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From the Experts at

My Credit’s Fair — Can I Get a Cheap Loan?

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Average Credit Score

Have you worked hard to improve your poor credit, but not sure what you now qualify for with your new “fair credit” status? As someone with fair credit, your credit score lands you between “poor” and “good”. While you have not reached good credit score status, you have improved your credit score enough not to be considered among the poorest credit risks.

What Is a Fair Credit Score?

VantageScore 3.0 and many FICO score models use a credit score range of 300 to 850.  In each, 300 is the lowest credit score, and 850 is the absolute best. Depending on the scoring model being used (and there are dozens out there), if your credit score is in the low- to mid-600s, it is considered fair credit. But let’s break it down a bit further just to be clear. While there are many scoring models out there, these are considered the five major credit tiers:

  • Excellent Credit: 750-plus
  • Good Credit: 700-749
  • Fair Credit: 650-699
  • Poor Credit: 600-649
  • Bad Credit: below 600

Many Americans fall into the “fair”’ credit bucket — in fact, so does America as a whole. According to credit bureau Experian’s 2016 State of Credit report, the nation’s average credit score (based on the VantageScore 3.0 model) is a 673.

Why Is Having Better Credit Important?

Lenders use credit scores to determine the rate to charge you on a loan or credit card, whether to approve you for credit, how much credit to extend you and whether to increase or lower a credit line.

As far as credit score guidelines go, the lower your credit score, the less access you’ll have to credit; or you may qualify, but at a higher interest rate.  Once you reach fair credit status, however, you will have more affordable credit options.

Credit Options for Fair Credit

What can you get with fair credit? A lot, actually. With many mortgages, the minimum credit score required may be 620. And with fair credit, you will qualify for an auto loan as well, so there’s no need to limit your shopping to a “buy here, pay here” lot.

Plus, there are plenty of credit cards that you may qualify for with a fair credit score — although cards with the absolute lowest annual percentage rates (APRs) may still be out of reach. Rewards cards are available with no annual fee and you may even qualify for a credit card with a 0% introductory rate before the higher go-to rate kicks in. In fact, many issuers target fair credit consumers carrying high-interest credit card debts with balance-transfers offers. You can learn more about  balance-transfer credit cards here.

Recommended balance-transfer credit card

Discover it® - Cashback Match™

Apply Now
on Discover's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
0% for 14 months on purchases

Ongoing Apr:
11.74% – 23.74% Variable on purchases & balance transfers

Balance Transfer:
Intro: 0% for 14 months

Annual Fee:

Credit Needed:
Snapshot of Card Features
  • You could turn $200 into $400 with Cashback Match™. Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter like gas stations,, restaurants, wholesale clubs and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.
  • No annual fee.

Card Details +

To find credit cards suited to your fair credit score, sign up to see your credit scores for free on You’ll also be directed to credit card offers for which you are more likely to qualify, as well as receive tips and advice for improving your credit score.

Remember, if you can get to work turning your fair credit into good, you’ll be able to qualify for even more affordable credit options.

Improving Fair Credit

Because payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score, making steady, on-time payments on a mortgage, auto loan or credit card will help to lift your score over time.

Keeping credit card balances low can also benefit your score. Using 10% or less of a credit line is optimal for credit-building. So keep the purchases low and the payments steady on the credit cards that you use.

Recommended card for building on Fair Credit plus earn rewards

Discover it® Secured Card – No Annual Fee

Apply Now
on Discover's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:

Ongoing Apr:
23.74% Variable on purchases & balance transfers

Balance Transfer:
Intro: 10.99% for 6 months

Annual Fee:

Credit Needed:
Poor-Bad-No Credit
Snapshot of Card Features
  • No Annual Fee, cash back on every purchase, and helps you build your credit with responsible use.
  • A security deposit of $200 or more will establish your credit line (up to the amount we can approve). Automatic monthly reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an account with no security deposit.
  • Reports to the three major credit bureaus. Plus, get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.
  • Earn 2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Tools to assist you; email alerts, text reminders and 24/7 customer service.

Card Details +

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  • Steve Trowbridge

    Can your Bank remove Late Payments from your Credit Report?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      You can always ask, but our experience is that it can be difficult to get credit card companies and banks to remove accurate late payments unless there are extenuating circumstances.

      • mjf

        Gerri, when you go to an auto dealer and they run your credit, your thinking 1 hard inquiry..but they shop your credit to 21 banks and everyone of them go on your report for two years and make you look bad..some only count that as 1 hard inquiry, but not all do..transunion counted it as one, equifax out all 21 on there…so that just seems pretty harsh..

        • Gerri Detweiler

          I agree. (Keep in mind that inquiries are reported for two years but only count for one in most scoring systems).

  • Gary Sparks

    It seems that even with overwhelming proof that you are the victim of identity theft and even never having missed a payment on YOUR credit accounts, it is impossible to get negative info removed from your credit reports. Experian is helping me NOW but the other two rate me poorly and just don’t care. Why do they always go for whatthe businesses proclaim as Fact and not consider that they are ruining lives of innocent victims !? Also why do they always seem to find the agency with your ‘erroneous’ lowest fico score when they ddeny your credit ?! Ex. 655 EXPERIAN/ 586 TRANSUNION?! that is a heck of a difference?

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