Top 10 No-Annual-Fee Credit Cards for 2017

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Lots of travel rewards cards can be worth paying the annual fee.  Because they come with great travel perks like big sign-up bonuses, free hotel nights, trip insurance, and other benefits.

But there are plenty of personal no-annual-fee cards that can get you Big Travel with Small Money too!

These cards are good to keep forever.  Because keeping your cards open for a long time can increase the average age of your accounts and potentially improve your credit score.

Almost all of the cards in this post do NOT earn us a commission.  But we’ll always tell you about the best deals!

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards 2017

You Can Earn Points & Miles With These Great No-Annual-Fee Cards. And Start Planning Your Next Adventure Sooner Rather Than Later!

Here are my top 10 picks of personal (not business!) credit cards with no annual fee.

My Favorite No-Annual-Fee Cards for 2017

1.   Chase Freedom

Link:   Chase Freedom

Link:   My Review of the Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom is my favorite no-annual-fee card, and one of the Chase cards I keep in my wallet!

You’ll earn 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($150 cash back) after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  And another 2,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($25 cash back) for adding an authorized user and making a purchase within the same timeframe.

I also like it because you earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (5% cash back) on up to $1,500 in spending in rotating categories each quarter when you activate the bonus.

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards 2017

You Can Use Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Free Nights at the Beautiful Hyatt Regency Maui When You Have Certain Chase Cards, Like the Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred

Plus, if you have other Chase cards like the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred, or Ink Plus or Ink Bold (no longer available), you can combine your points and transfer them to valuable airline and hotel partners.  Like Hyatt and United Airlines!

If you redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for cash back, they’re worth 1 cent per point.  And you need at least 2,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($20) for a cash back redemption.

Here’s my full review of the Chase Freedom card.

2.   Chase Freedom Unlimited

Link:   Chase Freedom Unlimited

Link:   My Review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited

Much like the Chase Freedom card, you can earn 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($150 cash back) after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening a Chase Freedom Unlimited card.

And because the card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer your points to travel partners if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred, or Ink Plus or Ink Bold (no longer available).

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards 2017

You Can Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to British Airways When You Have Chase Cards, Like the Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred and Others. And Then Use Those Points to Fly on Aer Lingus From Certain US Cities to Dublin for Fewer Points Than With Other Airline Programs!

But the Chase Freedom Unlimited does NOT have rotating bonus categories like the Chase Freedom.  Instead, you’ll earn 1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (1.5% cash back) per $1 you spend on all purchases with NO limit.

This is a good card for everyday, non-bonus category spending because the rate of return is higher than any other card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

And don’t forget, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent per point when redeemed for cash back.  With a minimum redemption amount of 2,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($20).

Here’s my review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

3.   Discover It

Link:   Discover It

The Discover It card is another great no-annual-fee card. 

You’ll earn $50 cash back when you sign-up and make a purchase within the first 3 months.  And if you’re a new cardmember, all the cash back you earn will be matched after your 12th billing cycle.  Including the sign-up bonus!

Like the Chase Freedom card, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases and 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter when you activate the bonus.

So you’ll effectively get 2% back on every purchase for your first year.  And 10% cash back in the rotating quarterly categories when you register.

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards 2017

Get 5% Cash Back on Rotating Bonus Categories Each Quarter

You can get additional discounts through Discover Deals, Discover’s online shopping portal.  Discover will match these earnings, too!

Plus, you can redeem the cash back you earn for a statement credit or direct deposit into your bank account for any amount.

And the Discover it card has NO foreign transaction fees.

4.   Discover It Miles

Link:   Discover It Miles

Link:   My Review of the Discover it Miles Card

The Discover it Miles card is similar to the Discover it card.  But it earns 1.5 miles per $1 you spend (1.5% back) on all purchases and has no bonus categories to track.  So it’s a good option for folks who don’t like tracking those details.

Discover It Miles are worth 1 cent per point.

There is NO sign-up bonus.  But you’ll get up to $30 credit per card anniversary year for in-flight Wi-Fi purchases made with your card.

Plus, Discover will match your earnings at the end of your first 12 billing cycles.  So you’ll get effectively 3 miles back on everything you buy for the first year!

There are no foreign transaction fees.  But note, Discover cards are not as widely accepted as other cards, especially outside the US.  In Europe, Mexico, and the Caribbean, you might have difficulty using the card!

5.   AMEX EveryDay Card

Link:   AMEX EveryDay® Credit Card

Link:   My Review of the AMEX EveryDay Card

The AMEX EveryDay card is a great no-annual-fee card because it’s the ONLY no-annual-fee card that earns valuable AMEX Membership Rewards points!

With the AMEX EveryDay card, you’ll earn 10,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  Plus a $25 statement credit when you make a $25+ purchase at NewEgg in the same 3 months.  And a complimentary year of Newegg Premier Membership.

You’ll also get 2 points per $1 at US supermarkets (up to $6,000) per year, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.  And a 20% bonus on the points you earn when you complete 20 or more purchases each billing cycle.

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards 2017

Use the AMEX Membership Rewards Points You Earn With the AMEX EveryDay Card to Fly to Europe on Delta!

Plus, you can transfer your AMEX Membership Rewards points to airline and hotel partners, like Delta and Singapore Airlines for Big Travel!

That’s a LOT of flexibility and rewards for a card with no annual fee!

