If you're looking to avoid paying annual fees on credit cards, but still want to maximize your spending, there are tons of great options available. Review our picks for the best no annual fee credit cards and calculate which cards will earn you the most rewards and highest return on your spend.
- Best For Automatic 5% Back: Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
- Best For Supermarket, Gas, and Online Retail: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
- Best For Flat-Rate Cash Back & Sign Up Bonus: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Best For Customized Rewards Categories: Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
- Best For Travel Rewards: Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
- Best For Dining & Entertainment: Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Best For Earning Cash Back Worldwide: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Best For Automatic 5% Back
If you want to earn a high return on your spend without any effort, the Citi Custom Cash Card is a fantastic option. It earns 5% cash back up to the first $500 spent, then 1% cash back thereafter in one select category that you spend the most in during the statement period.
With the Citi Custom Cash Card, you don't have to worry about bonus categories because the card will automatically adjust each statement and reward you the highest amount of cash back based on whichever eligible category you spend the most in.
If you want to take it a step further and maximize your cash back with Citi, you can pair this card with the no-annual fee Citi® Double Cash Card which earns 1% back on purchases and 1% back when you pay off those purchases for a total of 2% cash back overall.
The Citi Custom Cash has a signup bonus of $200 cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. The bonus offer is fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
Best For Supermarket, Gas, and Online Retail
If you spend a lot across supermarket, gas station, and online retail purchases in the U.S., you'll want to turn your attention to the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express.
This card earns 3% cash back on up to $6,000 in U.S. supermarket purchases per year (then 1%), 3% back on up to $6,000 in U.S. online retail purchases per year (then 1%), and 3% back on up to $6,000 in U.S. gas station purchases per year (then 1%). All other purchases on the card earn 1% back.
In addition to earning a great return across all of these categories, the card also features a handful of great American Express benefits such as access to AMEX Offers and secondary car rental loss and damage insurance (primary for a fee).
The Blue Cash Everyday Card has a signup bonus of $200 back as a statement credit when you spend $2,000 on the card within the first 6 months.
Best For Flat-Rate Cash Back & Sign Up Bonus
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is easily one of the best cash back credit cards in the market.
It earns 5% cash back on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases. All other purchases made to the card earns 1.5% cash back which is a superb earning rate.
With the Chase Freedom Unlimited you're basically getting the best of both worlds which is high earnings across several bonus categories and an excellent flat-rate return on all other spending.
Combine the Chase Freedom Unlimited with the no-annual fee Chase Freedom Flex℠ if you're looking to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 per quarter on quarterly rotating categories!
The Chase Freedom Flex is offering a bonus 1.5% cash back on up to the first $20,000 spent during the first year of having the card. This means you'll earn between 3% and 6.5% on all purchases which is fantastic for a card that has no annual fee.
Best For Customized Rewards Categories
If you want full control over which category earns you the most cash back, you can do so with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card.
It earns 3% cash back on one select category of your choice, 2% cash back on grocery and wholesale club purchases, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The 3% and 2% categories share a combined spend cap of $2,500 per quarter and when you hit this cap, you'll earn at 1% for the remainder of the quarter.
What sets Bank of America apart from other rewards programs is that you can earn up to a 75% cash back bonus based on how much you have invested with Bank of America and their partners. This means you can earn up to 5.25% cash back on one select category, up to 3.5% on grocery stores and wholesale club purchases, and up to 1.75% cash back on everything else!
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card is offering a $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 on the card within the first 90 days.
Best For Travel Rewards
If you want to build up rewards good for travel, the Capital One VentureOne Card is one of the best options available.
The card earns 1.25 Venture Miles per $1 spent on every purchase with no cap on how many miles you can earn.
Venture Miles can be redeemed for 1 cent apiece towards travel purchases. This includes purchases made to the card or purchases made through the Capital One Travel website.
Venture Miles can also be transferred to Capital One's airline and hotel partners for a shot at significantly higher value. For example, you can transfer Capital One Venture Miles to Singapore KrisFlyer and redeem them towards flights in their business suites or transfer your miles to Wyndham Rewards and redeem them for free nights at Wyndham brand hotels.
The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is offering a bonus of 20,000 miles after spending $500 on the card within the first three months. This can be redeemed for $200 in travel.
Best For Dining & Entertainment
The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards credit card is one of the best no-annual fee options for dining and entertainment purchases. It earns 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®) and 1% cash back on everything else.
Along with not having an annual fee, the card also has no foreign transaction fee which means you will not be charged for using this card outside of the US. That makes this card an excellent choice if you're looking to earn cash back on your purchases worldwide.
The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card has a one-time intro bonus of $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
Best For Earning Cash Back Worldwide
If you're looking to earn cash back at a flat-rate no matter where you use your card, you'll want to consider the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. It earns 1.5% cash back with no cap on how much you can earn.
In addition to that, the card has no foreign transaction fee which means you will not be penalized for making charges outside of the United States. It's a great card to have on you when traveling internationally and it pairs well with the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards credit card.
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card has a one-time intro bonus of $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards Summary
|Credit Card||Annual Fee||Best For|
|Citi Custom Cash℠ Card||$0||Automatic 5% Back|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||$0||Supermarket, Gas, and Online Retail|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||$0||Flat-Rate Cash Back|
|Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card||$0||Customized Rewards Categories|
|Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card||$0||Travel Rewards|
|Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card||$0||Dining & Entertainment|
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||$0||Earning Cash Back Worldwide|
Use the rewards calculator to find out which no annual fee credit cards will earn you the most rewards based on the spend amounts you enter into the tool.
Results will be sorted by net return. This is calculated by taking the average value of the rewards earned adding the average value of card benefits and subtracting any annual fees the card has.
Results will consist of credit cards from our partners as well as other top-rated credit cards in the market.
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What are no annual fee credit cards?
Credit cards that have no annual fee means that you do not have to pay an annual fee to hold the card. These type of cards usually offer less rewards and benefits than their annual fee counterparts.
Are annual fees worth it?
Annual fees can be worth paying if the card offers more value than the fee. To find out if an annual fee is worth it, you will need to run the calculations to see if the rewards you earn and the benefits the card offers outweighs the fees.
How can I find out if an annual fee is worth it?
You can use the Credit Card Comparison Tool to calculate the cash value of any credit card featured on the site. This will give you an idea on whether or not a card is worth the annual fee.
What is the best no annual fee credit card?
There is no 'best' card as everyones needs and spend habits are different, but there are cards that stand out above others. I recommend checking out the Top No Annual Fee Credit Cards.