose between the options as to how you utilize the rewards. To maximize rewards, you should make the most of the signup bonus and also be aware of which of your credit cards have the best cashback for a particular type of purchase.
  • Top reasons NOT to get the Chase Freedom Unlimited card? If you are looking for higher flat cashback rates. You may also travel a lot and not want to pay the 3% foreign exchange transaction charge that comes with this card.
  • Does Chase ask for proof of income? There is no specific income requirements and it does not usually ask for proof of income requirements.
  • Does the card offer pre-approval? Yes, you can get pre-approval.
  • What is the initial credit limit? The initial credit limit varies, but can often be between $1,000 and $5,000.
  • How do I redeem cashback? Go to the Ultimate Rewards section that Chase offers and you can choose between the options as to how you utilize the rewards.
  • What purchases don't earn cashback with the Freedom Unlimited card? All purchases earn cashback with this card.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Reward

Capital-One-Savor-One

On Capital One website , Terms Apply

Capital One SavorOne Cash Reward

Reward Details

Unlimited 1-3% earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), 1 percent on all other purchases.

Current Offer

$200 $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

Credit Rating

Good – Excellent

Annual Fee

$0

0% Intro

15 months on purchases and balance transfers

APR

15.24% – 25.24% variable

On Capital One website , Terms Apply

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a noannual fee card that allows you to earn cash back rewards on everyday purchases. You can earn an unlimited earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), 1 percent on all other purchases..

In addition, you are eligible for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers to help you pay down an existing balance or pay off new purchases gradually (15.24% - 25.24% variable after that), as well as a $200 cash bonus if you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.On the downside, this card requires good - excellent score and it charges a  balance transfer fee of 3%.

  • APR: 15.24% - 25.24% variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: [None
  • Rewards Plan: earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), 1 percent on all other purchases.
  • Sign Up bonus: $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate period: 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Sign Up Bonus & Cash Back Rewards
  • 0% Intro APR
  • No Annual Fee
  • Balance Transfer Fee
  • Approval Can Be Strict
  • No Travel Rewards

Can I get car rental insurance with SavorOne Card?

Yes, once you refuse the insurance offered by the rental company you will automatically get coverage if you fund the entire purchase through this card. Please review the terms and conditions before to make sure you're covered.

Does SavorOne Card ask for proof of income?

No out and out request for proof of income and no transparent income requirements.

Can I get pre-approved?

Yes, pre-approval is possible.

What is the initial credit limit?

The credit limit will be at least $500, and can be higher depends on your credit score.

How do I redeem cash back?

You can get them sent to you in the form of a check, as a statement credit, or get them given to you through gift cards.

Why did SavorOne Card deny me?

You might not have met all of the requirements. You can enquire as to where your application fell short. If you cannot proceed, you can look at some of the other available options

How to Use SavorOne card Benefits?

Use this card for the premium cashback types of purchases and maximize the signup offer.

What are top Reasons NOT to get the SavorOne Card?

If you can get better cashback rates elsewhere in equally as a cost-effective manner.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards

On Bank Of America Website, Terms Apply

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Reward details

1-3% 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The 3% and 2% cash back available on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter (then 1%)

Current Offer

$200 $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening

Credit Rating

Good – Excellent

Annual Fee

$0

0% Intro

15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening your account.

APR

14.24% – 24.24% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

On Bank Of America Website, Terms Apply

If you are looking to have a bit more control over what categories in which you are going to be earning rewards, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards could be for you. You are able to choose the category in which you get spending rewards. 

You will be able to earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The 3% and 2% cash back available on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter (then 1%).

The signup offer allows you to get $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening. Another great advantage of this card is that you do not have to pay an annual fee.

