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Credit Cards For Good Credit

Written by: Tracy Stewart | Edited by: Jeanine Skowronski | Reviewed by: Brady Porche
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October 20, 2021

Best credit cards for good credit for 2021

BEST FOR LONG LOW INTRO APR
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Our rating:3.4 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Recommended credit

670-850 (Good to Excellent) CreditCards.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.

Rewards rate

3%
3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
2%
2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores.
1%
1% Cash Back on other purchases.

At A Glance

Intro bonus
$200 Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99% variable
BEST FOR SOUTHWEST REWARDS
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Our rating:4.1 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Recommended credit

670-850 (Good to Excellent) CreditCards.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.

Rewards rate

2X
Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
2X
New! Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
2X
New! Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.

At A Glance

Intro bonus
100,000 points Our best points offer ever! Earn up to 100,000 bonus points. Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open, plus 50,000 more bonus points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months.
Annual fee
$69
Regular APR
15.99% - 22.99% variable
BEST FOR DELTA AIRLINES
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Our rating:3.8 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Recommended credit

670-850 (Good to Excellent) CreditCards.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.

Rewards rate

2X
Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
1X
Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.

At A Glance

Intro bonus
70,000 Miles Limited Time Offer: Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
Annual fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
Regular APR
15.74% - 24.74% variable
BEST FOR WALMART PURCHASES
Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®
Our rating:4.2 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Recommended credit

580-740 (Fair to Good) CreditCards.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.

Your approval oddsWhen you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.

Rewards rate

5%
Earn 5% cash back on Walmart.com purchases, including pickup and delivery
2%
Earn 2% cash back on purchases in Walmart stores, restaurants and travel purchases
2%
2% cash back in Walmart stores and at Walmart and Murphy USA Fuel Stations
1%
1% cash back on all other purchases everywhere else Mastercard® is accepted

At A Glance

Intro bonus
5% Introductory offer: Earn 5% cash back on purchases in Walmart stores when you use this card with Walmart Pay for the first 12 months after approval
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
17.99% - 26.99% variable
Your approval oddsWhen you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
BEST FOR FREQUENT HOTEL STAYS
Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
Our rating:3.5 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Recommended credit

670-850 (Good to Excellent) CreditCards.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.

Rewards rate

14X
Earn up to 14X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Card.
2X
2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains).
1X
1X point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

At A Glance

Intro bonus
60,000 Points For a Limited Time Only! Earn 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
15.99% - 22.99% variable
BEST FOR CASH REWARDS
Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards
Our rating:3.0 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Recommended credit

580-740 (Fair to Good) CreditCards.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.

Your approval oddsWhen you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.

Rewards rate

1.5%
Earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment

At A Glance

Intro bonus
No current offer
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
8.99% - 29.99% APR
Your approval oddsWhen you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
Credit One Bank® Platinum Rewards Visa with No Annual Fee
Our rating:3.2 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Recommended credit

670-850 (Good to Excellent) CreditCards.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.

Your approval oddsWhen you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.

Rewards rate

2%
2% 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

Intro bonus
No current offer
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
23.99% variable
Your approval oddsWhen you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
SoFi Credit Card
Our rating:3.3 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Recommended credit

670-850 (Good to Excellent) CreditCards.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.

Your approval oddsWhen you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.

Rewards rate

2%
Earn 2% unlimited cash back on eligible purchases when redeemed towards investing, saving, or paying down an eligible loan with SoFi.*

At A Glance

Intro bonus
$100 Earn up to $100 when you open and fund a SoFi Money and a SoFi Invest account after getting approved for the SoFi Credit Card (See Terms).
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
12.99% - 24.99% variable
Your approval oddsWhen you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
BEST FOR HOME, AUTO AND HEALTH REWARDS
Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa®
Our rating:3.0 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Recommended credit

670-850 (Good to Excellent) CreditCards.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.

Your approval oddsWhen you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.

Rewards rate

3%
Unlimited cash back on payments - 3% on Home, Auto and Health categories
1%
1% on everything else

At A Glance

Intro bonus
No current offer
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
8.99% - 29.99% variable
Your approval oddsWhen you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
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All information about The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.


A guide to credit cards for good credit

Good credit is your reward for all those months of on-time payments and other terrific credit habits. However, one or two wrong steps can cause your score to drop quickly. That’s why it’s important to understand the nuances of credit and the impact it has on your overall financial health.

