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Last updatedFebruary 2023

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards of February 2023

Cover your expenses at no extra cost

You don't need to pay an annual fee to get a card with valuable rewards and benefits. Compare our top credit cards with no annual fee and find yours today.

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Everything You Need to Know About Applying for a Credit Card Online

 Applying for a credit card online offers a number of advantages over the other application methods that include applying by phone, mailing a written application, or in person. 

First, you can apply anytime you wish 24/7 from the convenience of your home. If you are shopping around for the best credit card deal on a credit card comparison site you can move right to the application process once you reach your decision as to the best card for your needs. 

If you apply in person at your bank or credit union this involves getting dressed in decent clothes and physically going there. Applying by phone may mean a limited time window during the week in which to apply. Mailing the application means a time lag in having your application reviewed and there is always the chance your application could get lost. 

How to Choose the Right Card for You

When looking for a credit card, there are a few things you should do to help guide you to the right card for your situation. 

Check your credit

Be sure that you’ve checked your credit and that you are up to speed on your score. Some cards may be better than others for applicants with your credit score and history than others. 

Identify the type of card that you need

Before applying for a card, identify the features in a card that are important to you. Are you looking for a card that offers cash back rewards or perhaps one that offers travel rewards? Are you looking for a card that is suitable for those with poor credit? If there are special attributes that you are looking for in a credit card it's recommended to identify these attributes before starting the application process. 

Get the card that provides the most value for you

Once you’ve checked your credit and have done your homework to decide the right type of card for your situation, research the cards that will be the best fit and apply for one or more of them. 

Credit Cards 101

Credit cards can be a misunderstood topic as there are a lot of aspects to know about them. Here are some basics that you should understand when applying for a new card. 

Card types

There are a number of different card types to consider based upon your needs, some of these include:

  • Balance transfer cards are those that encourage the consolidation of one or more balances from other cards. Balance transfer cards may offer low or even zero interest for a period of time as an incentive.
  • Low interest rate cards may offer a very low or 0% interest for an introductory period and then a low interest rate thereafter. These cards are best for those cardholders who carry a balance on their card.
  • Cards for those with poor or bad credit are those that will accept applicants with lower credit scores. The definition of a low credit score will vary among card issuers. These cards can help the cardholder rebuild their credit score. The interest rate on these cards, as well as other terms, may be less favorable than for cards for borrowers with good credit scores.
  • Rewards cards are credit cards that offer rewards for purchases in the form of cash back or travel rewards. As long as the other terms and conditions of the card are favorable to you, these cards can be advantageous.


Benefits of having a credit card

There are a number of potential benefits to having a credit card. These include: 

  • Building your credit by making transactions and paying off the balance in a timely fashion.
  • Providing purchasing power for making larger purchases with the card and then paying them off. Using a credit card also can provide recourse in case there are problems with a larger purchase.
  • With some cards the cardholder can earn travel or cashback rewards which provide extra value.
  • This eliminates the need to carry cash or to use a checkbook when shopping.

FAQs

Here are some FAQs about credit cards with answers to these questions. 

What does the application process look like? 

While the process might be a bit different for each card issuer, there are some basics that are common among virtually all credit card companies. They will ask for your basic information including your Social Security number.

They will want to know about your income and where it's derived from. If you are employed they may ask for information about your employer as well. 

They will want to know about where you live and if you own or rent. They may ask how long you’ve lived there. 

Can I have more than one credit card? 

You can absolutely have more than one credit card. There is no rule against this. However, a credit card issuer will look at the level of your outstanding credit as a potential consideration deciding whether or not to issue you their card, and if so in determining your credit limit on the card. 

In some cases, having credit cards that have no balance or that haven’t been used recently can be an adverse mark on your credit history in that some card issuers may look at these additional cards in terms of the total available credit that you could potentially use. 

If you have cards that have not been used in a while, you might find that the issuer of these cards will cancel them on you unexpectedly. 

How do I choose the right type of credit card? 

As with any financial decision, choosing the right type of credit card for you is a function of your situation. Look at your credit score, how and how often you will use the card, if you travel perhaps a travel reward card might be appropriate. 

If you have some balances on other cards that you’d like to consolidate, perhaps a card that offers incentives on balance transfers is right for you. If your credit score is low, a card that indicates that they will accept those with lower credit scores could be the right answer. 


Disclosures

Chime:

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Card is issued by Stride Bank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted.

*To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits

** Money added to Credit Builder will be held in a secured account as collateral for your Credit Builder Visa card, which means you can spend up to this amount on your card. This is money you can use to pay off your charges at the end of every month.

***On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Results may vary.

****Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven location or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® and Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®:

* To qualify for the welcome bonus, you must open and fund a new Rewards Checking account and make 3 qualifying debit card transactions from your Rewards Checking account within 60 days of the date the Upgrade Card account is opened. To qualify, debit card transactions must have settled and exclude ATM transactions. Please refer to the applicable Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information. Your Upgrade Card and Rewards Checking account must be open and in good standing to receive a bonus. If you have previously opened a Rewards Checking account or do not open one as part of this application process, you are not eligible for this welcome bonus offer. Welcome bonus offers cannot be combined, substituted, or applied retroactively. The bonus will be applied to your Rewards Checking account as a one-time payout credit within 60 days after the 3rd qualifying card purchase.