2022’s Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards

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Best Pick For: Cash Back Rewards

Chase Freedom Flex℠

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is one of the most rewarding cash back cards available. Not only does it have a set of rotating bonus categories, like the old Freedom card, it also features a great set of new static categories.

Runners up

  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
  • Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
  • Discover it® Cash Back
  • Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Card
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Capital One SavorOne Rewards
  • U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Best Pick For: Flexible Spending

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

One card to rule them all? The Chase Freedom Unlimited® has you covered for dining and basic drugstore purchases, along with travel (if you use Chase Ultimate Rewards). But it also gives more than the standard 1% for non-category purchases, making it more flexible than your average reward card.

Runners up

  • Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Card
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠
  • Discover it® Cash Back

Best Pick For: Travel Rewards

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is an excellent no-fee travel rewards credit card you can use to pay for an upcoming vacation or trip. It also gives you the ability to transfer points to a variety of airline partners.

Runners up

  • Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Discover it® Miles
  • Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Card

Best Pick For: Food (Restaurants and Groceries)

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card is one of the most useful and rewarding cards around. It offers an excellent dining bonus category accompanied by a set of other handy reward options.

Runners up

  • Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Card
  • Capital One SavorOne Rewards
  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
  • Hilton Honors American Express Card

Best Pick For: Rotating Bonus Categories

Discover it® Cash Back

The Discover it® Cash Back is our top pick for rotating cash back categories thanks to its unique cashback match.

Take note that you must manually activate your 5% cash back rewards every quarter, and you won’t earn at the 5% rate until you do. This is as simple as logging in and clicking “Activate.” You can activate months in advance, so be sure to do so.

Check out the gift card redemption options to get at least $5 added to each redemption.

Runners up

  • Chase Freedom Flex℠
  • U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Best Pick For: Fair or Average Credit

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is marketed as a student card, but anyone can actually apply for it. This makes it a good option to help build or rebuild your credit, for students and non-students alike. It even offers a bit of cash back, with a bonus for paying by the due date.

Runners up

  • Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
  • Discover it® Cash Back
  • Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business

Best Pick For: Limited or No Credit

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Card

Having limited or no credit can make it tough to get approved for credit cards. That’s where the Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Card steps in.

You still have a shot at approval, even with no credit scores. Petal will ask to connect to your bank account to see how you handle your finances as an alternative to checking your credit. If you do have some credit established, Petal will likely run a hard inquiry to check it out.

The Petal card doesn’t just have no annual fee – it has no fees of any kind, apart from possible interest charges. And you can even avoid interest by paying your statement balance in full each month, potentially making this card completely free to use.

Runner up

  • Petal® 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa® Card

Best Pick For: Bad Credit

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Card

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Card is a secured credit card. Even though it has no annual fee, it does require you to pay a refundable security deposit when you’re approved. 

This Bank of America® secured card will take a security deposit of $300 to $4,900. Your credit limit will be determined partly on the deposit you make. Every now and then, Bank of America® will review your account and creditworthiness. If it sees you as a responsible credit user, the bank may refund your deposit and allow you to keep using the card.

Secured cards are designed for people with bad, limited or no credit, so they sometimes come with less than favorable terms. But the BofA Cash Rewards Secured card is different, and even provides a decent rewards program.

Runners up

  • Discover it® Secured
  • Petal® 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa® Card
  • Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
  • Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards® Secured Credit Card

Best Pick For: Long 0% Purchase APR

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

If you need a card with a long 0% intro APR for purchases, check out the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card. It offers 0% APR for 20 billing cycles on purchases.

Runners up

  • Chase Freedom Flex℠
  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
  • Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
  • Chase Slate Edge℠

Best Pick For: Hotel Rewards

Hilton Honors American Express Card

A lot of hotel credit cards have high annual fees in return for great perks and comforts. The Hilton Honors American Express Card has no annual fee, and doesn’t offer all that much in benefits. But if you like Hilton and don’t travel too often, it could fit the bill quite well.

Runners up

  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card from Chase
  • IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card

Best Pick For: Airline Rewards

JetBlue Card

The JetBlue Card is inexpensive, but it can save you a tidy sum with 50% off in-flight purchases with JetBlue. Most airline credit cards only give 25% off at most, so this is a steal if you pamper yourself during a regular flight.

