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Best credit cards for fair credit of June 2020

Last Updated, June 2, 2020

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Best 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. 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 good 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 from our partners. 

BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR FAIR CREDIT

CASH BACK | 0% APR PERIOD | STUDENT | NO-ANNUAL-FEE | REWARDS | SECURED

CASH BACK CARDS FOR FAIR CREDIT

Petal® Visa® Credit Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

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 every purchase instead of the standard 1%. Furthermore, you can earn up to 10% cash back when you use your card with select merchants.

The Annual Fee: $0

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

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good, LimitedHistory, NoHistory, Limited, NoCredit

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

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, usually with annual fees or higher finance charges.

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

The Annual Fee: $39

The Rewards: Earn 1.5 percent 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. Read our full Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Credit Needed: Average, Fair, Limited


BEST STUDENT CARDS FOR FAIR CREDIT

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

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 on purchases and balance transfers.) 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: Get access to a higher line of credit after making your first five monthly payments on time.

The Annual Fee: $0

The Rewards: The cash back rate is 1 percent on all purchases, and it's unlimited. However, when you pay your monthly bill on time, you'll earn 1.25 percent back on all purchases instead.

Credit Needed: Average, Fair, Limited

Discover it® Student Cash Back

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It:  This card is full of perks. To start, you can earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, online shopping, and more, up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases, automatically. Furthermore, Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. And all of this comes with no annual fee.

The Annual Fee: See Terms

The Rewards: Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, online shopping, and more, up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate

Credit Needed: Fair, New to Credit


BEST NO-ANNUAL-FEE CARD FOR FAIR CREDIT

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: Sometimes finding a card for average 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 after making your first five monthly payments on time – you could consider that a bonus for good behavior of sorts.

The Annual Fee: $0

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.

Credit Needed: Average, Fair, Limited


BEST REWARDS CARD FOR FAIR CREDIT

NASCAR® Credit Card from Credit One Bank®

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It:  Being able to pre-qualify without a hard inquiry on your credit report sells us immediately on this card. Plus, you can choose your monthly due date (terms apply) AND earn rewards – rewards cards are a bit hard to come by at this credit-needed level. This is a great card for those looking to boost their credit standing with responsible use.

The Annual Fee:$0 - $99

The Rewards: Earn 1 percent cash back on your eligible purchases and double cash back on purchases at the NASCAR.com superstore.

Credit Needed: Fair


BEST SECURED CREDIT CARD FOR FAIR CREDIT

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

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. Plus, it offers a intro 0% APR on purchases for six months (then, 17.39% (Variable)).

The Annual Fee: $35

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. Additionally, you can take advantage of an intro six months no interest on purchases. Read our full OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card review,

Credit Needed: Fair/Poor/Bad/No Credit


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.

A fair credit score ranges from 580-669 on the current FICO scoring system, according to credit reporting company Experian. While many companies use FICO scores to make lending decisions, other use VantageScore. On this system, a credit score of 601-660 is considered fair.

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® 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.

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