  • APR: 14.24% - 24.24% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% or $10
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Rewards Plan: 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The 3% and 2% cash back available on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter (then 1%)
  • Sign Up bonus: $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate period: 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening your account.
  • Sign-Up Bonus
  • 0% APR Intro 
  • No Annual Fee
  • Bash Back Rewards
  • Cap on Rewards
  • Balance Transfer Fee
  • Foreign Transaction Fee

  • Is there a limit to cash back rewards? There is a quarterly limit on the 3% and 2% cashback each quarter, equalling a combined total of $2,500 worth of purchases.
  • Can I get car rental insurance with Bank of America Cash Rewards Card? Yes, it offers rental insurance for cars if you pay for the full cost with this credit card and you decline the rental company’s insurance.
  • Does Bank of America ask for proof of income? No out and out income requirements and normally you will not have to provide proof of income.
  • Can I get pre-approvedYes, you can get pre-approved.
  • Should You Move to Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card? If you spend a lot on everyday purchases it can definitely be a good option.
  • Why did Bank of America Cash Rewards Card deny me?  Perhaps you did not meet all of the requirements. You can ask the customer service team what you need to do to get accepted or you can look at other card options.
  • How to maximize rewards on Bank? Make the most of the signup offer and max out the caps on quarterly purchases at the premium rates.
  • What are top reasons NOT to get the Bank of America Cash Rewards Card? If you spend a considerable amount on relevant purchases each month.
  • What is the initial credit limit of? It will usually be at least $500
  • What purchases don't earn cash back? All purchases are covered

No Annual Fee Cards - Basics

What Does No Annual Fee Mean?

No Annual Fee credit cards are exactly what they sound like, credit cards that don’t have an annual fee for cardholders. That means that you can have these cards without any additional charges.

Credit card providers usually use annual fees for their cards to help cover the cost of the card’s rewards system. Fortunately, a lot of no annual fee credit cards still have great rewards systems, so you don’t have to pay for a premium card to get good benefits from your card.

About 74% of all credit cards have no annual fees. 

When choosing a credit card, one of the things you need to consider is the free structure. In this chart compiled with creditcards.com data, we can see that late payment fees are the most common type of fee. This is followed by cash advance fees. At the other end of the scale, we can now see that over limit fees and annual fees are far less common. This highlights the importance of making payments on time, which can not only save on fees but help you to establish a solid credit history.

The Most Common Credit Card Fees

No annual fee cards are still able to charge other kinds of fees, like late fees and overcharge fees. So it's not that these cards are fee-free, just that you don’t have to pay an annual charge for having them. It’s important to pay attention to the other charges included with your no annual fees credit cards because some companies raise the cost of other fees to make up for the lack of an annual fee.

How To Compare No Annual Fees Cards?

Knowing how to compare no annual fees credit cards is critical for making sure you’re getting the right card for your needs. Here are some of the more important features you need to consider.

  • Intro APR: Introductory APR (Annual Percentage Rate) is often used by financial institutions to make their credit cards more appealing for new clients. A low introductory APR is a good thing since it makes owning the credit card cheaper for the first few months. However, you should remember that low introductory rates can sometimes disguise higher rates and fees after the first 6 months to a year.
  • Ongoing APR: The ongoing APR of your credit card reflects the real cost of the card. Many no annual fees credit cards have a comparatively high APR after the introductory rate has passed. So, it’s important to compare the ongoing APR of different options to find a more affordable and valuable credit card offer.
  • Rewards Quality: Some no annual fees credit cards don't offer much in the way of a good rewards program, but there are a few cards that have solid rewards. Usually, these cards are some of the best options, but they may have very specific kinds of rewards. Look for programs that offer high cash back, fast points accrual, or that provide a significant discount at certain stores or for specific kinds of purchases.
  • Sign Up Bonus: Not every credit card will offer a sign-up bonus, so it’s not a requirement to find a credit card that has a good one. Sign-up bonuses are often used to disguise unfavorable APR and high fees and to get customers to sign up because of the immediate benefits. Sign-up bonuses are great when they don’t hide unfavorable terms and conditions, but an overly generous signing bonus should make you look carefully at the other details of the card.
  • Fees: Almost all credit cards have some fees associated with them, but you don’t want to get stuck with a card that will nickel and dime you for using it. Look for cards with low fees, especially low-interest rates, low overcharge fees, and low late payment fees.
  • Does the Card Accept Balance Transfers? Balance transfers can be an important part of money management, especially if you already have credit card debt. Relatively few credit cards accept balance transfers, especially if you’re looking for low fees at the same time. You might not always need this feature, but it’s important to know whether it’s an option before you sign up.
  • Source of the Credit Card: Most people get a lot of credit card offers, but those cards usually aren’t the best offer you’re eligible for. Pay attention to the bank or financial institution making the offer. Likely a banker or financial advisor will be able to choose a better credit card than a cold credit offer from a letter or email.

