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Best credit cards for fair credit of September 2021

With responsible use, the right credit card – and yes, there are plenty of excellent options for fair credit scores from our partners – can help you move your average credit score into the excellent range and open up even more options for rewards, perks and features.
Brooklyn Lowery, CardRatings Senior Manager Last Updated, September 23, 2021
best credit cards for fair credit

TOP CREDIT CARDS FOR FAIR CREDIT

You obviously want excellent terms for your credit cards, but, unfortunately, your credit score doesn't quite make it into the "excellent" range (yet!). These days, credit scores dictate most offers from reputable lending institutions, with a few tiered categories in which you can fall: excellent, good, fair/average and poor/bad/limited/no credit. If you fall into the fair/average range, don't give up hope on a getting a decent credit card!

There are some superb options out there and with responsible use you could do some good for your score overall and soon find yourself qualifying for even better offers. Here are CardRatings' picks for the top credit cards for people with fair/average credit.

BEST CASH-BACK CREDIT CARD FOR FAIR CREDIT

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
This card is great because there are no categories; you earn cash back with every purchase. If you don't qualify for Capital One's very best offer, the bank's system will suggest one or two similar deals, though often those will have higher finance charges.

The Bonus: Once you've established a solid payment history with the bank you can request credit line increases, new features or even check to see if you qualify for an even better offer.

The Rewards: Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no categories, caps or deadlines to consider. Your cash back doesn't expire as long as your account remains open.

The Annual Fee: $39

Credit Needed: Average, Fair, Limited

PROS:

  • As far as annual fees go, this one is quite reasonable for the rewards you'll be able to earn with a Fair credit score.
  • Includes some nice features that often come with credit cards, and are nice to have, like travel accident insurance, roadside assistance and an extended warranty protection plan.
  • Capital One will automatically consider you for a higher credit limit in as little as six months.

CONS:

  • There's a $39 annual fee? (That's right. We're listing the annual fee as both a pro and a con.) Sure, it's reasonable (a pro), but there are no-annual-fee options for Fair credit.
  • There's no big and glorious welcome bonus to see here. Actually, there's no welcome bonus at all.

Read our full Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 86.6 Did not survey
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.4 n/a
Customer Service 8.8 n/a
Website/App Usability 8.9 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.3 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.9 n/a

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR NO CREDIT HISTORY

4
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Not only is this cash-back rewards card available to people with fair/average credit, you actually don't have to have any credit history for approval. Plus, it encourages responsible credit card use by offering you a higher rewards rate after making 12 on-time payments.

The Bonus: It's not a traditional bonus, but if you make 12 on-time payments you'll start earning 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases instead of the standard 1%. Furthermore, you can earn 2% to 10% cash back when you use your card with select merchants.

The Rewards: Earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases. You can increase that percentage to 1.5% cash back by making 12 payments on time.

The Annual Fee: $0

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good, Limited History, No History, Limited, No Credit

PROS:

  • It has a higher than normal credit limit, from $500 to $10,000, though it is extremely unlikely many cardholders will qualify close to $10,000. But it's possible.
  • Earning 1% cash back on your eligible purchases is pretty good, but this card encourages paying your bills responsibly by offering you 1.5% back after you make 12 payments on time.
  • It has some perks (which is pretty unusual for a credit card aimed at people with no credit), such as free credit score tracking, auto rental collision insurance, theft coverage and roadside dispatch.

CONS:

  • You can't use this card for cash advances, which are expensive, anyway, so honestly, you could and should see this as a plus.
  • The APR is fairly high, which isn't unusual for a card for Fair to no credit history. Just commit to not carrying a balance and this won't be a problem for you.
  • There isn't a big welcome bonus, which is pretty standard for a credit card designed for people with little credit history, but still, that may make you want to look around and see if you can find another credit card that you would prefer more.

Read our full Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 68.4 Did not survey
Features Satisfaction 6.7 n/a
Customer Service 6.9 n/a
Website/App Usability 6.6 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 7.3 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.2 n/a

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST STUDENT CASH-BACK CREDIT CARD FOR FAIR CREDIT

4
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One gives students both the chance to build credit and to earn cash back rewards for making purchases. So it rewards good behavior and in theory, that should help new cardholders develop lifelong financial habits that can keep them in good stead with lenders. (Just don't carry a balance if you can help it; the card has a 26.99% (Variable) APR). Capital One can help remind you to pay things off, though. With this card, you can set up your account so that you receive text alerts and email reminders to help you keep track of your spending.

