With all the credit cards of the past, the credit card competition is more intense than ever. In 2019, the number of credit card applications rose by 16% compared to the previous year. As a result, the number of cards you can pick from has increased to approximately 3500, which is more than 7 cards for each person in the US.

There are a lot of credit cards out there that have no annual fees. As a result, people are going to begin using credit cards with no annual fees more frequently. Here are some of the best no annual fee credit cards of 2021.

Since credit cards are still a tenant of our daily lives, we thought we’d do a quick breakdown of the best no annual fee- credit cards of 2021. Not only will this guide help you get the most bang for your credit card buck, it will also help you plan your spending for the upcoming year.. Read more about no annual fee credit cards with rewards and let us know what you think.(CNN) –

CNN Underscored looks at financial products like credit cards and bank accounts based on their total value. We may receive commissions through LendingTree’s partner network if you apply for and receive a card, but our reports are always independent and objective. The General Terms and Conditions apply to American Express benefits and offers. Registration may be required for certain American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com for more information.

During the pandemic, many people focused on reducing their household expenses, and one obvious way to cut costs is to eliminate annual credit card charges. Fortunately, competition in the free annual pass market has increased in recent years and there are now many free passes that offer attractive rewards and even sign-up bonuses.

CNN Underscored’s comprehensive credit card methodology compares every aspect of every credit card with no annual fee to our benchmark credit card – the Citi® Double Cash Card – to determine which cards can offer you the most value in addition to lowering your balance. So check out our list of the best credit cards with no annual fee to determine which one best suits your needs.

Double Cash Citi card: The best fixed rate cashback card is the
Blue Cash Everyday® card from American Express : Best for shopping
Chase Freedom Flex: Best for lunch
Citi Rewards+® card: The best for small purchases is the
Chase Freedom Unlimited : Best flexible rewards card
Visa® Platinum Card from U.S. Bank : The best option for 0% interest on
Discover it® Cash Back purchases: Best sign-up bonus
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card: The best travel card without annual fee

Why did we choose these cards as the best no annual fee credit cards for 2021? Join us to explore the details of each map and see how they relate to each other.

Why it’s great, in a sentence: A quick look at the features of the Citi Double Cash card shows why it’s our benchmark. First, there is no annual fee. So you don’t have to pay money every year just for the privilege of having it. Second, they take 2% cashback on everything: 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you refund it.

This card is suitable for : People who want the best income card with no annual fees, no hassles and no bonus categories to remember.

Highlights:

  • Earn 2% cashback on everything: 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay.
  • 18 months introduction interest of 0% on transfers (thereafter 13,99%-23,99% variable)
  • Smart users can convert cashback to Citi ThankYou travel points at a rate of 1 cent per point when combined with a Citi Prestige® or Citi Premier℠ card.
  • No annual fees.

Enrollment Bonus : No.

What we like about the Citi Double Cash program: In addition to having no annual fee, the Citi Double Cash offers one of the best interest rates of any credit card. You’ll receive 2% cashback – 1% on purchases and 1% on credit repayments – on every purchase, with no restrictions.

For people who don’t spend a lot of money on certain reward categories like restaurants, grocery stores, or travel, a fixed amount of cashback probably makes the most sense, and there is currently no other major credit card that offers such a high permanent fixed amount of cashback on every purchase with no annual fee.

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Citi Double Cash offers one of the best fixed cash backs of any credit card.

New Citi Double Cash cardholders can also benefit from an introductory 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 18 months. It is important to note that after the introductory APR expires, you will pay a variable interest rate of 13.99% to 23.99% (depending on your credit score) on your remaining balance. So you need to make sure you pay off your debt in full or transfer it to another card before the 18 months expires.

For most people, using Citi Double Cash to get and redeem cashback is the ideal solution. However, sophisticated credit card users also have the option to convert the cacheback they receive on Double Cash into Citi ThankYou Rewards travel points, where $1 in cacheback equals 100 ThankYou points.

One thing that could have been better: You won’t find any bonus categories at Citi Double Cash, and that’s the downside of simplicity. So if you regularly make a lot of purchases in a certain category, another credit card that offers a bonus on those purchases may be a better choice for you.

Why it’s our go-to credit card: Thanks to Citi Double Cash’s ease of use and industry-leading instant cashback ratio, CNN now considers Double Cash our credit card of choice. We use this card as a benchmark to compare the performance of other credit cards and determine if they are better or worse overall.

You can learn more about the benchmark credit card concept in our guide to credit card methodology or read our full review of Citi Double Cash.

Read more and apply for the Citi Double Cash card.

