Credit Cards For Good Credit

Good credit (670-739) opens the door to some fantastic credit card offers. Whether you're looking for cash back or low rates, compare the best offers from our partners and find the right card for you. For even more options be sure to check out our top credit cards this month.

See the best credit card offers for people with good credit from our partners below.

Summary

CreditCards.com's best credit cards for good credit of 2018

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

5,951 Reviews

Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? 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.
at Capital One's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
20,000 miles
?

20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
13.74% - 23.74% variable

Show Less

Highlights

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.74%-23.74% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfers APR
N/A

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NEW REWARDS CARD

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? 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.
at Wells Fargo's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
30,000 points
?

Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that's a $300 cash redemption value

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.24% - 26.74% variable

Show Less

Highlights

  • New! Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that's a $300 cash redemption value
  • Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in
  • Earn 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit
  • Earn 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases
  • $0 annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 14.24%-26.74% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 12 months
Regular APR
14.24%-26.74% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% for 12 months

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Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

9,632 Reviews

Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? 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.
at Chase's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
$150
?

Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
16.74% - 25.49% variable

Show Less

Highlights

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months

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NEW - UP TO $100 CREDIT FOR TSA PRE✔® OR GLOBAL ENTRY

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

9,657 Reviews

Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? 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.
at Capital One's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
50,000 miles
?

50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee
$95, waived first year
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% variable

Show Less

Highlights

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfers APR
N/A

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Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply

Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? 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.
at American Express's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
$150
?

$150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.74% - 25.74% variable

See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply

Show Less

Highlights

  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% on Purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
14.74%-25.74% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% on Balance Transfers for 15 months

View All Card Details

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Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

14,707 Reviews

Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? 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.
at Chase's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
$150
?

Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
16.74% - 25.49% variable

Show Less

Highlights

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months

View All Card Details

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Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card
Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? 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.
at Wells Fargo's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
No current offer
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
16.90% - 26.74% variable

Show Less

Highlights

  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 16.90%-26.74% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card
  • Free access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 18 months
Regular APR
16.90%-26.74% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% for 18 months

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The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply

Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? 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.
at American Express's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
10,000 points
?

Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.74% - 25.74% variable

See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply

Show Less

Highlights

  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.
  • $0 balance transfer fee. Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days from account opening.
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases.
  • Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% on purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
14.74%-25.74% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% on balance transfers for 15 months

View All Card Details

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EXTENDED 0% INTRO APR OFFER

Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months

Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months

5,671 Reviews

Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? 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.
at Capital One's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
$150
?

$150 after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% variable

Show Less

Highlights

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • 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
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months

View All Card Details

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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.

Comparing Credit Card Offers for Good Credit

Updated: July 16, 2018

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 how good credit can reward all that hard work.

We analyzed more than 1,400 credit cards on where good credit is needed to get approved 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 factors to consider in your decision and tips to improve your credit score even more. Here, we look at:

Learn more about how to build credit and the benefits of good credit.


Recap: CreditCards.com's Best Credit Cards for Good Credit

Best For:CardCreditCards.com RatingAnnual FeeReward Rate
Low InterestDiscover it® Cash Back4.1 / 5$0Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in various categories throughout the year
Simple Travel RewardsCapital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card3.6 / 5$01.25 miles per dollar on every purchase
Overall ValueWells Fargo Propel American Express® Card3.7 / 5$03X points per dollar on travel, dining, and streaming services
Flat-rate Cash BackChase Freedom Unlimited®3.4 / 5$01.5%
HotelsCapital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card4.4 / 5$0 first year, then $952x miles on every purchase, 10x miles on purchases at hotels.com/venture
Everyday SpendingBlue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express3.3 / 5$03% at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year), 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 1% everywhere else
Rotating RewardsChase Freedom®3.4 / 5$05% on quarterly rotating categories
No Annual FeeWells Fargo Platinum Visa® CardN/A$0N/A
Bonus Rewards on GroceriesThe Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express3.7 / 5$02x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases; 1X points on other purchases
Bonus CashCapital One® Quicksilver® Card3.5 / 5$01.5%

Methodology

Credit cards for good credit analyzed: 1,478

Criteria used: Credit needed, rewards rates, rewards categories, sign-up bonuses, redemptions, customer service, ability to move credit line, credit score tracking, annual fee, other rates and fees, application process, other benefits and features

Editor's notes on our best credit cards for good credit of 2018:

Discover it® Cash Back

Best for Low Interest

As a credit card with rotating rewards categories that earn 5% cash back, the Discover it Cash Back is perfect for people who find themselves buying a diverse assortment of goods and services throughout the year. Its most distinguishing feature is the cashback match offer – at the end of your first year, Discover will match all the cash back earnings you accumulated. It also works well as a low interest credit card, although it's always best not to carry a balance on your credit cards.