We analyzed more than 300 credit cards where approval is contingent on good credit and evaluated them on such criteria as: rates and fees, rewards, redemption options, customer service, and other benefits. Below are our best cards for good credit along with tips to improve your credit score.


Comparing the best cards for good credit credit

Credit Card:Best ForReward RateAnnual FeeCreditCards.com Rating
Citi® Double Cash CardCash back2% cash back on every purchase 1% when you buy, 1% as you pay for those purchases $03.5 / 5
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressLong low intro APR2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores$03.4 / 5
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit CardSouthwest rewardsEarn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases, local transit and commuting, select streaming and on internet, cable, and phone services Earn 1x point on other purchases. $694.1 / 5
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express CardDelta Airlines2X points on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets 1X points on eligible spending. Terms apply. $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $993.8 / 5
Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®Walmart rewards5% cash back on Walmart.com purchases$04.2 / 5
Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit CardFrequent hotel staysUp to 14X points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy properties 2X points on other travel purchases. 1X point on all other purchases $03.5 / 5
Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash RewardsCash rewards1.5% cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment$03.0 / 5

Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for cash back

Why we picked it: The Citi Double Cash offers 2% cash back in a unique way: 1% on general purchases (excluding gift cards) and then an additional 1% cash back as you pay off those purchases. With no annual fee, the card boasts one of the most competitive rewards rates of all cash back cards in an affordable way.

Pros: There’s no category restrictions or rules to follow, so earning cash back is simple and easy to track. Plus, your rewards can be converted to ThankYou points, which can be redeemed for travel purchases, gift cards and more for a rate of $1 cash back to 100 ThankYou points. There’s also a lengthy 18-month 0% introductory APR on balance transfers (then variable 13.99% to 23.99%).

Cons: If you decide to take advantage of the balance transfer opportunity, there’s a fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater. Also, there’s no sign-up bonus available.

Who should apply? Thanks to its simplicity, this cash back card is a good fit for someone who values freedom and flexibility, particularly for existing Citi customers already familiar with earning ThankYou points. And if you have credit card debt to combat, the intro APR window on balance transfers could be a godsend.

Who should skip? It’s one of the best credit cards on the market, but anyone on the hunt for bonus rewards, whether they be high-rate categories or a spend-based welcome bonus, should look elsewhere.

Read our Citi® Double Cash Card review.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: Best for long low intro APR

Why we picked it: The Blue Cash Everyday comes with a lengthy intro APR on new purchases – 0% for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99%, variable). Along with the generous APR window, this card features a great welcome offer where cardholders can earn a $200 statement credit after they spend $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months.

Pros: Although it doesn’t match all that the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can do, this card still features great cash back rates without an annual fee. Earn 3% back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases a year (then 1%), and earn 2% back at U.S. gas stations, perfect for the growing family.

Cons: The limitations on your 3% categories might hold you back from some much-appreciated earnings late in the year, and rewards can’t be transferred or combined.

Who should apply? Family shoppers might want to take a good look at these high-earning rewards categories. Plus, the intro APR on purchases can come in handy if you want to make a large purchase and carry the balance for a bit.

Who should skip? If you have good credit but your spending typically occurs in other categories, look to other cards here. While this card has a lot to offer, you want to capitalize on your usual spending with an everyday card. Also, American Express isn’t always accepted internationally, so it’s not a great choice for travelers.

Read our Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express review.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: Best for Southwest rewards

Why we picked it: This card’s Southwest-related rewards are sky high. Earn 2X points on Southwest purchases, 1X points elsewhere, and there’s the 3,000 points earned each annual cardmember anniversary. Plus, if you earn 125,000 points in a year you’ll score one of the most coveted perks in all of travel rewards: the Southwest Companion Pass®. This pass lets you bring a companion with you on any Southwest flight you purchase with cash or points for up to the next two years for free (minus taxes and fees).

Pros: The card features a sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 bonus points (earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus an additional 50,000 points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months). Also, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus has no blackout dates and no seat restrictions. And while long a great domestic carrier, Southwest is increasingly expanding to go abroad.

Cons: You can find more generous bonuses with this card’s big brother, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. Also, there’s an annual fee of $69 that isn’t waived the first year.

Who should apply? Frequent flyers with Southwest or someone looking to start getting rewarded by aligning with an airline are a good fit for this card.