Why it’s great, in a sentence: The Blue Cash Everyday card offers low introductory interest on purchases for 15 months, plus 3% cashback at U.S. grocery stores (up to $6,000 per year, 1% thereafter) and 2% cashback at U.S. gas stations, all with no annual fee (see Costs and Expenses).

This card is suitable for : People who want to temporarily avoid high interest rates on their purchases, but still spend a significant portion of their budget in American supermarkets and gas stations.

Highlights:

  • Earn 3% cashback at U.S. grocery stores on purchases up to $6,000 per year (1% thereafter).
  • Earn 2% cashback at gas stations and certain department stores in the U.S.
  • Earn 1% cashback on everything else.
  • Cashback is credited in the form of reward dollars, which can be used as a settlement credit.
  • 0% APR on all purchases for the first 15 months (then variable interest rate from 13.99% to 23.99%).
  • Insurance against loss and damage of the rental car is included.
  • No annual fees.
  • Conditions apply.

Welcome bonus: Earn $100 cashback in the form of a credit after spending $2,000 on purchases with the new card within the first six months of account opening, plus 20% cashback on Amazon purchases within the first six months of membership, up to $150 back.

What we like best about the Blue Cash Everyday program: For many Americans, a significant portion of the monthly household budget goes to grocery stores and gas stations. The Blue Cash Everyday card increases the cashback bonus on these two categories with no annual fee, allowing you to make two everyday purchases in your wallet.

The card also combines bonus categories with a 0% introductory interest rate on purchases within the first 15 months of account opening, making it a good choice if you’re struggling to make ends meet. However, you need to make sure your debt is paid off before the end of the introductory period as after that the APR rises to a variable rate of 13.99% to 23.99%.

You’ll also find a nice welcome bonus with a relatively low minimum purchase in the Blue Cash Everyday program, and even rental car insurance against loss and damage to round out a pretty complete package.

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The Blue Cash Everyday card earns you 3% at U.S. grocery stores (up to $6,000 per year, 1% thereafter).

One thing that could have been better: The cashback bonus is not credited for purchases outside the US through the Blue Cash Everyday program, and there is also a 3% foreign transaction fee (see Fees and Commissions), although this is unlikely to be an issue at this time as international travel is still largely restricted due to the pandemic.

You can also earn twice as much cashback at U.S. grocery stores if you’re willing to forgo several months of introductory offers by taking the Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express instead of the Blue Cash Everyday.

The Blue Cash Preferred card has an annual starting fee of $0 for the first year and $95 thereafter (see Fees). But you get 6% cashback at US supermarkets up to $6,000 a year (1% after that). The downside is that the introductory offer for purchases is only valid for 12 months instead of 15.

Related: Amex Blue Cash Preferred vs Blue Cash Everyday: What’s best for you?

Where it beats our reference card: Welcome bonus, introductory interest on purchases, rental car damage coverage.

Where our reference card is better: The Citi Double Cash card has an introductory rate for balance transfers and the cashback can be converted to Citi ThankYou travel points when combined with a Citi Prestige or Citi Premier card.

More information about the Blue Cash Everyday card.

Why it’s great, in a sentence: In addition to a trio of recurring bonus categories, including an impressive 3% cashback on restaurant visits and matching meal delivery services, the Chase Freedom Flex card earns you 5% cashback up to a total of $1,500 on purchases in rotating bonus categories each quarter, with no annual fee.

This card is suitable for : People who want a card that earns redemption bonuses for restaurant visits and rotating categories.

Highlights:

  • Receive 5% cashback up to a total of $1,500 when you make quarterly purchases in rotating rewards categories when you activate the program.
  • Earn 3% cashback on lunches – including eligible meal delivery services – as well as 3% cashback at pharmacies and 5% cashback on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • You will receive 1% cashback on all other purchases.
  • Cash back can be applied to airline and hotel travel programs when using certain Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
  • 0% APR on all purchases during the first 15 months (thereafter variable interest from 14.99% to 23.74%).
  • No annual fees.

Enrollment Bonus : Earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Our favorite thing about the Chase Freedom Flex program: Even if you buy the Chase Freedom Flex just for the sign-up bonus, it will likely become a permanent fixture in your wallet or purse thanks to the permanent bonus categories, including 3% cashback on lunches and meal delivery services, and permanent and rotating 5% bonus categories for useful purchases like groceries and gas.

The current Chase Freedom Flex bonus categories for the months of April through June are gas stations and hardware stores. That means you can get up to $75 in bonus cashback, whether you want to upgrade your workspace or get back on the road with your car.

