At Experian, one of our priorities is consumer credit and finance education. This post may contain links and references to one or more of our partners, but we provide an objective view to help you make the best decisions. For more information, see our Editorial Policy.
The best cards with no annual fees still offer a variety of benefits. Whether you want a welcome bonus, are focused on earning ongoing rewards or plan to use an introductory interest rate offer, there are cards to match. Here are some of the best options from our partners.
4 Partner Offers
Best for Cash Back: Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card
The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card is a great flat-rate cash back card that doesn't have an annual fee. Using the card, you can earn an unlimited 2% cash back on all your purchases. You can then redeem your cash back rewards in different ways, including to cover purchases, request a check or transfer rewards into your Wells Fargo deposit account.
New cardholders may also qualify for a $200 cash rewards intro bonus after they make $1,000 in purchases within 3 months of opening their card account. You could also get an introductory 0% annual percentage rate (APR) offer on purchases and balance transfers. The promotional rate lasts 15 months, and the standard variable APR of 14.99% to 24.99% applies once it ends. To qualify for the intro APR, balance transfers must be made within 120 days of account opening. There is a 3% ($5 minimum) balance transfer fee within the first 120 days, then a 5% ($5 minimum) fee once the intro period ends.
There is a 3% foreign currency conversion fee on international purchases, which could make this a poor fit for people who frequently travel abroad. Also, while the 2% cash back rate is good for a flat-rate card, some people may prefer a rewards card that offers a higher rate on select bonus categories.
Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card
Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
- New! Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
- Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
- 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 14.99% to 24.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5
- $0 annual fee
- No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open
- Enjoy a premium collection of benefits at a selection of the world's most intriguing and prestigious hotel properties with Visa Signature Concierge
- Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card
- Select “Apply Now” to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
- Matched For You are statements made by Experian and may not reflect Wells Fargo’s underwriting standards
Best for Travel: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card also offers flat-rate rewards. It could be a good option for existing Bank of America customers, particularly if you often travel outside the U.S., as it doesn't have a foreign transaction fee.
It gives you 1.5 miles per dollar spent using the card. However, if you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% to 75% more in bonus rewards based on your combined balance with Bank of America deposit and Merrill investment accounts. You could get up to 2.62 points per mile, and each mile is worth 1 cent when you redeem them for statement credits to offset dining and travel purchases.
With the card's intro bonus, you can earn 25,000 miles if you make at least $1,000 worth of purchases within 90 days of account opening. However, if you don't qualify for an increased rewards rate through the Preferred Rewards program, you might earn more rewards with a different card.
Best for Welcome Bonus: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card offers good rewards rates and several enticing welcome bonuses. Using the card, you can earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on dining and at drugstores, and 1.5% cash back on other purchases.
New cardholders who haven't received a welcome bonus from this card in the past 24 months can also get a $200 intro bonus after spending $500 within 3 months of opening their account. Plus, you can get 5% cash back on up to $12,000 in purchases at grocery stores (not including Target or Walmart) during your first year with the card.
While there's a 3% foreign transaction fee, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers a good combination of base-rate rewards and bonus rewards categories—especially during the first year.Read full review
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
3% cash back on Dining & Drugstores
1.5% cash back on All Other Purchases
Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
- Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
- No annual fee.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
- No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
Best for Fair Credit: Capital One Platinum Credit Card
The Capital One Platinum Credit Card is open to people with fair credit or who are new to credit. It could be a good option if you're just starting out or are trying to continue to improve your credit.
While the card doesn't offer rewards, it's an unsecured credit card, so you won't need to tie up your money by paying a security deposit. The Capital One Platinum Credit Card also doesn't have any foreign transaction fees.
You might receive a low credit limit when you open your account; however, Capital One may consider you for a credit limit increase in as little as six months.Read full review
Capital One Platinum Credit Card
- Pay no annual fee
- Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
- Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
- Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
- Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set
- Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
- Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Help build your credit through responsible use of a card like this
How to Choose the Best No Annual Fee Credit Card
Picking the right credit card will depend on how you plan to use the card and which cards you'll likely be able to get. People who have good or excellent credit may have more options than those with poor credit. If you're not sure where your credit stands, you can check your Experian credit report and score for free.
If you want a card that allows you to earn rewards, consider the cards' rewards rates and whether they offer bonus rewards in categories where you tend to spend a lot of money. A large intro bonus can increase a card's value, but make sure you can meet the spending requirement with purchases you would have made anyway.
When you're focused on getting a new card to finance purchases or transfer a balance, the intro 0% APR period's length may be an important consideration. Also, consider card fees and how they'll impact your balance as well as variable interest rates if you may need to carry a balance beyond the promotional period.
How No Annual Fee Credit Cards Compare to Those With Annual Fees
Overall, cards that don't have annual fees tend to offer lower rewards rates and fewer cardholder benefits. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're worse.
Consider a card that doesn't have an annual fee and offers 1.5% cash back to a card with a $95 annual fee and 2% cash back. All else being equal, you'd have to spend $19,000 per year (about $1,583 a month) on the card with the higher rewards rate to break even.
Paying an annual fee can be worth it to some people, especially when there are flashy perks. For example, a travel credit card with an annual fee might give you free access to airport lounges. Or, a hotel card might give you an annual voucher that you can use to stay at a hotel that could normally cost over $1,000 a night.
Get Matched With Credit Cards That Don't Have Annual Fees
While we've listed some of the best credit cards that don't have annual fees from our partners above, you can also browse cards in the Experian CreditMatch™ credit card marketplace. Set your own filters based on how you plan to use the card. You can also log in to your Experian account and get personalized card offers.