Credit Cards for Fair or Average Credit Scores
A Fair or Average credit score is generally a FICO score in the 580-669 range, while a Good score is 670-739 and an Excellent score is considered anything above 740.
Credit card options for people with Fair credit are similar to those for people with no previous credit history: not so many choices, higher APR’s, limited rewards or bonuses.
On the bright side, having an Average credit rating won't prevent you from getting a credit card (unlike Poor or Bad credit), so you don't have to settle for a prepaid card or a secured card. Prepaid cards don't build your credit history, and secured cards are less convenient and more expensive than unsecured credit cards.
Have a look at our editor's top credit card picks for low to mid 600’s credit scores – travel, gas, business, rewards, cash back and all other types of credit cards for fair credit or average credit.
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Our favorite cards:
Best Fair Credit Cards for Travel
Although Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard is marketed for people with good to excellent credit, this card might be withing the reach for people with fair credit, who have no past credit problems and have eligible income.
This card is the best you can get for travel rewards with no annual fee. You can earn 2% on all travel and restaurant purchases and a 20,000-miles spending bonus after sign up.
Best for Air Miles
If you prefer cobranded airline cards to earn miles and get in-flight perks, and your credit score is in fair to good range - you can try one of the easiest American Express cards to get - Gold Delta Sky Miles card.
This card will give you priority boarding, free checked bag, 2 miles on Delta flights and 35,000 miles bonus after spending $1000 on the card in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $0 for the first year, $95 after that.
Another good card for air miles if you have fair credit is Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier.
Best Rewards and Gas Cards for Fair Credit
Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard is a no annual fee card with great rewards for everyday spending. You get 2x rewards on gas, utilities, and groceries (excluding Walmart and Target stores). The free online FICO score tracking tool that comes with the card makes it easier to grow your credit over time.
Best for Cash Back
Chase Freedom card is available for people with a credit score in the high 600’s. This is a good 5% cash back card with rotating categories.
Another option is the Capital One QuicksilverOne card with 1.5% unlimited cash back on everything and 0% intro APR.
Best Balance Transfer Card
Even with a limited credit you still can get a Chase Slate card that has 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. Together with a $0 balance transfer fee for the first 60 days, it makes a perfect balance transfer card.
Business Credit Cards for Fair Credit
The Capital One Spark Classic for Business is a good solution for new small business owners. It comes with and easy approval process, 1% cash back, which isn't the greatest, but still a decent reward rate for a fair credit rating.
High Limit Credit Card for Average Credit
There is one trick to get a high credit limit on your credit card even with a limited credit history – apply for a small business card instead of the personal credit card. You will be surprised with high credit limits that are unreachable for you with your fair credit history. A starting limit of $10,000 is a norm for a business credit card when people with low credit rarely get a limit of $1000 on a personal credit card.
The only inconvenience is that you need to register a company and apply for a federal EIN (Employer Identification Number) in order to get a small business credit card. If you have a side income, that is a good excuse to open an LLC for that activity and enjoy high limit business credit card.
Best for Students
Most banks have special credit card products for students with generous rewards and cash back offers.
Students usually do not have a credit history (no credit score) and need to focus on building a good credit for a healthy start of their independent life.
Discover it for Students is a decent card that offers up to 5% cash back on selected categories according to a quarterly bonus calendar. New cardholders get double cash back for the first year, making this card a 2% flat rate card.
Tips for Building a Solid Score Starting from your Average Credit
Credit cards can be extremely helpful in many ways, but they can also damage a person’s credit if not used responsibly.
It is extremely important to manage a card wisely to eventually reach an excellent credit rating and qualify for better credit card offers in the future.
- While shopping for a credit card, don’t forget that it is important to limit the number of applications you submit, as sending out too many applications can indicate money problems and result in a temporary decrease in your FICO score.
- A rule of thumb is to use no more than 10-30% of your total credit limit available. If you exceed this number in one period – try to post a payment several days before the statement date – it will prevent from showing a large balance on the statement.
- Always pay your bills on time. It is recommended to do it three days in advance to avoid late payment because of technical issues.
The road to better credit can be long and challenging, but your patience and hard work will eventually pay off. A higher credit score will enable you to get better deals on credit cards as better rates on home and auto loans.
All Credit Cards for Fair Credit
$85 annual fee, waived for the first year
80,000 sign up bonus
5x points on Marriott
2x points on airlines, rental cars, dining out
$95 annual fee, waived for the first year
first checked bag free
30,000 miles intro bonus
no annual fee
up to 32,000 points welcome bonuses (up to 4 nights free)
8,000 points every year you spend $10,000 or more on purchases
15 points for hotel purchases
2 points on all purchases
no annual fee
5c/15c/25c per gallon in rebates
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