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Residential real estate is one of the rotating bonus categories in the Chase Freedom Flex this quarter.

Plus, the Chase Freedom Flex grows with you. Later, when you sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, you can convert the cacheback you earn from Chase Freedom into Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for travel on Chase’s travel portal or transferred to Chase partners – airlines and hotels – to potentially earn even more benefits.

One thing that could have been better: The Chase Freedom Flex is hard to take, but don’t forget the 3% foreign transaction fee, and don’t forget to activate the bonus categories each quarter to get 5% back on those categories.

Where it beats our reference card: Sign-up bonus, introductory rate on purchases for 15 months.

Where our reference card is better: Citi Double Cash has an introductory balance transfer rate.

Learn more and apply for the Chase Freedom Flex program.

Why it’s great, in a sentence: If you use your credit card for many small purchases (less than $10), you can earn additional rewards with the Citi Rewards+ rounding feature, and the introductory offer for new purchases can lower your fees if you’re in debt.

This card is suitable for : People who want to earn more points for small purchases, but have to pay for certain expenses over a longer period of time.

Highlights:

  • Earn 2 ThankYou points for every dollar spent at grocery stores and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year (1 ThankYou point thereafter).
  • You will receive 1 ThankYou point for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • All purchases are automatically rounded up to the nearest 10 points.
  • 10% discount on the first 100,000 points used in a year.
  • Points can be transferred to airline and hotel partners when used with a Citi Prestige or Citi Premier card.
  • 0% APR on all purchases during the first 15 months (thereafter variable interest from 13.49% to 23.49%).
  • 0% per annum for 15 months on transfers during the first four months after opening the account (variable rate thereafter from 13.49% to 23.49%).
  • No annual fees.

Enrollment Bonus : Earn 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Our favorite thing about the Citi Rewards+ program: The Citi Rewards+ program has three features that make it worthwhile. First: The rewards you receive for each purchase you make with the card are rounded up to the nearest 10 points. For expensive items it doesn’t matter much, but for a $2 pack of gum you get 10 points instead of 2, a 400% increase. Many of these small businesses can grow quickly.

Second: When you redeem points, you get 10% of your points back, up to 100,000 points per year. This means that if you use 2,500 points to redeem a $25 gift card, 250 points will soon be credited back to your account for you to use again in the future. Since you can earn up to 10,000 points per year, that’s effectively $100 in extra points to spend on gift cards.

And third: While the Citi Rewards + card earns points that can be redeemed for gift cards, cashback or the Citi Shop with Points program, if you also have a Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card, you can transfer points to another card, opening up a world of new possibilities, including redeeming points for travel or transferring to Citi partner airline cards.

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Transfer your Citi Rewards+ points to one of your Citi ThankYou Rewards cards and redeem them for future vacations.

One thing that could have been better: If you are not using the Citi Rewards+ program in conjunction with one of the Citi ThankYou Rewards cards, the maximum value you can earn for your points is 1 cent each when redeemed for gift cards. If you use the points for cashback, it’s only 0.5 cents per point. In that case, it’s best to use the fixed cashback rate on our Citi Double Cash comparison chart or one of the other zero interest cards on our list.

Where it beats our reference card: Great sign-up bonus, 10% off points on purchases up to 100,000 points per year, 15-month introductory offer on purchases.

Where our reference card is better: Citi Double Cash has a longer introductory interest period of 18 months for balance sheet transfers.

Learn more and apply for the Citi Rewards+ card.

Why it’s great, in a sentence: If you’re considering cash back or earning travel points, you can do both with the Chase Freedom Unlimited in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

This card is suitable for : People who want the maximum flexibility of a credit card without annual fees.

Highlights:

  • Earn 5% cashback on purchases with Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on lunches and 3% at pharmacies.
  • Get 1.5% cashback on all other purchases.
  • Smart users can convert cashback into points for flexible travel when they use Freedom Unlimited in conjunction with a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve card.
  • Introductory interest 15 months at 0% on purchases (then 14.99%-23.74% variable).
  • No annual fees.

Enrollment Bonus : Earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

What we love about the Chase Freedom Unlimited program: If you prefer cashback now, but are considering a dose of adventure in the future when travel returns to normal, the Chase Freedom Unlimited can offer you the best of both worlds.

When you use Chase Freedom Unlimited with an Ultimate Rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can convert cashback to travel points at 1 cent per point. You can then redeem these points for travel at a premium rate of 1.25 to 1.5 cents each through the Chase travel portal.

