Paying an annual fee or similar credit card costs can feel a bit unorthodox. In essence, you’re paying a fee to spend money.
But many credit cards with annual fees offer ways to recoup those costs plus earn extra rewards, which can make these cards worth the expense.
Many popular credit cards have an annual fee, but if you aren’t in a place where paying an annual fee is possible, don’t fret. There are plenty of cards with no annual fees that can suit your spending and earning needs.
9 best no annual fee credit cards
A great no annual fee card is one that makes it easy to earn points or cash back without the hassle of tracking bonus categories or complicated rewards programs.
For many, the idea of juggling four or five cards to max out the cards’ earnings isn’t appealing. Instead, they want one card they can put everything on and still reap decent rewards.
For a no annual fee card, consider ones that offer at least 1.5% cash back on all purchases and a welcome bonus of some sort. Other perks to look for are features like rental car insurance, travel accident insurance, extended warranty, cell phone protection, and roadside assistance.
|American Express Cash Magnet Card||Someone who wants to save money with no fuss|
|Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express||A single person or couple with focused spending on groceries and gas|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||Someone with less focused spending but who still wants to earn decent cash back|
|Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards||Those looking to earn a quick early spend bonus and respectable returns on spending|
|Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards||Those who enjoy dining and going out|
|Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards||Earning points redeemable for travel|
|Discover it Cash Back||Someone with diversified spending|
|U.S. Bank Visa Platinum||Those who need to consolidate debt for 20 billing cycles|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card||Earning points on based on specified spending|
American Express Cash Magnet Card
The American Express Cash Magnet Card is a great card for someone looking for a way to earn cash back on their purchases with little effort. You can earn up to 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Along with this, you will have an introductory 0% APR (annual percentage rate) for 15 months on purchases.
Along with the cash back, you’ll have access to Amex Offers, which are card exclusive offers for discounts on various products.
As for travel insurance, you’ll benefit from car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary coverage), as well as a global assistance hotline.
If you’re looking for warranties, this card does come with extended warranty perks. This will extend the original U.S. manufacturer’s warranty for up to an additional year. Also, if you’re unable to return eligible items within 90 days of the date of purchase, American Express may refund the full purchase price, excluding shipping and handling.
Lastly, when something you buy breaks or is stolen, purchase protection can have you covered. If the item was purchased less than 90 days ago, it may be eligible for replacement.
Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express is a solid choice for earning rewards on supermarket, gas, and department store purchases. With the Blue Cash Everyday Card, you can earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 a year, 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, 1% cash back on other purchases.
You can also qualify for a welcome bonus — earn $150 cash back after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
The card can also be used to fund a large purchase. There’s a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months.
You’ll also have all of the same travel coverages and warranty coverages listed under the American Express Cash Magnet Card.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a top choice for anyone looking to take the next step in their cashback earnings. You can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. You can also earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months.
To add to the savings, the card also comes with a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases.
This card does have unique features, which include no minimum to cash out your earnings, the ability to use cashback earnings on Amazon orders, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, and contactless pay.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is a straightforward option for earning cash back on everyday purchases. You can earn 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase, every day. You can also earn a $150 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months.
There’s even a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases that you can take advantage of. Other benefits of the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards include no foreign transaction fees, extended warranty, travel accident insurance, complimentary concierge service, and 24-hour travel assistance services.
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards
The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card may be a good fit for someone interested in great food and entertainment.
You can get 3% unlimited cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target), and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Capital One defines entertainment categories as buying tickets to a movie, theatrical play, sporting event, tourist attraction, theme park, aquarium, zoo, dance club, pool hall, or bowling alley.
To add, you can earn a $150 one-time cash bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months.
As for features of the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards, you’ll get the same benefits as the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards above, including the 0% intro APR for 15 months months on purchases.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards
The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card offers the chance to earn valuable miles that can be used towards travel. You can earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
Along with this, you can earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day. You’ll also have a 0% intro APR for 12 months on new purchases.
The features on the card are identical to the above Capital One cards, plus you can transfer your miles to various airline partners, such as Aeromexico, Air Canada, Emirates, JetBlue Airways, and Singapore Airlines.
