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The best no annual fee credit cards: Save your money

Collect those savings by skipping the annual fee.
lena-borrelli-author.jpg
Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on

Many credit cards today charge annual fees. The problem is, they can get pretty expensive, running the gamut from under $100 to nearly $500. When you choose a credit card without annual fees, you can receive huge savings and reduce the complications in your life. 

A credit card with no annual fee can help you save money while not having to sacrifice the quality and rewards of the best credit cards on the market in 2022.

Based on our exhaustive analysis, these are the best credit cards with no annual fee.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Best for everyday purchases

See Rates and Fees | Terms Apply
Card Highlights
Intro BonusEarn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
APR14.74% - 24.74% Variable
Recommended CreditExcellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
  • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations.
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases
Annual Fee$0
Intro Purchase APR0% on Purchases for 15 months
Additional Details
Rewards & Redemption Details

American Express welcomes you with a $200 statement credit after $2,000 in purchases within your first six months of having the card. It comes with an introductory APR of 0% that lasts even longer at 15 months. After the promotional show period is over, the APR changes from 14.74% to 24.74%. Your rewards can include 3% on groceries spent at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year. There is also 2% cashback on U.S. gas and with 1% on all other purchases. 

Amex is also unique in that it has a $0 Buy Now, Pay Later Plan It. It lasts 15 months from account opening and allows you to create a specific payment plan custom to your needs without a fee. 

Pros 

  • 0% intro APR
  • No annual fee
  • Rewards for gas, groceries, and department stores

Cons

  • Limited rewards for travel 
  • $2,000 purchase required for statement credit
  • Spending caps apply
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for dining

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is the card you want when dining and entertainment are your favorite activities. This card is designed especially for foodies and social butterflies who love to get out of the house for a great meal. Capital One gives unlimited 3% cashback on all of your dining and entertainment purchases, in addition to your regular groceries. When you use your card to pay for streaming services, you could also receive 3% cashback on your payments. All other purchases merit you 1% cashback. 

There is also a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 within the first 3 months of having your card. Capital One also offers an introductory 0% APR and 3% balance transfer fee on transactions made within the first 18 months. After the promotional period, the APR changes to a variable APR of 15.24%, 21.24%, or 25.24% on your purchases. There also are no annual or foreign transaction fees to save you extra money each year.

Pros 

  • Intro APR offer
  • No annual or foreign transaction fees
  • Extra points for bonus categories

Cons 

  • High APR
  • Limited bonus categories
  • Not ideal for travel rewards

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Best for cashback

Card Highlights
Intro BonusIntro 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!
APR15.24% to 23.99% Variable
Recommended CreditExcellent/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 Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Additional Details
Rewards & Redemption Details

If you are a commuter or spend a lot of time on the road, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card could be the right credit card for you. To start, there is an intro offer to earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy up to $20,000 spent in the first year. That's worth up to $300 cash back. Plus a 0% introductory APR lasting 15 months for both your purchase and balance transfers, with a variable APR of 15.24% - 23.99% thereafter. There is also 5% cashback on travel you buy directly through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.

There are no annual fees, and your cashback never expires, giving you the time and space to organize your money. 

Pros 

  • Flexibility in redeeming your rewards
  • Intro APR
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • Limited rewards
  • Reward redemption restrictions
  • Balance transfer fees increase

Discover it® Cash Back

Best for 0% balance transfers

Card Highlights
Intro BonusIntro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
APR12.24% - 23.24% Variable
Recommended CreditAverage/Good/Excellent
Reward Rates
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Annual Fee$0
Intro Purchase APR0% for 15 months
Additional Details
Rewards & Redemption Details

The Discover It Balance Transfer credit cardis designed to offer discounted balance transfers with a 0% intro APR. Also notable is the fact that this card features rotating categories. One quarter it could be Amazon.com, and the next, groceries. For example, July 2022 features restaurants and PayPal purchases, while October 2022 offers cashback for Amazon.com purchases. Each category is worth 5% at some of the most popular retailers and categories that you already use every day. All other purchases earn 1% automatically, skipping the fuss of counting or tracking rewards points. 

