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Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards of July 2020

NerdWalletJune 19, 2020

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Paying an annual fee on a credit card can be worth it if it gets you substantially higher rewards. But in many cases, credit cards that don’t charge annual fees offer better long-term value than those that do. No-annual-fee credit cards make it easy to come out ahead, regardless of your spending. Plus, you’ll be able to keep your card open for a long time at no cost, increasing the average age of your accounts, which has a positive effect on your credit score.

NerdWallet's Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards of July 2020

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards From Our Partners

Our pick for

Flat-rate cash back

Citi® Double Cash Card

on Citibank's application

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

Recommended Credit Score

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is one of the best rewards cards on the market for its high rate and its ease of use. Cardholders can shop as they normally would and get a fantastic rewards rate. The simple cash-back structure means no categories to track and no complicated redemption options.

Pros

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer earns a stellar 2% cash back on all purchases: You get 1% back on every dollar you spend and another 1% back when you pay off those purchases. That's best in class for a flat-rate cash-back card with an annual fee of $0.

Cons

There's no sign-up bonus or 0% APR period on purchases, nor is there a chance to earn higher rewards in different categories, which you might find on some other cards. You have to accrue a minimum of $25 in rewards before you can redeem them. It charges a foreign transaction fee, so it's not ideal for using internationally.

  • Earn cash back twice. 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 Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • 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 a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

Our pick for

Bonus category cash back

Discover it® Cash Back

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months

Recommended Credit Score

The Discover it® Cash Back earns 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter (requires activation); everything else earns 1%. Not bad for a card with an annual fee of $0. Use it as your everyday card, or pair it with one that earns flat-rate rewards for maximum returns.

Pros

The bonus categories have historically included popular everyday spending areas like supermarkets, gas stations and restaurants. It comes with a good 0% APR period as well as Discover's unique bonus for new cardholders: INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

Cons

You have to remember to activate the bonus categories each quarter. If your spending doesn't match the bonus categories or you tend to spend significantly above the $1,500 quarterly cap, you might fare better with another card.

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
  • View Rates and Fees

FULL LIST OF EDITORIAL PICKS: BEST NO ANNUAL FEE CREDIT CARDS

Click the card name to read our review. Before applying, confirm details on the issuer’s website.

Our pick for: Flat-rate cash back

Year after year, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has been our choice for the best flat-rate cash-back card. You earn 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% when you buy something and 1% when you pay it off. There's no 0% intro period for purchases and no sign-up bonus, but the high rewards rate more than makes up for the lack of bells and whistles. Read our review.

Our pick for: Bonus category cash back

The Discover it® Cash Back earns bonus cash back in quarterly categories that you activate. In past years, those categories have included common spending areas like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and Amazon.com. Category activation can be a hassle, but if your spending aligns with those categories (and for most households, it probably will), you can rake in serious rewards. You also get the issuer's signature "cash-back match" bonus in your first year. Read our review.

Our pick for: Travel rewards

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card offers so much value, it's hard to believe there's no annual fee. Start with a great bonus offer, then earn extra rewards in a host of common spending categories — restaurants, gas stations, transit, travel, streaming and more. Read our review.

Our pick for: Flat-rate travel rewards

The BankAmericard® credit card is short on flash but long on savings. If you're looking to finance a large purchase or, especially, transfer and pay down high-interest debt, it deserves a place on your short list. Read our review.

Our pick for: 0% intro APR period

A lengthy 0% introductory APR period for both purchases and balance transfers has made the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card a NerdWallet favorite. Read our review.

Our pick for: Dining and entertainment rewards

Love the night life but dead-set against paying an annual fee? Consider the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card. It pays a lower cash-back rate on dining and entertainment than the regular Savor card, but the rewards are nevertheless quite good. The sign-up bonus is smaller than on the annual-fee version, too, but it's still solid. Read our review.

Our pick for: Small business

If your business's spending matches the bonus categories on the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, you can rack up some serious cash back. (If not, then look elsewhere.) There's an excellent sign-up bonus for a no-annual-fee cash-back card, plus an introductory 0% APR period for purchases. Read our review. 

Our pick for: Airline card

To unlock the most valuable perks of airline credit cards, you'll have to pay an annual fee. But if you're a leisure traveler just hoping to earn airline miles in the background, it's hard to do better than the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card. Read our review.

To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, please visit this page.

Last updated on June 19, 2020

Methodology

NerdWallet's credit cards team selects the best cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen in multiple categories.