If you’re shopping for a credit card, you are likely to be aware of the biggest brands on the market. However, one factor you may not have considered is the number of complaints for credit card issuers.

In this chart compiled using Consumer Financial Protection Bureau data, we can see that Capital One had 11.8 complaints per billion dollars charged. This is followed by CitiBank at 10.55. At the other end of the scale, AMEX appears to have the fewest complaints at just 1.59 complaints per billion dollars.

Credit Card Issuers Complaints Per Billion Dollars Charged

Drawbacks of No Annual Fees Cards

Of course, there are some drawbacks to the no annual fees credit card model. Financial institutions exist to make a profit, so even though they also want to offer high-quality products that help their customers.

The main drawback of no annual fees cards is that they tend to have higher interest rates than other kinds of credit cards. The interest rate is where the financial institution makes most of its profit.

Higher interest rates aren’t the only drawback of no annual fees credit cards though.

No annual fees credit cards also usually come with higher fees, which is why it’s so important to know what fees your credit card can charge and how to avoid them. It’s also common for no annual fees cards to charge more fees than other kinds of credit cards. That means that it will be harder for you to avoid your credit card fees entirely.

Similarly, no annual fees credit cards tend to have smaller sign-up bonuses and less valuable introductory rewards. That means that there is less incentive to sign up for these cards and can mean that they are less attractive options for balance transfers.

It’s also worth noting that most no annual fees credit cards have less generous reward systems than credit cards with annual fees.

When To Consider a No Annual Fees Card?

No Annual Fees credit cards are almost certainly the cheapest option for consumers, at least at first. They are a good option for people who are looking for an affordable credit card that doesn’t cost a lot to use.

No annual fees credit cards are also usually a good option for people who are looking to build their credit scores. This isn’t the same as trying to recover bad credit. Consumers with bad credit scores likely aren’t eligible for no annual fees credit cards with other good features and terms of use. But first-time credit card users and people with moderate credit scores usually quality for reasonable no annual fees credit cards.

It’s also important to think about how much you’re likely to use your credit card. Consumers who are going to use their credit card a lot, especially with high balances, may be better off with a card that has annual fees compared to a no annual fee credit card.

That’s because high-use consumers will generally make back the cost of the annual fee in higher rewards returns. However, if you need a credit card for small purchases, minimal use, or to carry as an emergency-only credit card, a no annual fees credit card is likely a good option.

No annual fee credit cards are usually best for people who aren’t likely to travel very often since cards with annual fees almost always offer better travel bonuses and mileage rewards.

Best Travel Cards with No Annual Fees

Travel cards are designed for users who are jetsetters and spend a lot of time traveling from place to place. They tend to make traveling cheaper and have travel-related rewards and discounts to help minimize your costs.

Discover It miles card review

Discover it Miles Card

The Discover it® Miles card is one of the most straightforward travel credit cards available right now. Unlike many other card systems, it's miles rewards are based on a straightforward spending system. You’ll receive unlimited 1.5x miles for every dollar spent on all purchases. Your rewards can be redeemed either as travel miles or as a cash payment once you’ve accrued enough.

This card doesn’t have different reward structures for different kinds of purchases, so you can feel free to use the card on whatever you’d like without worrying about the rewards benefit. Discover is also offering a double the miles sign up bonus where they will double the miles you earn in your first year with the card at the end of the year.

Earned miles never expire, and there are no blackout travel dates with this card. This is a great introductory travel card and can be a good option for people who travel by plane especially. Miles can also be used to buy upgraded tickets, which can definitely make longer flights a lot more tolerable.