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Wednesday, January 27th
Credit cards with no annual fees are popular for every reason you would expect. For consumers with good to excellent credit, these cards offer all of the rewards and perks with none of the cost. And, sometimes you can get great "extras" like no late fees and lower-than-average interest rates too.
Credit cards can be an excellent tool, allowing you to make purchases and pay for them later, to make money or get gift cards through rewards programs, and to track your spending more easily. Why pay for the privilege of having a credit card when there are so many banks offering cards with no annual fees?
No Annual Fees? No Joke!
Believe it or not, there are lots of credit card companies that don't charge you to have their cards. Really! You'll get all of the perks and convenience with none of the fees. Why would a bank offer such a deal? Well, typically, credit cards with no annual fees are offered to consumers with good-to-excellent credit scores: think 660+.
If that sounds like you, you're a great candidate for a no annual fee credit card!
Other Perks With No Annual Fee Credit Cards
Most of the no annual fee cards on the market come with all of the same bonuses as annual fee cards. If you love rewards programs, no problem! Many cards not only offer rewards in the form of cash back, points, or miles for every purchase you make, but they also have sign-on bonuses when you're approved. For example, you might get a cash bonus of $150 if you spend $500 within the first 3 months you have the card. Who doesn't love free money for doing the things we do anyway (like buying gas and groceries, or going out to eat)?
Other great perks we've found with no annual fee credit cards are 100% fee free (no annual fee, no late fees, no penalty rates), 0% intro APR on purchases in the first 12 months, and 10% cash back bonus on your credit card anniversary every year.
No Annual Fees: What To Keep In Mind
Really, there are no downsides to using credit cards with no annual fees. You'll need to keep in mind the same principles as with any other card: pay your balance in full if you want to avoid paying a lot in interest, make at least the minimum payment every month, and use your credit wisely.
So, why would anyone choose a card with an annual fee? It usually comes down to two things: bad credit or elite status. Some credit cards designed to help people (re)build their credit history come with an annual fee, in exchange for giving credit to consumers who are a bigger risk to the issuing banks.
On the other end of the spectrum, for credit card users who are looking for top-tier perks like access to airport lounges, concierge services, or maximum airline miles rewards, paying an annual fee of $100 to $400 is well worth it for the elite-level perks they receive.
TopConsumerReviews.com has partnered with Lending Tree to help you find the best No Annual Fee Credit Cards currently available. We hope this information makes it easy to find the right credit card for your needs, while saving you money too!
Every time you swipe your card, the store merchant must pay the credit card company a small fee or a percentage of the sale. A portion of this fee is given back to the consumer in the form of a cash back reward. Cash back cards encourage consumers to use their credit cards for everyday purchases and the credit card company benefits from the store fees and passes some of the money back to the consumer.
Every card has a different system for how you redeem and receive your rewards. Some are automatically applied to your statement or are sent in the mail. With other cards, you must manually redeem your rewards (usually on the credit card website). Some offer money back on a monthly basis while others may send the cash back at the end of the year. Some other credit cards require a minimum balance to be released before you earn your rewards. Typically customers will receive the money back as a credit on their account or as a check or cash card in the mail.
Most of credit cards keep track of your cash back rewards with a point system (or something similar). For example, some cards may give you two points for every dollar spent on groceries. 1000 points may equal $10 in cash back. So if you spent $500 dollars on groceries, you would be eligible for $5 back. Often credit card companies have partnerships with other larger companies. Making a purchase from a store that has a partnership with your credit card company would mean a higher percentage of cash back rewards from that purchase. This might mean that different stores offer more or less points for purchases made there.
Another way cash back credit cards are able to offer rewards are from annual fees and interest accrued. While some credit cards have no annual fee, often cash back cards with bigger reward packages have some type of annual fee. Make sure your rewards are going to offset the annual fee you may be required to pay. You want to use the card to your advantage. Cash back rewards cards have higher interest rates than most other cards to help offset the reward costs. It is important to remember to pay off your purchases on a monthly basis to avoid high interest charges. This will allow you to enjoy the benefits and while paying little to no interest on purchases. Those that carry a balance from month to month will end up owing far more in interest charges than what they will receive as rewards
Always pay attention to the fine print. Many customers rush to sign up for a card that offers 5% back on all purchase, but miss the part about it being an introductory offer. While this is a good incentive and one to consider, make sure you think about how the card and its benefits will look for you long term.