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Fortunly's Guide

A Guide to the Best No-Annual-Fee Credit Cards in 2021

By
G. Dautovic

May 27,2021


Consumers pay annual credit card fees in exchange for rewards, superior perks, and exclusive offers. But what if you could enjoy some of these benefits without spending a dime. With the best no-annual-fee credit cards, you can still earn points on your purchases and rack up those rewards. Before you sign up for a new card, check out our list of options, so that you don’t have to spend more to earn more. 

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4 Best Credit Cards With No Annual Fee

Blue Cash Everyday® Credit Card by American Express Logo
Blue Cash Everyday® Credit Card by American Express
5 stars Our Rating
Apply Now Read Full Review
Intro APR: 0% for 15 months
Regular APR: 13.99% to 23.99%
Required credit score: 700-749
Welcome bonus: Earn up to $350
KEY FACTS
PRODUCT DETAILS
PROS & CONS

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card tops our list of the best credit cards of 2021 with no annual fee thanks to its generous cashback offers on supermarket, gas station, and department store purchases. The card also makes it easier for customers to manage their monthly expenses by offering payment flexibility. Other perks include car rental loss and damage insurance.  

Citi® Double Cash Card Logo
Citi® Double Cash Card
4.5 stars Our Rating
Apply Now Read Full Review
Intro APR: 0% for 18 months
Regular APR: 13.99% - 23.99%
Required credit score: 750-850
Welcome bonus: None
KEY FACTS
PRODUCT DETAILS
PROS & CONS

The Citi® Double Cash Card is another great pick for those who wish to avoid annual credit card fees. It’s definitely one of the best cashback credit cards with no annual fee, allowing customers to earn cashback twice on the same purchase. It’s a great choice for first-time credit card holders with 0% intro APR for 18 months. 

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Logo
Chase Freedom Flex℠
5 stars Our Rating
Apply Now Read Full Review
Intro APR: 0% for 15 months
Regular APR: 14.99%–23.74%
Required credit score: 700-749
Welcome offer: $200
KEY FACTS
PRODUCT DETAILS
PROS & CONS

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ card is an affordable option that covers a wide range of expenses. In addition to the generous welcome bonus and travel rewards, this is also one of the best credit cards with no annual fee and cashback.

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card Logo
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
4.5 stars Our Rating
Apply Now Read Full Review
Intro APR: 0% for 15 months
Regular APR: 15.49% - 25.49%
Required credit score: 700-850
Welcome offer: $200
KEY FACTS
PRODUCT DETAILS
PROS & CONS

If you enjoy wining and dining and investing in your experiences, SavorOne is the perfect card. In addition to 3% cashback on entertainment and dining, there are zero foreign transaction fees and a great support network to assist you when you’re traveling.

Evaluation Criteria

How We Evaluate No-Annual-Fee Credit Cards - Our Methodology

There are thousands of credit cards to choose from, and identifying the best credit cards with no annual fee can be challenging. We simplified the process by narrowing down the list of options and outlining how we did. Our methodology can help you choose the right no-annual-fee credit card that’s most suitable for your unique needs. 

Rewards

One of the most important things to keep an eye on when researching no-annual-fee credit cards is the list of rewards. Bear in mind that these cards offer lower level rewards than the premium ones that come with an annual fee. Nevertheless, there are still some juicy benefits on offer.

First, figure out exactly how the card’s rewards program can actually benefit you. For instance, if you’re a frequent traveler look for free air miles or affordable foreign transactions, which are offered by the best travel credit cards with no annual fee

APR

Just because you’re getting a credit card with no annual fees doesn’t mean you can’t get stuck with a high APR. If the rate is high enough, you could actually end up losing money instead of saving.

You have to consider both the regular APR and the length of the introductory-APR. The companies on our list offer a 0% APR for the first 15 to 18 months after you open an account. 

Foreign Transaction Fees

We understand that many people use credit cards solely for low foreign transaction fees. That’s why we made sure to include the best credit cards for travel with no annual fee on our list.

Taking out cash abroad can be costly, and many credit card users see little difference in the exchange rate when paying with a card. 

