It’s now possible for you to take advantage of a wide range of credit card services, including balance transfers, cash advances, foreign transactions and more, without ever paying a single fee. Here is a round-up of cards that eschew extra charges.
The brand-new Apple credit card isn’t the only card to tout its consumer-friendly fee schedule: A growing number of credit cards are now slashing fees or eliminating them altogether.
As a result, it’s now possible for you to take advantage of a wide range of credit card services, including balance transfers, cash advances, foreign transactions and more, without ever paying a single fee.
See related: Best no annual fee credit cards
Issuers cut fees amid consumers’ concerns
Some newer credit cards, such as the Apple Card and the Petal Visa Credit Card, don’t charge any fees at all. For example, in a prominent advertisement on its website, the Petal Visa notes: “What do you mean no fees? We threw them out. No annual fees, late payment fees, foreign transaction fees, or any-other-kind-of-fee, fees.”
Apple has also heavily touted its fee-free status in its promotions, noting, “No fees. Not even hidden ones. We want to make it easier to pay down your balance, not harder.”
Meanwhile, military issuer Pentagon Federal Credit Union was one of the first lenders to issue a fee-free credit card, the PenFed Promise Visa Card. PenFed touts the Promise card’s consumer-friendly terms as a key selling point and calls it “PenFed’s most awarded card.”
Some cards have also gotten rid of penalty rates and late fees, while keeping fees for common services. For example, the Citi Simplicity® Card notes in its promotional materials that it’s keeping things simple by not charging a late fee. Meanwhile, Discover has long touted in its advertisements that it doesn’t charge a late fee the first time that cardholders fall behind.
Other cards have scrapped everything but their penalty fees. For example, the military credit card issuer Navy Federal Credit Union has eliminated most fees on its line of credit cards, including cash advance and balance transfer fees. But it still charges a modest late fee.
The growing number of cards prominently advertising low fees or no fees could indicate that issuers have caught on to a significant consumer concern: too many credit cards are laden with fees that can cause a balance to balloon.
According to a 2017 survey by Experian, 31 percent of consumers are concerned about “high-cost fees” on their credit cards.
Meanwhile, most consumers say they want a card that at least doesn’t have an annual fee. For example, 54 percent of respondents told Experian they look for cards with no annual fee when comparing potential options.
More cards waive select fees
A growing number of cards are also waiving select credit card fees in a bid to draw in more customers. For example, a number of cards now temporarily waive balance transfer fees as a promotion for new cardholders. Meanwhile, cards that waive foreign transaction fees have also become commonplace in recent years.
Here are just some of the fees that are disappearing from select cards:
See related: I’m finally going to pay an annual fee
Balance transfer fees
The Chase Slate card was one of the first cards to waive balance transfer fees, which can otherwise run as high as 3-5 percent. Now, a number of other cards have scrapped balance transfer fees as well.
In most cases, you have to transfer your balance soon after opening your account in order to take advantage of the promotion, so it’s wise to hold off applying for the card until you’re ready to transfer your balance.
Some top cards that don’t charge balance transfer fees include:
- Chase Slate card: Transfer your balance within 60 days and you’ll be able to transfer your balance for free. (After two months, you’ll have to pay a 5 percent balance transfer fee.) You’ll also get up to 15 months to carry a balance without paying any interest. (After that, the APR is 16.49 percent to 25.24 percent.)
- Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express: Unlike its competitors, this isn’t just a good balance transfer card. It’s also a decent everyday spending card. For example, you’ll get 2 points for every dollar you spend at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then it’s 1 percent). In addition, you’ll get 15 months to carry a balance interest-free. You’ll need to request a balance transfer within 60 days of opening your account, though, in order to transfer your balance for free and avoid paying fees or interest. (After the 0 percent APR promotional period, the balance transfer APR is 13.99 percent to 24.99 percent.)
(Note: Information about Chase Slate and Amex EveryDay Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.)