Who should skip? Being a Southwest-centric card, there aren’t many uses for it if you don’t travel often. If you don’t frequently “wanna get away”, you’ll be better served by a different travel rewards credit card.

Read our Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card review.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: Best for Delta airlines

Why we picked it: Anyone frequently flying with Delta should take a long look at where this card can take you. Earn 2X miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets.

Pros: In addition to Delta, travelers have its large network of airline partners to choose from, plus no blackout dates and miles don’t expire. For a limited time, earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months (offer expires 11/10/2021).

Cons: There’s a $25 fee for booking travel over the phone and a $35 fee for Ticket Office bookings. You also can’t book flights with layovers and there’s a $99 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year).

Who should apply? This card offers a lot to Delta flyers. They can boost their SkyMiles through common-purchase categories while also saving on Delta flights, checked bags, and lounge access.

Who should skip? If you don’t often fly Delta or if you’re not a frequent traveler in general, there are better choices for you.

Read our Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card review.

Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®: Best for Walmart rewards

Why we picked it: This card comes with a whole lot of cash back. Earn 5% on Walmart.com purchases (including pickup and delivery orders), 2% on in-store Walmart purchases and Walmart fuel stations, 2% on restaurants and travel purchases and 1% cash back elsewhere.

Pros: As a sign-up bonus, you’ll get 5% cash back on any Walmart purchase you make in-store when using Walmart Pay for the first 12 months. Also, there’s no minimum to redeem rewards, no foreign transaction fee and your rewards don’t expire. And to ease the application process, you can get instant approval via the Walmart App.

Cons: The card carries a high APR range at 17.99% to 26.99% variable. Also, there’s no spend-related sign-up bonus or introductory APR.

Who should apply? If Walmart is your go-to for groceries, gas or any other need, this card can pack a punch with its high-yielding cash back offers for no annual fee.

Who should skip? Unless your typical shopping routine consists of trips to Walmart, you’d better benefit from another cash back option, such as the Blue Cash Everyday.

Read our Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard® review.

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card: Best for frequent hotel stays

Why we picked it: Those looking for nice stays through a hotel card will be welcomed with open arms: For a limited time, earn 60,000 Bonus Points after spending $2,000 on purchases in your first three months. Also, Marriott loyalists can rack up Bonvoy points via 3X points at Marriott Bonvoy properties, 2X points on other travel purchases and 1X points elsewhere.

Pros: Your earnings from the sign-up bonus are worthwhile, with estimated value around $480 in Marriott stays. Also, for no annual fee your rewards can bring you the ability to transfer points to 40+ airline partners as well as access to the world’s largest hotel network. Plus, earning status with Marriott can take your earnings to new levels, with rates as high as up to 14X points per dollar.

Cons: This card comes with a variable APR range of 15.99% to 22.99%, which is a bit high. Also, the available redemption options outside of room awards generally have poor value and this card’s overall rate for earning points is comparatively low.

Who should apply? Marriott enthusiasts looking to earn some perks with the brand while skipping an annual fee should consider this card. True Marriott loyalists might even benefit from upgrading one of their pricier options.

Who should skip? If you don’t want hotel stays as your prize for redeeming rewards, another credit card is a better choice.

Read our Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card review.

Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards: Best for cash rewards

Why we picked it: This card gives cash back rewards at a 1.5% rate every time you make a payment. It also doesn’t charge an annual fee, penalty fees or foreign transaction fees.

Pros: The way this card works is a bit unique: Visa combines elements of a credit card with elements of a personal loan, where cardholders make purchases which are automatically rolled into an installment plan with a fixed monthly payment. You’re expected to pay the full balance back within a 12 to 60-month period at an interest rate between 8.99% to 29.99% (depending on your terms). Designed to help get into a routine, this structure could spare you from overspending or underpaying your balance each month.

Cons: Some cardholders might enjoy a low APR, but some may not, given the high-end of the variable APR range is 29.99%. There’s also limited additional benefits, so if you don’t have a hard time keeping balances under control, you’re likely better served by a traditional cash back credit card.

Who should apply? This personal loan/credit card hybrid could be an extremely helpful tool to learn responsible use if you’ve struggled with making proper payments in the past. Those looking to rebuild will appreciate the ability to earn consistent cash back.