Customer Support

Finances can be tricky, and when you encounter problems with your credit card, you want to have a good team backing you up. That’s why we examined customer support options for each provider. Make sure to look out for a live chat option, a phone number, and email support.  

Quick Breakdown

Best No-Annual-Fee Credit Card Options for 2021:

Detailed Reviews

Intro APR:
0% for 15 months
Regular APR:
13.99% to 23.99%
Required credit score:
700-749
Welcome bonus:
Earn up to $350

American Express is a household name when it comes to credit cards. Maybe you already have one with this company. But if you’re searching for the best credit cards with no annual fee, the offers from the Blue Cash Everyday Credit Card are tough to match.

Rewards

There is a long list of rewards that customers can enjoy with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card. You can earn 3% cashback on up to $6,000 per year in eligible supermarket purchases.

After the first year, it goes down to 1%. For purchases at gas stations and select department stores, customers can earn 2% cashback, and you get 1% on other eligible purchases. 

If you’re among the customers who travel a lot by car and frequent gas stations, or if you’re a big spender at your local supermarket, this is a great option for racking up those cashback rewards. Moreover, customers can earn up to $350 on their Amazon.com purchases and by spending $1,000 in their first six months of membership. 

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to describe this option as the best rewards credit card with no annual fee. Note that these Blue Cash Everyday® offers are constantly changing, so keep an eye on the homepage of the company’s website for any updates.

APR 

The Blue Cash Everyday® Credit Card has a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months which is a fairly considerable length of time for a new card.

After that, you’ll be subject to a rate between 13.99% to 23.99%, depending on your credit trustworthiness. If you use your card well and make your payments on time, you can expect pretty good rates.

Foreign Transaction Fees

It’s not one of the best no-annual-fee credit cards for foreign travel because of the considerable 2.7% transaction fee. There are a couple of travel perks though.

You’ll be eligible for car rental loss and damage insurance if you don’t sign the damage waiver when you rent a car abroad using the Blue Cash Everyday® Credit Card. 

But make sure to check the list of eligible countries first because Italy, Australia, and New Zealand aren’t covered. There is also a global assistance hotline if you travel more than 100 miles from home, which can help you if you lose your wallet or if you have a medical emergency.

Thanks to these features, many consider it one of the best no-annual-fee credit cards when you’re on the road.

Customer Support

With a reputable company like American Express, you can expect an efficient customer support service. Support is available 24/7, which is always great to see. There are various channels, including email, phone support, and a live chat function.

In addition, you’ll find plenty of information in the FAQ section.

Bottom Line

The Blue Cash Everyday® Credit Card by American Express is widely considered one of the best no-annual-fee credit cards on the market. There are plenty of cashback rewards and a 0% initial APR for the first 15 months.

Reasons to Apply:

  • Generous cashback on supermarket purchases
  • Efficient customer support
  • Great support for travelers
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Intro APR:
0% for 18 months
Regular APR:
13.99% - 23.99%
Required credit score:
750-850
Welcome bonus:
None

Citigroup is one of the world’s largest investment banking companies. The New York City-based firm employs more than 200,000 people worldwide and had a revenue of over 74 billion in 2019.

It’s perhaps no surprise then that it also offers the finest no-annual-fee card.

Rewards

The Citi® Double Cash Card is undoubtedly one of the best cashback credit cards with no annual fee. As the name suggests, you can double your cashback. Every purchase that you make earns you 1% cashback, and you’ll get an extra 1% once you pay your bill.

APR 

The initial 0% APR lasts for 18 months. That’s about as good as you’re going to find and the best no-annual-fee credit card APR rate. Beyond the first 18 months, the APR rate goes up to between 13.99% and 23.99%.

Keep up with your payments and maintain a good credit score to reduce your APR. If you don’t, you may find yourself with additional costs that can be overwhelming.

Foreign Transaction Fees

Sadly, we can’t describe the Citi® Double Cash Card as being among the best credit cards with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. You’ll incur a fee of 3% for purchases made abroad after the currency has been converted, which is above average.

If you’re a frequent traveler, you’re unlikely to come across any additional perks that would encourage you to use this card while you’re on the road.