The Bonus: Considered for a higher line of credit in as little as six months.

The Rewards: The cash back rate is 1% on all purchases, and it's unlimited. However, when you pay your monthly bill on time, you'll earn 1.25% back on all purchases instead. Also earn $5 per month for 12 months on select streaming subscriptions when you pay on time.

The Annual Fee: $0

Credit Needed: Average, Fair, Limited

PROS:

  • If you're traveling anywhere and lose your card or run out of money or something else goes wrong, you can call travel assistance services. They can get you money, send you a replacement card, talk to you for awhile until you no longer feel homesick...
  • No annual fee, which is always appreciated.
  • You get to pick the due date that you want to make your payments on. This is not a standard feature on every credit card (but it should be), and so it's definitely a nice little perk.

CONS:

  • The rewards are great, but there's no big welcome bonus to make you feel, well, welcome.
  • It's a card for students, so if that isn't you, you'll need to keep looking for a card to help you build your credit.

Read our full Journey Student Rewards from Capital One review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 80.9 80.6
Rewards Program Satisfaction 7.9 7.9
Customer Service 8.3 8.0
Website/App Usability 8.3 8.0
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.4 8.4
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.1 8.2

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST 0% INTRO APR CREDIT CARD FOR FAIR CREDIT

4
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
This card is full of perks. To start, you can earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically. And all of this comes with no annual fee.
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • Earn rewards while building your credit history that can help you after graduation. And, get your free Credit Scorecard that includes your FICO® Credit Score and important details that help make up your score.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Refer-a-Friend: Once you become a Discover it® Student cardmember, you can earn a statement credit each time you refer a friend and they're approved. Over half a million students got Discover Cards from their friends' recommendations.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 12.99% - 21.99% applies.
See More

PROS:

  • If somehow your Social Security number winds up on one of the websites in the Dark Web or other questionable places online, Discover will alert you as part of the included monitoring of your Social Security number. It's the kind of feature that's easy to overlook – until the day it saves you from an identity theft nightmare.
  • You'll be happy to see that there is no annual fee, but there are still decent rewards and even a potentially substantial bonus opportunity.
  • And if you go crazy with your spending and over the card's limit, there is no over limit fee.

CONS:

  • Being Discover, the card isn't as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercard, and so that may be frustrating to you occasionally, but Discover it regularly expanding its network, so this really may never be an issue.
  • The cash back bonus opportunity is impressive (and as lucrative as you want it to be), but for impatient cardholders, you might be frustrated that you have to wait a year to get it rather than getting something big in the first few months.

Read our full Discover it® Student Cash Back review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 82.4 83.0
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.2 8.3
Customer Service 8.2 8.1
Website/App Usability 8.3 8.2
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.8 8.8
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.1 8.3

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST NO-ANNUAL-FEE CREDIT CARD FOR FAIR CREDIT

4
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
Sometimes finding a card for average or fair credit can feel like all you're doing is settling for more fees and fewer services or perks; with this card, there's no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and the opportunity to gain access to a higher credit limit fairly quickly with responsible use.

The Bonus: There's not a traditional bonus with this card, but you can gain access to a higher credit limit in as little as six months. You could consider that a bonus for good behavior of sorts.

The Rewards: You won't earn rewards, but you will have a card that allows you to rebuild your credit with responsible use and without paying loads of fees or even a security deposit. Use it responsibly and you could find yourself in a position to qualify for a rewards card at some point in not-too-distant future.

The Annual Fee: $0

Credit Needed: Average, Fair, Limited

PROS:

  • You can change the monthly due date by up to 15 days so that it better aligns with your paychecks or other bills.
  • Feel free to travel internationally with this card. There are no foreign transaction fees to worry about.
  • Obviously, you don't want to reach your limit on any credit card, but should that happen, Capital One doesn't charge an over-the-limit fee.

CONS:

  • This is not a credit card you get for the rewards (because there are none) but rather one you get to use responsibly and build your credit.
  • There isn't an exciting welcome bonus either.
  • This is also not a card you would want to carry a balance on for long as it charges a pretty high APR, which isn't uncommon for credit cards available to those with fair credit. Still, it's something ot be aware of.