Who should skip? Most consumers with good credit have the hang of managing their payments, so you may be best suited for a more common credit card with widespread rewards and traditional benefits.

Read our Upgrade Visa Card with Cash Rewards review.


What is a good credit score?

A good credit FICO score is 670 to 739 out of a range of 300 to 850, with 850 being the best. With the same scale, a good VantageScore is 661 to 780. According to FICO data from credit bureau Experian, 21% of consumers have good credit, while 34% have bad or fair and 45% have very good or exceptional credit.

With good credit, you can enjoy not only better lending products but lower insurance rates, improved rental options and even better job opportunities. With bad credit, higher interest rates and inferior rewards are often all you qualify for.

Pay attention to your good credit because a single misstep can damage your score in no time. In fact, it can take considerably less time to drop your score than to improve it. By paying on time and in full each month, you are addressing 65% of your FICO score.

Here are the score ranges for FICO, the dominant scoring model, and VantageScore, which you can access for free on creditcards.com.

Credit score ranges…

FICO CategoryFICO ScoreVantageScore CategoryVantageScore
Exceptional800-850Excellent781-850
Very Good740-799Good661-780
Good670-739Fair601-660
Fair580-669Poor500-600
Poor300-579Very Poor300-499

What determines good credit?

Good credit simply means that your score is high enough that you can benefit from better financial products. The scoring models look at several factors in an effort to ascertain whether you are a good credit risk. The higher your score, the less risk you are for the lender.

Here are the primary factors scoring models look at:

  • Paying on time. The most important aspect of your credit score is on-time payments. It makes up 35% of your FICO score, the score most used by lenders to assess your creditworthiness. One late payment can drop your score to the next range, although the older that late payment gets, the less impact it has. This category is also the most important factor for VantageScore, the scoring model developed by the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
  • Paying in full. This category makes up 30% of your FICO score. It looks at the amount of credit you have available compared to the amount you owe. That’s called your utilization ratio. For example, if you owe $100 and you have $1,000 in available credit, your utilization ratio is 10% — you want the percentage as close to zero as possible. The amount of credit used is considered highly influential in the VantageScore model.
  • Credit history. How old are your accounts in your credit file with the 3 credit bureaus? This makes up 15% of your FICO credit score and it’s highly influential with VantageScore.
  • Recent credit. Avoid applying for multiple credit cards at once, because that can negatively impact your score, although a single pull typically only impacts your score by about five points. Recent credit makes up 10% of your FICO score and falls under “less influential” on VantageScore. Note that rate shopping for installment loans within a short amount of time, which can range from 15 to 45 days, typically only counts as one credit check, because credit score models recognize that rate shopping is a good credit habit.
  • Credit mix. FICO likes it when you have different types of credit, such as revolving credit (cards) and installment credit (car loans and mortgages). It makes up 10% of your FICO score and is highly influential in VantageScore.
  • Available credit. VantageScore also has a category called available credit that is considered less influential. There is also a category called total balances/debt that falls under moderately influential.

How to build and maintain good credit

A surprising number of Americans misunderstand what it takes to build and keep a good credit score. A recent Bankrate survey asked consumers some key questions about their beliefs regarding credit building, and many didn’t realize that high card balances can negatively impact your score. You want as close to 0% as possible when it comes to your debt-to-balance ratio (or credit utilization), and you want to keep the account active with a charge that you pay off each month. Read on to see all of the most popular misconceptions about building credit.

Consumers’ misconceptions of building credit…

  • Believe carrying a credit card balance can raise your credit score
  • 44%
  • Believe enrolling in a lender’s hardship program can lower your credit score
  • 28%
  • Believe canceling a credit card won’t lower your score
  • 26%

Source: Bankrate

How to build good credit

Building good credit takes patience and determination. The easiest and fastest way to build credit is with a credit card – but it’s important to make sure you use it responsibly. That means paying in full and on time each month. Here are some tips on how to build good credit:

  • Check your credit score: You’ll need this for the next step.
  • Apply for a credit card: Only apply for one, and make sure it’s one that you have a good chance of getting. You may need to get a secured card, which means you pay a refundable deposit in exchange for a credit limit. Make sure the card issuer will share your credit habits with the credit bureaus.
  • Pay in full and on time: This is 65% of your FICO score.
  • Become an authorized user: If your credit is too poor for landing a card or you don’t trust yourself with one, look into being an authorized user with a cardholder who is responsible with credit. You won’t have to use the card to build credit, and you won’t be responsible for the debt. Eventually, you’ll want to get your own card, though, so that you can withdraw from being an authorized user without losing credit ground. Keep in mind that when you withdraw, the authorized card’s good habits are withdrawn from your credit accounts. That’s why you’ll want to get your own card at some point.
  • Take out a credit-builder loan: To give your score that extra little boost, take out an installment loan, such as a car loan or a credit-builder loan. Don’t take out more than you can afford.

