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Credit Cards

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Updated Nov 27, 2023   |   15-min read

When looking for a credit card with no annual fee, the secret is to find the card that offers the most benefits and matches your spending needs.

Here is a list of our picks for the best no annual fee credit cards offered to help you find the card that works for you.

10 Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best for Earning Cash Back

LendEDU Rating: 4.9/5

Rewards rate: 1.5% – 5%

Annual fee: $0

Editor’s thoughts: This card recently received an update to its rewards offering that made an already valuable card even more so. This is one of the few cards offering high rewards rates on bonus categories while offering more than 1% back on all other purchases

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is our top-rated cash back credit card. New cardmembers will receive an additional 1.5% cash back on all purchases in the first year (on up to $20,000 spent).

Rewards and Benefits

Those looking for a no annual fee credit card with cash back rewards need to look no further than the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. The card offers some of the most extensive rewards opportunities on the market. Even better, there is no minimum to redeem cash back and rewards do not expire as long as your account remains open.

Here is a breakdown of the cash back rates you’ll receive after the first year or first $20,000 spent:

  • 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3% on dining
  • 3% at drugstores
  • 1.5% on all other purchases

Some other benefits include:

  • 0% promotional APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers
  • Contactless payments for more secured transactions
  • Partner benefits with DoorDash and Lyft
  • Cash back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open

To learn more about this card and its benefits, click here.


Chase Freedom Flex: Best for Rotating Categories

LendEDU Rating: 4.9/5

Rewards rate: 1% – 5%

Annual fee: $0

Editor’s thoughts: This card is a new offering from Chase and has already made plenty of noise in the cash back space. There are countless opportunities to earn cash back on purchases through rotating categories, bonus categories, and all other purchases

The Chase Freedom Flex is our top-rated card for earning cash back on rotating categories. Just like the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, there is a promotional offer for new cardmembers. This offer includes $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months.

Rewards and Benefits

It isn’t often that you’ll come across a card with multiple promotional rewards opportunities, high cash back rates on rotating and bonus categories, and cash back on all other purchases with no annual cost. However, the Chase Freedom Flex does just that.

Here is a breakdown of the cash back rates you’ll receive:

  • 5% on up to $1,5000 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • 5% on Chase travel purchases through Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3% on dining
  • 3% at drugstores
  • 1% on all other purchases

Some other benefits include:

  • 0% promotional APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers
  • Partner benefits with DoorDash, Lyft, Boxed, Shoprunner, and more
  • Cash back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open

To learn more about this card and its benefits, click here.


Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: Best for Groceries and Gas

  • LendEDU Rating: 4.7/5
  • Rewards rate: 1% – 3%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Editor’s thoughts: This card is an American Express classic for those looking to earn cash back without an annual fee.

Rates and Fees. Terms Apply.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is our top-rated cash back card for groceries and gas. If you are a new cardholder, you can earn $200 in statement credit after spending $2,000 within the first six months.

Rewards and Benefits

This American Express card is great for those who find themselves frequently spending on groceries, gas, and at department stores in the United States. There are no rotating categories to track, which can make earning rewards easier to manage.

Here is a breakdown of the cash back rates you’ll receive:

  • 3% on groceries at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%
  • 3% at U.S. gas stations on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%
  • 3% on U.S. online retail on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%
  • 1% on other purchases

Some other benefits include:

  • You can check to see if you pre-qualify
  • American Express Experiences keeps you in the know with exclusive access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events

To learn more about this card and its benefits, click here.


Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card: Best for Flying Delta

  • LendEDU Rating: 4.6/5
  • Rewards rate: 1x – 2x
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Editor’s thoughts: This card is a great option for those looking to earn miles on Delta purchases

Rates and Fees. Terms Apply.

The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card is best for those who frequently fly with Delta. New cardmembers can earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.

Rewards and benefits

This card is part of the American Express and Delta partnership that aims to reward Delta flyers with miles for their credit card purchases. On top of the miles earned, there are several other benefits cardholders can take advantage of to lower the overall cost of their trips.

Here is a breakdown of the rewards rates you’ll receive:

  • 2x miles at restaurants
  • 2x miles on Delta purchases
  • 1x miles on all other eligible purchases

Some other benefits include:

  • 20% back on in-flight purchases
  • Take up to $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles on delta.com
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Contactless payment for more secure transactions

To learn more about this card and its benefits, click here.


Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card: Best for Earning Miles on All Purchases

  • LendEDU Rating: 4.6/5
  • Rewards rate: 1.25x
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Editor’s thoughts: This card keeps earning miles simple with one rewards rate for all purchases

The VentureOne Rewards from Capital One is best for earning miles on all purchases. New cardholders can earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

Rewards and Benefits

Capital One decided to keep things simple with the VentureOne Rewards card by providing cardholders with one simple rewards rate for all purchases. No need to monitor rotating categories or use multiple cards for different purposes. This card can reward you for everything at a higher than average rate.

Here is a breakdown of the rewards rates you’ll receive:

  • 1.25x miles on all purchases

Some other benefits include:

  • 0% promotional APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Rewards don’t expire for the life of the account
  • No foreign transaction fees

To learn more about this card and its benefits, click here.


Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One: Best for Students

  • LendEDU Rating: 5/5
  • Rewards rate: 1% – 5%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Editor’s thoughts: This card offers students everything they need for building credit and earning rewards along the way

The Journey Student Credit Card from Capital One is our top-rated student credit card. There are no introductory bonuses which is standard for student credit cards, but what stands out is the fact that Capital One is willing to offer rewards to students who have fair credit.

Rewards and Benefits

This card comes with plenty of credit building benefits and a straightforward rewards program that helps encourage good credit behavior.

Here is a breakdown of the cash back rates you’ll receive:

  • 1% on all purchases. If you pay on time, you can boost the rate to 1.25% for that month
  • Earn 5% on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Terms apply.

Some other benefits include:

  • Unlimited access to your credit score and tools to help you monitor your credit profile with CreditWise from Capital One
  • Be automatically considered for a credit line increase in as little as six months
  • Activity is reported to all three credit bureaus
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Contactless payment for more secure transactions

To learn more about this card and its benefits, click here.


Petal 2 Visa Card: Best for Building Credit

  • LendEDU Rating: 4.9/5
  • Rewards rate: 1% – 1.5%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Editor’s thoughts: This card offers more rewards opportunities than any other in the credit building space that our team reviewed. Unlock the highest cash back rate by paying your bill on time

Petal credit cards are issued by WebBank, Member FDIC

The Petal 2 Visa Card is our top-rated card for building credit. While you may have been unfamiliar with Petal as a company before today, you should consider getting familiar as the company offers a credit building credit card unmatched on the market.

Rewards and Benefits

Cardholders can receive cash back on all purchases and even higher rates at select merchants. There are minimal fees and a competitive credit limit range from $300 to $10,000 which should be more than enough for those working to build their credit history.

Here is a breakdown of the cash back rates you’ll receive:

  • 1% on all purchases. Earn up to 1.5% when you pay on time
  • 2% – 10% at select merchants

Some other benefits include:

  • Activity is reported to all three credit bureaus
  • Ability to freeze your card at any time to protect your account
  • No annual or international fees
  • No late or returned payment fees
  • A mobile app that lets you monitor your budget, unsubscribe from select subscriptions, and more

To learn more about this card and its benefits, click here.


TD Cash Visa Credit Card: Best for Balance Transfers

  • LendEDU Rating: 4.6/5
  • Rewards rate: 1% – 3%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Editor’s thoughts: This card offers a 0% promotional APR for 12 months on balance transfers following account opening. This is one of the larger promotional periods for such transfers on the market

The TD Cash Visa Credit Card is our top-rated card for balance transfers. New cardholders can earn $150 cash back after spending $500 within the first 90 days of account opening.

Rewards and Benefits

When you open a new account to take advantage of a 0% promotional APR period for balance transfers, you want to ensure that card can reward you down the line so that the card wasn’t used for a single purpose. This TD Cash Visa Card can help do just that with several rewards rates.

Here is a breakdown of the cash back rate you’ll receive:

  • 3% on dining
  • 2% at grocery stores
  • 1% on all other purchases

Some other benefits include:

  • 0% promotional APR for 12 months on balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Instant credit card replacement at a TD bank
  • Contactless payment for more secured transactions

To learn more about this card and its benefits, click here.


Capital One Platinum Secured: Best Secured Credit Card

  • LendEDU Rating: 4.8/5
  • Security deposit: $49, $99, $200
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Editor’s thoughts: This card is designed with one purpose in mind, to help cardholders build their credit and establish a credit history

The Capital One Platinum Secured is our top-rated secured credit card. There are no rewards offered with this card in the form of cash back or miles, but cardholders can trust that with responsible use, their credit history will be improved.

Benefits

Cardholders can take advantage of several credit building benefits that include:

  • Automatic credit line reviews
  • The option of picking your own monthly due date and payment method
  • All activity will be reported to all three credit bureaus
  • Access to CreditWise from Capital One that allows you to monitor your credit

To learn more about this card and its benefit, click here.


