Top 6 Cash Rewards Credit Cards with No Annual Fee

While all of these cash rewards credit cards have great benefits, using a few of these cards strategically in tandem can provide you with an average cash back on credit card purchases of over 2%, potentially giving you $100s in extra rewards every year. Do you have a favorite cash rewards credit card that is not mentioned here? If so please mention it below in the comments.

Chase Freedom Card

Comments: Although the Chase Freedom Card does give you a chance every quarter to have 5% cash back in a category that you spend a lot of money in, the real power of this card is in the additional benefits you gain from having a checking account in addition to the credit card. While $0.10 may not sound like much, when you receive that amount on purchases less than $10 it adds an additional 1%! This is an excellent card for those every day purchases you make under $10 that don’t fit in to one of your 5% cash back categories. If you don’t have a card that pays a base 1.5% to 2% then this card should be used for purchases up to $25, as the $0.10 plus 1.1% cash back amounts to 1.5% of $25.

Cash Rewards:

  • 1% cash back on all purchases
  • 5% cash back on select quarterly categories up to $1,500/quarter
  • Must opt in quarterly for 5% cash back categories; you can choose to receive reminders

Additional benefits with a checking account:

  • 10% additional cash back on purchases
  • $0.10 cash back per purchase

5% cash rewards category schedule for 2013:

  • January – March: Gas Stations, Drugstores, Starbucks
  • April – June: Restaurants, Movie Theaters, Lowe’s Home Improvement
  • July – August: Theme Parks, Kohl’s
  • September – October: Amazon.com

New Cardholder Bonus: $100

Interest Rate: 0% APR for 15 months, then variable APR of 13.99%, 18.99% or 22.99%

Balance Transfers: 3% fee, 0% APR for 15 months

Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% in U.S. dollars

Discover It Card

Comments: This card has many similar features to the Chase Freedom Card. It lacks bonuses for having other discover accounts and therefore it is not a go to card for small purchases. The 5% cash back categories for the Discover It Card often differ from those on the Chase Freedom Card, giving you even more opportunity to earn 5% cash back on the things you buy most.

The Discover It card also has a 0% foreign transaction fee, making it a great card to travel with if you go abroad every once in a while. This is the one card featured here with 0% foreign transaction fee; the Capital One VentureOne card offers 1.25% cash back (when spent on travel) on all purchases and a 0% foreign transaction fee, giving it superior rewards for frequent out of country travelers because 5% cash back categories only apply in the USA. Because the VentureOne card has no additional cash back features I did not include it here as I believe the 2% rewards from the Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card are superior for day to day transactions. For those who travel once in a while the Discover It Card in addition to the Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card would be a superior combination to having the VentureOne card with the Fidelity Investment Rewards AMEX Card.

Cash Rewards:

1% cash back on all purchases

5% cash back on select quarterly categories up to $1,500/quarter

Must opt in quarterly for 5% cash back categories; you can choose to receive reminders

5% cash rewards category schedule for 2013:

  • January – March: Restaurants
  • April – June: Movies, Home Improvement
  • July – August: Gas Stations
  • September – October: Holiday Shopping

New Cardholder Bonus: $0

Interest Rate: 0% APR for 14 months, then variable APR of 10.99% – 22.99ºlance Transfers: 3% fee, 0% APR for 14 months

Foreign Transaction Fee: None