Best No-Annual-Fee Credit Cards of July 2020

The best no-annual-fee cards don't make you pay for your rewards.

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The best no-annual-fee credit cards prove you don’t need to commit to a big annual fee to earn exceptional rewards. Many of today’s no-annual-fee credit cards make it easy to accrue an impressive amount of cash back, miles, or points just by using your card for everyday purchases.

If you’re looking for a solid return on your spending, but don’t want to pay extra for it, here are some of your best options.

Best No-Annual-Fee Credit Cards

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Best Overall

,

Best for Travelers

,

Best With a Low APR

Our Rating Among No-Annual-Fee Cards
4.5
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.49% - 25.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    This well-rounded travel rewards card is tough to beat, considering there’s no annual fee. Travelers will love the simple and flexible rewards scheme that allows you to use the miles you earn in a myriad of ways. You can book your travel through Capital One, get reimbursed for your own bookings, or even transfer your miles to an eligible airline or hotel program. Plus, if you often carry a balance but have excellent credit, this card’s lowest ongoing purchase APR beats that of many similar rewards cards. New cardholders get a 12-month interest-free promotion for purchases, too.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Simple and predictable rewards
    • Rare option (for a no-annual-fee card) to transfer miles to eligible airline and hotel partner programs
    • Flexible redemption options
    • Travel insurance not common with a no-annual-fee card

    Cons

    • Low rewards-earning rate
    • Limited number of travel partners, especially U.S. airlines
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • 1.25X miles on all purchases. Earn unlimited miles with no caps.
    • Earn 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
    • Use miles as a statement credit against any airline or hotel booking with no blackout dates. Or, transfer miles to eligible travel loyalty programs.
    • Enjoy an introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best With Cash-Back Rewards

Our Rating Among No-Annual-Fee Cards
4.5
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.49% - 25.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    This unassuming workhorse pairs a competitive cash-back rate with a simple rewards structure and solid sign-up bonus. You’ll get $150 if you spend $500 on the card in the first three months. And you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on every dollar you spend, day in and day out. All this makes for a great no-fuss rewards card without an annual fee.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Solid cash-back rate on every dollar you spend
    • Simple, no-fuss cash back is easy to earn and redeem
    • Competitive welcome bonus

    Cons

    • No interest-free promotion on balance transfers
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earn a $150 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
    • Every purchase earns 1.5% cash back, and the total cash back you can earn is unlimited.
    • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months.
    • No foreign transaction fees.

Discover it® Miles

Best Sign-Up Bonus

Our Rating Among No-Annual-Fee Cards
4.8
Discover it® Miles
Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 11.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 1.5 miles for every dollar spent.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 14 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The Discover it Miles card stands out for a low-maintenance rewards program that allows you to earn miles on every purchase and book your award travel anywhere you want. It also offers an unconventional sign-up bonus where your rewards in the first year are doubled at the end of the year. This can be quite lucrative—worth about $365 if you spend what the average household spends.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • No annual fee
    • Miles can be redeemed as travel statement credits or cash back
    • Generous, unconventional bonus doubles your first year earnings
    • Competitive 0% purchase APR offer

    Cons

    • Miles can’t be transferred to airline loyalty programs
    • No travel insurance benefits
    • Card acceptance may vary compared to Visa or Mastercard
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earn unlimited 1.5 Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases.
    • Only Discover automatically matches all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year.
    • Use your card to pay for airfare, hotels, rideshares, and more with no blackout dates. Then easily redeem miles as a statement credit for travel or get cash.
    • No annual fee.

Discover it® Business Card

Best for Businesses

Our Rating Among No-Annual-Fee Cards
4.5
Discover it® Business Card
Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 12.99% - 20.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1.5% cash back on every dollar spent on all purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
Cash Advance APR (%) 24.99%
Cash Advance Fee Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    If your business needs some time to pay off bigger purchases, the Discover it Business card provides a great short-term option. Not only will you get a 0% APR on purchases for the first year, but Discover will match the cash back you’ve earned during that interest-free period when the year is up. This new cardholder incentive turns a so-so cash back rate of 1.5% into a quite respectable 3% for the first year.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Welcome bonus matches all cash back earned at the end of your first year, effectively giving you 3% cash back that first year
    • New cardholders get 12 months interest-free on purchases—an offer as good or better than other business cards
    • No annual fee

    Cons

    • Cash-back rate is standard, nothing better
    • No common perks, like auto rental insurance or coverage on damaged purchases
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases.
    • Only Discover automatically matches ALL the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year.
    • Use your card to pay for airfare, hotels, rideshares & more with no blackout dates. Then easily redeem miles as a statement credit for travel or get cash.
    • No annual fee.

