Credit Cards for Fair/Average Credit

If you have fair credit, you have access to a wide range of credit cards, including many rewards cards. And finding the right card can help you continue to build your credit history and improve your score. Here are our top credit cards for fair credit.

See the best credit card offers for fair credit from our partners below.

Apply Now Credit Needed
Average, Fair, Limited
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
Apply Now at Capital One's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Average, Fair, Limited

Discover it® Cashback Match™

Discover it® Cashback Match™

26,257 customer reviews

Apply Now Credit Needed
Excellent/Good
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • No annual fee.
Apply Now at Discover's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
0% for 14 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR
0% for 14 months
Regular APR
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Excellent/Good
See Rates & Fees

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
Average, Fair, Limited
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
Apply Now at Capital One's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$39
Credit Needed
Average, Fair, Limited

Chase Slate®

Chase Slate®

6,032 customer reviews

Apply Now Credit Needed
Excellent/Good
  • $0 Intro balance transfer fee for the first 60 days your account is open. After that, the fee for future transactions is 5% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, 16.49% - 25.24% variable APR.
  • See monthly updates to your FICO® Score and the reasons behind your score for free
  • No Penalty APR - Paying late won't raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
  • $0 Annual Fee
Apply Now at Chase's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Regular APR
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Excellent/Good

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards

2,446 customer reviews

Apply Now Credit Needed
Fair Credit
  • Seeing if you Pre-Qualify is fast, easy, and secure
  • Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchase, terms apply
  • Rewards post automatically to your account each month.
  • Looking for more credit? Get credit line increase opportunities, a fee may apply
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Pick a card that fits your style. Multiple card designs are available, a fee may apply
  • Enjoy exclusive offers available to Credit One Bank card members through Visa® Discounts.
  • Your card includes travel accident and auto rental collision insurance from Visa®
Apply Now at Credit One Bank's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
19.15% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 - $99
Credit Needed
Fair Credit

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®

Apply Now Credit Needed
Fair Credit
  • Pre-qualification available with no impact to your credit score
  • Previous bankruptcy OK
  • Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • Free online account access (mobile friendly)
  • Protection from fraud, if your card happens to be lost or stolen
  • Accepted at over 35 Million Locations Worldwide!
Apply Now at Genesis FS Card Services's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
23.90%
Annual Fee
$0 - $99
Credit Needed
Fair Credit

Milestone® Gold Mastercard®

Apply Now Credit Needed
Good/Fair
  • Quick pre-qualification available with no impact to your credit score
  • Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • Choose your custom card design - Free
  • Free online account access
  • Protection from fraud, if your card happens to be lost or stolen
  • Accepted at over 35 Million Locations Worldwide!
  • Previous bankruptcy OK
Apply Now at Genesis FS Card Services's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
23.90%
Annual Fee
$35-$99 (varies by credit level)
Credit Needed
Good/Fair

American Veterans USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
Excellent, Good, Fair
  • With this card, you can help American Veterans assist veterans and their families. USAA Bank will make a contribution to American Veterans when you open an account, make eligible purchases and keep an active account.
  • Get 2,500 Bonus Points after your first purchase.
  • Start earning 1 point for every $1 spent for all your every day purchases.
  • Redeem points for 1% cash back or use them to purchase travel, gift cards and merchandise. You can also redeem your points and donate to your favorite military affiliate group.
  • Redeem your rewards points anytime on usaa.com or from your mobile phone - with no redemption fee.
  • Enjoy no cap or expiration date on points.
  • Enjoy no foreign transaction fees when you travel outside of the United States
  • Rates and Fees
Apply Now at USAA's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
0% for 12 months
Regular APR
12.15% to 27.15% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Excellent, Good, Fair

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

2,446 customer reviews

Apply Now Credit Needed
Fair Credit
  • See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score
  • Track your progress with free online access to your Experian credit score, terms apply
  • Looking to rebuild credit? We report to the major credit bureaus monthly
  • Receive opportunities for credit line increases, a fee may apply
  • Make paying your bill easier with the ability to choose your payment due date, terms apply
  • Stay in-the-know with customizable account alerts via email and text
Apply Now at Credit One Bank's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
19.15% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 - $99
Credit Needed
Fair Credit