Read our full Capital One Platinum Credit Card review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 81.7 Did not survey
Features Satisfaction 8.1 n/a
Customer Service 8.2 n/a
Website/App Usability 8.2 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.6 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.1 n/a

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR FAIR CREDIT WITH FIXED PAYMENTS

4
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
One of the toughest things to get a handle on when it comes to credit cards is how interest can compound and quickly turn a manageable molehill of a balance into an impossible mountain of debt. This card helps cardholders avoid that scenario with a payment schedule of regular fixed payments.

The Bonus: There's no traditional bonus available with this card, but you could consider the bonus the fact that responsible use can lead to a higher credit score.

The Rewards: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on your purchases when you make your payments.

The Annual Fee: $0

Credit Needed: Fair

PROS:

  • There's the possibility of a very low APR for cardholders with excellent credit. If your credit history is mediocre to terrible, though, you'll likely have a higher APR, but still enjoy the regular payments feature of this card.
  • This card gives you access to a line of credit instead of a traditional credit card credit limit. That's what enables the system of fixed regular payments rather than differing payments based on your spending each month.
  • Because this is a line of credit, you can transfer money directly to a bank account for withdrawal and not incur a cash advance fee.

CONS:

  • There's no way to get cash from an ATM as with a traditional cash advance. You'll need to transfer the money to your bank account and then take a withdrawal if that's what you choose to do. The good news is that you won't incur cash advance fees as you would with a traditional card.
  • The rewards are nice, but not stellar. Shop around if you're looking primarily for a rewards card.

Read our full Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards review.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 80.1 Did not survey
Features Satisfaction 8.0 n/a
Customer Service 8.0 n/a
Website/App Usability 8.2 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.4 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.7 n/a

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST CREDIT CARD FOR MILITARY MEMBERS WITH FAIR CREDIT

5
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
A strong cash rewards setup and no foreign transaction fees for people with Fair credit.

The Bonus:  Earn a $150 cash back bonus when you spend $2,000 in the first 90 days of account opening.

The Rewards: Earn 1.5% cash back on all your purchases.

Annual Fee: $0

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good, Fair

PROS:

  • Pay no foreign transaction, balance transfer, cash advance or annual fees.
  • The perks are really nice, like the cell phone insurance, which ranges from $250 to $600 worth of insurance for up to three phones. You do, of course, have to pay for your phone service with this credit card.

CONS:

  • Well, if you get excited about getting this card, and you then realize you need to be a member of the Navy Federal Credit Union, you will be disappointed and consider this membership rule a strike against the card.
  • As with any flat-rate rewards card, if maximizing rewards earning is your priority, you'll do better with a tiered or rotating categories card (probably alongside a flat-rate rewards card).
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 90.2 Did not survey
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.9 n/a
Customer Service 9.2 n/a
Website/App Usability 9.1 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 9.4 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 9.0 n/a

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST SECURED CREDIT CARD FOR FAIR CREDIT

4
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It:
: This card allows you to build or rebuild your credit, but doesn't lock you into a specific refundable security deposit. You can choose what amount to deposit and establish your credit limit from $200-$3,000.

The Rewards: The reward is the opportunity to build your credit, but still have some flexibility with your security deposit. Use the card responsibly and you could go a long way toward increasing your credit score into a new tier, opening up a whole new range of credit card offers.

The Annual Fee: $35

Credit Needed: Fair/Poor/Bad/No Credit

PROS:

  • While this isn't a card known for having a lot of perks (it's primary purpose is helping you build a better credit score or hisotry with responsible use), your card does come with auto rental insurance.
  • There's no credit check required for your to apply.
  • The variable APR is decent for a secured credit card. Sure, we've seen lower APRs on credit cards in general, but we've also seen much higher.

CONS:

  • You probably wouldn't want to travel far (internationally) with this card. There is a 3% foreign transaction fee.
  • While the annual fee isn't high, you will have to pay that in addition to the security deposit. There are secured cards available that don't charge an annual fee.
  • You definitely don't want to apply for this card, get accepted and then stop using it for a long period of time. After 12 months of no activity, you'll get a $10 inactive account fee (every month!).

Read our full OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card review,.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 73.5 76.4
Features Satisfaction 7.3 7.7
Customer Service 7.3 7.6
Website/App Usability 7.3 7.6
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 7.9 7.9
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.3 7.5

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

WHAT IS CONSIDERED FAIR CREDIT? WHAT IS AVERAGE CREDIT?

