In the old days, cash back and no annual fees hardly ever went hand in hand when it came to credit cards. Cardholders basically had a choice to make, neither of which were perfect. Luckily, that’s not the case in 2013.
Nowadays, some of the best cash back cards charge no annual fees to cardholders. The results are some no annual fee credit cards that are essentially free to carry and will actually pay you for using their card in the form of one, two and five percent cash back programs depending on the purchases you make and the card you carry.
Consumers looking to accrue some cash back without paying a yearly fee still have a choice to make, only this time it’s deciding which free cash back credit card is right for them. Here are five of the best available today…
1. Discover it
The follow-up to the old Discover More Card ups the ante with one percent cash back on all purchases, and five percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter. Points never expire, and members can earn up to an additional 20 percent cash back when they shop online via the Shop Discover online marketplace. There’s of course no annual fee, but they’ll also waive overlimit fees and foreign transaction fees, as well as the first late payment you make (it’s $35 thereafter).
This card is as fee-friendly as they come, and the cash back accrued can be substantial over time – just remember to enroll each quarter to participate in the advertised five percent cash back categories. There’s even a Discover it card available for students looking to build credit early on while earning free money in the form of cash back.
2.) Chase Freedom
The Chase Freedom card offers a similar five percent cash back program with a $1,500 cap on categories that rotate quarterly. This card also throws in a $100 cash back bonus for consumers that spend $500 within the first three months of the account opening, making it an excellent card to finance a big purchase with (assuming you plan on paying said purchase back quickly). And finally, cardholders can earn an additional 10 percent cash back when they shop through Chase online.
3.) Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
American Express has long held a reputation as the Cash Back King, but few of their cards do not require an annual fee. The Blue Cash Everyday Card is one such card that’s free to carry, and it’s especially useful for families that spend a large majority of the family budget on gas and groceries (i.e. most families).
Earn three percent cash back on up to $6,000 per year in purchases at US supermarkets, two percent cash back at gas stations and select department stores, and one percent cash back on everything else. The cash back tiers are simple to remember, and of course you’ll never have to worry about “remembering” to pay an annual fee, a rare perk from AmEx.
4.) Capital One Cash Rewards – $100 Cash Back Bonus
Similar to the aforementioned Chase Freedom card, Capital One Cash Rewards cardholders receive a $100 cash back bonus when they spend $500 or more in the first three months of account opening. The cash back program attached to this card is pretty simple; one percent cash back on all purchases, plus a 50 percent anniversary bonus on the cash back you earn each year for a combined 1.5 percent cash back on everything. This is a low-maintenance cash back card with no annual fee – perfect for consumers that like to keep spending simple.
5.) Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard – Excellent Credit
Finally, a lesser-known cash back card with no annual fee is this excellent credit offer from Barclaycard. The coolest thing about this card is that cardholders earn 5,000 points (or a $50 statement credit) simply for making their first purchase. The ongoing cash back program includes double points per dollar spent on gas, groceries and utilities, and one point for every dollar spent on everything else. This is another cash back offer that keeps it simple, and there’s no annual fees or foreign transaction fees to deal with. Consumers looking for a different brand of card can benefit from this cash back offer from Barclaycard.
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