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™
- 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, Amazon.com, 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 Credit.com. 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
- 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 +