Bottom Line: The Discover it's low APRs and cashback match feature make up for its lack of a sign-up bonus.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Best for Simple Travel Rewards

Similar in name and similar in features, the VentureOne is a "lean" version of the Venture card, also from Capital One. Primarily, the flat rewards rate is lower (1.25 instead of 2 miles per dollar), the sign-up bonus is smaller (20,000 miles instead of 50,000 miles), and the annual fee is lower ($0 instead of $95). Luckily, the VentureOne still retains its big brother's best feature: 10x miles per dollar on hotels booked and paid through hotels.com/venture.

Bottom Line: The little brother of the Venture, with lower cost at the expense of lower rewards.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Best for Overall Value

One of the great perks of achieving a good credit score is the access to highly valuable cards like this one. To begin with, there is a sign-up bonus of 30K points for spending $3,000 in your first 3 months. Additionally, you earn 3X points on purchases in travel, dining, and streaming services like Netflix and Spotify. If you are searching for a strong and versatile card, the Propel ticks all of the right boxes: no annual fee, large sign-up bonus, generous rewards in popular categories, and no foreign transaction fee.

Bottom Line: A must-consider card for anyone who has the credit to qualify for it.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Best for Flat-rate Cash Back

No fuss, no hassle, no annual fee – that's what you get with the Chase Freedom Unlimited. Offering an easily attainable $150 sign-up bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening, and a constant 1.5% cash back on all purchases, the CFU is ideal for those who want to forego the bother of keeping track of rotating categories. Cardholders will also enjoy the flexibility in redemption from Chase's Ultimate Rewards portal.

Bottom Line: The Chase Freedom unlimited card is the leader in flat-rate cash back.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Best for Hotels

Consumers with good credit who are looking for their next credit card should mark this on their short list. With its rewards rate of 10x miles per dollar spent at hotels.com/venture, this credit card is perfect for those who travel frequently, whether for business or leisure. The rewards rate on all other purchases is a robust 2x miles per dollar while the sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles is a healthy dollop to jump start your earnings. The Venture card is well worth its $95 annual fee, but waives it for the first year anyway.

Bottom Line: For all your hotel and lodging purchases, look no further than the Capital One Venture.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Best for Everyday Spending

The Blue Cash Everyday shines the brightest when it is used as a daily driver – that is on ordinary purchases like gas and groceries. We say this because of its fantastic 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets and 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. All that cash back (plus a respectable $150 welcome bonus) is available at an annual fee of $0.

Bottom Line: The BCE is arguably the strongest no-annual-fee option for your "mundane" purchases.

Chase Freedom®

Best for Rotating Rewards

Weighing in at $0, the Chase Freedom card offers a nice $150 sign-up bonus and some of the best rewards around. 5% back on different categories each quarter means you have a variety of ways to quickly build up earnings. If there were a Mount Rushmore of quintessential credit cards, the Freedom would make a strong case for inclusion as one of the great faces.

Bottom Line: The Freedom's robust rewards program makes it a must-have.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

Best for No Annual Fee

The Wells Fargo Platinum card is straightforward – it doesn't come with bells and whistles, nor does it charge any annual fee. While there's no sign-up bonus or lucrative cash rewards, it's still great for helping you to build credit which you can monitor with free online access to your FICO credit score. It does offer some nice secondary perks, such as cell phone protection up to $600 if used to pay your monthly phone bill.

Bottom Line: It may not be the flashiest card, but it gets the job done.

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Best for Bonus Cash Back on U.S. Supermarkets

The Amex EveryDay card is highly versatile and balanced. Its strength lies in its lengthy 0% intro APR period of 15 months (14.74% - 25.74% variable after that) and lower transfer fees, but it also offers some noteworthy rewards. Namely, the 10,000 point welcome bonus and solid rewards rate of 2x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year).

Bottom Line: The Amex EveryDay card strikes an ideal balance between balance transfers and earning rewards.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Card

Best for Bonus Cash

Another fairly straightforward credit card offer, the Capital One Quicksilver provides easy to understand benefits. Its largest value propositions are 1.5% cash back on all purchases, a $150 sign-up bonus that's easy to hit, and no annual fee. You'll also never have to worry about foreign transaction fees, making it a solid card to take on trips abroad.

Bottom Line: Straightforward and sweet with flat-rate cash back and a nice sign-up bonus.


What is good credit?

A "good credit" FICO score is 670-739 out of a range of 300-850, with 850 as the best. With the same scale, a good VantageScore is 700-749.

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, loan rejections and credit cards with inferior rewards can come your way.

