The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers simple but solid rewards on all purchases. If you're a member of the bank's Preferred Rewards program, you'll earn 25% to 75% more points on your spending.
Reward points. Earn unlimited 1.5x points on all spending.
Signup bonus. 25,000 online bonus points - worth $250 in statement credit - after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
Intro APR period on purchases. 0% on purchases for the first 12 statement closing dates, then 14.99% to 22.99% variable.
No intro APR period on balance transfers. You only get an intro APR period on purchases, but not on transfers.
Penalty APR. If you make a late payment, Bank of America may impose a penalty APR of up to 29.99% variable.
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
25,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card doesn't offer rewards. However, it offers superb intro APRs on both purchases and balance transfers.
Intro APR period. 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 20 months, then 13.99% to 23.99% variable.
Cell phone protection. Pay your wireless bill with your card. You'll receive cell phone coverage for up to $600 per claim with a $25 deductible. You can make a maximum of two claims per 12-month period.
No annual fee. You get to save money on interest and you won't pay an annual fee.
No rewards program. You won't earn any rewards with this card.
No signup bonus. Similar to other cards with long 0% intro APR card, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card doesn't have a signup bonus.
Foreign transaction fees. Purchases made abroad or online with foreign merchants will cost 3% of the amount.
0% intro for the first 20 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR
0% intro for the first 20 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Best for low interest
UNIFY Financial Credit Union Variable-Rate Visa® Credit Card
Consider this card if you have excellent credit and want a low APR. You could receive an APR on all balances as low as 7.99% variable. Also, the product is light on fees - balance transfer fees in particular.
Low APR. 7.99% to 17.24% variable on all balances is among the lowest you can find in a credit card.
No annual fee. You won't pay an annual fee for the card.
Other fees waived. The card also has no balance transfer fee, cash advance or foreign transaction fees.
No rewards. The card doesn't have a rewards program.
No signup bonus. Also, you don't get to earn any reward upon signup.
With this card, you'll earn a solid 2% cash back on up to $50,000 in eligible purchases per calendar year, then 1% back. That can be an excellent deal depending on your business, especially as the card has no annual fee. You'll also receive an intro APR on purchases, which is uncommon among business credit cards.
Cash back. On all eligible purchases, earn 2% cash back on up to $50,000 each calendar year, then 1% back.
Intro APR period. 0% on purchases for the first 12 months. After that, 13.24% to 19.24% variable APR.
Expanded buying power. In some cases, you can make purchases that put you over your credit limit without penalty. This privilege adjusts according to Amex's discretion and factors such as your payment history and credit record.
Foreign transaction fees. Every purchase you make abroad or online with foreign merchants will cost you a 2.7% of the amount.
No balance transfers. This card's intro APR period on balance transfers was removed in May 2020.
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.24% to 19.24% variable)
Balance transfer APR
2% cash back on all purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%
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 in 2020
Most cards from our 2019 list return this year, as they’re still impressive products. We’ve added entries that we also included in our picks for 2020’s best cards.
The one card that left our list was the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card. It was a superb card, but it’s currently off the market as PenFed reworks it.
An annual fee is the yearly cost to keep a credit card. If your card has one, the annual fee is charged automatically each year, typically during the month you opened your account.
With a no annual fee card, you won’t have to pay this cost, which helps you minimize the expense of owning a credit card.
Annual fees typically range from as low as $30 or as high as $550. Some providers waive the annual fee in the first year, giving cardholders 12 months to enjoy their cards at no cost. That said, a card with an annual fee typically comes with more perks and benefits that can offset the fee.
Is an annual fee ever worth it?
An annual fee can be worth paying if it leads to higher rewards or special benefits you want. Sometimes, you can get so much value from an annual-fee card that the price is easy to justify. But ultimately, this depends on what you need and whether you can take advantage of a card’s features.
Pros and cons of a no annual fee card
It’s always good to get a full picture of a card type before you submit an application. Here are a few things to consider before getting a no annual fee card.
It’s low-maintenance. You can keep a no annual fee card for as long as you want without worrying about a yearly cost. Besides giving you credit to help you decrease your credit utilization, this also lets you increase your average age of accounts. Both are factors that help determine your FICO score.
