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Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Posted By Jim On 10/04/2011 @ 7:34 am In Credit | 8 Comments

I abhor annual fees for a credit card. I abhor fees of all types but I especially hate annual fees on credit cards because the card issuers and the banks are making money off each transaction you make. Buy a cup of coffee? They take their few cents plus a small percentage. Buy a magazine? Cha-ching. Buy anything – ring that register. Make a return? Yep, they charge a transaction fee on the return flight too. It’s pretty ridiculous, just ask any merchant. So when they want to charge me an annual fee to use their card and help them make money… well, that just strikes me as a little greedy. (this doesn’t even factor in late fees, interest payments, and other ways credit cards make money)

That’s why I usually stick with reward cards, which is essentially when the credit card company pays me to use their card. There are, however, cases where you might want a credit card simply because it has no fee (we have a Capital One card we use for international travel because they don’t charge an international transaction fee [3]) and we’ve collected a list of the best of the bunch.

Citi Platinum Select Visa

This card is a popular one because it offers a pretty long 0% balance transfer [4] offer. The only knock against it is that it doesn’t have a reward program but the balance transfer offer more than makes up for it. A solid choice if you need some breathing room and they won’t make you pay an annual fee to get it.

  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 21 months. After that, the APR will be 11.99%-20.99% based upon your creditworthiness.
  • Extra Cash from Citi: enjoy discounts on gift cards, travel, merchandise and more
  • Citi® Identity Theft Solutions
  • Secure, free online account management
  • No annual fee*

Chase Freedom Visa

The Chase Freedom card takes the number two spot on the list because it has an absolutely bananas promotional offer right now. New cardholders will get a $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months. Not only that, and this almost makes it better than the Citi Platinum Select card, but the card comes with a cash back rewards program that you’ll find difficult to beat.

  • This offer is for people with a good to excellent credit history which means, among other things, that your credit history is clear of bankruptcy and seriously delinquent accounts
  • Earn $200 Bonus Cash Back after you make $500 in purchases in your first 3 months
  • 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 spent on dining, department stores, movie theaters and charitable organizations from 10/1/11 – 12/31/11
  • You\’ll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like supermarkets, gas, drugstores and even home improvement stores. It’s free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases without limits on what you can earn
  • Up to an additional 10% Cash Back when you shop online at select merchants through Chase
  • No annual fee and rewards never expire

Blue Cash Everyday from American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday from American Express is one of the few American Express cards that doesn’t come with an annual fee. It also boasts a nice rewards program with 3% cash back on grocery store purchases, 2% at most gas stations and department stores, plus 1% everywhere else. This was one of the first credit cards my wife had and she carries it to this day because of the many purchase protections American Express offers [5].

  • No annual fee, flexibility to pay over time
  • Get 3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% cash back at gas stations and department stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • NO spend minimum, NO enrollment, and NO rotating rewards categories

PenFed Platinum Visa Card

If you want 5% cash back from gas purchases, the PenFed card is the one you’ll want to look at. It not only gives you one of the best cash back rates in gasoline, but it backs it up with 1% on everything else. No annual fee and the rewards are credit to your account each month – no games requesting checks or waiting until you hit a certain amount. The only downside is that you need to be a Pentagon Federal Credit Union member to apply, but you can get in fairly easily.

  • 13.99% APR — lower than most rewards cards!
  • Earn 5.00% cash back from gas purchases paid at the pump*
  • Earn 1.00% cash back from all purchases** you make with the card during each billing cycle
  • Up to $50,000 limit
  • No Annual Fee
  • Cash Rewards credited each month
  • No special restrictions to earn your cash rewards
  • Limited Time Only – Low Balance Transfer Rates†
  • You must be a Pentagon Federal Credit Union member to apply. Not a member? It’s easy to join. Click here [6] to learn more.

This is not an exhaustive list of the best no annual fee credit cards but I think I’ve highlighted some of the best from each of the card issues. I recommend taking a deeper look at each of the cards to help you find the best one for you.


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[1] Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/annual-fee-credit-cards.html

[3] international transaction fee: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/foreign-currency-transaction-fees-list.html

[4] This card is a popular one because it offers a pretty long 0% balance transfer: http://oc.cardsynergy.com/t/?cr=4101&c=22145935&aid=105970&sid=5946&tid=bestNoAnnual&last_updated=1316897244

[5] The Blue Cash Everyday from American Express is one of the few American Express cards that doesn’t come with an annual fee. It also boasts a nice rewards program with 3% cash back on grocery store purchases, 2% at most gas stations and department stores, plus 1% everywhere else. This was one of the first credit cards my wife had and she carries it to this day because of the many purchase protections American Express offers: http://oc.cardsynergy.com/t/?cr=3762&c=22035733&aid=105970&sid=5946&tid=bestNoAnnual&last_updated=1303940949

[6] Click here: http://oc.cardsynergy.com/t/?cr=739&c=22935555&aid=105970&sid=5945&last_updated=1301501312

Thank you for reading!