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Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards for May 2021

Compare Best No Annual Fee credit card offers and securely apply online by clicking ‘APPLY NOW’.
Sign up for a free account and Clyde’s AI will estimate the first year rewards value you will receive for each card. Estimates are personalized and based on your opt-in transaction data securely shared through Plaid.

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

Requires sign in
Rewards Rate
Earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases. After twelve on-time payments, you will earn 1.25% cash back and after 12 on-time payments, you will earn 1.5% cash back.
Sign Up Bonus
N/A
Typical Credit Score
Fair, Limited / None, Good
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Chase Freedom Unlimited

Requires sign in
Rewards Rate
5% cash back on grocery store purchases and travel, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, 1.5% on all other purchases
Sign Up Bonus
$200 cash back after you spend $500 in your first 3 months
Typical Credit Score
Good, Excellent
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Citi Double Cash Card

Requires sign in
Rewards Rate
1% cash back upon purchase, another 1% when you pay your bill
Sign Up Bonus
N/A
Typical Credit Score
Excellent
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Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card

Requires sign in
Rewards Rate
3% cash back in the category of your choice (gas, dining, travel, etc.), 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, 1% cash back on all other purchases
Sign Up Bonus
$200 cash back after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
Typical Credit Score
Excellent, Good
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American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card

Requires sign in
Rewards Rate
3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% cash back on all other purchases
Sign Up Bonus
$200 cash back after spending $1,000 in the first three months
Typical Credit Score
Excellent, Good
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Citi Rewards+ Card

Requires sign in
Rewards Rate
2x points at supermarkets and gas stations, 1x points on all other purchases, 10% boost in points upon redemption
Sign Up Bonus
15,000 points after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months
Typical Credit Score
Excellent
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American Express Cash Magnet Card

Requires sign in
Rewards Rate
1.5% cash back on all purchases
Sign Up Bonus
$200 back after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
Typical Credit Score
Excellent, Good
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Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card

Requires sign in
Rewards Rate
1.5% cash back on every purchase
Sign Up Bonus
$150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
Typical Credit Score
Excellent, Good
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Discover it Chrome

Requires sign in
Rewards Rate
2% cash back on gas and restaurants on first $1000 per quarter, 1% on everything else
Sign Up Bonus
Cash back match for the initial card opening year
Typical Credit Score
Good
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Discover it Miles

Requires sign in
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 1.5 Miles on every dollar spent on purchases
Sign Up Bonus
Discover will match Miles earned for the first year
Typical Credit Score
Excellent, Good
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Discover it Cash Back

Requires sign in
Rewards Rate
5% cash back on rotating categories on up to $1,500 and 1% on all other purchases
Sign Up Bonus
Cashback match for one year
Typical Credit Score
Excellent, Good
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Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card

Requires sign in
Rewards Rate
1.5 points for every $1 spent on any purchase
Sign Up Bonus
25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
Typical Credit Score
Excellent, Good
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Should You Pay an Annual Fee?

As the name suggests, a no annual fee card is a card that does not charge a yearly fee for a customer to be able to use it. Along with charging no annual fee, many of these cards also offer rewards through many forms. Usually, cards charge annual fees to make up for costs associated with the bonuses and rewards offered by the card. In many cases, the annual fee is compensated for by the rewards offered by the card. Just because a card comes with an annual fee doesn’t mean it should be ruled out as a great option for you. It comes down to a few factors such as how much you spend, what purchases you typically make, and if you will earn a welcome bonus. The best way to be sure you’re getting the best card for how you spend is to sign up for a free Clyde account. Clyde’s AI calculates the rewards value you will likely earn in the first year of opening a new card.

The Advantages of Paying No Annual Fee

Cards that do not charge annual fees also come with plenty of advantages. One of the most overlooked benefits of no annual fee cards is that they can indirectly help you build and improve your credit score. Consider that no annual fee cards can offer an attraffordable (i.e. no fee) way to increase the total amount of credit you have access to. Assuming you keep your spending amount consistent, increasing the amount of credit you have access will decrease your credit utilization ratio, which is a key component of credit scores.

This ratio indicates how much of your credit you have utilized and accounts for 30% of your credit score. If you currently have only one card and decide to make a large purchase, this could increase your utilization ratio -- thereby decreasing your credit score. However, if you open a new account with a no annual card, you can then spread your purchases across the two cards which will help lower your utilization ratio. It is ideal to keep your utilization ratio below 30%.

The biggest advantage of such cards is that you won’t face out-of-pocket costs when you open your new card. Many no annual fee cards also include the following benefits:

  • Purchase protection
  • Fraud protection
  • Free credit score reports

Although no annual fee cards usually don’t provide top tier rewards, there are still many rewards to incentivize you. Many cash back credit cards with no annual fees offer anywhere up to 1.5% of cashback on purchases. If you look into a travel card with no annual fees, you may still be able to earn competitive miles/points on your travels.

Considerations

However, it is also vital to realize that while you may not be charged an annual fee, there will most likely still be other charges that you are required to make. Some of these charges include, but are not limited to:

  • Foreign transaction fees
  • Late fees
  • Cash advance fees

Some cards also only offer no annual fees for a limited time period, after which you will have to start paying them annually. It is crucial to look out for these. When looking through various no annual fee cards, take note to compare each card’s APR. Apart from rewards, one of the most important features of a no annual card is its introductory APR offer. Many cards will allow a low APR rate, often even 0%, for a limited period of time. It is important to compare both the period of time for the introductory offer and the rate being provided for this time. The introductory offer rate can be extremely useful if you are looking to make a large purchase or looking to pay down credit card debt. Many cards will also offer sign up bonuses via credit statements, rewards, and cash back.

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