Cards that have an annual fee usually come with a slew of pretty sweet perks.
…but you don’t need to shell out money to get a solid credit card.
In fact, there are some really great cards on the market that will give you major rewards without costing you anything.
And free rewards are the best kind of rewards, if you ask me.
So we’re taking a look at credit cards with no annual fee. There is something here for everyone, whether you’re looking for:
- a secured credit card for bad credit,
- a credit card to help you travel the world, or
- a card that will fill your pocket with cold hard cash,
…you’ll just need to decide which credit card best suits your needs, apply and get approved, and wait for the rewards to start rolling in.
No annual fee credit cards for bad credit
If you have bad credit, it can be quite difficult to be approved for a credit card. But, not all hope is lost, thanks to secured credit cards.
A secured credit card requires you to put down a security deposit which will often match your credit limit. When used properly, it can help you rebuild your credit.
Most secured cards have an annual fee, but there are a few that don’t. So, once armed with one of the following cards, you just need to worry about it making your payments on time (and in full) and getting your credit score back on track.
Discover it Secured credit card
The first card on our list is the Discover it Secured Credit Card.
This card takes top spot because it’s one of the only secured cards on the market that will actually let you earn some rewards – yep, you read that right.
You’ll get 2% back on gas and restaurant purchases, up to $1,000 spent per quarter, and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, to really sweeten the deal, Discover will double the cash back rewards you earn your first year automatically as a sign up bonus.
Discover also offers free access to your FICO credit score, so you can check back and see your credit score get higher and higher as you make your monthly payments on time.
Finally, Discover will automatically review your account monthly (starting at 8 months) to see if you’re displaying responsible credit card management. If you pass the test, your security deposit will get refunded back to you.
Citi Secured Mastercard credit card
This card will give you 11 different types of purchase and travel insurance, including:
- extended warranty,
- purchase protection,
- price protection,
- return protection,
- travel accident,
- trip cancellation,
- trip interruption,
- flight delay,
- baggage delay,
- lost or stolen baggage, and
- rental car theft and damage.
So, if credit card insurance has more value to you than cash rewards, this is definitely a secured card to consider.
Capital One Secured Mastercard
Another great no fee secured credit card is the Capital One Secured Mastercard.
This card will give you free (and unlimited) access to your CreditWise credit score report. This way, you’ll be able to keep track of your credit score changes as they happen.
You’ll also get the opportunity to increase your credit limit without having to make any additional security deposits. Secured cards often don’t allow you to have a super-high credit limit…But, with this card, if you make your first 5 payments on time, you could be eligible.
In an effort to help you with your credit card habits, Capital One also offers:
- personalized payment: you pick your own monthly due date and payment method,
- autopay: you can set up to have your payments taken from your account automatically, and
- account alerts: you’ll receive email or text message reminders or alerts when needed.
No annual fee travel credit cards
What can be better than earning rewards that will get you free hotel stays, reduced airfare, discounts on car rentals, and even travel credits, on purchases that you’re already making anyway?
For people who love to travel and save money, a no fee travel credit card is a dream come true.
Great travel rewards, with none of the kickback.
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Visa Signature
The first travel credit card that deserves a mention is the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Visa Signature.
This card will give you an unlimited 1.25 points per dollar spent, plus 10 times the points on each dollar spent here. So, if you book travel on this site often, this card is worth getting for that reason alone.
And to kick off your rewards, 20,000 bonus miles are yours after you spend $1,000 on your card in the first 3 months.
You’ll be able to enjoy no foreign exchange fees, allowing you to spend money during international travels with no surprises when you get back home. You can also transfer your miles to over 10 airline partners, so you can jetset to practically any of the 4 corners of the globe.
Chase United TravelBank Visa Signature
You can look forward to getting 1.5% in TravelBank rewards on all your purchases, and 2% in TravelBank rewards for each dollar spent on United Airlines.
Plus, you’ll get to enjoy:
- 25% in statement credits on inflight purchases,
- complimentary concierge service, and
- $150 worth of TravelBank rewards as a sign up bonus after qualifying spending.
Discover it Miles
Discover it Miles doesn’t offer any specific point multipliers, but instead, ops for the simplicity of one base earn rate. You’ll receive 1.5 points per dollar spent on absolutely all your purchases – no caps or limits.
And as a bonus, Discover will match whatever points you earn in your first year.
U.S. Bank FlexPerks Select+ American Express
Although the number of points earned is not as high as the other cards mentioned above, when you redeem your FlexPoints for travel, it’s point value is higher at 2 cents per point (rather than 1 to 1.5 cents per point.)
Speaking of points earned, this card also gives new cardholders 10,000 bonus points when they spend $1,000 in the first 4 months. That’s a $200 value, if redeemed for travel.
Cash back credit cards with no annual fee
Or maybe you’re looking for a cash back credit card with no annual fee, i.e. free-money-generators.
These cards are as straightforward as it gets when it comes to earning rewards.
You earn cash back on all your purchases, and it all goes directly into your pocket.
1.5% cash back on all purchases
Flat earn rates are key to keeping it simple – no spending categories, no caps, and no limits.
Take the following cards, they’ll give you 1.5% back on all your spending:
- Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Visa Signature
Up to 2% cash back on all purchases
Do you know what’s better than getting free cash back rewards?
Getting extra rewards just for being a responsible credit card user.
Plus, making your payments on time will help with your credit score – win-win.
Up to 5% cash back on spending categories
What I like even better than simplicity is getting the absolute most for my money spent.
With category multipliers, you can do just that.
3% cash back credit cards
5% cash back credit cards
The absolute highest earn rate you can get for no fee cash back cards, however, is 5% on category-specific spending.
The bottom line
Having a premium credit card with a high annual fee might feel like you’re getting rewards put into a pocket with holes in it. Because the truth is, sometimes your spending might not be enough to justify paying an annual fee.
Thankfully, there are some great no annual fee options out there, including the Discover it Cash Back card.
You don’t have to dish out massive annual fees to get awesome rewards – just be sure to do your research and find the card that is perfect for you.
We would love to hear what you think
Are no annual fee cards the way to go for you?
What is your favorite part about not having to worry about paying an annual fee?
Let us know in the comments below.