Credit Cards for Fair Credit

Credit cards for fair credit target consumers with FICO scores between 580 and 669. These cards lack the splashy rewards of credit cards for good or excellent credit, but they’re a good option for those working to establish or rebuild their credit. You may be hit with an annual fee, a lower credit limit or higher interest rates, but some credit cards for fair credit offer small cashback rewards or bonus programs.

Below, we highlight factors you should consider when evaluating and applying for a credit card for fair credit.

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Featured Cards for Fair Credit

Based on their APRs, fees, rewards and other features, we have selected these cards from as the best for individuals with fair credit from our partners.

Applying For The Right Card

If you have fair credit, your chances for approval are best when you focus on cards made especially for people in your credit range. Unfortunately, credit card applications aren’t always straightforward, so it can be hard to tell which cards are best for your situation.

We’ve made it easy. Sign up for a account to see your Experian credit score (updated every 14 days) and get personalized credit card recommendations based on your credit situation.

What to Look for When Applying

The goal is to work your way up to good or excellent credit, but even within the fair range you have quite a few credit card options. The terms and conditions for credit cards for fair credit can vary widely. Here are a few key things to look out for when reviewing your options.

  • No Fees: Some credit cards for fair credit will have low annual fees, but there are no-fee options in this credit range. Watch out for other fees as well, like application processing or balance transfer fees. Minimize the fees that you’ll be
  • Low Rates: You aren’t doomed to the worst rates when you have a fair credit score. Look for cards with competitive interest rates based on the current trends. The average credit card interest rate is around 17.36% (as of February 28, 2020), so try to stay near that range if you can.
  • Rewards: If rewards are your priority, you may need to take on a higher interest rate. Make sure that the rewards are worth the higher rates if you carry over a balance each month.
  • Reports to Credit Bureaus: In order to build your credit, your timely payments need to be reported to the credit bureaus. Make sure the card you choose reports to at least one of the bureaus—but ideally all three!
  • Path to Upgrade: You don’t want to be stuck with a low credit limit and higher interest rate forever. Look for a card that will grow with you as you improve your credit.
  • Other Features: Many cards will come with other features that can help you continue to improve your credit. Some may offer free access to your credit scores, or email and text alerts to remind cardholders when their payment is due. This can be helpful if you find yourself with fair credit because of difficulty paying your bills on time.

You have options, so don’t settle for just any credit card. Find the one that fits your situation best.

When Is the Best Time to Apply?

A new credit card account can help you build your credit history and raise your credit score. But before doing applying, you should check a few things to ensure that you will have the best chance of being approved.

First, double check your credit score. Make sure that you are considered within the “fair” range of credit scores—generally between 580 and 669. If you’re below those numbers, you might want to work on improving your credit before applying for a new card. You should also make sure that you have any bankruptcies fully discharged, as that will preclude you from being approved for even a secured credit card.

If you already have a credit card, make sure that you have been paying all of your bills on time for at least one year before applying for another card. Make your payments on time each month, and keep your balances low relative to the credit limit, for positive marks on your credit report.

Should You Apply for More Than One?

If you have fair credit, you should avoid applying for multiple credit cards. Each application will initiate a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can drop your score. Plus, managing multiple accounts can make it harder to keep your utilization low and make all your payments on time. The point of a credit card for fair credit is to improve your score, not drop it! Limit your applications by focusing on the best card for you.

What to Do if You’re Rejected

Being rejected isn’t fun, but it isn’t the end of the world. Banks are required to notify you if you’ve been rejected based on information in your credit report—so use this information to improve your future chances of approval! Review the notice they send you and then review your credit report to ensure there are no inaccuracies. If you think there has been a mistake, you can ask for a reconsideration or begin the credit repair process.

If you still are not approved for the card of your choice, it’s best to wait at least six months before reapplying. Use those months to improve the factors on your credit report that kept them from approving you initially. If you use this time to improve your credit standing, you’ll have a higher chance of being approved next time.

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* For complete information, see the terms and conditions on the credit issuer or provider’s website. Once you click “Apply Now”, you will be directed to the issuer or provider’s website where you may review the terms and conditions before applying. While always strives to present the most accurate information, we show a summary to help you choose a product, not the full legal terms - and before applying you should understand the full terms of products as stated by the issuer or provider itself. The offers are provided by third-parties from whom receives compensation. will not call you about any credit application resulting from the above offers, and will not ask you over the phone, via email or otherwise for financial information or other sensitive personal data.

** FICO scores and credit scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any credit offer.

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