MoneyGeek's Take

Best Cash Back Credit Cards for No Annual Fee in 2022

The top no-annual-fee cash back credit cards give you an easy way to capitalize on your spending by offering high earn rates on category-based spending. Some also come with sizable welcome offers.

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This article is part of our larger series on Best Cash Back Credit Cards

The best cash back credit cards with no annual fee include ones that offer high cash back rates on category-based spending as well as ones that offer higher-than-usual flat rates on all purchases. Depending on the card you get, you may benefit through a spend-based bonus cash back offer for new cardholders.

Some of the top no-annual-fee cash back credit cards come without foreign transaction fees, which makes them ideal for use outside of the U.S. Examples include the Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card and the Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Card.

Other aspects that need your attention when making a selection include intro APR offers, regular APRs and additional perks.

This article is part of our larger series on
Best Cash Back Credit Cards

MoneyGeek's Take: Top 5 Cash Back Credit Cards With No Annual Fee

Quick Summary

You’ll notice that not all no-annual-fee cash back cards offer the same cash back rates, and some come with higher earn rates on specific categories. We have accounted for this as well as other factors such as APRs, welcome offers and foreign transaction fees to arrive at the top five. For more options, scroll further down the page.


  • Chase Freedom Unlimited

    An excellent no-annual-fee card that lets you earn unlimited cash back


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1.5–5% Cash BackRewards Rate
    • 3xRewards Rate on Dining
    • 5xRewards Rate on Air Travel

    Terms, rates and fees apply

  • Chase Freedom Flex

    An easy-to-use cash back card with quarterly rotating bonus categories


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1–5% Cash Back*Rewards Rate
    • 5xRewards Rate on Air Travel
    • 3xRewards Rate on Dining

    Terms, rates and fees apply

  • Capital One SavorOne Rewards

    A great no-annual-fee card that comes with rewards


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 3% Cash Back*Rewards Rate
    • 3xRewards Rate on Entertainment
    • 2xRewards Rate on Groceries

    Terms, rates and fees apply

  • Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Card

    One of the best cards available for Costco members who spend a lot on gas


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1–4% Cash Back*Rewards Rate
    • 3xRewards Rate on Dining
    • 3xRewards Rate on Air Travel

    Terms, rates and fees apply

  • American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card

    An excellent no-annual-fee cash back card with 0% intro APR on purchases


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1–3% Cash Back*Rewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Gas
    • 1xRewards Rate on Groceries

    Terms, rates and fees apply

Summary of the Best Cash Back Cards for No Annual Fee

Take a look at how all the top options fare against each other across parameters such as APRs, welcome offers and cash back rates by using this no-annual-fee cash back card comparison table.

  • Credit Card
    Best For
    Avg. Reward Rate
    Annual Fee
    Credit Needed
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited
    An excellent no-annual-fee card that lets you earn unlimited cash back
    1.5–5% Cash Back
    $0
    Excellent
  • Chase Freedom Flex
    An easy-to-use cash back card with quarterly rotating bonus categories
    1–5% Cash Back*
    $0
    Good-Excellent
  • Capital One SavorOne Rewards
    A great no-annual-fee card that comes with rewards
    3% Cash Back*
    $0
    Good-Excellent
  • Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Card
    One of the best cards available for Costco members who spend a lot on gas
    1–4% Cash Back*
    $0
    Excellent
  • American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card
    An excellent no-annual-fee cash back card with 0% intro APR on purchases
    1–3% Cash Back*
    $0
    Good-Excellent
  • Citi Double Cash Card
    A great no-annual-fee card that offers up to 2% cash back
    2% Cash Back*
    $0
    Excellent
  • American Express Cash Magnet Card
    A great no-annual-fee card that comes with unlimited 1.5% cash back across categories
    1.5% Cash Back
    $0
    Excellent
  • Capital One Quicksilver Rewards
    Best cash back rewards credit card for everyday spending
    1.5% Cash Back
    $0
    Good-Excellent
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MONEYGEEK PRO TIP

Adding a no-annual-fee cash back credit card to your wallet offers the ability to earn attractive rewards on everyday purchases. While miles and points are appealing, the flexibility of cash is better for many consumers. -- Lee Huffman, credit card expert at BaldThoughts.com.

About Our Rankings

MoneyGeek experts take a close look at all existing and new no-annual-fee cash back credit cards every month. They proceed to select the top five after accounting for key parameters such as cash back rates, APRs, welcome offers and foreign transaction fees.

Top Rating Criteria for Cash Back Cards

lowInterestAPR
APR (Avg Value)
cashBack
Cash Back Rate (Avg Value)
rewards
Has Rewarding Welcome Offer

How to Compare Cash Back Credit Cards & Intro Offers

There is no single best cash back card with no annual fee because just about every card comes with its distinct features or benefits. This requires comparing your options based on different factors.

1

Cash back rate

Determine if you might benefit by earning a standard high cash back rate on all purchases or through even higher earn rates on category-based spending. For instance, the Citi Double Cash Card lets you earn 1% cash back when you make purchases and 1% when you make your payments on time. On the other hand, the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card offers 5% cash back on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, as well as on drugstore purchases; and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

2

Welcome offers

Some of the top no-annual-fee cash back credit cards come with spend-based welcome offers. For example, the Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card offers a one-time $200 early spend bonus if you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first three months. Similarly, the American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card has a welcome offer through which you may earn $200 back as a statement credit if you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first six months.

3

APRs

Bear in mind that the top cards from this segment come with varied APRs. Pay particular attention to your card's interest rate if you plan to maintain revolving balances on your card from one billing cycle to the next. Some of these cards come with time-based 0% APR offers on purchases and/or balance transfers as well.

4

Foreign transaction fees

If you get a cash back card that charges foreign transaction fees, expect to pay up to 3% extra every time you use your card outside of the U.S. Some of the cards from this segment that eliminate this fee include the Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card, the Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Card and the Capital One Quicksilver Rewards Card.

5

Added benefits

Despite the fact that these cash back cards come with no annual fees, you can still expect basic card-specific benefits such as $0 fraud liability, purchase protection, extended warranty and basic travel insurance coverage.

Expert Advice For Finding the Right Card

Financial experts from across the U.S. have vetted our no-annual-fee cash back credit card reviews and provided answers to a few important questions with the aim of further simplifying your decision-making process.

  1. What are the common bonus categories that come with cash back cards?
  2. How does the expiration of cash back work with different cards?
Dr. Stephen Brincks
Dr. Stephen Brincks

Professor of Finance at San Diego State University

Further Reading

About the Author


expert-profile

Rajiv Baniwal has been writing about different financial topics for over 15 years. Meticulous in his research, he makes sure he provides accurate and up-to-date information. His areas of expertise include mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, insurance and international money transfers.


*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity.
Advertiser Disclosure: MoneyGeek has partnered with CardRatings.com and CreditCards.com for our coverage of credit card products. MoneyGeek, CardRatings and CreditCards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. To ensure thorough comparisons and reviews, MoneyGeek features products from both paid partners and unaffiliated card issuers that are not paid partners.