Some people are lucky enough to stroll through life with excellent credit, while others are stuck trying to rebuild their poor credit. While these two groups enjoy plenty of credit cards designed for their needs, those whose credit falls somewhere in between are often left wondering about options. Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent credit cards for those with fair credit.
What Fair Credit Means
As you’ve probably learned, having fair credit means you aren’t likely to be approved for most high-end rewards cards that offer airline miles, hotel points and other travel benefits. Instead, it’s best to focus on finding a credit card that meets other needs, such as a low interest rate, low fees or basic cash-back rewards. (If you don’t know where your credit stands, you can check your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.)
Here are five credit cards for those with so-so credit.
The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards credit card (reviewed here) offers a competitive 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limits on how much you can earn. Rewards can be redeemed for any amount at any time in the form of a statement credit, a check, gift cards, merchandise or a charitable contribution. New cardholders can also receive a higher credit line after making their first five payments on time. CapitalOne offers new cardholders interest-free financing on new purchases until September 2016 and a standard interest rate of 22.99% Variable APR from then on.
Cardholders also get access to Capital One’s free Credit Tracker app, which shows their credit score and features a what-if simulator to help predict what will happen to their credit score based on possible decisions. The card offers a 20% statement credit whenever it’s used for an Uber ride. There is a $39 annual fee but no foreign transaction fees.
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This Barclaycard offers 2x points on gas, grocery and utility purchases, and one point for every dollar spent elsewhere. Points can be redeemed for statement credits or gift cards starting at 1,000 points for $10 worth. Other benefits include free online FICO credit score access. The standard interest rate is 24.99% Variable APR for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances, but there is no annual fee.
This basic card from Capital One has no annual fee and a standard 24.99% Variable APR. While it doesn’t offer rewards for spending, it features plenty of benefits such as extended warranty coverage, auto rental insurance and price protection. As with other Capital One cards, customers can use the Credit Tracker app and there are no foreign transaction fees. Also, new cardholders can receive a higher credit line after making their first five payments on time.
The Milestone Gold MasterCard is designed to help people build and access credit. It comes in different versions with annual fees between $35 and $99. It also offers a standard interest rate for purchases of 23.9% and a foreign transaction fee of only 1%. Benefits include identity theft resolution service, extended warranty coverage and price protection.
The Credit One Bank Platinum Visa offers 1% cash back on all purchases. The card’s interest rate ranges from 17.9%-23.9% Variable APR, based on the applicant’s creditworthiness. It’s important to note there’s no grace period with this card, even when the statement balance is paid in full, so interest will always be incurred starting on the day of the transaction. This card has a $35 to $75 annual fee the first year, and costs between $35 and $99 afterwards.
At publishing time, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards, Barclay Rewards MasterCard, Capital One Platinum card, Milestone Gold MasterCard and Credit One Bank Platinum Visa with 1% cash back are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
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Note: It's important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards and personal finance since 2008, poring through the terms and conditions of credit card agreements to understand the minutiae of how these products work. His work has appeared on Yahoo, MSN, HuffingtonPost and other major news outlets. In his free time, Jason's a commercial pilot. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in History. More by Jason Steele