Updated: 05/15/2017

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.

Jump to the section below:

 

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR20.49 - 20.49% (V)
intro BT APR 20.49 no BT fee
rewards 1-1.25% 
  • get 1% cash back on al purchases
fair credit / no credit required

no annual fee

student card

up to 1.25% cash back

read review
intro purchase APR 0% for 7 monthsregular APR15.74% (V)
intro BT APR 15.74% 3% BT fee $5 min
rewards 4% on gas, 3% on dining and travel, 2% at Costco, 1% everywhere
fair credit required

no annual fee with Costco membership ($55 minimum)

4% on gas, 3% on dining and travel, 2% on Costco purchases, 1% on all purchases

0% APR on purchases for 7 months 

read review
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR16.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR 16.49-23.49 5% BT fee $5 min
rewards 1x 2x 5x points per dollar +80,000 pt intro bonus
  • 5x points on Marriott or Ritz-Carlton purchases
  • 2x points on airlines, rental cars and restaurants purchases
  • 1x on everything else
  • 80,000 points intro bonus

 

fair credit required

$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

read review
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR16.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR 16.49-23.49% 5% BT fee $5 min
rewards 1x-2x miles per dollar +30,000 bonus miles
  • earn 2x miles on United purchases
  • 1x regular rate on all other purchases
  • get 30,000 miles bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months 
good credit required

$95 annual fee, waived for the first year

first checked bag free

30,000 miles intro bonus

read review
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR23.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR no intro offer no BT fee
rewards 1%  
fair credit required

no annual fee

good card for an average credit

1% cash back on all purchases

read review
intro purchase APR 0% for 12 monthsregular APR10.49 - 22.49% (V)
intro BT APR 0% for 12 months 3% min $5
fair credit required

no annual fee

low APR

12 months intro APR and balance transfer

read review
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR15.74%, 20.49% or 25.49%
intro BT APR 0% for 15 months 3% BT fee with $5 min
rewards 2 or 5 points/$1 +up to 32,000 points bonus
  • get 8,000 points every year you spend $10,000 or more on purchases
  • get 32,000after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • 15 points for participating hotels bookings
  • 2 points on everyday purchases

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

read review
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR24.50% Variable
intro BT APR not allowed not allowed
rewards 10% off at Macy's
fair credit required

no annual fee

20% off for two first days at Macy's

up to 10% off at Macy's if you participate for $25 per year

store card - not accepted anywhere except Macy's

read review
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR26.99% (V)
rewards intro 10c/gallon for 60 days 
fair credit required

no annual fee

not a major card

Chevron and Texaco gas stations use only

read review
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR23.24% (V)
intro BT APR 23.24% 3% BT fee $5 min
rewards 5c or 15c per gallon on $100 25c first 60 days
  • get 25c per gallon rebates for $100 spend anywhere in the first 60 days of the card
  • after that, 15c per gallon gas rebates for every $100 spent on BP
  • and 5c on $100 spend everywhere else except non BP gas stations 
fair credit required

no annual fee

5c/15c/25c per gallon in rebates

read review

 


Leave a comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Shortcodes usage

    1. [cardscalculator category="%MAIN_FILTER%" filter-category="%FILTER%" fields="%FIELDS%" user-calc-type="%TEMPLATE_ID%" page-size="%PAGE_SIZE%"]

      where:

      %MAIN_FILTER% - category Ids comma-separated - filter cards from DB (int)

      %FILTER% - category Ids comma-separated - filter cards we got in %MAIN_FILTER% (int)

      %FIELDS% - category Ids comma-separated, allowed: [total-rewards, total-interest, total-bt-cost, rewards-rate, intro-apr-and-period, bt-fee, apr, intro-bonus, intro-bonus-value, ongoing-apr, intro-bt-apr-and-period, first-year-annual-fee]

      %TEMPLATE_ID% - template Id (int)

      %PAGE_SIZE% - cards on page (int)

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Shortcodes usage

    1. [cardscalculator category="%MAIN_FILTER%" filter-category="%FILTER%" fields="%FIELDS%" user-calc-type="%TEMPLATE_ID%" page-size="%PAGE_SIZE%"]

      where:

      %MAIN_FILTER% - category Ids comma-separated - filter cards from DB (int)

      %FILTER% - category Ids comma-separated - filter cards we got in %MAIN_FILTER% (int)

      %FIELDS% - category Ids comma-separated, allowed: [total-rewards, total-interest, total-bt-cost, rewards-rate, intro-apr-and-period, bt-fee, apr, intro-bonus, intro-bonus-value, ongoing-apr, intro-bt-apr-and-period, first-year-annual-fee]

      %TEMPLATE_ID% - template Id (int)

      %PAGE_SIZE% - cards on page (int)

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
SIGN UP TO GET FREE
CREDIT SCORE UPDATES
and
exclusive members-only deals
Follow us
Facebook Twitter Google+