Best Credit Cards for Fair Credit
These credit cards have been selected not only for their rewards or interest rate, but because they are accessible to most Americans. They are specifically designed for cardholders with fair - or average - credit scores and don’t compromise on rewarding their cardholders even if you don’t have perfect credit. Fair credit usually refers to the credit range between 580 and 669.
These cards are great options if you are new to credit or are in the process of building towards a higher credit score. Historically, rewards, high limits, and competitive interest rates were available to only people with excellent credit. Thankfully, that has changed - especially with the emergence of cash flow underwriting - which has ushered in great offers for those with less than perfect credit.
Building Credit Made Easy (and Rewarding!)
You’ll notice these cards offer competitive eye-catching rewards but there is one main benefit that you might not see initially. Opening one of these credit cards can help you build your credit score higher to unlock even more rewarding cards with lower interest rates if you use them responsibly. These cards all report to major credit bureaus automatically to take the paperwork out of improving your creditworthiness.
Some of these cards supplement or even completely make their approval decision based on alternative data such as your income, savings, and spending history instead of a traditional credit score. Using this additional data to determine creditworthiness has resulted in more Americans than ever with access to favorable credit card products.
The Difference Between Credit vs Debit Cards
If you are one of many Americans with fair credit you might be rebuilding your score or new to credit entirely. Either way, you’re likely to have used or still have a debit card. With fair credit, you can take advantage of the benefits of a credit card that are not available to transitional debit cards.
Credit cards are different from debit cards in that you do not need to have the money currently in your bank to pay for a purchase. This is because credit cards extend you a short term loan which you are supported to pay off each month. The size of the loan offered to you is called your credit limit, which ranges depending on a few factors such as your credit score and the credit card you choose to apply for. Accordingly, credit cards are useful to smooth out purchases between paydays and to demonstrate you can responsibly handle access to credit card loans.
The most popular benefit of credit cards that are not found with debit cards are the rewards programs. There are numerous credit cards for fair credit that offer rewards to cardholders on every purchase. Rewards add up quickly and are a great way to save on everyday purchases that you would make anyway. Usually you will redeem these rewards in the form of a statement credit to your account or redeemed with a retailer - like Amazon.
If you’re still not convinced to make the jump from a debit card to credit card consider that most debit cards don’t improve your credit score because you aren’t demonstrating using credit responsibly. Using a credit card and paying off your balance is a sure way to improve your credit score. Improving your score will unlock more great personal financial options available to you such as more rewards, lower interest rates, and larger credit limits.
Most of these offers come with software (or apps) that makes it easy to manage your credit card. Noteworthy features include daily transaction reports, real-time credit limit monitoring, and redeeming your rewards in the app. These portals make it easy to make payments online and even see the monthly change in your credit score. In most cases, you will be able to add your card to mobile wallets to pay for goods and services without having your physical card present. If you still prefer a physical card, you will surely receive this upon approval of your application. Common conveniences for physical cards include contactless payment and temporarily freezing your card if you misplace it.