Credit Cards for Fair/Average Credit

Editor: Laura Mohammad
: Garrett Yarbrough

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December 28, 2020

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Credit cards for fair credit include a variety of options including cards that offer rewards like cash back and bonus points. Finding the right card can help you continue to build your credit history and improve your credit score. Here are our best credit cards for fair credit.

Credit cards for fair credit include a variety of options including cards that offer rewards like cash back and bonus points. Finding the right card can help you continue to build your credit history and improve your credit score. Here are our best credit cards for fair credit.


Best Credit Cards for Fair/Average Credit

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Fair to Good

Credit Recommended (580-740)

hfyhpf120.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

1.5%
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$39
Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
26.99% variable
Discover it® Student Cash Back
See Rates & Fees

No Credit History

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

5%
Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
1%
Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$0
Balance Transfer Intro APR
10.99% for 6 months
Regular APR
12.99% - 21.99% variable
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®

Bad to Fair

Credit Recommended (300-670)

hfyhpf120.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$0-$99
Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
24.90%
Petal® 2

No Credit History

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

1.5%
Up to 1.5% cash back after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
1%
1% cash back on eligible purchases right away.

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$0
Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
12.99% - 26.99% variable
Credit One Bank® Visa® for Rebuilding Credit
See Rates & Fees

Bad to Fair

Credit Recommended (300-670)

hfyhpf120.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

1%
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV, terms apply.

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$0 - $99
Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
17.99% - 23.99% variable
Petal® 1

No Credit History

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$0
Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
19.99% - 29.49% variable
Credit One Bank® Platinum Rewards Visa
See Rates & Fees

Fair to Good

Credit Recommended (580-740)

hfyhpf120.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

5%
Get 5% cash back rewards on the first $5,000 of eligible gas, grocery, internet, cable, satellite TV, and mobile phone service purchases each year, and then 1% thereafter.
1%
1% cash back rewards on all other purchases. Terms Apply.

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
23.99% variable
Avant Credit Card

Fair to Good

Credit Recommended (580-740)

hfyhpf120.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$39
Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
25.99% variable
Milestone® Gold Mastercard®

Bad to Fair

Credit Recommended (300-670)

hfyhpf120.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$35-$99
Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
24.90%
Destiny™ Mastercard®

Bad to Fair

Credit Recommended (300-670)

hfyhpf120.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$59-$99
Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
24.90%
Credit One Bank® Visa® Cash Back Rewards
See Rates & Fees

Fair to Good

Credit Recommended (580-740)

hfyhpf120.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

1%
Receive 1% cash back rewards on eligible gas and grocery purchases as well as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV services. Terms apply.

At A Glance

Annual Fee
$39
Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
23.99% variable

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by hfyhpf120.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank's website for the most current information.

 


A Guide to Finding the Best Credit Card for Fair Credit

Fair credit may not be the best of credit, but there’s hope. And you’re not alone: 61% of consumers have fair credit or better with VantageScore, and 13% have fair. According to FICO, 84% have fair credit or better, and 18% have fair. With fair credit, you can build your score, earn some rewards and develop good financial habits.

We researched and analyzed over 160 credit cards designed for people in the fair credit range and evaluated them against several different criteria: rates and fees, rewards, customer service, ability to improve credit lines, and more. Below are our top picks and several tips to help you decide and improve your credit for the future. Here, we look at:

  • Consumer Federation of America poll

    As you can see, there are a number of events that don’t affect your score. But what does? It’s actually late payments, bankruptcies and high balances on credit cards that impact your score, we’ve found. According to FICO, credit scores are based on the following factors, along with the percentage of importance to your score:

    Payment history: 35 percent – If you make a payment 30 days past the due date or later, it will most likely appear on your credit report. The later the payment, the worse the impact on your credit score.

    Amounts owed: 30 percent – The less available credit you are using, the higher your credit score will be.

    Length of credit history: 15 percent – This refers to the average account age of your accounts and the age of your newest account, which gets younger each time you open a new account.

    New credit: 10 percent – Each time you apply for a new credit card or loan, a hard inquiry will hit your credit.

    Credit mix: 10 percent – Having several types of loans – such as a car loan, a mortgage and a credit card – can help your credit.

    As this shows, the most important things you can do to improve your credit are making payments on time and making payments in full. To view your current credit score for free and without impacting your score, check out our app.

    Is a fair credit score good?

    Simply put: No. “Fair” is a below-average score for both FICO and VantageScore. Since credit offers are based on creditworthiness, people with fair credit get below-average offers.

    But if you have fair credit, all hope is not lost. While lenders typically prefer credit scores to fall in the good to excellent range, people with fair credit scores are still considered viable applicants for many loans. Additionally, with some work, persistence and responsible credit usage, you can improve your credit score.

    Common ways that consumers improve their credit ratings are by contacting the major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) and asking them to remove reporting errors, paying down credit card balances and paying off accounts that have been placed in collections. Another tactic is to ask for an increased credit limit on your credit cards. For people who carry credit card balances, an increased credit limit lowers the credit-to-debt ratio, a key factor in credit scoring.

