Not everyone has a pristine credit record and that is fine. Whatever the reason may be that you have fair (or average) credit, you can definitely work on improving it. With the right credit card for people with fair credit, you’ll be on your way to qualifying for some of the best credit cards on the market.
Why you should get a credit card for those with fair credit:
- You are ready to upgrade from a secured credit cards.
- You have difficulty qualifying for cards that require good credit.
- You are just starting to build credit.
Understandably, credit cards for people with fair credit tend to have annual fees, higher APRs and lower credit limits. There is no standard credit score range for what counts as “fair credit,” but we’re designating that credit level to credit scores that range from 550 to 640. You’re also likely to fall under this category if you have little to no credit history.
The following analysis of credit cards cater to this credit score range — MyBankTracker selected the best fair-credit credit cards that you should definitely consider:
1. Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® for Average Credit
Apply for this card if: You want the best overall fair-credit credit card.
Earn rewards and pay no annual fee. How can you say “no” to that? The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard stands above the other cards because of those two features.
You’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on gas, groceries and utilities while all other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent. There is no limit to your rewards earnings and they can be redeemed for statement credit, gift cards and merchandise. Again, remember that you are not paying an annual fee — many other fair-credit credit cards require an annual fee.
The most notable downside to the card is the variable APR of 24.99%. But, that shouldn’t be a problem if you are paying off your balance in full every month.
Think about it, a credit card that offers decent rewards and has no annual fee can easily call for people with excellent credit. The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCards has those benefits, but it welcomes applicants with average credit — that’s why we selected it as our top recommendation for people with average credit.
- Pros: No annual fee; offers rewards
- Cons: High regular APR
2. Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Apply for this card if: You want to earn to a good amount of cash back and build credit at the same time.
It’s hard to argue with cash back — we believe it is the most versatile form of credit card rewards. Even with average credit, you are able to earn decent cash back through the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card.
You’re looking at unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — a simple, yet generous, cash back program for the minimalist in you.
The caveat is the $39 annual fee, which isn’t that bad. If you spend $2,600 during the year, you would have earned enough cash back to offset that cost.
And, since the card meant for those with average credit, you can expect to start with a relatively low credit limit. Luckily, however, Capital One will raise your credit limit after making your first 5 monthly payments on time.
As you continue to use the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card responsibly, your credit will improve. Over time, you’ll be able to update to the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which pretty much offers the same features — without the $39 annual fee.
- Pros: Offers cash back; no balance transfer fee
- Cons: Has an annual fee
3. Capital One® Platinum Credit Card
Apply for this card if: You’re coming off a secured credit card and want to continue improving your credit.
So you’re ready to graduate from your secured credit card, which you’ve been using to build credit. The Capital One® Platinum Credit Card is ideal for the job because of its no-frills features and free balance transfers.
Once you are approved for the card, you can transfer your balance over for free — watch out though, the card’s 24.9% APR kicks in immediately. The card does have a $19 annual fee, waived for the first year, but it is very likely to be less than the annual fee on a secured credit card.
After the first five on-time monthly payments, Capital One will give you access to a larger credit line. It’ll help to boost your credit scores even more.
- Pros: No balance transfer fee
- Cons: Has an annual fee
4. Discover it® for Students
Apply for this card if: You are a college student looking to begin building credit.
Dear students, you’re going to have a tough time getting a regular credit card when you have nearly no credit history. Fortunately, there’s the Discover it® for Students cash back credit card.
It is not commonly classified as a fair-credit credit card, but the card is designed for students with a fair or limited credit history.
Discover it® for Students is extremely fee-friendly: there’s no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee and no late fee on the first late payment. You won’t even get a penalty APR for paying late.
To juice up the benefits even more, you’ll earn 5% cash back after you sign up on certain categories that rotate quarterly (bonus cash back limits may apply). And, all other purchases earn 1% cash back. A free FICO® Credit Score is available online and on monthly statements to help you keep track of improvements in your credit.
The entire package presented by the Discover it® for Students card is fitting for the college student lifestyle, which is why it is our top choice for students looking to build credit.
- Pros: No annual fee; earns cash back
- Cons: Must be a college student to qualify
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