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.

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

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
Excellent/Good
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Android Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • 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 Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 14.49%-26.49% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions
Apply Now at Wells Fargo's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
0% for 12 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR
0% for 12 months
Regular APR
14.49%-26.49% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Excellent/Good

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Apply Now Credit Needed
Excellent,Good
  • $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%.
  • 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.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply Now at American Express's
secure site
Terms Apply
Purchases Intro APR
0% on Purchases for 12 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR
0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months
Regular APR
14.49%-25.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Credit Needed
Excellent,Good
See Rates & Fees

Discover it® chrome

Discover it® chrome

1,041 customer reviews

Apply Now Credit Needed
Excellent/Good
  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive Free Social Security number alerts— Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • 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

Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express

Apply Now Credit Needed
Good, Excellent
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn a free weekend night award after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer ends 06/27/2018.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply Now at American Express's
secure site
Terms Apply
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Credit Needed
Good, Excellent
See Rates & Fees

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Apply Now Credit Needed
Excellent/Good
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply Now at American Express's
secure site
Terms Apply
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Credit Needed
Excellent/Good
See Rates & Fees

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

Apply Now Credit Needed
Excellent/Good
  • Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 per calendar year for baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, when available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • $0 Intro Annual Fee for the 1st year, then $195.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply Now at American Express's
secure site
Terms Apply
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195.
Credit Needed
Excellent/Good
See Rates & Fees

Citi® Double Cash Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
Excellent/Good
  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.99% - 24.99% based on your creditworthiness*
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*
Apply Now at Citi's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
0% for 18 months*
Regular APR
14.99% - 24.99%* (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0*
Credit Needed
Excellent/Good

Charity Charge World MasterCard® Credit Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
Good/Excellent
  • Donate your cash back to any nonprofit or religious organization of your choice.
  • Earn an unlimited 1% cash back that's automatically donated on your behalf through your everyday purchases.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • An easy way to make a difference (at no cost to you).
  • 100% Tax-Deductible.
  • Low APR between Prime + 6.99%-16.99% dependent on creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee of either $10 or 5% of the amount of each Balance Transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Receive all the benefits of a World MasterCard such as: extended warranty, MasterCard global service, concierge services, ID theft protection, price guarantee, and many more exclusive services.
  • Chip and Apple Pay enabled.
Apply Now at Charity Charge's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
1.99% for 6 monthly billing cycles
Balance Transfers Intro APR
1.99% for 6 monthly billing cycles
Regular APR
11.24%-21.24% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Credit Needed
Good/Excellent

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
Excellent Credit
  • Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn points on employee spending
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No blackout dates when you redeem points, no seat restrictions, bags fly free®, and no change fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
Apply Now at Chase's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$99
Credit Needed
Excellent Credit

Comparing Credit Card Offers for Good Credit

Updated: May 23, 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.


CreditCards.com's Best Credit Cards for Good Credit of 2018: Ratings and Reviews

Best For:CardCreditCards.com RatingAnnual FeeReward Rate
Low InterestDiscover it® Cashback Match™4.1 / 5$0Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in various categories throughout the year
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
Simple Travel RewardsCapital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card3.6 / 5$01.25 miles per dollar on every purchase
Anniversary BonusHSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit cardN/A$1501.5% cash rewards on every purchase
No Annual FeeWells Fargo Platinum Visa® CardN/A$0N/A
Rotating RewardsChase Freedom®3.4 / 5$05% on quarterly rotating categories
Bonus CashCapital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card3.5 / 5$01.5%
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

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® Cashback Match™

Best for Low Interest

As a credit card with rotating rewards categories that earn 5% cash back, the Discover it Cashback Match 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.

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 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.

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 through hotels.com/venture.

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

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

Best for Anniversary Bonus

The HSBC Cash Rewards card finds itself in good company among credit cards that offer unlimited 1.5% cash back and a $150 sign-up bonus. However, it manages to stand out with an offer that few cards can boast: a 10% anniversary bonus on all cash rewards earned throughout the year. In addition to rewarding cardholder loyalty, the HSBC Cash Rewards card can also claim versatility with decent interest rates, protection against unauthorized purchases, no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

Bottom Line: A jack of all trades, the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard stands out with its 10% anniversary bonus.

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.

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.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for Bonus Cash

Another fairly straightforward credit card offer, the Capital One Quicksilver lives up to its "Cash Rewards" name. 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.

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 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.


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
Balance transferChase Slate0% intro APR for 15 mths/purchases & balance transfers (then 16.49% - 25.24% Variable); no BT fee if BT within 60 days
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 Cashback MatchEnroll 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 & purchases14.49%-25.49%, 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 Cashback Match0% intro APR for 14 months, BT & purchases13.49%-24.49%, 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
Chase Slate0% intro APR for 15 months, BT & purchases16.49%-25.24%, variableNo BT fee within first 60 days
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards0% intro APR for 15 months, BT & purchases14.49%-24.49%, variable$150 bonus/$500 spend in 3 mths; 1.5% back on every purchase

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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