Which is even better: After you convert your cashback into points, you can transfer it to any of Chase’s 13 airline and hotel partners. Therefore, Ultimate Rewards points on The Points Guy frequent flyer website are valued at 2 cents each. Since you get 1.5% Freedom Unlimited cashback on this rate, you can earn 3% return on your purchases.

Chase also added three bonus categories to the Chase Freedom Unlimited program in 2020. New and existing cardholders now receive 5% cashback on travel purchases made with Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cashback on restaurant meals – including delivery and meal delivery – and 3% cashback at pharmacies, and 1.5% cashback on all other purchases.

Other benefits of Chase Freedom Unlimited include purchase protection and extended warranty protection, as well as a three-month subscription to DashPass if you purchase it before the 31st. Please give permission for December.

ByDash

When you purchase Chase Freedom Unlimited, you get a free three-month subscription to DashPass.

One thing that could have been better: The Chase Freedom Unlimited card’s simple 1.5% return is lower than some other cards with no annual fee, which can be as high as 2%. However, the ability to convert money back into points can be worthwhile, especially since Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the most flexible rewards programs out there, and the rewards categories are the icing on the cake.

Where it beats our reference card: Sign-up bonus, purchase protection, introductory rate on purchases for 15 months.

Where our reference card is better: The Citi Double Cash offers a higher total cashback rate and an introductory balance transfer rate.

Learn more and sign up for the Chase Freedom Unlimited program.

Why it’s great, in a sentence: For those who prefer not to pay interest on their purchases as long as possible instead of earning cash back or travel rewards, the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum card offers a 0% annual interest rate on all purchases for the first 20 billing cycles you use the card. (The APR increases after the introductory period to a variable rate of 13.99% to 23.99%).

This card is suitable for : People who need a long period without interest for their purchases.

Highlights:

  • 0% APR on all purchases during the first 20 billing cycles (variable rate from 13.99% to 23.99% thereafter).
  • 0% APR for 20 billing cycles for transfers within the first 60 days of card opening (variable rate from 13.99% to 23.99% thereafter)
  • Protection of mobile phones.
  • No annual fees.

Enrollment Bonus : No.

What we like about the U.S. Bank Platinum Visa program: If you need more time to pay your current bills, 20 interest-free billing cycles is exceptional compared to other credit cards, and such a long period ensures that you can weather the storm without the threat of an interest rate hike.

This card also combines an excellent introductory rate on purchases with an identical transfer offer if made within the first 60 days of the card’s opening. This means that with a high enough credit limit, you can use the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum to consolidate all your debts if necessary.

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Use U.S. Bank Visa Platinum to consolidate your debts at a lower interest rate.

This card also has the advantage of permanent cell protection. When you pay your cell phone bill with your U.S. Bank Visa Platinum card, you are covered for damage to or theft of your phone up to $600 with a $25 deductible, for up to two claims per 12-month period.

Related: Protect your mobile phone against theft or damage with these credit cards.

One thing that could have been better: The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum is not a long-term credit card. It offers no bonuses, no sign-up bonuses and no other significant benefits. There is no annual fee, but there is a 3% fee for foreign transactions. It is therefore preferable not to use it abroad.

In other words: You can consider using it permanently to pay your mobile phone bill to activate the mobile phone protection, but its usefulness is then limited to the period of introduction of the plan.

Where it beats our reference card: Introductory interest on purchases, an extended period of 20 billing cycles for interest-free introductory balance transfers, mobile phone protection.

Where our reference card is better: Citi Double Cash makes it easy to earn cashback on all purchases and offers a longer grace period of four months for introductory balance transfers.

Learn more and apply for the U.S. Bank Platinum Visa.

Why it’s great, in a sentence: Thanks to the cashback bonus and rotating categories of the Discover it Cash Back card, you can earn a lot of cashback in the first year you use the card.

This card is suitable for : People who regularly spend money at grocery stores, gas stations, wholesale clubs, restaurants, Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com. All of these categories (and more!) are included in Discover’s rotating bonus categories, so you can maximize your winnings by choosing strategically when to spend.

Highlights:

  • Receive 5% cashback in quarterly bonus categories up to $1,500 per quarter (you must sign up each quarter to receive 5% cashback).
  • You will receive 1% cashback on all other purchases.
  • 0% APR on all purchases for the first 14 months (then variable interest rate from 11.99% to 22.99%).
  • 0% introductory interest for 14 months on transfers (thereafter variable interest from 11.99% to 22.99%) with an initial transfer fee of 3%, rising to 5% for subsequent transfers (see terms and conditions)
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No annual fees.

Enrollment Bonus : Get back all the cashback you earned at the end of the first year.