Keep more of your rewards. An annual fee eats into any rewards you earn. For example, if you earn $100 in cash back but have to pay a $95 annual fee, you’ve effectively earned just $5 in cash back. With a $0 annual fee, any rewards you earn are all upside.
Signup bonus might be easier to obtain. While signup bonuses tend to be smaller than you’ll find with annual-fee cards, you often have to meet lower spending requirements. You might, for instance, earn a bonus worth $150 after you meet a spending requirement of just $500 within the first three months.
Lower rewards rates. There are many no-annual-fee cards that offer good rewards. But you’ll often find the best rewards with annual-fee cards.
Fewer benefits. No-annual-fee cards tend to have fewer features. For example, you might not find features such as airport lounge access, free checked baggage or travel credits.
How do I compare no annual fee credit cards?
There are many no annual fee cards out there, and the choices can sometimes feel overwhelming. To help you narrow down your options, here’s what to consider:
Do you want to earn rewards?
Many no-annual-fee cards come with a rewards program. You can either get a card with accelerated rewards on select categories like travel, dining, groceries or gas, or you can get a card with flat-rate rewards on all purchases.
Spend a lot on everyday purchases? Check out the cards issued by American Express, Discover and Bank of America.
Want a flat-rewards card? Citi and TD Bank offer one of the best cards with flat rewards rate on all purchases.
Spend a lot on travel? Barclaycard has almost 20 travel credit cards in the form of cobranded cards with cruise lines, airlines and home rentals. All other card providers offer a smaller selection of no-annual-fee travel cards, but most of them are excellent options.
Do you want a 0% intro APR period?
Many no annual fee cards have intro APRs. This means you could get 0% APR on purchases or balance transfers for a period of time. Think about whether a promotional interest rate is important to you — and if so, how long you want it to be.
Do you want a strong signup bonus?
A signup bonus can give you a burst of rewards soon after you’re approved for a card. Many no annual fee cards have similar bonuses, but you’ll find the occasional offer that stands out.
With a no-annual-fee card, expect to earn a bonus worth anywhere from $50 up to $250.
Do you have a good credit score?
Your credit score has a big effect on which cards you’ll be approved for. For rewards cards and products with intro APRs, you’ll usually want to apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher. If your score is lower than that, consider a no annual fee secured credit card to build your credit.
There are no annual fee credit cards that target everyone from excellent to fair credit. People with bad credit scores, however, will find limited options for no annual fee credit cards. If you’ve had trouble getting approved for credit in the past or you have a bad credit history, you may have to improve your credit before you can qualify for a no annual fee credit card.
You may expect that all the great rewards credit cards charge an annual fee, but fortunately, there are several great rewards credit cards without an annual fee. You can find a variety of no annual fee credit cards that pay cash, miles and points rewards. You’ll typically need to have good credit to qualify for a rewards credit card, regardless of whether the card charges an annual fee.
Your credit card issuer can start charging an annual fee after you’ve already signed up for the card. If your card issuer plans to introduce an annual fee, they’re required to let you know well in advance of the time the annual fee will become effective. You’ll have the opportunity to opt out, or reject, the addition of the annual fee. Your credit card issuer will have to allow you to pay your credit card off under the current terms (no annual fee), but may cancel your account or suspend your purchasing privileges. Unless your credit card has great rewards, opting out of the new fee is typically best.
A no annual fee credit card can be completely free, but it depends on how you use the credit card. Paying on time and in full will help you avoid late fees and interest. Most other fees are transaction-based, which means you’ll have to avoid specific transactions to avoid paying fees. This includes balance transfers, cash advances and purchases made in foreign currencies.
Most no annual fee credit cards will prominently advertise that there’s no fee for the card. It’s one of the biggest selling points for a credit card. If you see the phrase “No annual fee” followed by an asterisk (*), check for a caveat in the fine print. You may learn that the annual fee is only waived in the first year of the credit card. The best way to figure out whether a credit card charges an annual fee is to read through the credit card pricing disclosure. All credit cards are required to list the pricing associated with a credit card with each credit card offer.
Jeremy is finder's Global Head of Publishing & Editorial. Jeremy has been with finder since the very beginning and is part of the founding team working closely with Fred and Frank to build finder.com into the comparison network it is today.
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