Cashback Match is an additional promo lasting your first year and giving you an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match on all of your cashback earnings by year's end.

Pros 

  • Quarterly categories
  • Intro APR
  • Intro balance transfer APR

Cons

  • Increased balance transfer fee after promo period
  • Limited benefits
  • Restricted rewards outside categories

Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card

Best for poor credit

Card Highlights
Intro BonusN/A
APR13.24%-27.24% (Variable)
Recommended CreditLimited/Fair/Good/Excellent
Reward Rates
  • Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away.
Annual Fee$0
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Rewards & Redemption Details

The Petal 2 Visa can be a good option when you have poor credit. It offers credit limits ranging from $300 to $1,000, but it carries a very high APR that can be as much as 27.24% for very bad or new credit.  

You also receive cashback of up to 1.5% with incentives for timely payments. When you make a purchase, there is 1% automatically, but you can earn up to 1.5% back when you pay on time. Some merchants vary from 2% to 10% at select merchants.

Even better, the Petal 2 Visa does not charge any fees to save you extra money each year.

Pros 

  • No fees
  • Designed to build credit
  • Extra cashback with good payment history

Cons

  • Reward can be difficult to track
  • No introductory offer
  • No cash advances or transfers

How did we choose these credit cards?

There are many credit cards out there, but not all of them may be the right fit for your specific needs. These are some considerations we recommend when considering which is the best credit card with no annual fee.

  • Type of credit card: While some credit cards may only accept excellent credit, others may accommodate bad credit or even no credit at all.
  • APR: dictates how much interest you pay on your purchases so consider shopping your options to find the best APR for your specific needs. 
  • Fees: Most credit cards carry regular fees. This can include annual account fees, foreign transactions if you use your card outside of the country, and fees when you make balance transfers or cash advances.
  • Categories: There are rotating categories that may apply to some cards, changing each quarter to offer cashback at some of the most popular retailers today. 

We strongly suggest shopping and comparing different options so you can find the best credit card with no annual fee that also meets your regular spending and financial goals.

Which is the right credit card for you?

Our team at ZDNet has some expert recommendations to help you find the right credit card with no annual fee for you.

Choose this credit card...

If...

Blue Cash Everyday card from American Express

You want rewards for your regular everyday purchases

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards 

You love a meal and entertainment

Chase Freedom Unlimited

You want cash rewards that offer flexibility when redeeming 

Discover It Cash Back

You want earnings across different categories

Petal 2 Visa

You have fair credit

What is a no annual fee credit card?

Some credit cards charge an annual fee to maintain a line of credit and keep your account active. It is a fee that is charged each year. However, an annual fee does not apply to all credit cards, which is why it is important to consider the best credit cards with no annual fee.   

Can you get a no annual fee credit card with bad credit?

Even if you have bad credit, there are still credit cards with no annual fee that may approve you for a line of credit. One example is the Petal 2 credit card. 

What is the best credit card with no annual fee?

The best credit card with no annual fee all depends on your specific needs for a credit card. While some use a credit card for emergencies, others may use it to consolidate debt or rebuild credit. How you plan to use your credit card can help you find the best credit card with no annual fee. Our list of the best no annual fee credit cards is a great place to start.

Are there alternative cards worth considering?

In our search, we found many credit cards with no annual fee that may be worth your consideration. If you are searching for the best credit card with no annual fee, these are some of the best credit cards to consider.

  • Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards: Great for groceries and gas
  • Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card for Students: Made for students 
  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards: Choose for travel
  • Capital One Quicksilver: Fantastic for newer credit
  • Chase Freedom Flex: Varied cash back
  • Citi Custom Cash card: Enjoy automatic rewards
  • Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card: Excellent perks

For other options, consider our expert reviews for the best crypto credit cards, the best starter credit cards, and 2022's most exclusive credit cards.

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