Pay attention to your good credit, because within a month, your score can take a hit because of one misstep. 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
Exceptional800-850Excellent750-850
Very Good740-799Good700-749
Good670-739Fair650-699
Fair580-669Poor550-649
Poor300-579Very Poor300-549

What do we know about our credit?

As confident as we feel about our credit, studies show our abilities and knowledge often don't match our perceptions.

For example, Experian found that while 71% of millennials feel confident about their credit knowledge, 32% don't know their credit scores. Also, while they think their generation's debt stands at an average of $26,600, it actually averages almost double that, at $52,200.

Add to that, credit cards lead the pack of millennial debt, not student loans, as might be expected:

Breakdown of millennials' debt...

  •  38%
  • Credit cards
  •  36%
  • Student loans
  •  28%
  • Auto loans
  •  20%
  • Home loans
  •  17%
  • Personal loans
  •  14%
  • Other

Source: Experian millennial credit survey

Cards for good credit often offer excellent rewards, can have superior balance transfer options and are great for building credit. Although cards for excellent credit offer more options, a variety of cards are available for good credit. Here are 4 types of cards, with cards for good credit and no annual fee.

Different types of cards for good credit...

Type of cardCardFeatures
Cash backBlue Cash Everyday3% back on U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000; 2% back on U.S. gas stations, select U.S. department stores; $150 bonus/$1,000 spend in 3 mths (Terms Apply)
Cash back, rotating categoriesDiscover it Cash BackEnroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in rotating categories throughout the year; match cash back at end of first year
TravelCapital One VentureOne Rewards20,000 miles/$1,000 spend in 3 mths; 1.25X miles on every purchase

While cards for good credit may be slightly more limited in choice than those for excellent credit, there are still some great options, as you can see. Not sure if a card for good credit is right for you? Here are the benefits and limitations of cards with good credit:

Benefits and limitations of credit cards for good credit...

Benefits of cards for good creditLimitations of cards for good credit
More choices than bad, fairFewer choices than excellent credit
Don't have to pay a security depositMay not get a luxury card
Fees may be better than cards for bad, fair creditMay need to pay annual fee for greater rewards
Build credit
Excellent rewards

What determines good credit?

Good credit simply means that your score, generated by a scoring model, such as VantageScore or FICO, 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 3 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 long have you had a 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 5 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 15-45 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.

Why should I care about my credit score?

From dating to getting an apartment, it's almost impossible to function in today's world without credit, unless you live off the grid. Here are 7 reasons why you should care about your credit score:

  1. Installment loans. The best known of credit score uses, your credit can impact not only your interest rate but even whether you can get a loan. Credit scores are used by lenders of mortgages, car loans, private student loans and other lending products.
  2. Credit cards. The credit cards with the richest offers typically require good or excellent credit. For example, you can get a rewarding cashback card with no annual fee if your credit is good or excellent.
  3. Apartments. Increasingly, landlords are looking at potential renters' credit before making a call on accepting a lease application. If you have good credit, you are that much more likely to be accepted.
  4. Insurance premiums. An InsuranceQuotes.com study in 2014 shows that if you have poor credit, your home insurance premiums nearly double when compared to excellent credit. In the same way, your auto insurance premium can be affected by your credit.
  5. Cellphone. Your cellphone provider may run a background check to ensure you can meet your obligations.
  6. Employment. Employers are increasingly running background credit checks prior to offering a job. Employers access a different report from that of lenders, and they don't have access to your score. Also, they have to have your approval to pull a report.
  7. Dating prospects. When asked if a credit score could make you think twice about dating someone, 35% of men and 50% of women said yes, according to a Bankrate poll commissioned in May 2017.

What should I look for in a credit card if I have good credit?

From generous sign-up bonuses to great balance transfer offers, cards for good credit abound. Compare the cards you are interested in to decide which has the best options for you. 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?

Comparing sign-up bonuses...

CardAnnual feeSign-up bonusPoint valuation
Capital One Venture Rewards$95, waived first year50,000 miles/$3,000 spend in 3 mths1:1
Capital One VentureOne Rewards$020,000 miles/$1,000 spend in 3 mths1:1
  • Ongoing rewards. Study the points, cash back or miles you would earn when you make purchases on your card.
  • Benefits. Cards that require good or excellent credit often offer benefits such as rental car insurance, free luggage and even annual airline credits.
  • Interest rates. If your priority for your next credit card is a low interest rate, your good credit will help with that. There are a few low-interest cards out there and a number of 0% intro APR offers.
  • Balance transfer. If you need to transfer a balance to a 0% intro APR, look at the length of the offer, and see if you can pay off the debt before the offer ends. Here are 4 that require good credit and have no annual fee:

Comparing interest rates...