Foreign transaction fees
It’s almost unheard of nowadays to find a travel card that charges a foreign transaction fee. But if you’re more interested in cash back or points, it’s also become increasingly possible to find other rewards cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees.
For example, top cards that waive foreign transaction fees include:
- Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card: This popular cash back card offers a flat 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase. Unlike many cash back cards, it will also let you charge purchases in a foreign currency without paying a transaction fee.
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: This well-rounded rewards card offers a generous 3-point bonus on a wide variety of purchases, including restaurant and delivery purchases, travel, gas stations, public transportation and even select streaming. You can also take it with you when you travel without worrying about incurring extra charges.
- Discover it® Cash Back: Unlike its rival, the Chase Freedom credit card, this cash back card with 5 percent rotating bonuses (on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter then 1%, after you activate the bonus categories) also waives foreign transaction fees. However, depending on where you travel, you may have trouble finding merchants that accept your Discover card. Discover is less widely accepted around the world than other card networks, such as Mastercard and Visa.
Cash advance fees
It’s harder to find a card that doesn’t charge a substantial fee to borrow cash. However, credit union cards are more likely to waive these types of fees.
Top credit cards that waive cash advance fees include:
- DCU Platinum Visa credit card: If your employer partners with Digital Credit Union, you live in a participating community or if you’re willing to pay $10 or more to join a partner organization, you can join DCU and apply for this affordable plain vanilla credit card. In addition to offering a low credit card interest rate, it also waives a number of fees, including cash advance fees.
- Choice Rewards World Mastercard from First Tech Federal Credit Union: If you prefer to earn rewards, this low rate credit union card offers 2 points per dollar spent on a large number of everyday purchases, including groceries, gas, electronic purchases, medical expenses, household goods and telecommunications bills. It also waives most fees, including cash advance fees. To become a member of First Tech Federal Credit Union, you just need to work at a partner company, live or work in Lane County, Oregon, or become a member of the Computer History Museum or Financial Fitness Association.
- Navy Federal More Rewards American Express card: This superstar rewards card for military servicemembers, Department of Defense employees and their families offers a generous 3 points per dollar spent on a variety of everyday purchases, including groceries, gas and dining. It also offers some of the most affordable terms you can get on a credit card, even if you have average credit. Unlike most credit cards, it also won’t charge you any fees if you request a cash advance from a Navy Federal branch or ATM. If you obtain a cash advance elsewhere, you’ll only have to pay 50 cents to $1.
If you forget your payment due date, penalty fees can add up – especially if you’re regularly late with your payments. Late payment fees, for example, can run as high as $40 for every overdue bill.
Some card issuers, such as Discover, will forgive your first late payment. Others won’t charge you late fees at all.
Top credit cards that don’t charge a late fee include:
- Apple Card: This brand-new rewards card offers 3 percent cash back on Apple purchases and on purchases from select partners, such as Uber and Walgreens. It also offers 2 percent cash back on purchases you make with Apple Pay. In addition, it waives all credit card fees, including late fees.
- Citi Simplicity: This plain vanilla credit card offers cardholders up to 21 months to carry a balance interest-free (then 14.74% – 24.74% variable APR). That’s one of the longest balance transfer periods you can find on a credit card. (You will have to pay a hefty 5 percent balance transfer fee, though, $5 minimum.) It also doesn’t charge a penalty rate and waives all late fees.
- Petal® Visa® Credit Card: Like the Apple Card, this cash back card also waives all fees, including late fees. In addition, it offers a cash back program that gets better over time. For example, you’ll get 1 percent cash back on eligible purchases when you first apply for the card and 1.5 percent cash back when you’ve made 12 consecutive on-time monthly payments.
Before you settle on a credit card, check its terms and conditions. It’s tempting to only compare rewards or interest rates when evaluating different credit cards. But it’s wise to also consider a card’s fees.
Depending on how you use the card, you could potentially save hundreds of dollars just by picking a card that doesn’t charge big fees.