Our favorite thing about Discover it Cash Back: Discover’s rotating cashback categories are very useful, and if you don’t mind being reminded when to use them (and on which categories), the earnings can really add up.

Current categories up to 30. In June, gas stations, wholesale clubs and some streaming services. For even more opportunities in the future, check out the 5% Cashback Calendar for 2021, which includes popular categories like restaurants and Amazon.

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Amazon is one of the rotating reward categories for the Discover it Cash Back card in 2021.

Plus, all the money you earn with Discover it Cash Back will be returned to new cardholders at the end of the first year. This makes this card an ideal option if you know you will be spending a lot of money on your credit card in the coming year. This means that the rotating bonus categories are worth 10% in the first year, and all of your purchases outside of the bonus categories are worth a solid 2% in the first year.

One thing that could have been better: To receive the cashback bonus, you must manually activate the categories on Discover it Cash Back each quarter online or by phone before making purchases. The card also does not offer travel insurance or mobile phone protection.

Where it beats our reference card: No fees for foreign transactions and first year cashback equal to or greater than Citi Double Cash for daily purchases in bonus categories.

Where our reference card is better: After the first year, when the cashback bonus expires, Citi Double Cash offers higher returns on current purchases.

Why it’s great, in a sentence: The Capital One VentureOne, one of the few no annual fee credit cards that offers both transfer partners and direct redemption options, has a lower earnings ratio than its more expensive counterpart, but offers the same redemption options.

This card is suitable for : People who love the features of Capital One Venture, but are willing to trade a lower daily win rate for no annual fee.

Highlights:

  • Earn 1.25 miles per dollar on all purchases, with no limit.
  • Redeem your miles for each travel purchase at 1 cent per mile.
  • Miles can also be transferred to any of Capital One’s 19 airline and hotel partners.
  • 0% annual interest rate on all purchases during the first 12 months (thereafter variable interest rate from 15.49% to 25.49%).
  • No fees for foreign transactions
  • No annual fees

Enrollment Bonus : Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

What we like about Capital One VentureOne: If there are two versions of the same credit card – one with an annual fee and one without – you can generally expect the version without a fee to be a fairly bare bones offering. But this is not necessarily true of Capital One VentureOne.

Most features of the more expensive Capital One Venture remain the same for the VentureOne, including the same 1 cent per mile charge when using the Purchase Eraser card to deduct travel expenses (as well as meal delivery and streaming services through June 30).

The card also has access to the same airline and hotel transfer partners, with the same transfer rates, travel and purchase protection, and even no foreign transaction fees.

The two biggest drawbacks of VentureOne are the lower accrual rate of 1.25 miles per dollar spent (instead of the 2 miles earned with Venture) and the 20,000 mile sign-up bonus, but with a lower minimum spending requirement of only $500 for purchases made in the first three months of using the account. Depending on how much you value these two features, you may want to consider the VentureOne program without the annual fee and with most of the best benefits.

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Use the miles on your Capital One VentureOne card with no annual fee to take a well-deserved vacation.

One thing that could have been better: If you don’t want to take advantage of Capital One’s transfer partners, you can choose the Citi Double Cash Benchmark card instead of VentureOne. That’s because Capital One VentureOne only gives you 1.25 miles per dollar and Purchase Eraser only gives you 1 cent per mile, meaning you’re actually getting 1.25 cents per dollar spent, while Citi Double Cash gives you 2 cents per dollar spent.

This equation changes if you can use transfer partners, because if you do your homework, you can get a higher buyout amount than just a penny per mile. However, if you’re ready to take a step forward, it’s probably best to start with the more powerful Capital One Venture card, as it offers a larger sign-up bonus.

Where it beats our reference card: Registration bonus, purchase protection, travel protection.

Where our reference card is better: The Citi Double Cash offers a higher total cashback rate and an introductory balance transfer rate.

Follow this link to view the costs and fees for the Blue Cash Everyday card.
Follow this link to view Blue Cash Preferred card rates and fees.

Are you looking for a new credit card and don’t mind paying an annual fee? Check out CNN Underscored’s list of the best credit cards of 2021.

Get the latest deals, news and tips on personal finance at CNN Underscored Money.Here’s a list of the best no annual fee credit cards of 2021, according to three credit card industry experts and the opinions of thousands of credit card users:. Read more about credit cards with no annual fee for fair credit and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best credit card to apply for with no annual fee?

The best credit card to apply for with no annual fee is the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

What is the best credit card for a 21 year old?

The best credit card for a 21 year old is the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

What is the best no fee credit card?

The best no fee credit card is the Capital One QuicksilverOne.

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