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Best no annual fee credit cards of 2021

Compare cash back, features and bonuses to choose the right one.

Updated

Fact checked
The best no annual fee credit cards offer perks that you might not typically see on a card without a fee, such as travel insurance, a large signup bonus or higher than average reward rates. Finder’s expert credit card team spends over 200 hours each week reviewing more than 500 credit cards in order to bring you this list of the top credit cards without a yearly fee across 7 categories.
  • Why trust us? Unlike our competitors, Finder’s credit card experts research and write about all credit cards, including those from providers who aren’t partners on our site. Our trustworthy, unbiased evaluations are solely meant to help you choose the best credit card for your financial needs.

Best no annual fee credit cards

Though annual-fee cards tend to offer the best features, you’ll find a wealth of top-notch no annual fee cards. Here are our picks for the cream of the crop.

Best for cash back
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited® logo
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Chase's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
$200
Welcome offer
Citi was dealt another blow this year when Chase released the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Whereas the Double Cash previously had the advantage by earning 2% cash back total, the Freedom Unlimited now offers 1.5% back plus the opportunity to earn 5% back on select travel and 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases. This catapults the Freedom Unlimited's value to the top of the pack.
  • Earn cash back. Earn 5% cash back on Chase Travel Portal purchases, 3% back on dining, including takeout and delivery, and 3% back on drugstore purchases. On everything else, earn 1.5% back.

  • Signup bonus. Get a $200 bonus when you spend $500 within your first 3 months of account opening. You'll also get a unique cashback bonus of % back at grocery stores on up to in the .
  • Intro APR on purchases. Enjoy a 15 months 0% intro APR period on purchases. After that, a variable APR of 14.99% to 23.74% applies.
  • Foreign transaction fee. All purchases made abroad or online with foreign merchants cost 3%% of the amount.
  • No intro balance transfer. You won't find an intro period on balance transfers with this card.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.99% to 23.74% variable
Welcome offer $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Rewards 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases

Best for signup bonus
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 15x
Points
60,000
Points welcome offer
According to our current valuations, this card's signup-bonus points are worth $420. That's significantly higher value than you'll find with other no annual fee cards.
  • Signup bonus. Earn 60,000 points once you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months when you open your account.
  • Earn reward points. Purchases made at IHG hotels earn 15x points, purchases made at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants earn 2x points, while all other purchases earn 1x points.
  • Fourth reward night free. Every time you redeem your points for four or more reward nights, you get one reward night free.
  • No intro APR period.If you're looking to save money on interest with 0% intro APR period on balance transfers and purchases, you may want to look for other credit cards.
  • Elite status limitations. To earn Gold Status, you'll need to spend $10,000 on this card. Many similar cards offer complimentary elite status.
  • Fourth night free limitations. You can only earn a fourth free night on Reward nights, not nights you pay for in cash.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable
Welcome offer 60,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 15x total points at IHG hotels, 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases

Best for travel
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 3.2 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
1.5x
Points
25,000
Points welcome offer
While the IHG Rewards Club Traveler takes the cake for raw earning value, it only earns that spot for IHG hotel purchases. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card trades in that raw value for flexibility, earning 1.5x points on all purchases. You can redeem these points as statement credits on all trave purchases, including flights, hotels, cruises and more.
  • Annual fee. You won't pay an annual fee to use this credit card.
  • Rewards. Earn 1.5x poins on all purchases. You can redeem these as statement credits on trave purchases with few limitations.
  • Signup bonus. Earn 25,000 points after you spend $1,000 in your first 90 days of account opening. The is worth $250 in value.
  • Penalty APR. Miss a payment and Bank of America may drop a penalty APR on your account of 29.99% variable.
  • No balance transfer intro. This card cons with an intro APR on purchases, but not on balance transfers.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 statement closing dates (then 14.99% to 22.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.99% to 22.99% variable
Welcome offer 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
Rewards 1.5x points on all purchases

Best for purchase intro APR
Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠ logo
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Chase's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
$200
Welcome offer
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ excels in many categories, including it's intro APR. You can enjoy a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, alongside the card's fantastic rewards. For many cards, such as the Citi Diamond Preferred, you won't find such a combination of reward value and intro offer.
  • Cash back. Earn 5% cash back in select rotating categories on up to $1,500 each quarter you activate, then 1%. You'll also earn 5% back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and on Lyft through March 2022, 3% back at restaurants and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Signup bonus. Earn $200 cash back after you make $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Intro APR. Get a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 15 months from account opening, then 14.99% to 23.74% variable.
  • Rewards cycle. You won't get the 5% cashback rate on the same categories each quarter. Also, you'll need to activate your cashback categories, or you won't receive the bonus rate.
  • Categories not always known. Often, Chase won't reveal the whole year's rotating categories until they're close to launching.
  • Foreign transaction fees. You'll pay a 3% fee on transactions made abroad.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.99% to 23.74% variable
Welcome offer $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Rewards 5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases

Best for low interest
Simmons Visa®

Simmons Visa® logo
Finder Rating: 4.1 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (740-850)
Read review
740
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
n/a
Rewards
n/a
Welcome offer
If you need a simple card card with few fees and the lowest interest on the market, the Simmons Visa® is your best best. While it's generally not a good idea to carry a balance on a credit card, the Simmons Visa® APR is practically half of the average at 8.25%, making it a safer option for holding that balance.
  • Low APR. You get 8.25% variable APR on purchases, which is the lowest you can find.
  • No annual fee. There's no annual fee for the card.
  • Intro APR period on balance transfers. Get 0% intro APR period on balance transfers within your first 12 months when you open your account. After that, a variable APR of 8.25% applies.
  • No intro APR period on purchases. You only get 0% intro APR period on balance transfers, but not on purchases.
  • Foreign transaction fees. Every transaction made abroad or online with foreign merchants will cost you 2% of the amount.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 8.25% variable
Balance transfer APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 8.25% variable)
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards N/A

Best for small business
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Chase's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
$750
Welcome offer
If you're just getting your startup off the ground, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card has a lot to love. The lack of annual fee helps keep your costs down and the strong rewards and intro APR on purchases can give you plenty of breathing room as your grow.
  • Signup bonus. Earn $750 cash bonus after you spend $7,500 in your first 3 months of card membership.
  • Cash back. Earn 5% cash back on office supply stores and on Internet, cable and phone services on up to 25,000 annually in combined purchases, 1% after that. Also, earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on the first $25,000 in combined purchases, 1% after that. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Intro APR period on purchases. Get 12 months of 0% intro APR on purchases. A variable APR of 13.24% to 19.24% applies thereafter.
  • Average intro APR. At 12 months, the card's intro APR on purchases is rather average.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.24% to 19.24% variable)
Balance transfer APR 13.24% to 19.24% variable
Welcome offer $750 cash back after spending $7,500 in the first 3 months
Rewards 5% at office supply stores, on Internet, cable and phone up to $25,000 combined annually (then 1%), 2% on gas and dining up to $25,000 combined annually then 1% after that and on all other purchases

Best for new to credit
Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card

Petal® 2
Finder Rating: 2.9 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (600-850)
Apply now
on WebBank's secure site
Rates & fees

600
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 1.5%
Cash back
n/a
Welcome offer
The Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card is notable in the industry for its complete lack of fees. When combined with a respectable cash back rate, and the ability to apply without a credit score, the Petal 2 is a far friendlier card than many of its competitors.
  • No fees. You won't pay any fees whatsoever when using this card, including late fees or annual fees.
  • No credit history required. Petal looks at other aspects of your financial history in addition to your credit scores determine eligibility.
  • Cash back. You'll earn up to 1.5% back on purchases after you make 12 on-time monthly payments. Before that, you'll make 1% back.
  • No signup bonus. Though the Petal 2 offers rewards, it doesn't come with a signup bonus unlike other reward cards on the market.
  • Not for poor credit. The Petal 2 is designed for those with no prior credit history or good credit. If you have a history of poor credit, you won't qualify for this card.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 12.99% to 26.99% variable
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards 1% cashback, 1.25% after six on-time payments and 1.5% after 12 on-time payments, plus 2% - 10% back from select merchants

How we selected our top cards

We compared no annual fee cards from a number of major banks and credit unions. We singled out products with standout features such as strong intro APRs, attractive rewards or excellent signup bonuses.

What’s changed for 2021

Numerous changes to card rewards and annual fees shook up the placements of all but a few categories in 2021. Nearly all of our new additions, including the Chase Freedom Flex, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Simmons Visa and Ink Business Cash, exceed the value you’d expect for the price in their categories — $0 per year.

Bottom line

A card with no annual fee can offer great rewards and benefits while keeping costs low. But the best card for you will depend on what perks you’re looking for and how you plan to use it.

If you want more options, there are plenty of credit cards to compare. Check out our guide to the best credit cards of 2021.

Credit card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar cards on the market.

We rank card types — travel, cash back, business — on a set of factors that are most relevant to that type of card. We create these rankings to help you narrow down a credit card that best suits your spending and budget.

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

More guides on Finder

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