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Credit cards with $0 annual fee for the first year
Take advantage of an annual fee waiver to save money on a new card.
There is a wide range of credit cards that include a promotional annual fee waiver for new customers. This means that you pay a $0 annual fee for the first year, which can help reduce the initial costs of getting a new card. But since the annual fee usually kicks in again after the first year, it’s important to factor in the card’s other features when deciding if it will offer any value.
How do credit cards with $0 annual fee for the first year work?
This is an introductory offer where at the end of the first year, the card’s standard annual fee will be charged. This is typically applied on the anniversary of your account opening, and every 12 months thereafter. This is why you may see an offer that reads something like “$89 annual fee (waived first year)”.
Can I get my credit card annual fee waived beyond the promotional first-year offer?
Unfortunately, most credit card owners won’t be able to get an extension of the annual fee waiver. However, service members on active duty can get Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) benefits, which include an annual fee waiver among the other perks.
Credit card issuers that offer SCRA benefits are:
- American Express
- Capital One
Most of these issuers may only waive the annual fee to those who were cardmembers prior to going on active duty. For additional information, contact your card issuer.
Credit cards with no annual fee for life
Another category of cards that allows you to continually enjoy an annual fee waiver is the no-annual-fee credit card. These cards often charge higher interest rates as a result and are more suitable for card users who regularly repay their card balances.
Our picks for cards that waive annual fee for the first year
There are a few great credit card options that waive their annual fee for the first year, letting you enjoy the perks without an immediate hit to your wallet. Here are a few of our favorites:
Waived annual fee card for Delta travelers
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★
Waived annual fee card for everyday purchases
|Rewards||8% cash back|
|Annual Fee||$95 ongoing|
|Minimum Credit Score||670|
Waived annual fee card for United travelers
United℠ Explorer Card
Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★
How we selected our top cards
When choosing this year’s top 0% annual fee for the first year cards, we compared a number of factors among eligible cards, including the revert annual fee, welcome offers, rewards rates and travel perks of bonuses a consumer might consider when choosing such a card. We highlighted cards that stood out in one or more of these categories.
How to compare credit cards with $0 annual fee for the first year
- Other promotional features. Credit cards often include additional introductory offers, such as a 0% balance transfer rate, 0% purchase interest rate or bonus sign-up points. Consider how these deals add value to your card.
- Standard annual fee. You must factor in the standard annual fee since it will apply after the introductory period. Make sure the card you choose has a standard annual fee you can afford so that you don’t have to deal with excessive credit card costs in the future.
- Purchase rate. This is the interest rate for eligible purchases, which is important to consider if you tend to carry a balance on the card.
- Balance transfer rate. This is the interest rate applied to balance transfers and is particularly relevant if you plan to consolidate existing debt onto your new credit card.
- Rewards. Rewards credit cards let you earn points per dollar spent that you can redeem for travel, merchandise and other rewards. This can add to the value of your credit card, particularly if you’re a high spender or frequent flyer and regularly pay your balance in full.
- Complimentary extras. Depending on the card, you may be able to enjoy perks such as complimentary travel and purchase insurances, concierge services and free checked bags.
- Cash advances. Cash advances, which include but are not limited to ATM withdrawals and cash equivalent purchases, attract cash advance fees and high cash advance interest rates. You should avoid making cash advances on your credit card if possible since these incur high fees.
- Foreign transaction fees. This is usually around 3% of the transaction value for overseas transactions, but note that internet purchases made in foreign currencies may also attract these fees. Travel credit cards, however, often don’t have foreign transaction fees.
- Other fees. You need to identify and compare any other fees that may be applied to your account, such as ATM fees or late payment fees.
Compare credit cards with no annual fee
You’ll find many great no-annual-fee credit card options in a variety of categories.
When comparing credit cards with annual fee waivers, make sure you research all the available credit card options. Since these annual fee savings may be only temporary, remember to weigh in the card’s ongoing features and check for any ongoing fee waivers before choosing the one that will work for you now and in the foreseeable future.
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