It depends on which credit score model you're referring to. FICO credit scores are popular with many lenders, and the company says a score between 580-669 is considered fair. There are also scores available from VantageScore, a newer company that uses a slightly different scoring model. VantageScore credit scores of 601-660 are considered fair, according to the credit reporting company Experian. You can learn more about the differences between FICO and VantageScore here.

The average credit score in the United States falls into the good category, according to Equifax, another credit scoring company. It says the average score in 2021 is 698 using the VantageScore 3.0 model. Meanwhile, the average FICO score in 2020 was 710, Experian says.

CAN I GET A CREDIT CARD WITH FAIR CREDIT?

Yes, several credit card companies offer cards to those with fair credit. While you may not be able to get some of the most popular rewards or travel cards, there are many options from which to choose.

If your score is on the lower end, you may need to get a secured credit card. A secured card requires a deposit that is often equal to your initial credit line. While that may seem unappealing, a secured credit card can be a useful tool to raise your credit score and open the door to better cards in the future.

However, many people with fair credit scores can be approved for unsecured cards which do not require a deposit. Some of these cards are designed with students in mind while others have benefits that anyone might find valuable.

There are even some rewards credit cards available to those with average or fair credit. For instance, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases and the Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card provides 1% cash back.

Credit cards for those with fair credit can come with annual fees or high interest rates though, so just be aware of this. While it's best to pay off what you charge each month, if you think you'll be carrying a balance, you might want to consider an intro 0% APR card instead.

HOW A CREDIT CARD HELPS YOU IMPROVE FAIR CREDIT

There are several different reasons why you may have fair credit. Maybe you went through a period in which you missed payments or perhaps you don't have much credit history from which to build a score. Either way, a credit card can help - but only if you are smart about its use.

A significant part of your credit score is making debt payments on time, and by opening a new credit card account, you can establish a pattern of timely payments. This can help boost your score regardless of whether it is low because you lack a credit history or previously missed payments.

For those with maxed out credit cards, adding a new card can improve your credit utilization ratio too. This refers to how much of your available credit you have used. Ideally, you should keep balances below 30% of your total available credit. If you are above that amount, opening a new account can help reduce the percentage - but only if you don't carry a balance on the new card.

In order to see a benefit from your new card, you need to use it responsibly. That means charging only what you can pay off and making payments on time each month.

WHAT ARE THE BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR FAIR CREDIT?

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the best credit cards for fair credit. CardRatings experts rank this card at the top not only because it’s designed for those with fair or average credit scores, but also because it comes with a rewards program of a flat rate of 1.5% cash back on all of your purchases. Plus, you could qualify for a credit limit increase in as little as six months. This card, however, has an annual fee of $39, which is at the higher end of annual fees on credit cards for people with fair credit.

If you want to avoid paying an annual fee and have a fair credit score, the best credit card for you might be the Capital One Platinum Credit Card. You won’t earn any rewards or extra bonuses with this card, but you also won’t pay an annual fee.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE APPLYING FOR A CREDIT CARD

While a credit card can help boost your credit score in the long run, your score might take a hit initially. Credit card applications require a "hard inquiry" for a lender to review your credit report. These inquiries can drop your credit score by a few points, depending on the scoring model used.

What's more, be aware that a number of hard inquiries in a short period of time on your credit report can be a red flag for some issuers and may result in a denial. Rather than submit applications for a number of cards, be selective and apply only to those cards that meet your needs and fit your credit profile.

HOW TO CHOOSE A CREDIT CARD FOR FAIR CREDIT

If you have fair credit, there are a couple factors that will be especially important to you. Consider the following before applying:

  • Secured vs. Unsecured Cards: Some credit cards for fair credit are secured. That means you must pay a security deposit, and your credit limit will only be as much as the deposit. While that may not sound ideal, it's easier to gain approval for a secured card than an unsecured card.
  • APR: Cards for those with fair credit often have high APRs so look for the lowest rate possible if you think you'll carry a balance. Of course, if you pay off your balance each month, you won't have to worry as much about the interest rate.
  • Rewards: At one time, rewards were reserved only for those with good or excellent credit. Now, even those with fair credit can find cards that offer rewards. Some, like the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, offer cash back that is comparable with what you'll find on cards for those with higher credit scores.

WHAT TO AVOID WITH CREDIT CARDS FOR FAIR CREDIT

You want to avoid cards with high fees or interest, particularly if you're trying to get back on your feet financially. Carrying a balance on a high interest credit card can make it very hard to get out of debt.

