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Looking to level up your credit game but have a fair or average credit score? Don’t fret! We’ve sifted through the credit card landscape to uncover the best options specifically designed for individuals in your credit range.
Whether you’re working on rebuilding your credit or aiming to strengthen it further, this comprehensive guide showcases credit cards that offer reasonable terms, potential rewards, and opportunities for responsible credit-building. Get ready to unlock the door to better financial opportunities and pave the way towards an improved credit future. Let’s dive in and discover the perfect credit card match for your fair or average credit score
|Name||Best For||Purchase Rate APR||Annual Fee||Rewards|
|Capital One Platinum Mastercard||Best for people with a limited credit history||29.99% variable APR||$0||N/A|
|Discover It Student Chrome||Students with fair credit score||0% APR for 6 months: 17.99% – 26.99% variable APR||$0||2% cashback on restaurants and gas|
1% cashback on all other purchases
Unlimited cashback match at the end of the first year
|Capital One Quicksilver OneRewards||Earning cashback with fair credit||29.99% variable APR||$39 Annual Fee||Unlimited 1.5% cashback on all purchases|
|Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card||Customizable cashback categories||27.99% variable APR||$0 Annual Fee|
*Security deposit required; refundable in some cases
|3% cashback on your chosen category|
2% cashback on grocery stores and wholesale clubs
Unlimited 1% cashback on all other purchases
Capital One Platinum MasterCard
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Teens, young adults, and people who have never had a credit card before often have a lower credit score simply because they have less credit history. Responsible use of a credit card can build your score relatively quickly.
Capital One offers a line of cards with a straightforward path to improving your credit score. While the Platinum card doesn’t come with a rewards program, it also doesn’t charge an annual fee. If you don’t mind the fee and want to earn cashback, check out their Quicksilver line of cards instead.
Capital One reconsiders its cardholders for a higher credit limit automatically after only 6 months, making this a good card for a young person or someone with little credit history in their own name.
Account management tools like autopay and texted account alerts help you avoid damage to your credit score by forgotten or late payments.
If you are carrying credit card debt on other cards, you can also transfer it onto the Platinum MasterCard.
Discover It Student Chrome Card
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Students with a fair credit score should consider the Discover IT Student Chrome Card. Applicants do not need a credit score and can build (or re-build) a solid credit history while earning rewards and paying no annual fee. Applicants DO need to provide proof of education when applying.
The cashback rewards make the Discover card a perennial favorite. Students automatically earn 2% cashback on purchases at restaurants and gas stations on the first $1,000 they spend each quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cashback.
Cardholders can decide if they want the cash back applied to their account balance or deposited into their bank account. Students can also earn statement credit for referring friends who are then approved for a card.
As a one-time bonus, Discover matches all the cashback that cardholders earned at the end of the first year. So, if you received $100 cash back, Discover will give you an additional $100 once you’ve had the card for one year.
Capital One Quicksilver OneRewards
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If you plan to use your credit card for most of your regular purchases and build credit by keeping the balance paid, then the Capital One Quicksilver OneRewards card might be a good pick for you.
This card offers 1.5% cashback on all purchases. There is no cap. You can use your account management dashboard to decide how you want to apply the cashback – either as a statement credit or a check a couple of times a year.
The OneRewards card does charge a $39 annual fee. If you plan to use it for plenty of purchases, though, the cashback could likely cover this fee.
Overall, this is a good card for those with fair credit who want a straightforward cashback program that doesn’t vary among lots of different categories.
Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card
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Some people spend significantly more in one category. Bank of America offers a credit card open to those with fair credit.
Customers choose a “top category” to learn 3% cashback: gas, restaurants, home improvement, online shopping, drug stores, or travel. Grocery and wholesale stores earn 2% cashback, and all other categories earn 1%.
This is a secured credit card, which means a security deposit is required to open the account. Amounts range between $200 and $5,000. In some cases, the deposit can be refunded after periodic review of your financial history, including other credit cards you may own.
While the deposit may be a barrier to entry for some, the Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card charges a $0 annual fee and carries a fairly low APR, at 27.99% variable APR.
Ready to learn more? Take a look at our guide on the best 0 APR credit cards.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What counts as fair credit?
According to FICO, 580-669 is considered a “fair” score, meaning it’s below average compared to other borrowers, but many lenders will still approve loans or credit cards with a score in this range.
Do instant approval credit cards exist with fair or average credit?
Yes, many credit cards offer instant approval. The process will still often take several days as lenders look up your financial history. The “instant approval” just means that you will get a quick review of your application. You will need to wait to use your new credit card until it arrives in the mail, which can sometimes take a couple of weeks.
Which credit card is recommended for those with fair credit?
Many top credit card companies – including Discover, American Express, Bank of America, and Capital One – will still approve someone with fair credit.
Credit card companies take multiple factors into account when considering a credit card application, including your income, other credit cards, college enrollment status in the case of students, and monthly expenses.
What is the timeframe required to establish fair credit?
If you’re starting from scratch, it takes between 3-6 months to get a credit score established, and closer to a year to build your credit into the fair-to-good range. Of course, you need to make all payments on time and use your card regularly. You won’t build credit if you just let your card sit in a drawer.
If you are rebuilding your credit after a few missteps, it will take a longer to reach the “fair” status and require you to monitor your credit usage much more closely.