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No annual fee credit cards 2021

Compare fee-free cards to find the best mix of rewards and benefits for your unique set of needs and budget.

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Are you looking for a no fee credit card with plenty of benefits and a solid return on points? Look no further. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best no annual fee credit cards on the market. You can also use this post to find out more about how no fee credit cards work and why you might want to sign up for one.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

19.95 % APR

Purchase interest rate

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Apply today and earn 2% cash back in up to three spending categories of your choice.

  • Purchase interest rate: 19.95%
  • Cash advance rate: 19.95%
  • Balance transfer rate: 1.95% for the first 6 months, 19.95% thereafter
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Credit score: 680+
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Compare no annual fee credit cards for 2021

Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Benefits with this card Description
BMO CashBack Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to a maximum spend of $2,000, and earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases thereafter). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
19.95%
19.95%
$0
$12,000
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
Choice Card from American Express
19.99%
23.99%
$0
N/A
Earn 1 American Express Membership Point for every $1 you spend on purchases.
Earn 12,500 Bonus Membership Rewards points when you charge $1,250 in purchases to your card within the first 3 months as a new Cardmember. Apply by May 5, 2021.
Shell AIR MILES Mastercard from BMO
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 3x the AIR MILES for every $25 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $25 spent elsewhere.
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
Tangerine World Mastercard
19.95%
19.95%
$0
$60,000
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
Shell CashBack Mastercard from BMO
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 1.5% cash back at participating Shell locations in Canada (up to a maximum spend of $2,500 in any monthly billing period), and get 0.5% cash back everywhere else.
Get $50 in cash back bonuses once you charge your first eligible purchase to your card. Plus, earn 1% cash back for the first 6 months on all eligible purchases.
BMO Rewards Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 1 BMO Reward point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases, and get 2 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations.
Get a bonus of 15,000 BMO Rewards points. Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO IGA AIR MILES Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 3x the AIR MILES for every $25 spent on eligible purchases at IGA stores and at participating AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $25 spent elsewhere.
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 3x the AIR MILES for every $25 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $25 spent elsewhere.
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard For Students
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 3x the AIR MILES for every $25 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $25 spent elsewhere.
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred.
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What is a no annual fee credit card?

No annual fee credit cards (also known as fee-free credit cards) are credit cards that don’t come with an annual fee. This means you won’t have to pay anything extra to use them. It also means that they typically come with fewer benefits and a lower return on points or cashback in comparison to more premium cards.

For example, most fee-free cards come with basic benefits such as purchase protection and extended warranty. However, the majority won’t offer extra perks such as mobile device protection, travel insurance or roadside assistance. It’s also common for fee-free cards to give you a lower return on points than credit cards that come with an annual fee.

Can I get a premium credit card for no annual fee?

Most no-fee credit cards come with the bare minimum for benefits and rewards. You’ll typically need to pay an annual fee to get extended benefits or a high return on points or cashback. One of the only ways that you can get a premium credit card with no annual fee is to link it to your everyday bank account.

To go this route, you’ll usually need to keep a minimum balance in a high-end account. For example, you can qualify for an annual fee waiver for a TD premium credit card if you sign up for a TD All-Inclusive Banking Plan and keep a minimum balance of $5,000 in your account at all times. This can be a good solution if you want more benefits and rewards but don’t want to pay an annual fee for your credit card.

No annual fee credit cards by provider

You can sign up for a no annual fee credit card with several providers. These include big banks, digital banks and private companies. It’s easy to compare the no annual fee credit cards on offer from different providers by expanding the links below:

What makes no annual fee credit cards unique?

The obvious feature that makes no annual fee credit cards unique is that they come with no obligation to pay an annual fee for the duration of card ownership. This is different from certain premium cards that waive your annual fee in the first year. You also won’t have to keep a minimum balance in your bank account to qualify for fee-free status.

Another major selling point of fee-free cards is that they’re easy to qualify for. Unlike many premium cards, you typically won’t need to have a high income to sign up and you can usually get your foot in the door with an average credit score. This makes these cards a decent option for low-income earners, students and those who are just starting to build their credit.

