Credit Scores Explained

Credit Scores Explained uses a variation of FICO® Score 8 for its credit ranges and definitions thereof. FICO® Score 8 is one of multiple types of credit scores used by lenders when considering your credit card application. Keep in mind that meeting the minimum credit level does not automatically guarantee that you will be approved for any particular credit card. Here is our credit needed disclosure, including what credit score is needed to qualify for credit cards from major issuers.


FICO Score: 740 or better

Approval Odds: Very likely

A credit score of 740 to 850 is considered excellent and is above the average U.S. consumers’ score. Those with excellent credit scores can easily get approved for most credit cards or other lending applications.

An “excellent” credit score varies depending on the scoring model you use. Both FICO and VantageScore – the two most popular scoring models – have slightly different calculations for what is a good score and what they consider excellent. The FICO scoring model is the most popular credit scoring model with banks. The FICO scoring range is from 350 to 850, with anything over 800 considered “excellent.”

VantageScore, like FICO, also measures the creditworthiness and reliability of potential applicants. While less popular than FICO, VantageScore is the creation of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The VantageScore model ranges from 300 to 850, with scores over 781 deemed “excellent.”

The Best Credit Card for Excellent Credit

etting the best credit scores requires patience and hard work. An excellent credit score doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it takes years of good financial habits.


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What Is a Prime Credit Score?

It’s a term that gets tossed around, but what exactly is a “prime” credit score? Here’s all you need to know about what a prime score means.


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FICO Score: 670 to 739

Approval Odds: Favorable

A credit score of 670 to 739 is considered good and is on par with the average U.S. consumer’s score. Those with good credit scores have a favorable chance of getting approved for all but the most premium credit cards and the lowest interest rates.

Now that you know what to look out for, what are the best credit cards for good credit of 2022? With so many cards to choose from it can be difficult to sort the good from the great. Here are some of the top picks for good credit from the BestCards team:

The Best Credit Card for Good Credit

Having a good credit score means you have a better chance of successfully applying for almost any credit card offer on the market. Lenders like to see a good credit score as it shows the applicant is less risky than other applicants, and they can rely on them to make their payments every month.


  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee… Ever
  • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. 
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges


  • Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • View the full terms and conditions here


What Is a Good Credit Mix?

Do you know what credit mix is and how to strike the right balance of credit types to boost your credit score? Here’s all you need to know.


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Citi Custom Cash Mastercard

FICO Score: 580 to 669

Approval Odds: Somewhat unfavorable

A credit score of 580 to 669 is considered fair and is below the average U.S. consumer’s score. Those with fair credit are “subprime” borrowers and have a limited range of credit cards that they can be approved for.

That said, having fair credit isn’t bad either. Many people with a fair credit score still have access to unsecured credit cards. Unsecured cards are what people typically think of when they imagine a credit card. Unlike secured credit cards, which require a deposit, no deposit is required with a traditional credit card.

The Best Credit Card for Fair/Average Credit

People with fair credit are considered subprime by lenders. Being subprime means that when applying for a credit card, the applicant will receive higher interest rates than those with excellent credit. They also may not have access to the best rewards, balance transfer offers (including 0% APR or $0 balance transfer fees), and more.


  • See if you qualify instantly without harming your credit score
  • Get a higher credit line if you’re in good standing after making your first 6 payments on time
  • Instant decision on your application
  • No interest on purchases when you pay in full and on time each month
  • No security deposit required – get started today!


  • Annual fee varies based on the card version offered



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FICO Score: 579 or below

Approval Odds: Unlikely

A credit score below 579 is poor and is much lower than the average U.S. consumer’s score. Individuals with poor credit are likely to be rejected for most credit cards, and those they are approved for tend to require security deposits or fees. Fortunately, credit scores are not set in stone. Instead, they are easily changeable through proactive measures and following financial best practices.

Bad credit doesn’t have to mean settling for a bad credit card. Here are some of our team’s top picks for bad scores:

The Best Credit Card for Poor/Low Credit

A bad credit score is a score that falls below what credit reporting bureaus deem to be average, or “fair.” Bad scores indicate that a person is at a higher risk of missing payments, making late payments, or defaulting on their loans. Building with a secured credit card is a great place to start.


  • 1% Cash Back rewards on every purchase
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 Score from Experian (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus


  • Checking Account Required, initial refundable deposit of $300 becomes your credit limit



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FICO Score: N/A

Approval Odds: Slim to none (except for secured credit cards)

Just because you don’t have a credit history does not mean you’ve never had credit. As confusing as it sounds, you can have experience with credit in the past, yet still have no credit history to FICO or VantageScore.

No credit means you have no recent credit history. Those without a past credit history (within the last seven to ten years, will find themselves lumped into the same “no credit” category as those who are entirely new to credit. So even if you have borrowed money in the past, you may have no score.

The Best Credit Card for No Credit History

No credit means you have no recent credit history. Those without a past credit history (within the last seven to ten years, will find themselves lumped into the same “no credit” category as those who are entirely new to credit. So even if you have borrowed money in the past, you may have no score.


  • Choose your own credit line based on how much money you want to put down as a security deposit
  • Reports to all three major credit-reporting agencies




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Advertiser Disclosure

BestCards is an independent, Florida-based credit card comparison platform. Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which BestCards receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). BestCards does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.