Disabled American Veterans USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
Excellent, Good, Fair
  • With this card, you can help DAV empower veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. USAA Bank will contribute to DAV when you open an account, make eligible purchases and keep an active account.
  • Get 2,500 Bonus Points after your first purchase.
  • Start earning 1 point for every $1 spent for all your every day purchases.
  • Redeem points for 1% cash back or use them to purchase travel, gift cards and merchandise. You can also redeem your points and donate to your favorite military affiliate group.
  • Redeem your rewards points anytime on usaa.com or from your mobile phone — with no redemption fee.
  • Enjoy no cap or expiration date on points.
  • Enjoy no foreign transaction fees when you travel outside of the United States
  • Rates and Fees
Apply Now at USAA's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
0% for 12 months
Regular APR
12.15% to 27.15% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Excellent, Good, Fair

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.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.


What are the Best Credit Cards for Fair Credit?

Updated: April 20, 2018

Fair credit may not be the best of credit, but there’s hope. With the average VantageScore at 675, that’s right in the middle of what the scoring model deems fair or what is sometimes called average. 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:

Not sure what to expect? We’ll share how to build credit and how to maximize your fair credit card.


CreditCards.com's best credit cards for fair/average credit of 2018

Research methodology

Credit cards analyzed: 161

Criteria used: Credit needed, tools to track credit score, ability to improve credit line, rewards rate, rewards categories, sign-up bonuses, redemption options, promotional 0% APR periods, annual fee, other rates and fees, extra features and benefits, customer service, ease of application

What is fair/average credit?

The two major credit scores in the United States are provided by FICO and VantageScore. FICO is the creator of the first, and still most-widely used score. Both scores range from 300 to 850. Each defines “fair” credit slightly differently.

FICO score ranges

Best ForCard
300-579Very poor
580-669Fair
670-739Good
740-799Very good
800-850Exceptional

VantageScore ranges

Best ForCard
300-549Very poor
550-649Poor
650-699Fair
700-749Good
750-850Excellent

According to FICO, credit scores are based on the following factors:

  • 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 you can see, 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, click here.

Is a fair credit score good?

Simply put: No. In the FICO score, it is a below-average score. 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 time, but paying on time, every time, and keeping credit balances low will slowly, steadily improve your credit.

By increasing your credit score, you will have access to better financial opportunities, such as lower interest rates and better credit card offers. To see what credit card offers are available to you, check out our CardMatch tool or review or list of fair credit cards and cards for those with no credit history.

Tips for getting from one credit tier to the next

If you want to improve your credit score, but can’t wait the seven years it typically takes for negative information to naturally fall off your credit, here are a few active steps you can take:

  1. Obtain a copy of your credit report – Request a copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Carefully review your reports for errors and file disputes over anything that does not belong to you.
  2. Lower your credit utilization ratio – If your credit utilization ratio – the amount you owe compared to your total available credit – is too high, it will negatively impact your credit score. To lower your ratio, you can pay down the amount you owe, or call the credit card issuers to request a higher credit limit.
  3. Pay off your balances – Reducing the number of active debt accounts you have is a good way to improve your credit. To accomplish this, you should choose the lowest balances and pay those off first. Once your balance is paid off, keep the card account open, but do not continue to make purchases using the cards.
  4. Diversify your credit – If the only type of credit on your report is credit cards, open a small installment loan to diversify your credit.
  5. Do not apply for several cards at the same time – Each time you apply for a new line of credit, a hard inquiry will appear on your credit report. Typically, a hard inquiry drops your credit score by five to 10 points, so you want to avoid applying for several loans within a short period of time.
  6. Pay your bills on time – If you miss a payment or pay your bill late, it will most likely be submitted to the reporting agencies and appear on your credit report. Therefore, it is important to pay all your bills on time, including your credit card, utilities, cable and phone bills.

How fast can credit improve?

The length of time it takes to improve your credit depends on the details of your financial situation. Along your credit behavior, your starting score is a major factor.

