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Credit cards for fair credit
Earn cash back, make balance transfers and save money on interest.
The better cards for fair credit are still either secured cards or unsecured with a small annual fee. If you improve your credit score, you can eventually graduate to an unsecured card or a card with no annual fee.
Compare credit cards for fair credit
How is a credit score determined?
Creditors use the FICO score with a range from 300 to 850 to determine your creditworthiness. Here are the five factors that are taken into account:
- Payment history
- Debt-to-credit utilization
- Length of credit history
- Credit mix
- New credit
What is considered fair credit?
Fair credit ranges between 580 and 669 FICO. This is the middle ground between poor and good credit score, meaning you can get slightly better credit cards than poor credit, but you still need to work hard and improve your score if you want to get the best credit cards.
Types of credit cards for fair credit
While fair credit doesn’t offer the same number of options as good or excellent credit, you can still find some cards that reward you for good spending habits or for spending on certain categories, such as gas. With fair credit, you can apply for:
Unsecured cards for fair credit
Card issuers often provide secured cards for bad and fair credit with the goal to help you build your credit score and eventually graduate to an unsecured card. However, with fair credit, you get access to unsecured cards from the start, albeit not as good as if you had a higher credit score.
There are three unsecured cards for fair credit that stand out from the competition:
Average line of credit you’ll get with credit cards for fair credit
Unsecured cards for fair credit offer a minimum credit line between $300 and $500. This is what most cardholders will start with.
|Minimum credit limit|
|Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card||$300|
|Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®||$300|
|Milestone® Gold Mastercard®||$300|
|Reflex Mastercard® Credit Card||$500|
|Surge Mastercard® Credit Card||$500|
How to use a credit card for fair credit
Credit cards for fair credit are often used as a stepping stone to a better card. But to get there, you must first improve your credit score. Here’s how to use your card to build credit:
- Make sure your card reports to the credit bureaus. This is important. If it doesn’t report to the three major credit bureaus, building your credit may be impossible.
- Pay on time. Always pay your balance before it’s due. This will show future creditors that you can manage your payments.
- Don’t use your entire credit line. This is a tough one, especially if you only own only one card with a $300 credit limit. In this situation, try to charge recurring subscriptions with this card, such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. This should be enough to show you are using your card but you’re not spending your entire credit limit.
- Monitor your credit score. Some of these cards give you access to your credit score. Uses it to track your progress or to catch inaccuracies.
When will my score improve?
It usually takes a few months to see your credit score improve. To be on the safe side, give it six months to a year. But you have to use your card responsibly to see the improvement.
Fair credit is a step up from bad credit and provides access to slightly better credit cards. But if you want to improve your credit and get the best available credit cards, get a card with minimal fees and use your card responsibly.
Before you apply for a card, make sure you compare your credit card options to make the right choice for you.
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