Lots of people love the idea of collecting travel rewards and other fancy perks while using their credit cards. But sometimes it’s hard to argue with good old cash back…especially if you can find a cash back card with a great flat rate of return and no annual fee.
Here we compare some of our favourite no annual fee credit cards that give you at least 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Best flat rate cash back credit cards compared
So, what are the cards you may want to consider? We give a quick rundown here, but we’ll cover the pros and cons of each in detail below.
|Credit card||Flat rate cash back details||Extra perks and bonuses||Apply now|
|PayPal Cashback Mastercard||* Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases.||* No redemption threshold – redeem anytime.||Apply now|
|Citi Double Cash Mastercard||* 2% cash back on every purchase (unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% when you pay your minimum due on time).||* 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months. (See below for details.)||Apply now|
|HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard||* 1.5% unlimited cash back on everything.||* 3% cash back on all purchases for the first 12 months (up to $10,000 spent).
* 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months.
* No foreign transaction fees.
|Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa||* Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.||* Get $200 bonus cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months.
* 0% interest for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
|Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa||* Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.||* Get $150 bonus cash reward when you spend $500 in the first 3 months.
* 1.8% cash back on purchases made through a digital wallet (including Apple Pay and Google Pay) during the first 12 months.
* 0% interest for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
|American Express Cash Magnet||* Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.||* Get $150 bonus cash back after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
* 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months.
|Capital One Quicksilver Rewards Signature Visa||* Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.||* Get $150 bonus cash back when you spend $500 in the first 3 months.
* 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
PayPal Cashback Mastercard
Have a PayPal account and want a simple card with a solid cash back return?
And while these parts are great, there’s not a whole lot else this card has going for it.
There are essentially zero other features, no intro bonuses to speak of, and to have this card you also have to have a PayPal account in good standing.
If your PayPal account gets closed for any reason, not only does your card account also get closed, but you’ll lose any unredeemed cash rewards you have remaining.
On the other hand, if you have another cash back card that has higher paying bonus categories and extra perks, this might be a good 2nd card for non-bonus category spending.
Citi Double Cash Mastercard
A simple card with great cash back. There are a few quirks, but otherwise a good option.
You get the first unlimited 1% cash back when you make a purchase, plus an additional 1% when you pay for those purchases. It’s a little thing, but it does confuse the issue a bit.
This card also has:
- no categories to track,
- no caps on cash back, and
- 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months.
Sounds great, but it’s not all rainbows.
In order to earn the full 2% cash back, you have to pay at least the minimum due on your credit card statement on time. Again, it’s a little thing, but it’s something to keep in mind.
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard
A good cash back card with a great introductory bonus.
Better yet? This card currently has an introductory bonus of 3% cash back on all purchases for the first 12 months, up to $10,000 in purchases.
This card also offers 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months. Just keep in mind that balance transfers must also be completed within the first 60 days of opening your account.
Finally, the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard has no foreign transaction fees, which is great for travel or other foreign purchases.
There are no real drawbacks to this card, other than that it just lacks a whole lot of extra perks. For simplicity and reliability, it’s a solid choice, especially if you travel.
Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa
$200 intro bonus cash back offer? Yes, please.
Like the other cards here, the
- unlimited 1.5% on all purchases,
- $200 bonus cash back when you spend $500 in the first 3 months, and
- 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
The good flat rate cash back combined with the generous cash back bonus makes this an attractive choice, especially for a no annual fee cash back card.
Like most balance transfers, you have to watch the fine print here.
There’s an intro fee of 3% on balance transfers made within the first 60 days from account opening, after which the balance transfer fee goes up to 5%, with a minimum $5 fee regardless.
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa
Are you looking for a great no annual fee cash back card to use with your digital wallet? This is a great choice.
First off, the
Where this card shines? For the first 12 months, you’ll earn 1.8% cash rewards purchases when using a qualified digital wallet, including Apple Pay and Google Pay.
On top of this, the card also offers 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.
If you’re looking for a no annual fee flat rate cash back card to use with your digital wallet, you should definitely check this one out.
There’s an introductory 3% fee on balance transfers made within 120 days from account opening, after which it reverts to 5%.
American Express Cash Magnet
A popular card with added perks for travellers.
Like many American Express cards, there are some extra bonuses that are nice to have as well.
First, rental cars are covered for theft and damage when you use the card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle and decline the collision damage waiver at the rental car counter.
Second, with this card you get access to the American Express Global assist hotline.
These 2 added features are great for travellers, especially for a no annual fee cash back credit card.
The primary “con” here is that your cash back isn’t really cash, but the extra insurance and Global assist hotline are good added features that make this a reasonable tradeoff.
Capital One Quicksilver Rewards Signature Visa
Good cash back, no foreign transaction fees, and a collection of other perks make this an enticing choice.
A little added feature for Amazon shoppers is that you can use your accumulated cash back rewards to pay directly for purchases on Amazon without having to redeem them first. Super handy for the Amazon junkies out there.
Like other cards in this category, it also offers 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers within the first 15 months.
It also has a handful of extra bonuses:
- No foreign transaction fees when making purchases outside of the United States.
- Extended warranty protection at no charge on eligible items that are purchased with your credit card.
- Automatic travel accident insurance for a covered loss at no extra charge when you use your credit card to purchase your fare.
- Complimentary concierge service, giving you personalized assistance in dining, entertainment, and travel.
- 24-hour travel assistance services if your credit card is lost or stolen.
All in all, this is an amazing combination of bonuses and perks for a no annual fee cash back card, especially with its 1.5% cash back rate.
Balance transfers and cash advances both incur a 3% transaction fee, but otherwise this card is pretty fantastic.
Flat rate cash back credit cards
All of these flat rate cash back cards are great for the simplicity they offer. You never have to worry about which categories of things you’re buying with which card, you can just put everything on one card and be sure that you’re getting a solid rate of return.
On top of that, all of these are no annual fee cards, saving you even more.
So what’s the best card for you?
Each of these cards has its quirks and bonuses.
The PayPal Cashback Mastercard gives you an easy and unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, so long as you have a PayPal account in good standing. Simple and straightforward.
The Citi Double Cash Mastercard also technically gives you 2% cash back, but it’s actually 1% cash back, twice – once when you buy something, then once again when you pay it. This is a little more confusing than the PayPal card, but also doesn’t require you to have a PayPal account.
If you’re an avid user of Apple Pay or another qualified digital wallet, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise card might be the card for you.
If you travel a lot, the rental car insurance offered by the American Express Cash Magnet might be just what you need.
Biggest bang for your buck might be the Capital One Quicksilver Rewards Signature Visa with its healthy 1.5% cash back rate, nice introductory cash back bonus, and a collection of other perks that could come in handy from time to time.
In the end, the best card really depends on you. Hopefully we’ve made it a bit easier for you to choose.
How do cash back credit cards with no annual fee work?
Every time you use your cash back credit card to make an eligible purchase (as defined by the credit card issuer), you accumulate a certain percentage of the purchase value as cash back rewards. How the rewards specifically work depends on the card, of course, but this is the general idea.
The “no annual fee” part means you won’t have to pay for having an active account with the card. If you’re wondering how the issuer makes money, it’s often on merchant charges as well as insurance charges to their users.
Why get a no annual fee credit card?
Premium credit cards can have fantastic features and bonuses and perks, but they often also require a substantial fee to keep in your wallet. If you just want a credit card that’s more simple and straightforward, a no annual fee card might be perfect for you, particularly if you’re looking to save money or otherwise reduce expenses.