Q: I would like to get a credit card. I have 3 retail credit cards, a car loan and a personal loan. My credit score is about 628.
Q: I would like to get a credit card. I only have three retail credit cards, and one that has a balance. I have a car loan and a personal loan. My credit score is about 628. I have a fair credit history and reporting. What would be an ideal match for me?
A: Choosing from credit cards for fair credit really depends on the reason you're looking for a new account. Growing your credit score means picking a different account than the best offer for paying off your personal loan.
Based on what you told me, I think you'll find it challenging to get any really good credit card offers until you take some action to improve your credit score. Your 628 could reflect a few things that will keep some of the best credit cards out of reach. The two retail store cards with no balances could throw some instant approval systems for a loop: they think you've got a lot of credit to spare, but they don't necessarily know whether you'll ever again shop at those stores. Unless one of those two accounts is your oldest account on record, I'd cancel them both.
Next, try to pay down that third balance until you're below 10 percent of your credit limit. That will bring you back in line with an acceptable credit utilization range. Your car loan and your personal loan could make you look a little overextended in the eyes of some prospective lenders. I'd check into a few credit cards for fair credit that can help you rehabilitate your credit score.
Remember to check your credit report for errors or omissions. A reported late payment on one of your other lines of credit could prevent you from qualifying for a new credit card.
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