Discover it Cash Back
The Discover it Cash Back has a lot of earning potential but does need a bit of strategy to max it out.
The card comes with rotating quarterly categories that earn up to 5% cash back, up to $1,500. This can earn you $75 in cash back in the selected categories per quarter.
In 2019, the quarterly spending categories include grocery stores, gas stations, Uber, Lyft, restaurants, and Target.
If you spend a decent amount of money in the quarterly categories, this can net a decent return. However, it does take a small amount of planning, as you do have to activate each quarter to earn your bonus cashback. You’ll earn 1% on all other purchases.
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum
The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum is largely for people looking for stress-free spending or to consolidate debt. You get a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 months.
Along with this, you’ll have cell phone protection when you pay your monthly bill with your U.S. Bank Visa Platinum.
As this card doesn’t offer any sort of rewards, you won’t benefit from your everyday spending like you would with other cards on this list.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card is another great card to turn focused spending into valuable reward points for travel.
With this card, you can earn 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months, worth $200 when redeemed for cash. Along with this, you can also earn 3X points on eligible dining, transportation, travel, and streaming service purchases; and 1X points on other purchases.
The card even comes with an introductory 0% APR for the first 12 months on purchases and balance transfers.
As for other benefits, there are no foreign transaction fees with the card, and it comes with cell phone protection from damage or theft.
Are annual credit card fees worth it?
Although some cards can have hefty annual fees, they may be worth the added expense. Several credit cards with annual fees provide extra value and savings that can offset its cost. You could qualify for travel credits, flight upgrades, travel insurance, airport lounge access, and rewards on purchases that can make the annual fee well worth it.
Why would anyone pay an annual fee for a credit card?
Credit card users who pay annual fees do so because they get more value from the card than its fee. They may enjoy premium perks, bonus rewards, or even enough cash back to offset the annual fee.
How can I avoid paying my credit card annual fee?
If you want to avoid paying an annual fee, you have a few options:
- Look for a no-fee card. Many excellent credit cards don’t charge an annual fee. You can get a good card and still earn valuable rewards and benefits without the added cost.
- Cancel your card after the first year. Some credit cards waive your annual fee for the first year; after that, you’ll have to pay the full fee. However, you can skip the fee if you close your account before the card’s renewal date.
- Just ask. If you’ve been a loyal cardholder, you may be able to get the fee waived by calling and asking. If you go this route, do some research into other cards that don’t charge a fee. Contact customer service and explain that you’re considering switching to a new card if they can’t reduce or eliminate the fee. They may be willing to waive it to keep you as a customer.
What are the best travel cards with no annual fee?
Looking for a travel credit card but don’t want to pay an annual fee? Consider these three cards.
- Discover it Miles: The Discover it Miles card allows you to earn unlimited 1.5X miles per dollar on all purchases spent on every purchase, and it has a $0 annual fee. At the end of your first year as a cardmember, Discover will match all of the miles you earned over the year. For example, if you earned 30,000 miles, Discover would match it, and give you 60,000 miles to use for travel.
- Capital One® VentureOne® Card: The Capital One VentureOne card has a $0 annual fee, but you’ll earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus, you can earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. There are no foreign transaction fees, and you can redeem your miles for flights, hotel stays, and more.
- Wells Fargo Propel: With the Wells Fargo Propel card, you’ll earn 3X points on eligible dining, transportation, travel, and streaming service purchases; and 1X points on other purchases. There’s no limit to how many points you can earn, and there are no blackout dates on air travel when you redeem your rewards.
Should I cancel a credit card with an annual fee?
Whether you should cancel a card with an annual fee depends on how much you use it. If it typically just sits in a drawer or is only used a few times a year, it’s not giving you much value. In that case, it may make sense to close the account.
But if you have a card with an annual fee that you use regularly and you earn rewards or have extra perks, it may be worth it to keep it open.
There are great perks to be earned from cards with no annual fee. Whether you’re looking for a points-earning or cashback card, there’s nothing wrong with refusing to pay an annual fee.
However, if you’d like to take your points earning to the next level or have higher monthly spending, you may want to consider getting a card with an annual fee to ensure better earnings. It may seem a bit counterproductive to pay to spend, but the right circumstances may earn you additional rewards.