The Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards of 2022

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Last updated on November 15th, 2022

Do you really need to pay an annual fee to get some of the best credit card rewards available? Absolutely not! Here are some of the best no annual fee credit card options to choose from – including balance transfer and rewards cards:

This post may contain links from partner offers, and we may receive compensation when you click on links to these offers. Please see our advertiser and editorial disclosures above for more information. Citi is an advertising partner.

At a Glance

What is a No Annual Fee Credit Card?

A no annual fee credit card is a card that charges no fee for membership. No annual fee credit cards can provide significant value, despite the lack of a yearly membership fee. While premium credit cards (those that charge an annual fee) often offer the most lucrative rewards and additional perks, many no annual fee rewards cards provide comparable rewards at a much lower price point.

Why Opt for a No Annual Fee Credit Card?

Credit cards with annual fees are ideal for regular travelers, big spenders, and those consumers looking for an accelerated rewards rate on eligible purchases. Some of the very best travel credit cards feature annual fees, with some rising into the hundreds of dollars (see the Platinum Card from American Express and its $695 annual fee for a leading example). What you might not know, however, is that you can still get an excellent rewards credit card without the annual fee.

Best No Annual Fee Rewards Credit Cards

Many banks and credit unions offer a selection of no annual fee rewards credit cards. These cards range from co-branded offerings with hotel chains and major airlines and proprietary rewards and cash back credit cards.

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

citi custom cash 224x141
Earn 5% Back On Your Top Spending Category
  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter
  • Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
☆ 5% Categories Include Gas, Streaming, Groceries, Travel, & More!
☆ 0% Intro APR for 15 Months
☆ No Annual Fee

Five-percent cash back cards are among the best no annual fee credit cards. These cards provide up to 5% cash back on select purchases, often in rotating categories. The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is one of the best of these cash back credit cards, thanks to its up to 5% back on eligible purchases in cardmember’s the top spending category each month. Here is the full slate of 5% back categories with the Custom Cash:

Dining Fitness clubs Grocery stores
Drugstores Gas stations Home improvement stores
Travel & transit (select) Live entertainment Streaming services (select)

The 5% back categories are limited to the first $500 spent on eligible purchases in the top eligible spend category each billing cycle, with 1% back on all purchases. That spending cap is on par with other 5% cash back credit cards, namely the Discover It, which cuts 5% rewards after the first $1,500 in spending per quarter.

Other noteworthy features of the Custom Cash credit card from Citi include 15 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, a $200 cash back welcome bonus (after making $750 in purchases within the first three months of opening an account), and  – of course – no annual fee.

That 15-month introductory APR period is also one of the longest for a cash back credit card – and applies to both balance transfers and purchases. With Custom Cash, you can make a large purchase and pay down an existing credit card balance – all for no annual fee.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

doublecash 224x141
Earn 2% Cash Back on All Purchases
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time
☆ Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months
☆ No Reward Caps or Categories
☆ No Annual Fee

The Citi® Double Cash Card does not offer special rewards categories like the Custom Cash Card. Instead, Citi provides an unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. The card earns a flat-rate 1% cash back on all eligible purchases – and another 1% back when the account holder pays off that balance.

The lack of an annual fee, the 2% back, and the 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months make the Citi Double Cash Card the perfect everyday credit card for anyone who hates

Like the Custom Cash, the Double Cash from Citi earns rewards as ThankYou Points. Cardmembers can opt for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, or other award options or use their points to book dream travel through Citi ThankYou® Rewards.

Chase Freedom Flex

chase freedom flex mastercard
Earn a $200 Bonus and Up to 5% Cash Back
  • 5% on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months
☆ 5% Back on Chase Travel
☆ 3% Back on Dining & Drugstores
☆ No Annual Fee

The Chase Freedom Flex earns 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter after activation, 5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 5% cash back on eligible gas station purchases on up to $6,000 spent in the first year. The card’s rotating categories are always popular, with 2022 already providing some versatility for card members.

Here is Chase’s Cash Back Calendar for 2022:

5% Cash Back Category
January – March 2022 Groceries (excluding larger stores like Target or Walmart) and eBay
April – June 2022 Amazon.com and select streaming services
July – September 2022 Gas stations, car rentals, movie theatres, and select live entertainment
October – December 2022 PayPal and Walmart

Chase also offers 15 months of 0% intro APR with the Freedom Flex like the Citi Custom Cash. And, like the Custom Cash, that promotional period applies to both purchases and balance transfers.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

freedom unlimited
Earn unlimited Cash Back on Purchases
  • 5% on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months
☆ 5% Back on Chase Travel
☆ 3% Back on Dining & Drugstores
☆ No Annual Fee

The Chase Freedom family also includes the Freedom Unlimited, the bank’s unlimited cash rewards credit card. The Freedom Unlimited earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, except for extra enhanced categories that mirror cards like the Freedom Flex, Citi Custom Cash, or even U.S. Bank’s Cash+ Visa.