For example, if you have no credit history, it will take a minimum of six months to establish a credit score. Credit score formulas require an active credit account to be present for at least six months before a score is generated.

If you are repairing damaged credit, however, it can take much longer to up your score. A person who only qualifies for a secured card, for example, can generally improve to fair credit within 12 to 18 months – with responsible card usage, of course.

While some people need to repair minor infractions, others have major issues to recover from. According to VantageScore, here are the approximate lengths of time it takes to repair credit based on your actions:

ActionAvg. Recovery TimeCredit Score Impact
Applying for Credit3 monthsMinor
Closing an Account3 monthsMinor
Maxing Out a Credit Card3 monthsModerate
Missing Payment / Default18 monthsSignificant
Bankruptcy6+ yearsSignificant

If you want to improve your score quickly, here are a few steps you can follow:

Report errors on your credit reports

Regularly check your score for mistakes, such as payments marked late that you paid on time or negative information that’s too old to report. Credit bureaus are required to respond to credit disputes within 30 business days.

CreditCards.com offers a free copy of your credit report.

Do not exceed your credit limit

  • People with fair credit tend to have cards with low credit limits. To keep your balances low and avoid increasing your credit utilization ratio, make small, multiple payments throughout the month.
  • Pay down cards with the highest utilization first.

Because credit card issuers usually report to the bureaus each month, it shouldn’t take long for your score to reflect a lower balance.

Pay off past-due 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 that will no longer show up on your credit report. While this may be the slowest step, it is essential to improving your credit score.

What can I do with a fair credit score?

Individuals with fair credit can still qualify for mortgages, car loans and some credit cards with a sufficient income. For example, many mortgages require a minimum credit score of 620. But keep in mind that with a fair credit score, you will more than likely pay a higher interest rate than if you had good or excellent credit.

If you have fair credit and want to apply for a credit card, here are a few things to consider:

  • Use CreditCards.com’s CardMatch tool to get prequalified for an offer that suits you. This will also help you avoid applying for cards that may reject you – which will have a negative impact on your score.
  • Instead of focusing on cards with travel rewards, cash back bonuses and other perks, go for a card designed for individuals with fair or poor credit.
  • If you are unable to qualify for an unsecured card, try a secured card to help build your credit.

Once you have your card in hand, be sure to practice responsible card management. Pay your bill on time and in full each month and do not charge more than you need to.

What is the average interest rate on a credit card?

In 2018, the regular annual percentage rate (APR) for fair credit ranges from 13.24 percent to 25.24 percent. These rates are variable, which means that the lender may choose to increase or decrease them. Changes in rates are based on the Federal Reserve’s current federal fund rates.

Typical line of credit/interest rate for fair credit

If you have fair credit, you will typically pay higher interest rates on loans than if you had good to excellent credit. The amount of interest, though, depends on the type of loan and the amount you are borrowing. For example:

  • Mortgage rates are usually 0.5 to 0.75 percentage points higher for a 30-year fixed-rate loan.
  • Auto loans are typically 4 to 7 percentage points higher.
  • Credit card interest rates are often 5 to 7 percentage points higher.
  • Unsecured personal loans can be about 7 percentage points higher.

How to properly use a fair 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. By keeping your card balance low, you keep your utilization ratio low, which is your balance by your available credit.
  • 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 percent 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.

CreditCards.com's best credit cards for fair/average credit …

Best For:Credit CardAnnual Fee
No Annual FeeCapital One® Platinum Credit CardNone
Cash Back VarietyDiscover it® Cashback Match™None
Flat-Rate RewardsCapital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card$39
0% Intro APRChase Slate®None
1% Cash BackCredit One® Platinum Visa® Cash Back Rewards Credit CardNone
Fraud CoverageIndigo® Platinum Mastercard®$0 - $99
Pre-Qualification AvailableMilestone® Gold Mastercard®$35 - $99
VeteransAmerican Veterans USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® CardNone
Rebuilding CreditCredit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit$0 - $99
Donating RewardsDisabled American Veterans USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® CardNone

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