How to maintain good credit

In some ways, maintaining good credit is more difficult than building because one false step can drive your score down to the next tier. Here are a few tips for maintaining your credit:

  • Make reminders: You know you need to pay on time and in full each month. Now, set up a reminder so that you remember to pay by the due dates each and every month.
  • Make a small payment: Even if you don’t use a card much, make a small payment each month to keep the account active.
  • Don’t close accounts: There are a few exceptions to this, but typically it’s a good idea to keep accounts open and active because available credit with a low balance helps your score. When you close an account, your aggregate available credit goes down.
  • Keep a budget: Allowing for saving and fun, maintain a workable budget to ensure you don’t overspend on your credit card.

How long does it take to build good credit?

It typically takes at least six months of credit activity before a credit score can be calculated, according to credit scoring expert Barry Paperno.

You need at least one credit account to have a credit file. When you don’t have much credit to speak of, that’s called having a thin file. With good habits (pay on time and in full each month), you can build your credit score within months.

Rebuilding? It can take anywhere from a few months to years, depending on what’s on your credit file. Large debts, collections, bankruptcies – all of those weigh more heavily than one or two late payments.

How to choose a credit card for good credit

Having good credit unlocks a whole new world of options when it comes to the credit cards you can get, but all the new choices can be overwhelming. “Consumers with good credit are in an excellent position to earn lucrative credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for ongoing spending. Many of the best cash back cards are targeted at people with good credit,” points out Ted Rossman, CreditCards.com industry analyst.

Whether you’re looking for generous sign-up bonuses or great balance transfer offers, a card for good credit can come through for you. An easy way to get started is with our CardMatch™ tool to check if you have any personalized offers available to you. Once you have a selection, comparing the cards you’re interested in gets easier when you break it down by factors. Look at:

  • Types of cards: With good credit, your options open up tremendously. You can earn 2%, 3%, even 5% back with a cashback card, or earn points or miles in the 10s of thousands in a travel card’s sign-up bonus.
  • Sign-up bonus: Compare the sign-up bonuses for the cards you are looking at. But be sure to compare apples with apples. For example, is there an annual fee? And what is the actual valuation of the points or miles?

As Rossman advises: “When comparing options, think about how you spend most of your money and how you want to redeem your rewards. Look to maximize key categories like groceries, travel and dining out.”

When comparing credit cards for people with good credit, it’s important to take a holistic approach and ask yourself how a card fits into your long-term financial situation. If you are looking to earn ongoing rewards when making purchases on your credit card, study the rewards rate of cash back, points or miles and determine whether you spend enough in the card’s bonus categories to justify a potential annual fee. In addition to rewards, cardholders with good credit are often offered benefits such as rental car insurance and free checked baggage on flights and travel credits, which add to a card’s long-term appeal.

Other aspects to consider are a card’s 0% introductory APR offer and ongoing interest rate. People with good credit can take advantage of a low interest rate or lengthy promotional interest-free period to chip away at existing debt or perform a balance transfer.

Methodology: How we chose the best credit cards for good credit

Methodology: We analyzed 1,478 of the top credit cards on the market to narrow down a selection of the best choices. Core criteria we considered in our analysis include:

  • Base rewards program: The best cards in this category for cash back, points or miles offer competitive rewards rates, helpful spending categories and straightforward redemption policies.
  • APR: APR (annual percentage rate) is the interest charges you pay if you carry a balance. The top credit cards offer reasonable APRs, especially for those who have good credit scores.
  • Sign-up bonus: Sign-up bonuses give you the opportunity to earn cash back, points, statement credits and other types of rewards for meeting a spending requirement within a specified time. Bonuses with a good ratio of spending-to-value are rated highly.
  • Annual fee: Is a card’s annual fee worth it? We measure the annual fee against each card’s features and benefits to rate its holistic value.

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