How to compare no annual fee credit cards

There are a number of features you can compare to find the best no fee credit card for your personal situation.

  • Interest rates. Most no fee credit cards come with an interest rate of 19.99% for purchases and 21.99% for cash advances. That said, some no fee cards may offer a lower interest rate in lieu of extra benefits or rewards. Aim to choose the card that makes the most sense for your personal situation.
  • Welcome offers. There are several no annual fee credit cards that come with a generous welcome bonus when you sign up. Look for a credit card that offers a decent return on long-term rewards and benefits, and then whittle down your choices by comparing welcome offers.
  • Return on rewards. The majority of no fee credit cards come with a mediocre return on rewards when compared to premium cards. That said, these rewards will go directly into your pocket instead of going towards paying an annual fee. Find a card that offers the best return on points or cashback in combination with a basic level of benefits.
  • Benefits. Most fee-free credit cards come with basic benefits such as purchase protection and extended warranty. If you find a fee-free card with additional benefits, it’s definitely worth exploring. This is because these cards typically don’t include extra perks such as travel insurance, roadside assistance or mobile device insurance.
  • Additional fees. It’s important to look into any additional fees you might have to pay with your card. For example, you could be charged a $2 fee to get a paper statement or a $40 fee for making a late payment. Make sure you know what you’re up against before you buy into the “no fee” promise of a fee-free credit card.
  • Provider. When deciding on a no annual fee credit card, you can choose from many providers. These include big banks, digital banks and private companies such as Costco or PC Financial. Look for a card with an establishment you trust and make sure the rewards are tailored to your lifestyle.

Who can qualify for a no fee credit card?

Almost anyone can qualify for a no-fee credit card since the eligibility requirements are usually not very strict. That said you’ll want to make sure you meet the following criteria to apply:

  • Be 18 years old or the age of majority in your province or territory.
  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident with a valid Canadian address.
  • Have a working bank account (this is sometimes not a requirement – it varies between providers).
  • Have an average credit score and not be struggling with a bankruptcy or consumer proposal.
  • Be willing to meet additional requirements put forth by your credit card provider

How to apply for a no annual fee credit card

You can follow these steps to apply for a no annual fee credit card:

  1. Compare no fee credit cards. Compare credit cards from a number of providers to find the one with the best mix of rewards and benefits for your personal situation.
  2. Apply for the card of your choice. Apply for the credit card of your choice by visiting the main site of the provider you’re interested in.
  3. Fill out application details. Fill out personal details such as your full name, address, email and phone number to start your application.
  4. Submit to a credit check. Submit to a personal credit check to get approved for a no annual fee credit card (if this is a requirement for your provider).
  5. Review final details. Read the fine print of your contract and make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into before you hand in your application.
  6. Click submit. Once you’re ready to apply, click submit on your application or call your credit card provider directly to apply over the phone.
  7. Wait for your card to arrive. When your application is approved, your provider should send your card out in the mail or allow you to pick it up at a branch location.

Benefits of no fee credit cards

No fee credit cards come with a number of benefits that make them an optimal choice if you’re looking for a basic credit card:

  • No out-of-pocket costs. You won’t have to worry about paying an annual fee.
  • Easy to qualify. There are usually no minimum income requirements and you can apply with average credit.
  • Many cards to choose from. You can take advantage of a number of different types of cards such as cashback, low interest, frequent flyer and rewards cards.

What to watch out for

There are also a couple of drawbacks to consider before you sign up for a no fee credit card:

  • High interest rates. You’ll usually pay interest rates around 19.99% for purchases.
  • Limited benefits. You won’t often qualify for extra benefits such as travel insurance, mobile device protection or roadside assistance with these cards.
  • Lower return on rewards. You’ll usually receive a lower return on points than you would with a more premium card.

Bottom line

No annual fee credit cards are relatively easy to qualify for and they come with no annual fee. Unlike premium credit cards, these cards tend to come with a low return on rewards and few benefits. That said, they can be a cheap and easy way to get access to credit if you don’t have the means or budget to qualify for a premium card.

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