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Compare credit cards for fair credit

Earn cash back, make balance transfers and save money on interest.

Having a fair credit score won’t stop you from getting a good credit card, though your options may not be as varied or exciting as they might be if you had a good or excellent score. Compare your options using our table. Narrow your choices by selecting the "Show filters" and search by products that fit your credit score range and have features that will benefit you.

Name Product Filter values Rewards Annual fee Purchase APR
Capital One Platinum Credit Card
Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Capital One Platinum Credit Card
26.99% variable
A no-annual-fee card for average credit. Earn a higher credit line after five on-time payments.
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
1.5% cash back on all purchases
26.99% variable
Get unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no limit on how much you can earn, and no changing categories.
Deserve® Edu Card
Deserve® Edu Card
1% cash back on all purchases
18.74% variable
Designed for college students to build credit history and earn rewards.
Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
Finder Rating: 3.9 / 5: ★★★★★
Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
1% cash back on all purchases, 1.25% for months you pay on time
26.99% variable
Earn 1% cash back on all purchases or get 1.25% cash back for months you pay on time.
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Finder Rating: 4 / 5: ★★★★★
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
17.39% variable
Apply for this card with no credit check if you're new to credit or have bad credit.

Compare up to 4 providers

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:

What is the easiest credit card to get with fair credit?

Secured cards are often easiest to get. Since you’re putting a deposit to act as collateral and as your credit limit, banks will be more inclined to approve your application.

Is it easier to build my credit with a secured or an unsecured card?

It depends. Both types can be used to build your credit, but unsecured cards often come with higher fees. If you tend to carry your balance, or if you want to pay a lower annual fee, consider secured cards.

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$300
Surge Mastercard® Credit Card$300
Upgrade Cash Rewards 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.

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.

Bottom line

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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