Ink Business Unlimited: Best for Small Businesses

LendEDU Rating: 4.8/5

Rewards rate: 1.5%

Annual fee: $0

Editor’s thoughts: This card is a great cash back card for businesses who want to avoid having to overthink their spending to cover annual fees and track rotating categories

The Ink Business Unlimited card is our top-rated business credit card. New businesses will earn $750 in cash back after spending $6,000 on purchases within the first three months after account opening.

Rewards and Benefits

This card offers cash back on all purchases, an introductory APR, and access to employee cards at no additional cost.

Here is a breakdown of the cash back rate you’ll receive with this card:

  • 1.5% on all purchases

Some other benefits include:

  • 0% promotional APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • Monitor and protect your business with fraud protection, purchases protection, and more

To learn more about this card and its benefits, click here.


Recap of the Best No Annual Fee Cards

Card nameBest forLendEDU Rating
Chase Freedom UnlimitedOverall cash back4.9/5
Chase Freedom FlexRotating categories4.9/5
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressGroceries and gas4.7/5
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express CardFlying Delta4.6/5
VentureOne Rewards from Capital OneEarning miles on all purchases4.6/5
Journey Student RewardsStudents5/5
Petal 2 Visa CardBuilding credit4.9/5
TD Cash Visa Credit CardBalance transfers4.6/5
Capital One Platinum SecuredOverall secured card4.8/5
Ink Business UnlimitedBusinesses4.8/5

Frequently Asked Questions About No Annual Fee Credit Cards

​Should You Open Multiple No Annual Fee Credit Cards?

Credit cards with no annual fee are valuable when they offer certain perks that fit the purchase needs of the cardmember. Having more than one credit card with no annual fee makes sense when the benefits of each card do not overlap.

However, opening too many credit cards at once may have an adverse effect on credit score, as numerous inquiries do count against the cardmember. It can also be a challenge to manage various payments over time with multiple credit cards, even when there are no fees. It is important to recognize the downsides of having multiple no annual fee credit cards, along with the benefits, before applying. If you already applied for a card, be sure to consider how long you should wait until you apply for another credit card.

​Can You Downgrade an Annual Fee Credit Card to a Credit Card With No Annual Fee?

Many of the best credit cards come with annual fees. And while these charges can be overcome by earning rewards, there are some instances where credit cards with no annual fee makes more sense. For cardmembers who prefer a credit card with no annual fee, downgrading a current card with a fee to one without may be a good option. To downgrade a credit card to a no annual fee option, do not simply close the account and apply for a new card. Cancelling a credit card can hurt your credit score, and even negatively impact any rewards you have earned on your card.

Instead, work directly with the credit card company to see if a no annual fee card is available under the same issuer. If so, check if earnings from a current fee card are transferable with a downgrade. When these important factors are available, ask the issuer to downgrade the card to a no annual fee option within the same family of credit cards. Be sure to check that the credit limit was not reduced and the interest rate remained the same before finalizing this request.

What is the Minimum Credit Score and Income to Get Approved?

Credit card issuers of no annual fee credit cards vary widely when it comes to the credit qualifications they need to approve a new application. Some credit cards have less stringent credit requirements than others. Generally, a good to excellent credit score is needed to qualify. For most credit card issuers this means a credit score ranging between 640 and 850.

Card issuers also look at income as a factor in determining credit card eligibility. Regulations for credit card companies dictate that approval can only be provided when the issuer has taken into account the applicant’s ability to repay the debt.

In most cases, no annual fee credit cards have lower income requirements than annual fee cards, but this differs from issuer to issuer. In general, having steady income compared to other outstanding debts, creating a low debt-to-income ratio, is beneficial in getting approved for a credit card with no annual fee. If you think your credit score is lower than the minimum, you can compare some of the best secured credit cards to help build up your credit score.

Do Authorized Users Earn Points On Credit Cards With No Annual Fee?

An authorized user is a secondary cardholder on a credit card account, linked to the primary cardholder’s credit line. Adding an authorized user to a credit card with no annual fee can be a smart way to earn additional points. The purchases made on the authorized user’s credit card most often earn the same level as the primary user’s card. In some cases, credit card issuers also offer a bonus to the primary cardholder when an authorized user is added to an account and they make purchases within a certain timeframe.

However, the credit card issuer dictates if authorized-user cards are available and if rewards are earned on those transactions. When an authorized user is allowed, the primary cardholder should consider not only the points potential on transactions but also the responsibility level of the secondary cardholder. You can review the best credit cards for authorized users if interested in learning more.


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