There are plenty of good credit cards out there, and nearly all are different in one way or the other.
But cards can usually be divided into two groups – those that charge an annual fee and those that do not. So, why would anyone ever choose a card with an annual fee? Does it ever make sense?
The cards that charge an annual fee almost always provide some kind of significant reward. But whether that reward is worth paying the annual fee will depend on the value of the reward and how – and how much – you use the card.
Let's review some of the annual fee cards and compare them to those without a fee. We'll look at cards for consumers with good to excellent credit.
Annual fee cards
The Capital One Venture Card has no fee the first year but $59 after that, so its rewards need to be significant. If you are a frequent flier, they are.
Credit.com rates the Venture Card as best for airline miles because it provides a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on the card the first three months. That amounts to about $400 worth of travel.
Cardholders also earn double miles per dollar spent on every purchase. The miles don't expire and there are no blackout dates.
That makes it a good credit card for people who travel a lot, running up big credit card bills in the process. But for people who don't travel a lot, the $59 annual fee probably isn't worth it.
But not all cards with an annual fee are that generous. For example, the Credit One Cash Bank Rewards Card carries an annual fee of up to $99, meaning you would need to rack up a lot of rewards to make it pay.
The card provides 1% cash back, but only on eligible purchases. It has other benefits, however, that could possibly save you money on late fees, if you have a habit of being late with your payments.
No annual fee
You need to compare a card like that with rewards cards that do not charge an annual fee, and fortunately, there are plenty.
The Bank Americard Cash Rewards Card has no annual fee and pays 3% cash back on gasoline purchases, 2% on grocery store and wholesale club purchases, and 1% on everything else, for the first $2,500 in spending each quarter. That makes the card an attractive alternative.
Another good choice is the Capital One Quicksilver Card for excellent credit. There is no annual fee and it pays unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, with no rotating categories.
You can get your cash as a check, statement credit, or gift card.
Before signing up for a credit card with an annual fee, think about how you use a credit card and look first for a card with no annual fee that offers rewards that are in sync with your spending habits.