Customer Support 

The Citi® Double Cash Card customer support team might not be as good as their counterparts at American Express, but they offer a perfectly adequate service.

As one of the best-secured credit cards with no annual fee, the company offers 24-hour support via phone, email, and live chat. In addition, there’s a lost wallet service, and if you lose your card, Citi tries to send you a replacement within 24 hours.

Bottom Line

The card’s impressive cashback offers place it firmly among industry heavyweights and on our list of the best no-annual-fee credit cards. Although there aren’t great travel rewards, the 18-month-long 0% APR is hard to resist. 

Reasons to Apply:

  • Lengthy intro APR period
  • Cashback on all purchases
  • Efficient customer support
+ Show more
Intro APR:
0% for 15 months
Regular APR:
14.99%–23.74%
Required credit score:
700-749
Welcome offer:
$200

Our next entry is a product of America’s largest bank. JPMorgan Chase is also the seventh biggest bank in the world in terms of assets. It’s no-annual-fee card offers great rewards and can accommodate all your spending needs.  

Rewards

The Chase Freedom Flex credit card is widely regarded as the best bonus credit card with no annual fee. When you sign up for the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card, you’ll receive a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months.

That’s an offer that’s hard to beat. And that’s not all. You’ll also receive 5% cashback on grocery shopping in stores that aren’t Target or Walmart for a value of up to $12,000 in the first year.   

The rewards don’t stop after the honeymoon period - there’s a host of other cashback bonuses, including 5% cashback on up $1,500 each quarter with selected bonus purchases.

You can also get 5% on travel-related purchases through Chase Rewards, 3% on dining and takeout, 3% on drugstores, and 1% on other purchases. As you can tell, you can save a lot of money with a Chase Freedom Flex℠ card, one of the best credit cards with no annual fee and rewards.

APR

You’ll enjoy 0% interest for your first 15 months, which is a substantial amount of time. After that, the APR rate varies between 14.99% and 23.74% depending on your credit score.

It’s not the best APR rate on the credit card market, but the savings that you can rack up with the cashback rewards make the offer worth it.

Foreign Transaction Fees

The foreign transaction fee with the Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card is 3%. While not great, there are some other travel-related bonuses. If your trip is canceled or interrupted, you can claim up to $1,500 back per person on passenger fares, or up to $6,000 per trip.

That’s a potential lifesaver and some of the best no-annual-fee credit card insurance on the market.

If you find yourself in a jam while away from home, Chase’s team is standing by to help you get referrals for medical and legal help. Such services make all the difference when you’re in a foreign country.

Additionally, if you rent a car with a Chase Freedom Flex℠ card, don’t sign the damage waiver and Chase will cover any damages. Thanks to these additional bonuses, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card is one of the best travel credit cards with no annual fee.

Customer Support

According to online Chase Freedom Flex℠ reviews, customer support is adequate. There is round-the-clock phone support, and you can shoot them an email anytime. However, there’s no option for live chat support.

The company gives you the option to schedule a meeting with a banker either by phone or by going down to your local branch. There’s also a useful FAQ section where you can collate most of the information you’ll need.

Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card is one of the best credit cards with rewards and no annual fee. A great introductory offer coupled with long-term cashback offers means you can rack up those savings with this card.

Reasons to Apply:

  • $200 bonus
  • Up to 5% cashback
  • Terrific travel rewards
+ Show more

One of the biggest credit card issuers in the US, Capital One is an intuitive and tech-focused organization. It’s Cash Rewards Credit Card is definitely one to pay close attention to. Let’s find out why.

Rewards

One could argue that Capital One® provides the best no-annual-fee credit card, particularly if you enjoy entertainment.

You’ll receive $150 when you spend at least $500 in the first three months. If you’re a bit of a socialite, you can save some money with a 3% cashback offer on dining and entertainment. 

Dining venues include restaurants, cafes, bakeries, bars, and nightclubs. The entertainment option covers tickets to concerts, theatres, movies, theme parks, bowling alleys, and much more.