    Although credit scores can be improved in a few weeks, most improvements take months and some take years. It may take some time before you qualify for the very check them for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com. If you’ve been rejected by a card issuer, make a point of checking your credit files to make sure there are no errors or omissions.

    3. Look at a credit-builder loan with your credit union

    If your credit files are too weak for even a basic secured card, talk to your local credit union about getting a credit-builder loan. These loans are designed for improving your credit rather than getting money for a 数字货币交易软件_数字货币手机app下载home improvement or car.

    4. Catch up on your bills

    Payment history has the biggest impact on your credit score. If you are behind on any bills, you should call the creditor and arrange to pay the past due amounts. After making your payments, you can request that the creditor rescind any reported delinquencies so they will no longer show up on your credit report. While this may be the slowest step, it is essential to improving your credit score. Finally, your more recent activity weighs more heavily, so those on-time payments are priceless.

    5. Don’t close accounts

    If you already have cards, don’t close them. Instead, pay them down and keep using them. Why? Because your payment history remains on your credit files for several years, good or bad, so you aren’t protecting your credit just by closing the account. In fact, the available credit on your cards helps your file, as does continuing to pay on time.

    6. Wait several months

    Wait several months before applying for a card again. Too many card applications too close together can mean desperation to a lender. Also, this gives your score a chance to improve.

    7. Apply for a card you are reasonably sure you will get

    In this case, don’t reach for the stars. Instead, choose a card to apply for that you are pretty sure you can get. If you are unable to qualify for an unsecured card, try a Bankrate survey.

    • 17% added to their debt. Additionally, 8% carried a balance, thinking it would help their score.
      Could hurt your: credit utilization ratio (and wallet)
    • 12% paid a bill late, and 6% didn’t pay a bill at all.
      Could hurt your: payment history
    • 3% cancelled a credit card, thinking it would help their score.
      Could hurt your: credit history

    When you boil down the noise about what factors are and aren’t considered by FICO, we’ve found late payments, keeping your card balances full and bankruptcies have the biggest impact on your score.

    How your credit score is calculated

    According to FICO, credit scores are based on the following worse the impact on your credit score.
    Amounts owed (30%) – This is known as your “credit utilization ratio, which is the amount owed by your available credit. If you owe $100 and your available credit is $1,000, then your ratio is 10%. The closer to zero the better.
    Length of credit history (15%) – This refers to the length of each credit account since they were established (specifically considering your oldest and newest), the average age of your accounts and how long it’s been since each account was active.
    New credit (10%) – Each time you apply for a new credit card or loan, a hard inquiry will temporarily ding your credit.
    Credit mix (10%) – Having several types of loans – such as a car loan, a mortgage and a credit card – can help your credit.
    As this shows, the most important things you can do to improve your credit are making payments on time and in full. To view your factors affecting your credit, and VantageScore has identified which ones are more important than others. What makes one factor more important than another and what can you do about it? It has to do with how lenders see the behavior. Here are behaviors, how lenders view them and how much impact they have on your credit:

    BehaviorHow lenders view thisImpact on your score
    Pay bills on timeWisely handling debtImprovement
    Not use all available creditSufficient access to credit, unlikely to need additional fundsImprovement
    Hold accounts for long periodsExperienced credit userImprovement
    Use different types of loan productsExperience with different types of repayment requirementsImprovement
    Inquire about or take out new loansAre you just expanding access or taking on too much?Slight drop
    Max out credit cards or make first late paymentPotential signal of increasing riskDrop
    Pay multiple loans late; miss 3 or more paymentsAll credit at riskLarger drop
    Stop paying loan; foreclosureDefaultMajor drop
    BankruptcyDefaultMaximum drop over extended time period

    How consumers with fair credit should use a credit card

    When applying for a fair or average credit card, it is important to keep the goal of improving your credit in mind. Here are a few tips on how to properly use a fair credit card:

    • Use your card to build credit. The most important aspect of using a card that requires fair or average credit is that you can build your credit with it, which will grant you access to better lending products.
    • Keep your utilization ratio low. People with fair credit tend to have cards with low credit limits. To keep your balances low and avoid increasing your credit utilization ratio, making small, multiple payments throughout the month.
    • Look for a card without an annual fee. By taking out a card with no annual fee, you minimize the costs incurred with card membership.
    • Practice with rewards. Cards for fair or average cards will sometimes have rewards, such as 1% back on all purchases. This is a good way to practice for getting a rewards card down the road. Make sure you don’t carry a balance, because interest charges will negate your rewards.
    • Don’t close your old card. Once your credit score has risen to the point that you can apply for a better card, don’t close or stop using your card for fair credit. By continuing to use it, as least for small charges, you keep the account active, continuing to build credit with it, and you increase your available credit.

    Robin Ratcliff is the former managing editor for reviews on hfyhpf120.com. Before hfyhpf120.com, she worked as an analyst and editor, and still brings that same analytical rigor to her card recommendations today. Tracy Brackman is a former credit card news editor at hfyhpf120.com, writing breaking news stories on card updates and new card launches. You can reach hfyhpf120.com editors at editors@hfyhpf120.com.