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Find the Best Credit Cards for Fair Credit Scores

The best credit cards for fair credit scores are within your reach. Browse BestCards.com’s reviews of credit cards for fair credit today. You might just find the perfect credit card for your needs. Learn more about credit scores.

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Credit Cards for Fair Credit

Credit cards for fair credit scores cover a wide range of products and features. These options include cards with cash back rewards, travel cards, and even balance transfer credit cards. While an average credit score means higher APR and lower credit limits, fair credit score cards are a great place to start when rebuilding credit.

What Is a Fair Credit Score?

A fair, or average, credit score is one that isn’t good but still qualifies the individual for a wider selection of credit cards than those with bad credit or no credit history at all.

There are different standards of what is an “average” credit score, depending on the scoring model the card issuer uses. The two most popular scoring models are FICO and VantageScore. FICO is the older of the two, while VantageScore is a creation of the three major credit bureaus, designed to offer a different viewpoint to FICO.

FICO is by far the more popular scoring system, with over 90% of lenders preferring the FICO method to gauge an applicant’s creditworthiness. On the FICO scale, a “fair” credit score is between 580 and 669. The FICO system ranges from 300 (no credit/ very poor) to 850 (exceptional). So, everyone wondering if a 600 credit score is average can rest assured, that yes, it is.

VantageScore is similar to FICO but places a larger emphasis on newer credit. Like FICO, VantageScore ranges from 300 to 850, with fair credit ranging from 601 to 660. A 600 credit score with VantageScore, therefore, is “poor.”

Is Having Average Credit Good?

While having an average credit score isn’t the worst, it isn’t good either. 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.

Is Having a Fair Credit Score Bad?

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.

Related Article: How Bad Is My Credit Score?

Average Credit Score Statistics

While a credit score between 600 to 650 is subprime, it isn’t unusual.  According to Experian, on the three largest credit bureaus, 17% of Americans have a fair credit score. Additionally, 16% of Americans have a poor credit score. This means that a third of people with a FICO score have subprime credit.

With VantageScore, the average is even higher. Using their scoring method, 38% of Americans have subprime credit, with 13% of those having an average credit score.

Repairing Credit

As you can see, having a fair credit score isn’t the end of the world, but it is something you should aim to change. People with a fair credit score usually can anticipate higher interest rates on things like credit cards, mortgages, and auto loans. Worse, they may fail to qualify in some cases. Subprime credit directly impacts how and where you can receive credit. Even when they do get approval for things like mortgages, however, their monthly payments will be significantly higher than those with better credit.

Fortunately, a fair credit score is a great place to start when rebuilding your credit. Subprime cards for fair credit, also known as “fresh start” credit cards, are much easier to get with a credit score in the 600s than with poor or bad credit. Even better, a not needing a card requiring a security deposit can free up some cash for paying off card balances, making the process much quicker.

How to Repair Your Credit

  • Check Your Credit Score: The first thing to do when fixing your credit is check your credit score to see where you stand. You might already know your credit score is mediocre, but where exactly do you fall on the FICO Score scale? Knowing how fast you can improve your credit from “fair” to “good” is crucial to making a financial plan of attack.
  • Always Pay on Time Each Month: Payment history is the biggest factor in what makes up your credit score. Because payment history is so important, paying your credit card bill on time each month is essential to boosting sub-prime credit. Missed payments stay on a credit report for seven years. This means they can harm your score for years to come.
  • Keep Your Credit Utilization Low:Credit utilization is as important as paying on time. Credit utilization shows lenders how you use your credit. Those who keep their credit use below 30% can expect their score to improve, while those who use less than 10% can expect a much faster score rise. Using too much of you r available credit may make banks think you are stretching yourself thin financially, making you a bigger risk in their eyes.

Related Article: 5 Tips for Maintaining a Good Credit Score

Do Credit Cards for Average FICO Scores Offer Instant Approval?

Yes. Most credit cards now offer instant approval., including those for people with fair/ average credit. Getting instant approval means you won’t have to wait – and worry – to see if you qualify for a card.

Sometimes, however, issuers provide what is known as “conditional approval.” Conditional approvals mean you are eligible for the card, but a more in-depth review of your credit report is needed. Even a conditional approval, therefore, means you might not get the credit card you want.

I these instances, however, there are proactive steps you can take. The best option is to contact the reconsideration line of the credit card company. When calling these reconsideration experts, you will have the chance to argue why you should be approved. When calling, it’s essential to be respectful, honest, and open. You also need to be confident, however. And, if you don’t get the answer you like, try calling back again.

Related Article: Fundamental Guide to Credit Card Application Restrictions

Common Features of Fair Credit Score Cards

Credit cards for average credit scores in the 600s have some common features. These features include:

Interest Rates

People with fair credit typically pay the highest interest rates. The current average APR for someone with average credit is around 26%, while those with bad credit pay around 19%.

Why do those with average credit scores pay more? The reason is that most credit cards for bad credit are secured cards. Secured cards require a security deposit, and since they are easier to get than an unsecured card, they feature fixed rates to cover the entire score range that hold them.

Unsecured cards offer greater risk to lenders because there is no deposit requirement. Because of this, those with fair credit pay higher interest rates. Paying your statement balance in full each month negates this high rate, however. Plus, you’ll save money on the security deposit.

Credit Limits

Credit limits for average credit are lower than those for excellent credit.  Individuals with excellent credit have an average new credit line of around $10,000, while those with good credit are about $6,000. Both of these credit scores are prime, or super-prime.

People with subprime credit scores receive much lower credit limits, as their credit score makes them seem risky to lenders. The average new credit limit for a credit score in the 600s is around $2,750.

While it may be tough to get a fair credit score credit card with a high limit, improving your credit score with on-time payments, low credit utilization, and other good habits can lead to credit line increases over time.

Rewards

While not common, there are some quality rewards credit cards for people with a fair credit score. Two of the most popular rewards cards for average credit scores are the Discover It and the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard. Both of these cards provide 5% cash back in a rotating selection of categories. Again, improving your credit score can open the way for better rewards card offers in the future.

The Best Credit Cards for Average Credit Scores of 2020

Credit cards for 600 credit scores don’t have to be “average.” Here are some fo the top credit card offers for fair credit:

Best for Balance Transfers:  Upgrade Card

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The Upgrade Card is unique in that it provides a line of credit and installment payment plan, like a personal loan, but also a full-fledged Visa credit card. Interest rates with the card start as low as 6.99%, far lower than the typical credit card. And, with credit limits of up to $20,000 and payments terms of up to 60 months, it’s a great way to pay off existing debts. Studies show the Upgrade Card can save users thousands of dollars and years of payments over traditional credit cards.

Best for Instant Approval: Total Visa® Unsecured Credit Card

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The Total Visa makes rebuilding credit a breeze. A full-fledged Mastercard product, the Total Card provides instant decisions, a modest credit limit to start, and the freedom to use the card anywhere Mastercard is accepted worldwide.

Best for Rebuilding Credit: (Tie) Reflex Mastercard and First Digital NextGen Mastercard

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Both these cards provide an excellent tool for building credit. Both the Reflex and the NextGen provide a modest credit line, with the prospect of a credit limit increase in as little as six months. While getting a smaller credit limit to start might put some people off, the chance to practice good financial habits is a great way to learn the habits that will not only get you good credit and a larger limit but better offers in the future!

Find the Best Card for Average Credit Today

The team at BestCards.com knows how hard it can be to fix damaged credit, especially without the right tools or knowledge. That’s why we strive to provide insightful credit card reviews, plus informative articles, and advice to guide you. Take advantage of these resources and more to find a great credit-building card for fair credit today!