Discover it® Secured

Best Secured Card

Our Rating Among No-Annual-Fee Cards
4.0
Discover it® Secured
Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Minimum Deposit to Activate $200
Allows upgrade to unsecured card Yes
Pay deposit in installments No
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    A secured card with no annual fee is a rare find, but one that also pays rewards, as the Discover it Secured Card does, really stands out. What’s more, Discover will match the cash back you earn in your first year. Plus, if you establish a good track record, you may be able to get your deposit back pretty quickly. Discover will start reviewing your account for an upgrade to an unsecured card just eight months in.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Ability to earn cash-back rewards while building credit
    • Responsible use can lead to automatic unsecured card upgrade
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Cash-back match as a first year bonus

    Cons

    • Low cap on highest rewards earning rate
    • Mediocre maximum credit limit compared to other secured cards
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • No annual fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
    • It's a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can't help you build a credit history.
    • Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if Discover can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
    • Get 100% U.S.-based customer service and get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO Credit Score.
Find Your Credit Card Match When choosing a simple, no-frills credit card, we believe it's most important to focus on the APRs and fees, but we know you might have different priorities. See what suits you best.
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What Is an Annual Fee?

An annual fee is a yearly charge—ranging anywhere from $25 a year to $550 or more—that cardholders have to pay to own a particular credit card. Issuers typically add annual fees to cards that offer generous benefits—such as hefty bonuses or luxurious perks—or when they are lending to consumers who are considered to be high-risk. 

For example, if you’ve never used credit before or have a history of missing payments and are applying for a subprime credit card, you may have to pay an annual fee in order to help offset the lender’s risk that they won’t be paid back. Lenders also charge annual fees on premium rewards cards to help support the cost of providing lucrative perks.   

Who Is a No-Annual-Fee Card Right For?

No-annual-fee cards are ideal for borrowers who want to benefit from a credit card, but don’t want to commit to an annual charge. For example, if you plan to carry a balance or are paying down credit card debt, you’ll want to stick with the least expensive card you can find. 

You may also prefer a no-annual-fee credit card if you’d like to earn rewards, but don’t want to spend time or energy maximizing rewards or taking advantage of a card’s benefits. No-annual-fee cards also make good companion cards. For example, if you’re already paying an annual fee for an airline credit card, you may want to keep a no-annual-fee rewards card on hand for non-travel-related purchases. 

Most no-annual-fee cards are designed for consumers with good to excellent credit. However, you may still qualify for a card without an annual fee, even if your credit is less-than-perfect. For example, a number of secured cards don’t charge annual fees. 

What Are Some Pros & Cons of Cards Without Annual Fees? 

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Essentially give you free credit if you pay your bill in full each month

  • Frequently offer good rewards

Cons
  • May cap your bonus-point earning ability

  • Usually have fewer insurance and purchase protection benefits than cards with annual fees

  • Often harder to qualify for than subprime cards with annual fees

How Do You Choose a Credit Card With No Annual Fee?

When you’re comparing cards without annual fees, ask yourself what you want from a credit card. Are you looking for an easy way to earn extra cash? A cash-back card is best for you. On the other hand, if you want to finance a big purchase, get a card with a sweet 0% introductory APR deal. 

Warning

If you plan to regularly carry a balance, skip high-APR rewards cards and check out cards from your local credit union. Smaller banks and credit unions often charge lower ongoing APRs on basic, low-interest credit cards than larger, nationwide banks.

The type of spender you are and the amount of time or energy you’re willing to put into earning rewards should also influence your decision. For example, if you have a long commute, check out credit cards that let you earn extra rewards for gas purchases. Or if you have a big family and spend a lot on groceries, you may want a card that offers a bonus on supermarket purchases. 

Some no-annual-fee credit cards require more maintenance than others. For example, some cash-back cards with rotating bonus categories require you to opt in to your bonuses every quarter. Similarly, some rewards cards require you to navigate their multi-step points systems in order to redeem a reward. Meanwhile, other no-annual-fee cards offer the same rewards earning rate on every purchase, so you don’t have to worry about anything other than using your credit card. 

Tip

When you’re comparing rewards cards, look at what you’ll need to do to redeem your rewards. For example, can you have your cash back deposited in your bank account, or do you need to wait for a check? Similarly, do you have to go through your card issuer to book rewards-funded travel or can you book travel on your own and get reimbursed?

To get a sense of whether a credit card is the best choice for you, read through credit card reviews from trusted publications. In addition, look at whether a particular card issuer is well regarded by other cardholders. J.D. Power, for example, publishes an annual credit card satisfaction survey. Meanwhile, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau keeps a record of complaints consumers have made about different companies. Here’s another summary of the best credit cards available with no annual fee:

Best No-Annual-Fee Credit Cards
Credit Card Category Annual Fee
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card Best Overall $0
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card Best With Cash-Back Rewards $0
Discover it Miles Best Sign-Up Bonus $0
Discover it Business Card Best for Businesses $0
Discover it Secured Best Secured Card $0
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card Best for Travelers $0
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card Best With a Low APR $0

Methodology

We collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances. We do this because it's our mission to give you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews.

Our reviews are always impartial. No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive.

About This List

We start by filtering our database of more than 200 cards for products that never charge an annual fee. That leaves well over 100 cards, from which we picked these.

What We Score

Rewards, annual fee, and regular APR are the most important things people consider when choosing a credit card, so we weigh those features most heavily. For full details on how we evaluate credit card attributes, check out our full methodology.