The Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards

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Last updated on August 14th, 2023

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

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℠ Card
Excellent-Good
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Excellent / Good
Mastercard Processing Network
$0 Annual Fee

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

  • 18.99% – 28.99% (Variable) Regular Purchase APR
  • 18.99% – 28.99% (Variable) Balance Transfer APR
  • 29.99% (Variable) Cash Advance APR
  • 0% for 15 months on Purchases Intro Purchase APR

At a Glance

The Citi Custom Cash? Card is a generous cash back credit card that offers up to 5% back on eligible purchases. The card, from Citi, does not charge an annual fee and rewards 5% back on the top spending category each month, with options including transit, travel, gas, groceries, dining, and more.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 18.99% – 28.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 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. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No rotating bonus categories to sign up for – as your spending changes each billing cycle, your earn adjusts automatically when you spend in any of the eligible categories.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Citi will only issue one Citi Custom Cash℠ Card account per person.
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months on Purchases
  • Regular Purchase APR: 18.99% – 28.99% (Variable)
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months on Balance Transfers
  • Balance Transfer APR: 18.99% – 28.99% (Variable)
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.99% (Variable)
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: 5% of each cash advance; $10 minimum
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41
  • You want to earn 5% back but do’t want quarterly categories
  • You plan on spending $1,500 within the first 90 days
  • You have a large purchase in mind that you want to pay down over time
  • You plan on transferring an existing balance within the first four months
  • You don’t want to pay an 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 service (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

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Excellent-Good
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Excellent / Good
Mastercard Processing Network
$0 Annual Fee

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

  • 18.99% – 28.99% (Variable) Regular Purchase APR
  • 18.99% – 28.99% (Variable) Balance Transfer APR
  • 29.99% (Variable) Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

The Citi® Double Cash Card is one of the most versatile cash back credit cards on the market today, thanks to impressive, flat-rate cash back, lucrative introductory 0% APR offers, and more. Cardholders earn 2% back on every eligible purchase: 1% back at the time of sale and an additional 1% back when they pay their statement balance. Cash back is redeemable for statement credits, direct deposits, checks, or converted as ThankYou® points.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • 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. After that, the variable APR will be 18.99% – 28.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
  • Regular Purchase APR: 18.99% – 28.99% (Variable)
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers
  • Balance Transfer APR: 18.99% – 28.99% (Variable)
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. A balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies if completed after 4 months of account opening.
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.99% (Variable)
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: 5% of each cash advance; $10 minimum
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41
  • You prefer earning cash back at a flat rate rather than in rotating categories
  • You’re looking to either consolidate existing balances or pay down a large purchase with no interest charges for an extended period of time
  • You like to have the flexibility of converting cash back into lucrative rewards points
  • You’re considering a credit card without an annual fee
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Terms & Conditions

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
Excellent-Good
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Excellent / Good
Mastercard Processing Network
None Annual Fee

Chase Freedom Flex

  • 20.49% to 29.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Regular Purchase APR
  • 20.49% to 29.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Balance Transfer APR
  • 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate Cash Advance APR
  • 0% for 15 months from account opening date Intro Purchase APR

At a Glance

The Chase Freedom Flex is a hybrid cash back credit card that offers something for everyone. The card earns 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases, plus up to 5% back on rotating categories each quarter after activation – all for no annual fee.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • Earn 3% on drugstore purchases
  • Earn 1% on all other purchases
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 19.24%-27.99%
  • No annual fee – You wo’t have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Flex℠ card
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months from account opening date
  • Regular Purchase APR: 20.49% to 29.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 20.49% to 29.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • You want a versatile cash back credit card that earns rewards across various categories
  • You don’t mind the lower cash back rates for dining and drugstore purchases over previous Chase cards
  • You prefer to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • You don’t want to pay an annual fee for premium Mastercard features

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 2023:

Date 5% Cash Back Category
Q1 January – March 2024 Grocery stores (excluding Walmart), self-care and spa services, plus fitness and gym memberships
Q2 April – June 2024 TBD
Q3 July – September 2024 TBD
Q4 October – December 2024 TBD

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®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Excellent-Good
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Excellent / Good
Visa Processing Network
None Annual Fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • 20.49% to 29.24% Variable Regular Purchase APR
  • 20.49% to 29.24% Variable Balance Transfer APR
  • 29.99% Variable Cash Advance APR
  • 0% for 15 months from account opening date Intro Purchase APR

At a Glance

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card is a reliable option for customers looking to pair an attractive cash back rewards program with generous introductory interest rates. Cardholders can redeem for cash, travel, and more.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • SPECIAL OFFER: Unlimited Matched Cash Back. Use your card for all your purchases and at the end of your first year, Chase will automatically match all the cash back you earned! There is no limit to how much you can earn. Every dollar in cash back rewards you earn is a dollar Chase will match.
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back is just the beginning of what you can earn. You’ll enjoy 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, 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; and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% – 29.24%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • No annual fee – You won’t have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
  • Member FDIC
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months from account opening date
  • Regular Purchase APR: 20.49% to 29.24% Variable
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 20.49% to 29.24% Variable
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.99% Variable
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • You are looking for a low-rate credit card to perform a balance transfer
  • You prefer straightforward rewards earnings rather than quarterly categories requiring activation
  • You’ll make at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days
  • You do’t want to pay an 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

Discover it® Cash Back
Excellent-Good
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Excellent / Good
Discover Processing Network
None Annual Fee

Discover it® Cash Back

  • 17.24% to 28.24% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate Regular Purchase APR
  • 17.24% to 28.24% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate Balance Transfer APR
  • 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate Cash Advance APR
  • 0% for 18 months from account opening Intro Purchase APR

At a Glance

The Discover It Cash Back Card is a cash back credit card that offers enhanced earning potential in a selection of rotating categories. Cardholders earn 5% back on purchases in categories that rotate each quarter, and 1% on all other purchases. The card also features 0% intro APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, Discover’s 100% U.S.-based customer service, Discover’s bonus cash back match, and no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter, up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically
  • Discover matches all of the cash back earned by the cardholder at the end of the first year automatically; there is no limit to how much cash back is matched
  • Cash back rewards never expire, earn unlimited cash back
  • Use rewards at Amazon checkout
  • No annual fee
  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% for 18 months from account opening
  • Regular Purchase APR: 17.24% to 28.24% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months from date of first transfer
  • Balance Transfer APR: 17.24% to 28.24% variable based on creditworthiness and Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: 3% of the amount of each transfer posted at the promotional rate. After that, 5% of the amount of each transfer
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: None the first time you pay late. After that, up to $41
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41
  • You want to earn 5% back on select category purchases each quarter, including restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares, and online shopping
  • You don’t want to pay an annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • You want 100% U.S.-based customer service
  • You don’t mind rotating categories changing every three months

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.

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Featured image by Alexas_Fotos/Pixabay

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About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

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