Also, pay attention to annual fees. Many of the best credit cards for fair credit don't charge an annual fee, but some do. Make sure the fee is worth any benefits or rewards you receive.

Once your approved for a card, avoid doing the following:

  • Charging more than you can afford
  • Making late payments

Both of these things can make it difficult to get out of debt and can have a negative impact on your credit score.

WHAT FACTORS AFFECT YOUR CREDIT SCORE?

FICO uses five categories of information to create its standard credit scores. Here's a look at each factor and the percentage by which it is weighted within a score:

  • Payment history: 35%
  • Amounts owed: 30%
  • Length of credit history: 15%
  • Mix of credit types: 10%
  • New credit accounts: 10%

VantageScore doesn't provide percentages for its model but says VantageScore 4.0 scores are influenced by the following:

  • Extremely influential: Total credit usage, balance and available credit
  • Highly influential: Credit mix and experience
  • Moderately influential: Payment history
  • Less influential: Age of credit history
  • Less influential: New accounts

TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR CREDIT

Improving your credit score isn't complex, but it can take time. Try the following tips:

  • Review your credit reports: Request a free copy of your report from the government authorized site AnnualCreditReport.com. Look over the accounts and payment information to make sure there isn't any incorrect information that could be bringing your score down.
  • Make payments on time: As mentioned before, payment history is the most important factor in your FICO score, and it's influential for VantageScore credit scores as well. Make sure you are paying at least the minimum, on time, every month.
  • Pay off your balances: Your credit score will take a hit if you max out your credit cards or carry a large balance. Remember, you want your total balance to be less than 30% of your total available credit to keep your credit score in good shape.
  • Add a new account: If paying down your debt quickly isn't possible, consider applying for a new credit card to increase your total available credit. That should, in turn, reduce your credit utilization ratio. Do NOT carry a balance on this card, or you will end up hurting, instead of helping, your credit score.

IS IT BETTER TO CLOSE A CREDIT CARD OR LEAVE IT OPEN WITH A ZERO BALANCE?

Since length of credit history is a factor in calculating credit scores, it's best to keep accounts open if you can. This is especially true if a credit card is the oldest account on your report.

The one exception might be if the card charges an annual fee. In that case, see if your account can be downgraded to one without an annual fee. Some card issuers may also waive the fee for a year if you mention you are thinking about closing the account.

WILL APPLYING FOR MORE THAN ONE CREDIT CARD HURT MY CREDIT SCORE?

It can. Remember that each application results in a hard inquiry on your credit report, and each inquiry can drop your score by about five points, according to Experian.

Fortunately, the drop is temporary. Your credit score should bounce back after a few months, assuming you have no further inquiries or negative information reported to the credit bureaus.

WHAT DEBT SHOULD I PAY OFF FIRST TO RAISE MY CREDIT SCORE?

To raise your credit score, focus first on revolving debt such as credit card balances or other lines of credit. Reducing the amount of debt you owe, compared to your available credit limits, will help increase your credit score. You don't get that same benefit with auto loans or mortgages, which have fixed pay-off periods.

While paying off the card with the highest interest rate first could save the most money in the long run, focus on cards with the highest balances if your credit score if your primary concern.

IS IT BETTER TO PAY OFF A CREDIT CARD IN FULL?

Yes. There is no benefit to carrying a balance on a credit card. It doesn't help your credit score and will likely hurt your score if your balance exceeds 30% of your available credit. Plus, credit card interest rates are often high, which means you could add a significant amount to your debt by carrying a balance.

Here at CardRatings.com, we believe credit cards are powerful financial tools that provide not only convenience but also valuable perks and rewards. However, it's crucial to use them wisely to maximize their benefits and avoid paying high interest charges.

Survey Methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September and October 2020 to conduct surveys among 1,746 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2020-Aug. 31, 2020 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were added to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents' scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to "How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?" was double weighted.

Ranking Methodology: CardRatings experts review the fine print, details, perks, rewards and features of hundreds of cards and compare them side-by-side with similar cards. A card that makes an excellent balance transfer card may not make a great cash-back rewards card even though it offers those rewards. While the Best of the Year list is announced annually, that list – and all other “best of” lists on CardRatings – are regularly reviewed and updated as issuers change the terms and features of each card often.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

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