Updated 7/21/17

No one enjoys paying fees, whether they’re tacked on to a monthly subscription or popping up on a credit card bill. And with credit card issuers fighting hard for your business, a number of high-quality cards are available, even ones packed with perks that don’t charge an annual fee. Here are our picks for the best.


Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
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Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for: Bonus cash back

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a versatile cash-back card that earns cash back of 3% on gas, 2% on groceries and at wholesale clubs (on the first $2,500 of combined spending each quarter), and 1% on all other purchases. The sign-up bonus recently increased to $150 after spending $500 in the first 90 days, which puts the card in line with best-in-class cash-back cards on the market. Perhaps most lucrative, Bank of America banking members can increase cash back by 25% to 75% depending on Preferred Rewards membership status. That works out to a fully-baked yield stretching up to 5.25% cash back for gas, albeit capped each quarter. Such a high rate is unmatched among the $0-annual-fee cards we cover. Read our full Bank of America® Cash Rewards review to learn why why we consider it to be one of the best cash-back credit cards.

Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®
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Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®

Best for: Sign-up bonus and cash back

Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® has one of the deepest bench of valuable perks we've come across for a cash-back credit card. Qualifying new cardholders earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 on new purchases in the first 90 days, every purchase earns 1.5% cash back, plus the card offers a promotional 0% APR spanning 15 billing cycles for both new purchases and qualifying balance transfers. If you've secured an excellent credit history, there may not be a better $0 annual-fee cash-back card. Read our full Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® review to learn more.

Chase Freedom Unlimited
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Chase Freedom Unlimited

Best for: Cash back and %0 intro APR

Chase credit cards tend to pack a powerful punch, and Chase Freedom UnlimitedSM is no exception. Cardholders can score a $150 new-cardholder bonus when spending at least $500 on new purchases in the first three months, plus they can look forward to both 1.5% cash back on all purchases and a 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers. Read our full Chase Freedom UnlimitedSM review to learn more.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best for: Cash back and $0 annual fee

The Citi® Double Cash Card stands out among cash-back cards because it offers an innovative rewards program that incentivizes smart use of debt by paying off balances. All purchases earn a total of 2% cash back – technically, 1% when purchased and 1% when paid off. This is among the highest cash-back rates for all purchases on the market. What’s more, Citi® Double Cash Card helps indebted cardholders pay down balances faster when taking advantage of the card’s 0% intro APR for balance transfers made within four months. Read our full Citi® Double Cash Card review to learn more.

Discover it® - Cashback Match™

Discover it® - Cashback Match™

Best for: Bonus cash back

Discover it® - Cashback Match™ Card earns 5% cash back (on up to $1,500 in spending quarterly) in rotating categories you activate such as gas, restaurants, Amazon.com purchases, and wholesale clubs, plus 1% cash back on all other purchases. Discover automatically matches all the cash back earned, dollar for dollar, at the end of the first year for new cardholders. The card also cuts out-of-pocket costs by nixing both the annual fee and foreign transaction fees. Read our full Discover it® - Cashback Match™ review.

Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®
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Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®

Best for: $0 balance transfer fee

Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® stands out because of its focus on cutting fees without sacrificing the benefits of an intro APR. In addition to offering a 0% intro APR on both new purchases and qualifying balance transfers, cardholders can also look forward to no fees for balance transfers, foreign transactions, and the annual dues. Few balance-transfer cards we know of include that wallet-friendly trifecta. But be sure to keep your credit score in mind when applying as the card is meant for cardholders with excellent credit. Read our full Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® review to learn more.

Citi Simplicity® Card

Citi Simplicity® Card

Best for: 0% intro APR and late payments

Cardholders seeking occasional payment forgiveness may find Citi Simplicity® Card to be a suitable balance-transfer credit card. Citi Simplicity® Card doesn’t charge late payment fees, and it doesn’t bump up a cardholder’s APR as a penalty for missed payments. But the card doesn’t skimp on features in favor of a longer leash for payment forgiveness. Citi Simplicity® Card dishes out a long 0% intro APR for 21 billing cycles on both new purchases and balance transfers made within four months. Read our full Citi Simplicity® Card review to learn more.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Best for: 0% intro APR

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers the same 0% intro APR offer as its close sibling above, Citi Simplicity® Card but doesn't include features such as late payment fee forgiveness. What Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card does offer instead is a potentially lower APR, depending on approval. Cardholders deciding between the two cards may want to focus on the importance of a low APR, since other features are closely aligned. Read our full Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card review to learn more.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card
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Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Best for: Travel

Flexible rewards are a busy traveler’s best friend, and BankAmericard Travel Rewards® punches far above its weight in this category. All purchases earn 1.5x points per $1 and can be redeemed for travel-related statement credits, making this a powerful travel credit card for cardholders searching for cheap deals using their preferred booking portal. Qualifying new cardholders can also look forward to an offer of 20,000 points bonus – redeemable for $200 in travel-related statement credits — after spending at least $1,000 on new purchases in the first 90 days, plus a $0 annual fee. Add it all up, and it’s easy to see why we think the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® card is also one of the best credit cards of 2017. Read our full BankAmericard Travel Rewards® review.  

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
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Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Best for: Travel

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card rounds out the $0-annual-fee travel cards on this list, mostly due to its sign-up bonus of 20,000 miles -- worth $200 for travel -- after spending $1,000 within three months of account opening, ongoing rewards of 1.25x miles per $1, and a 0% intro APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases. Of course, travel card stand-by's are included as well, such as no foreign transaction fees. Read our full Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card review to learn more.


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