6.   Capital One Quicksilver

Link:   Capital One Quicksilver

The Capital One Quicksilver card has a $100 sign-up bonus when you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.  And you’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% back on every purchase with no annual fee.

It also is one of only a few cards with no annual fee AND no foreign transaction fees.

This could be a good card for you if you travel overseas a lot (because Visa is accepted almost everywhere), and if you’re looking for a cash back card with a straightforward rewards program.

Plus, the minimum balance you need to get your cash back is only 1 cent.

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards 2017

It’s Important to Know Which Credit Bureau Your Score Will Be Pulled From When Applying for a New Card. Because It Can Affect Which Cards You’re Approved for In the Future!

Keep in mind, Capital One usually pulls your credit from 3 bureaus.  This can sometimes make it more difficult to apply for other cards in the near future.

7.   Citi Double Cash Card

Link:   Citi® Double Cash Card — 18 month BT offer 

Link:   My Review of the Citi DoubleCash

The Citi Double Cash card is a strong no-annual-fee cash back card.  You’ll earn 1% cash back on purchases and another 1% when you pay them off.  With no limit to the amount you can earn.  But there is NO sign-up bonus.

In order to redeem your cash back, you must have earned at least $25.  You can request cash back in the form of a mailed check, statement credit, or gift cards.

This is a good card for folks who don’t want the hassle of tracking rotating bonus categories!

This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee when you use it outside the US, so it’s not a good card to use when traveling abroad.

8.   Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card

Link:   Fidelity 2% Cash Back Visa Card

Link:   My Review of the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card

With the Fidelity Visa Signature card, you’ll earn 2% cash back on all purchases with no limits or caps.  And no category bonuses to think about!

And because it’s a no-annual-fee card, it’s an excellent card to keep forever to help boost your credit score.

But you’ll need a qualified Fidelity account if you wan the full 2% back.  And the cash back you earn will be automatically deposited into that account.

There is NO sign-up bonus for opening this card.  But it’s a Visa Signature card, so it’s widely accepted at lots of merchants.  And you’ll be able to enjoy Visa Signature perks!

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards 2017

Earn 2% Cash Back, Plus Interest With an Eligible Fidelity Account, and Watch Your Savings Add Up

You can also use your Fidelity Rewards for merchandise and gift cards if you don’t have a qualifying Fidelity account.  But you’ll get a lower return than 2%.

And there’s a 1% foreign transaction fee.  That’s low, but it’s still NOT a good idea to use it overseas!

9.   AMEX Blue Cash Everyday Card

Link:   Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Link:   My Review of the AMEX Blue Cash Everyday

With the AMEX Blue Cash Everyday card, you’ll earn $100 back (as a statement credit) after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.

It offers similar cash back rates to other cards on this list.

You’ll get 3% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year), 2% cash back at US gas stations and select department stores, and 1% cash back on everything else.

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards 2017

Groceries Are a Big Expense for Many, and You’ll Earn 3% Back With the AMEX Blue Cash Everyday Card

You can redeem your cash back as a statement credit in increments of $25.

Although it has no annual fee, it does add 2.7% in foreign transaction fees.

10.   JetBlue Card from Barclaycard

Link:   JetBlue Card

Link:   My Review of the JetBlue Card

The Barclaycard JetBlue card has a decent rewards earning rate for a no-annual-fee card.

You’ll earn:

  • 5,000 JetBlue points (worth ~$70 in JetBlue flights) after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of opening your account
  • 3 JetBlue points per $1 you spend on JetBlue purchases
  • 2 JetBlue points per $1 you spend at restaurants and grocery stores
  • 1 JetBlue point per $1 you spend everywhere else
  • 50% discount on eligible in-flight purchases like cocktails, food, and movies

This card has no foreign transaction fees, which is unusual for a no-annual-fee card.  So it’s a great card to use overseas.  And it has chip-and-signature technology with PIN capability, which is useful in Europe!

Cardholders will NOT get a free checked bag, so if you fly JetBlue often, it could be well worth signing-up for the JetBlue Plus Card (with a $99 annual fee).  Lots of readers prefer the JetBlue Plus Card, and I agree with them!

You can read my review of all 3 Barclaycard JetBlue cards, and decide for yourself!

Bottom Line

My top picks for a no-annual-fee personal credit card in 2017 are the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited.  Because you’ll earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points with both of these cards, which can be very valuable if you also have the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred, or Ink Plus or Ink Bold (no longer available).

But depending on your travel goals, you might prefer no-annual-fee cards that earn cash back, like the Discover It or Capital One Quicksilver.  Or a card that earns transferable AMEX Membership Rewards points, like the AMEX EveryDay.

Keeping a no-annual-fee card in your wallet is a great way to improve your credit score by lengthening your credit history!  It also helps to build strong relationships with the bank.

Are there any no-annual-fee personal cards you would add to the list?  Let me know in the comments!

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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3 responses to “Top 10 No-Annual-Fee Credit Cards for 2017

  1. You should add to number 3 Discover NHL. it has the same benefits and it count as a different product so if you already have the Discover it you can get a second Reward match by applying for the NHL version.

  2. Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Amex EveryDay® Credit Cards all have foreign transaction fees. You should clearly mention it under each card, since this is a travel website (like you did for the other cards).
    Sams club master card has no FT Fees (compared to Costco Citi card), but it needs one to have the club memebership (not free).

  3. The no-fee Citi Hilton card is also not bad.