Runners up

  • Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
  • United Gateway℠ Card

Best Pick For: Student Rewards

Discover it® Student Cash Back

New to credit, and credit cards? The Discover it® Student Cash Back can get you started out right. It’s low on fees and provides ample rewards – what more could you ask?

Runners up

  • Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students
  • Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards™ Credit Card for Students
  • Capital One Quicksilver Rewards for Students
  • Bank of America Travel Rewards® Credit Card for Students
  • Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students
  • Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

Best Pick For: Small Business

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

When you’re running a business, every percentage counts. So get some of those percentages back with the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card from Chase. It’s one of the more rewarding business cards, despite not carrying an annual fee. Plus, it has useful categories to help you meet your bottom line.

Runners up

  • Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card
  • Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® Credit Card
  • Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select for Business
  • Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card from Chase
  • Capital One Spark 1.5X Miles Select for Business
  • American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
  • American Express Blue Business® Plus Credit Card
  • Bank of America® Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card
  • Brex Daily Card
  • Brex 30 Card

What Does “No Annual Fee” Mean for a Credit Card?

Annual fees are typically found on mid-range and high-end travel cards, as the price you pay every year to access their services and perks. They’re also found on cards designed for bad credit, as the price you pay for having poor credit scores (it helps alleviate risk for the card issuer).

“No annual fee credit card” simply means a credit card doesn’t charge that fee.

It’s also common to find credit cards that charge an annual fee, but only after the first year. The United℠ Explorer Card is a good example: It charges $95 for the second and subsequent years.

What’s the Best Credit Card With No Annual Fee?

There are quite a few credit cards without annual fees, so the “best” card will be the one that fits your spending habits and lifestyle. The best no annual fee cards include:

  • Discover it® Cash Back: For valuable 5% cash back categories that switch every three months (up to $1,500 spent per quarter; activation required)
  • Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Card: If you want to pick your own 3% bonus category, from options like gas, dining and online shopping
  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card: For earning travel rewards, with point transfers to travel loyalty programs
  • U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card: If you’ve got a large purchase to make and want to pay it off over time at no interest

What’s the Best Cash Back Credit Card With No Annual Fee?

Cash back credit cards are fairly straightforward – they provide a certain percentage back for every purchase you make, like 1%, 3%, even 5% or more. Our favorites include:

  • Discover it® Cash Back and Chase Freedom Flex℠: 5% cash back in categories that change every three months
  • Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Card: Pick your own 3% cash back category, from gas, dining, travel, online shopping and more
  • Journey Student Rewards from Capital One: Designed for fair or average credit; 1% cash back on every purchase – upped to 1.25% when you pay on time
  • Discover it® Secured: Designed for bad credit; 2% cash back on gas and dining (up to $1,000 spent per quarter) and double cash back in the first year

What’s the Best Travel Credit Card With No Annual Fee?

Travel rewards cards tend to come with annual fees to help offset their many perks. But some cards have no fee:

  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card: 1.25X miles per dollar, with point transfer partners (rare for no annual fee cards)
  • Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card: 3X points per dollar at the BofA Travel Center, and 1.5X everywhere else
  • Discover it® Miles: 1.5X miles per dollar, and double miles for the first year
  • Hilton Honors American Express Card: For more points and perks at Hilton properties
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card from Chase: Enjoy better benefits and more rewards at Marriott Bonvoy hotels

Are There No Annual Fee Cards for Fair Credit?

Yes – if you have fair credit, there are some credit cards without annual fees made for you:

  • Journey Student Rewards from Capital One: Earn 1% cash back, with a little boost to 1.25% for paying on time
  • Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card: A simple card, but it provides a chance to improve your credit scores
  • Discover it® Student Cash Back: For students who want to earn some cash back
  • Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business: For small business owners who don’t have the best credit

Are There No Annual Fee Cards for Bad Credit?

Even if you have bad credit, you may still qualify for some no annual fee cards. Take a look at these:

  • Discover it® Secured: 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations (up to $1,000 spent per quarter)
  • Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card: Deposit up to $1,000 to secure your credit line, with a chance for a credit limit increase
  • Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards® Secured Credit Card: For NFCU members, this card provides 1X point per dollar for every purchase

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