BEST OF

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards of September 2021

NerdWalletSep 23, 2021

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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 September 2021

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards From Our Partners

Our pick for

Flat-rate cash back

Citi® Double Cash Card
Apply now

on Citibank's application

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Citibank's application

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

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.

Read full review
  • 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
Apply now

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

Discover it® Cash Back

4.8

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

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

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers

Regular APR

11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

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% intro 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. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

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.

Read full review
  • 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. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

  • 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 in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.

  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.

  • #1 Most Trusted Credit Card according to Investor’s Business Daily.

  • No annual fee.

  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.

  • View Rates & Fees

Our pick for

Travel rewards

Bank of America Travel Rewards® Credit Card
Apply now

on Bank of America's website

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

4.3

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Bank of America's website

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card boasts easy-to-earn, easy-to-redeem rewards. All purchases earn 1.5 points per dollar; points can be redeemed for credit against any travel purchase.

Pros

  • Rewards are flexible and can be used to wipe out the cost of any type of travel you book with the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. Bank of America®'s definition of travel is extremely broad and includes not just airlines, hotels and car rentals, but also campgrounds, zoos and amusement parks, to name just a few options. If you bank with Bank of America® or invest with Merrill, you may be eligible for a rewards boost, too, via the Preferred Rewards program.

Cons

  • While points are worth a penny apiece when redeemed against travel purchases, they're worth only a little over half a cent each when redeemed for cash.

Read full review
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire

  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions

  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout

  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases. After the intro APR ends, 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR will apply.

  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more points on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 2.62 points for every $1 spent.

  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap

  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Our pick for

0% intro APR period

US Bank Visa Platinum Credit Card
Apply now

on US Bank's website

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on US Bank's website

Annual fee

$0*

Intro APR

0%* intro APR for 20 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers*

Regular APR

14.49% - 24.49%* Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

With its lengthy intro APR offer of 0%* intro APR for 20 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers*, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 24.49%* Variable APR, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card gives you extra breathing room to pay down a big purchase or tame a high balance from another card.

Pros

  • The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers a long interest-free period on both purchases and balance transfers. When that offer ends, the annual fee of $0* lets you keep it open. Plus, it comes with cell phone insurance.

Cons

  • There's a balance-transfer fee of 3% (minimum $5). That's at the low end of the industry's typical range, but you still can find cards with a fee of $0. There are also no rewards on this card, giving you little incentive to keep using it after the 0% period.

Read full review
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 14.49% - 24.49%.

  • Great offer from U.S. Bank, a 2021 World's Most Ethical Company® - Ethisphere Institute, February 2021.

  • No Annual Fee*

  • Flexibility to choose a payment due date that fits your schedule.

  • 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 U.S.Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card. Certain terms, conditions, and exclusions apply.

  • View Rates & Fees

Our pick for

Dining and entertainment rewards

Capital One® SavorOneSM Cash Rewards Credit Card
Apply now

on Capital One's website

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Capital One's website

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Regular APR

14.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

Anyone who hits the town frequently will benefit from the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. All dining, grocery and entertainment spending on the card earns enhanced rewards without complicated redemption rules or any cost of card ownership.

Pros

  • The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 3% cash back on dining out, grocery stores and entertainment, including streaming services. All other spending earns 1%.

Cons

  • Although it clearly has it charms in the rewards department, the benefits of the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card are sweet mostly if you frequently spend in the card's bonus categories.

Read full review
  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023

  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn

  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 14.99% - 24.99% variable APR after that

  • No foreign transaction fee

  • No annual fee

Our pick for

Small business

Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card Credit Card
Apply now

on Chase's website

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

4.4

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on Chase's website

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months

Regular APR

13.24% - 19.24% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

Any small business that spends a bundle on telecom services and/or office supplies can benefit from this card's generous rewards in these categories. The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card also comes with a stellar sign-up bonus and a 0% intro APR period.

Pros

  • Bonus rewards of 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at office supply stores and on cable, internet and phone service. Also, earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at gas stations and restaurants, and 1% cash back on all other spending. There's also a sweet sign-up offer: Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Cons

  • If you aren't spending much in the bonus categories, the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card isn't a good fit. And if your business spends well above that $25,000 bonus category cap, you'll fare better with a different card, potentially one that offers unlimited flat-rate rewards.

Read full review
  • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year

  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring.

  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.

  • No Annual Fee

  • Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases

Our pick for

Airline card

Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express"
Apply now

on American Express's website

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

3.9

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on American Express's website

Annual fee

$0

Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

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.

Pros

  • The rewards are similar to what you'd earn with any airline card: 2 points per dollar on purchases directly with Delta and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. But you also get 2 points per dollar at restaurants. There's a modest sign-up bonus, too, and you save 20% on in-flight purchases. Terms apply.

Cons

  • You don't get the free checked bags or priority boarding privileges that other cards offer — but then again, you're not paying for those perks either.

Read full review
  • Earn 10,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

  • No Annual Fee.

  • Earn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants, now worldwide.

  • Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases.

  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.

  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.

  • Terms Apply.

  • View Rates & Fees

Our pick for

Dining rewards + no annual fee

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

on US Bank's website

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

4.9

NerdWallet rating 
Apply now

on US Bank's website

Annual fee

$0*

Intro APR

0%* intro APR on Purchases for 12 billing cycles* and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 12 Billing cycles

Regular APR

14.99% - 23.99%* Variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card offers a heaping helping of rewards on dining purchases — in fact, it's perhaps the best rate available for foodies among cards with an annual fee of $0*.

Pros

  • You'll get 4X points on dining purchases; 2X points at grocery stores (including grocery delivery), gas stations and on streaming services; and 1X points on other eligible purchases. There's also a bonus, an intro APR period and an annual credit on eligible streaming services.

Cons

  • Unlike some other dining rewards cards, this one doesn't feature an "entertainment" bonus category. Also, you can't pool your rewards with other U.S. Bank products.

Read full review
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. That's a $200 value redeemable towards merchandise, gift cards, cash back, travel and more

  • Earn 4X points on takeout, food delivery and dining

  • Earn 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, gas stations and on streaming services

  • $15 credit for annual streaming service purchases such as Netflix and Spotify

  • No annual fee*

  • 1X point per $1 on all other eligible purchases

  • Low Introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Points never expire

  • View Rates & 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: Dining rewards + no annual fee

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card is perhaps the most cost-effective restaurant card on the market, earning a whopping 4 points per dollar on dining purchases including takeout and delivery. You can find higher rates on dining, but not on cards with no annual fee. Read our review. 

Our pick for: Travel rewards

The BankAmericard® credit card isn't flashy, nor does it aim to be. You get a decent 0% introductory APR period to whittle down debt or finance a large purchase. And that's about it. 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 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, see this page.

The information related to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

Last updated on September 23, 2021

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.