CardOfferGo-to rateFeatures
Amex Everyday0% intro APR for 15 months, BT & purchases14.74%-25.74%, variable10,000 points bonus/$1,000 spend in 3 mths; no BT fee within first 60 days; 2X points at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000
Discover it Cash Back0% intro APR for 14 months, BT & purchases13.74%-24.74%, variableEnroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in rotating categories throughout the year; match cash back at end of first year

How many people have good credit?

Credit bureau Experian studied data from scoring model FICO and found that 21.5% of consumers have good credit and 18.2% of consumers have very good credit. Americans with exceptional scores make up 19.9% of the population.

But what do those scores mean for you? Here, we look at the percentage of people with each scoring range and what that score means for them.

Percentages of consumers by credit range...

Credit ScoreRating% of PeopleImpact
300-579Poor17%Credit applicants may be required to pay a fee or deposit, and applicants with this rating may not be approved for credit at all.
580-669Fair20.2%Applicants with scores in this range are considered to be subprime borrowers.
670-739Good21.5%Only 8% of applicants in this score range are likely to become seriously delinquent in the future.
740-799Very Good18.2%Applicants with scores here are likely to receive better than average rates from lenders.
800-850Exceptional19.9%Applicants with scores in this range are at the top of the list for the best rates from lenders.

Source: FICO data, from Experian

How to build and maintain a good credit score

A surprising number of Americans misunderstand what it takes to build a good credit score.

In one Bankrate poll, it was found that 51% believe that accounts with high balances help your score, when actually, high card balances can negatively impact your score. Also, 37% thought you need a balance to build your score. Actually, you want as close to 0% as possible, but you also want to keep the account active with a charge that you pay off each month.

Here's what the Bankrate poll shows:

Consumers' misconceptions of building credit...

  •  51%
  • Believe accounts with high balances help credit
  •  37%
  • Believe you have to carry a balance to improve credit
  •  13%
  • Believe having a short credit history helps your score

Source: Bankrate Money Pulse survey

How to build good credit

Building good credit takes patience and determination, but even the thinnest of files can be improved within a few months.

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 has responsible 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.
  • 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, and 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 takes at least 3 months of credit activity before a credit score can be calculated, and sometimes 6 months, according to Experian's Rod Griffin.

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.

Here's how to rebuild good credit:

  1. Check your credit files. Look for collections, unpaid bills and other issues that can be cleared up. Contact the credit bureaus to correct any inaccuracies. Quickly resolve any problems with creditors, and get in writing that they will contact the credit bureaus with the resolution.
  2. Catch up. Your payment history is your most important aspect of your credit, so it's critical to catch up with any payments and stay on top of them.
  3. Reduce your card balances. The second most important aspect of your credit score is the debt-to-balance ratio, called your utilization ratio. That's why it's so important to keep your balances low.

How to improve from good credit to excellent credit

The difference between good and excellent credit can be the difference between good and great rewards, nice and amazing balance transfer offers, and pretty great and outstanding benefits. You can also get better interest rates, lower insurance rates and other financial advantages.

Once your score hits about 750, know that things start to slow down in terms of score improvement. But there are a few tricks to help your score achieve its best. Here, we look at a few quick tips for maximizing your score and landing an 800 or better.

  • Pay on time. If you have good credit, you are likely already paying in full and on time. Keep it up!
  • Don't close your old cards. This allows you to continue to have high available credit and to keep building your long-term credit. Put a small charge on them each month, paying them off each month.
  • Take out an installment loan. Installment loans include mortgages, car loans and some credit-builder loans. While you don't want to incur unnecessary debt, a small installment loan can give your credit score a little nudge.
  • Avoid taking out multiple cards at once. Stay steady and don't apply for multiple credit cards at once. While a small part of your credit score, applications can drop it to the next tier in a worst-case scenario. One card application can affect your score by about 5 points, whether you are accepted or not.
  • Plan taking out credit. If you know you want to, say, apply for a mortgage soon, keep things low key for several months by not suddenly taking out a card or incurring new debt. Lenders can see sudden changes in your financial habits as a warning sign that you are desperate.
  • Be patient. One element of credit building is time spent building that credit. That's a big reason why a cardholder with great credit habits might have a lower score than a consumer with great credit habits and more years as a card user.

What to do when you have excellent credit

Superior credit opens up the possibilities in terms of better rates and saved money. Once you have excellent credit, there are a few things you'll want to take care of:

  1. Ask for lower rates, higher credit limits. A creditcards.com poll found that of those who asked, a quarter of consumers got an improved credit limit. Of those asking for a lower interest rate, 13% received one. So, it's worth a try.
  2. Upgrade to better credit cards. With excellent credit, you can get improved benefits and richer rewards.
  3. Do a loan and insurance premium checkup. Have your loan officer and insurance agent run the numbers again, because chances are, you qualify for a better rate.

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