Truly one of the best credit cards for rewards with no annual fee if you like to get out and about. You’ll get 2% cashback on grocery shopping in stores that aren’t Target or Walmart and 1% on other purchases.

APR

With a 0% APR for the first 15 months, you can bring down your costs. After that, the APR varies between 15.49% and 25.49%. To end up on the lower end of that spectrum, you’ll need to keep your credit score in decent shape.

Foreign Transaction Fees 

One of the key highlights of the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is that there are no foreign transaction fees. This makes it our pick as the best no-annual-fee travel credit card.

The travel benefits extend beyond this though. You’ll be eligible for some insurance if your vacation is canceled, and you book your trip using the SavorOne card. There is also a global hotline if you have any problems while on your trip.

As with some of the other best no-annual-fee credit cards, you’ll be covered for car rental damage and theft, giving you peace of mind when you’re on the road.

Customer Support

Capital One has decent online customer service reviews. You can reach support agents around the clock by telephone, email, or live chat. Coupled with a global assistance hotline for travels, Capital One’s customer support takes good care of clients.

Bottom Line

If you’re a fun-loving person who enjoys eating out, great activities, and traveling, the SavorOne is an ideal option. You’ll save plenty of cash, placing SavorOne among a reliable group of cards for travel rewards with no annual fee. 

Reasons to Apply:

  • One-time $200 cash bonus
  • Great for dining and entertainment
  • No foreign transaction fees
+ Show more

Our Guide to No-Annual-Fee Credit Cards

If you’re unfamiliar with no-annual-fee credit cards, then we’ve put together a brief guide to help you to understand them better.

What are no-annual-fee credit cards?

Unlike many other credit cards, no-annual-fee credit cards don’t charge you a standard rate to use the service. This can save you money, but you’ll get fewer rewards and benefits than with premium cards that have an annual fee.

Nevertheless, the best credit cards with rewards and no annual fee accommodate a broad range of satisfied customers. Deciding whether a no-annual-fee credit card is right for you depends on your needs and how you feel about rewards. Let’s look at the types of people a no-annual-fee credit card can be good for.

Who needs a no-annual-fee credit card?

Credit cards with no annual fees can be beneficial for just about anyone, but there are some people who need it more than others. Let’s see if you should be on the hunt for the best no-annual-fee credit card.

New users

If you’ve never had a credit card before then one with no annual fees might be a great option. It’ll allow you to learn the fundamentals of using a credit card without having the burden of an annual fee hanging over your head.

Once you’ve learned how to manage your finances during the often-lengthy 0% APR period, you can consider upgrading to something with more rewards and benefits. By getting the best credit cards with low interest and no annual fee, you reduce any risk of financial damage.

Occasional users

Credit cards with no annual fees are great for people who don’t tend to use a credit card on a daily or even weekly basis. There’s little reason to take out a credit card that has an annual fee if you’re not going to use it frequently and enjoy the rewards.

Instead, some people only use credit cards in certain situations such as when traveling. If you fall into that category, make sure to get the best no-annual-fee credit cards for travel.

Users aiming to rebuild credit

If you have a poor credit score, then a no-annual-fee credit card can be a great way to rebuild it. You can get used to making prompt monthly payments and won’t have an annual fee to hinder you.

If you’re wise about it, you can improve your credit score quickly by using the best credit cards for bad credit with no annual fee. 

FAQ
Is it worth getting a credit card with no annual fee? +

You can save a decent sum of money when you take out a credit card with no annual fee. While being exempt from an annual fee deprives you of some benefits that you’d get with cards that have an annual fee, there are still some excellent cashback offers and rewards on offer.

As such, the best reward credit cards with no annual fee reduce your expenses and stress.

Should I cancel a credit card with an annual fee? +

Not necessarily. Although there are some excellent credit cards with no annual fee, you need to make a firm evaluation of whether they suit your needs. In some instances, customers with annual fee credit cards are actually saving more money than those without them.

What does it mean if a credit card has no annual fee? +

If you have a credit card with no annual fee, you’re not being charged for having and retaining the card. By doing away with the annual fee, these credit cards may help you build up your savings. Check out our evaluation of the best no-annual-fee credit cards to see which one is right for you.