There are many advantages that come with having a credit card, and they’re not only limited to the rewards you can earn. Credit cards make it easy to build a strong credit profile that can help you qualify for a mortgage or a car loan for starters. Not only that, but many credit cards offer consumer protections like extended warranties on qualifying purchases and purchase protection against damage or theft.
The bad news about credit cards is that, by and large, they make it expensive to carry debt. The average credit card APR is currently over 17%, which means you’ll fork over plenty of interest if you carry a balance from month to month.
However, it’s crucial to understand that you don’t have to carry a balance — and that you really shouldn’t. You can even use credit “for free” provided you avoid debt, always pay your bill on time, and choose a credit card that doesn’t charge any annual fees.
Which credit cards never charge an annual fee? We’ve profiled the four best options of 2020 below:
Citi Rewards+® Card
The Citi Rewards+® Card makes it easy to earn no-fuss rewards without an annual fee. Earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $200 in gift cards at thankyou.com. Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on all other purchases.
As an added bonus, this card gives you 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 15.74% - 25.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
- The Citi Rewards+® Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
- No annual fee
- Earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $200 in gift cards at thankyou.com
- Some cards offer a higher rate of rewards in some categories
- A balance transfer fee applies when you use this card to consolidate debt
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is another top cash-back credit card that gives cardholders 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
If you want to avoid interest for a limited time, this card gives you 15 months at 0% APR for purchases, followed by a variable APR of 16.49% - 25.24%. This card also offers plenty of ways to cash in your points, including for gift cards, statement credits, travel, merchandise, and experiences.
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
- Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more.
- 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49% - 25.24%.
- Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- Some cards offer a higher rate of rewards in certain categories.
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card starts cardholders off with 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $500 on on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel. Cardholders also earn unlimited 1.25X Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and without an annual fee.
There’s no limit to the amount of miles you can earn, and they won’t expire while you maintain your credit card account. On the redemption side of the equation, this card lets you cash in miles for any type of travel at a rate of one cent per point. You can also transfer miles to a variety of airline partners, although transfer rates vary. Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime.
To sweeten the pot, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card gives you 15 months with 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers, followed by a variable APR of 16.49% - 26.49%.
- Earn a flat 1.25 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
- Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 16.49% - 26.49% variable APR after that
- Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
- This card offers a lower rewards rate than some competing cards, including cards on this list
- The 0% APR offer on this card only applies to purchases and balance transfers, and it’s only good for 15 months
Citi® Double Cash Card
Finally, make sure to check out the Citi® Double Cash Card. This card makes it easy to earn cash back with every purchase. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
This card also offers 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months, followed by a variable APR of 16.24% - 26.24% based on your creditworthiness.
- There are no caps on cash back earned, and it all adds up fast
- Earn cash back twice on every purchase, wherever you use your card
- Save on interest with 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months
- Some cards offer a higher rewards rate on regular, non-bonus spending
- A 3% balance transfer fee (minimum $5) within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, the fee is 5% of each transfer
*This content is not provided by the issuer. Any opinions expressed are those of CreditSoup alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
Editorial Disclaimer: Information in these articles is brought to you by CreditSoup. Banks, issuers, and credit card companies mentioned in the articles do not endorse or guarantee, and are not responsible for, the contents of the articles. The information is accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted; however, all credit card information is presented without warranty. Please check the issuer’s website for the most current information.