Like the Freedom Flex, Freedom Unlimited cardholders enjoy 15 months of no interest on BTs and purchases, plus up to 5% cash back in select categories. While the 5% back is limited to Chase travel (via Ultimate Rewards), the 3% back categories include restaurants and drugstores, making this card’s value truly unlimited.

Discover it Cash Back

merit
Earn Up to 5% Cash Back
  • 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter, up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate
  • 0% for 15 months from account opening
☆ Discover Cash Back Match
☆ Redeem Points with Amazon
☆ No Annual Fee

Ther Discover It Cash Back is one of the most popular credit cards on the market – and it’s easy to see why. After year one, cardholders enjoy Discover’s Cashback Match. That match means cardholders get an automatic cash back match after year one: earn $250 in cash back rewards and watch that total automatically double to $500.

Equally impressive, however, is the 14 months of 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers. Beyond special offers, the Discover It Cash Back is a versatile cash back rewards card that earns 5% back on a rotating selection of categories.

Other Options to Consider

Want some more no annual fee rewards credit card options to consider? Here are some other popular offers:

Best No Annual Fee Low APR Credit Cards

No annual fee credit cards offer far more than just exceptional rewards. As you’ve already seen, many no annual fee cards also provide 0% intro APR on either purchases, balance transfers, or both.

A credit card with no annual fee usually means a lower APR. While not a hard and fast rule, low rate credit cards are generally no annual fee, meaning you should never look to pay an annual fee if all you want is an exceptionally low-interest rate – or lengthy balance transfer offer.

Citi Simplicity® Card

citi simplicity card
0% Intro APR on Purchases and BTs
  • 0% APR for 12 months on purchases
  • 0% APR for 21 months on balance transfers
☆ Choose Your Payment Date
☆ Contactless Payment - Tap and Pay
☆ No Annual Fee

The Citi Simplicity® Card is one of the bank’s most popular credit cards, thanks to its exceptionally low APR, lengthy intro APR periods, and lack of an annual fee. The Simplicity offers two introductory interest rate periods – one for balance transfers and one for purchases.

First, new accounts enjoy 12 months of no interest on purchases. Second, they’ll enjoy a whopping 21 months of 0% interest on balance transfers – the longest introductory period available.

Beyond the exceptional intro APR period, the Simplicity provides one of Citibank’s lowest APRs. While the rate will vary depending on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate, the purchase and transfer APR with the Simplicity is significantly below the national average APR for a credit card, making it one of the ideal debt-tackling tools with no annual fee.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

citi diamond preferred new 224x141
0% Intro APR on Purchases and BTs
  • 0% APR for 12 months on purchases
  • 0% APR for 21 months on balance transfers
☆ Choose Your Payment Date
☆ Contactless Payment - Tap and Pay
☆ No Annual Fee

The Simplicity and the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card are two very similar credit cards. Both cards feature the same 0% intro APR periods on balance transfers and purchases, feature no annual fee, and provide the same Mastercard protections and benefits. New Diamond Preferred cardmembers will enjoy 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and 21 months on BTs – one of the longest introductory interest rate periods on balance transfers available today.

Like the Simplicity, the Diamond Preferred offers one of Citi’s lowest APRs. In fact, the card provides the lowest APR from Citi – a full percentage point lower than the interest rate with Simplicity. Not bad for no annual fee.

Wells Fargo Reflect Card

Wells Fargo Reflect Card
Enjoy Wells Fargo's Lowest Intro APR for Up to 21 Months
  • 0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
  • ntro APR extension of up to 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the introductory and extension periods
☆ Cell Phone Protection
☆ Roadside Dispatch
☆ No Annual Fee

The  Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card offers an above-average 18-month 0% APR intro offer on balance transfers and purchases. However, those 18 months can turn into 21 months.

By simply making the minimum monthly payment every month during the 18-month intro period, you’ll get a 3-month extension with no interest charges (during which you’ll still need to make the minimum monthly payment on your statement). Almost two years without interest charges, plus no annual fee, make this a sweet deal for those looking to save money.

Other Options to Consider

Here are a few more low rate credit cards to consider:

Featured image by Alexas_Fotos/Pixabay

About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. Cory holds academic degrees in both the U.S. and U.K. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.

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BestCards is an independent, Florida-based credit card comparison platform. Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which BestCards receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). BestCards does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

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