Best Credit Cards with No Annual Fee

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Contributor, Benzinga
June 9, 2022

Quick Look of the Best Credit Cards with No Annual Fee

Credit cards that come with an annual fee can be a burden if you find it exhausting to constantly maximize your rewards just to offset the yearly fee. 

But if you’re under the impression that all credit cards without an annual fee are vanilla, you’re mistaken. Some of the top-tier credit cards packed with benefits are absolutely free of cost.

The best part? You’ll be able to keep your card open for a long time at no cost. You can earn rewards and cash back, as well as increase the average age of your accounts which can improve your credit score.

Take a look at our list of the best credit cards with no annual fee to find your match today.

Best Credit Cards with No Annual Fee

There's an array of free credit cards that offer ample rewards. Benzinga’s found some of the best no annual fee cards with low rates, cash back and rewards available now.

1. Best for Cashback: Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card is great if you want to be rewarded in a way that you can understand best — dollars and cents. The card rewards you in 2 ways. You earn 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase you make. Then, as you pay for those purchases — whether it's all at once or over time — you earn an additional 1% cash back on those credit card payments. Unlike many other cash back credit cards, Citi Double Cash has no restricting categories to keep track of or enroll in. There are also no caps on the total amount of cash back you earn. Simply remember to make your payments on-time to get your cash back bonuses.

2. Best for Balance Transfers: Wells Fargo Reflect Visa® Card

Balance transfers made within 120 days on the Wells Fargo Reflect Visa® Card qualify for the intro rate and fee. You can enjoy the low intro APR for up to 21 months with 18 months upfront and a 3-month APR extension when you make your minimum payment on time during those 21 months. The card also features Roadside Dispatch for drivers, cell phone protection when you pay your cell phone bill with a Wells Fargo card, Zero Liability protection and statement credits on qualifying purchases through My Wells Fargo Deals.

3. Best for Crypto Rewards: BlockFi Rewards Visa® Signature Card

BlockFi offers the Rewards Visa® Signature Card along with the BlockFi Offers program, enhancing the rewards you can earn while shopping. Through the BlockFi Offers program, cardholders can earn more rewards—up to 10% crypto back at thousands of participating retailers and restaurants. You can choose from 1 of 10 cryptocurrencies that BlockFi offers, earn 1.5% on all purchases and add more rewards if you shop or eat at participating locations. Plus, you can earn 2% back when you spend more than $30,000 annually.

4. Best for Dining and Entertainment: Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

If you spend a lot of time eating out or going out for events, it can’t get better than Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card. You can earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Prefer ordering in? The card earns you a 5% cash back if you order with Uber Eats. The card gives you privileges such as VIP experiences, discounts and on-site perks at select events.

5. Best for GM Purchase Rewards: My GM Rewards Card™

When you use the My GM Rewards Card™, you get a robust welcome bonus and collect points on your purchases that can go toward the lease or purchase of a GM vehicle. There’s no annual fee, and you can even use the card overseas with no foreign transaction fee.

6. Best for Rotating Categories: U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card allows you to enjoy the introductory APR for up to 24 billings cycles. There’s no annual fee, and the variable APR thereafter sits between 15.24% and 25.24%. This card makes it easier to pay for emergencies without accruing interest charges. Plus, you can use U.S. Bank’s online calculator to determine how much you can save by transferring balances to the card. Other features include cell phone protection when you pay your bill with the card, credit score monitoring, contactless payments, fraud protection and an adjustable payment date.

Credit Card Responsibility

Credit cards were designed to help you pay for items you need urgently over time (paying in full each month) and to help you build your creditworthiness. You can also profit from the card if you maximize the benefits that come with it.

But the misuse of credit cards is rampant in the U.S. According to the latest data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, credit card debt in the U.S. hit a record high of $930 billion.

Although credit cards can be beneficial, it’s no secret that it is a dangerous ground to tread. Here are some things you should know that might help you understand the dangers of owning a credit card.

The illusion of more money

It’s easy to forget that you are actually borrowing money when you pay with a credit card. It tricks you into thinking that you have money that you don’t. This means that you don’t have a budget. 

For example, you might think that it’s just a cup of coffee or a cab ride, but over time you might realize that you were living beyond your means.

Interest leads to debt

Lenders allow you to repay a portion of what you actually owe every month. This amount may seem less but the remaining amount accrues interest.

If you don’t pay the full amount due every month then you could end up in debt as the amount that accrued interest will get carried over to the next month.

Misuse can hurt your credit score

Your credit score is tied directly to how you use your credit card. If you don’t repay on time or run up large balances, you’ll see your credit score plummet.

A low credit score implies you aren’t financially responsible. This can affect your ability to get jobs, car loans, home loans, purchase products and more.

How to Apply for a Credit Card

You can apply for a credit card in multiple ways — online, a paper application or by phone. There are some basic requirements and information that you need to provide in the application.

  1. Check your credit score. Most credit cards require you to have a fair to excellent credit score. If you have no or low credit, you can rebuild your credit score using a secured credit card.
  1. Choose your card. There are many kinds of credit cards. Assess your needs and lifestyle and get a card that suits you best. For example, if you live out of your suitcase, then a travel card would be perfect. 
  1. Provide personal, employment and income information. In your application form, you will have to provide personal information such as your name, address, phone number and Social Security number. You will also need to provide information about your occupation, income and sources  of income.
  1. Enter your card preferences. If you have an eligible partner or dependent who you’d like to add as an additional cardholder (or authorized user), you can include their personal details. You can also apply for a balance transfer from your existing card to your new card. 

Once you complete these steps, you can review your details and hit submit. Make sure you check your application carefully since it can’t be recalled once it’s submitted.

Is a No Annual Fee Card Right for You?

Premium credit cards typically come with a higher level of benefits compared to a card with an annual fee. You can certainly benefit from having a no annual fee credit card while you rack up rewards and take advantage of consumer protections.

Keep in mind that although a no annual credit card is free, you still might have to pay interest and other fees if you fail to repay on time or don’t pay the full amount every month. Start with our recommended cards with no fee to find the perfect fit today.

About Suzanne Kearns

Suzanne is an expert in the insurance, personal finance, real estate and retirement planning space.