The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Monday, July 13, 2020

15 Best Credit Cards By FICO Score

15 Best Credit Cards By FICO Score

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: November 4, 2019
Advertiser Disclosure

In the immortal words of Mary Cooper, “There’s a lock for every key.”

Although Mary may have been referring to the idea that every person has a perfect partner out there, somewhere, her words are no less true when applied to the search for the perfect credit card. No matter what your situation, for every key — i.e., credit score — there is likely a lock (credit card) that will be the right fit.

In fact, ensuring that your credit score fits into the range for a given card is often half the battle of getting approved. And since the vast majority of card issuers rely on your FICO credit score, it makes sense to let your FICO score be your guide when looking for the right card. There are a lot of credit cards out there and it can be daunting to know where to begin looking for the right one for you. Keep reading for our rundown on the best credit cards by FICO score.

Excellent | Good | Fair | Poor | No/Limited

Best Credit Cards for “Excellent” FICO Scores (740+)

The FICO credit score range spans from 300 to 850, with 850 being the best possible credit score. Under this model, a credit score above 740 is considered to be an “excellent” score, which, under our lock-and-key analogy, effectively gives those with a FICO credit score of 740 or better a master key to nearly every credit card lock on the market.

Indeed, with excellent credit, the question is less, “For which card will I qualify?” and much more, “For which card do I want to qualify?” Whether you want awesome rewards, sweet travel perks, or an interest-free year of new purchases, your excellent credit score can unlock a wide range of quality credit cards, including many of our favorites below.

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% 15 Months
N/A
14.99%–23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

+See More Cards for Excellent Credit

Best Credit Cards for “Good” FICO Scores (670-739)

While excellent credit is the ideal we should all work toward, having a good credit score — a FICO score between 670 and 739 — will still unlock a respectable number of potential locks. In fact, those with good credit can often qualify for many of the same credit cards as those with excellent credit, though lower credit scores will generally mean lower credit limits in these cases.

Credit cards aimed at good-credit consumers include lots of perks and rewards, including cash back and travel rewards options, as well as intro-APR deals that can provide a lot of value for those who tend to carry a balance. Even better, many cards for good credit, such as our top picks below, will come free from any annual fees.

GOOD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% 15 Months
N/A
14.99%–23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

GOOD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

GOOD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

+See More Cards for Good Credit

Best Credit Cards for “Fair” FICO Scores (580-669)

Where excellent credit opens nearly every lock, and good credit most of them, when you have a “fair” FICO score, between 580 and 669, you’ll start running into a lot more locks in which your key simply doesn’t fit. And since every credit card application means a hard credit inquiry on your report, it becomes increasingly important when you have fair credit to choose the right card before you apply.

If you’re unsure of your chances of approval, you can try finding pre-qualification offers before you apply for a card. While not a guarantee of approval, pre-qualification can give you a short list of the locks most likely to fit your credit-score key. Our expert-rated fair-credit cards below are a good place to start your search.

Surge Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.1/5.0
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
N/A
25.90% - 29.99%
See website for Details
Bad, Poor Credit
Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® Review

at Credit One'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

3.8/5.0
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability
  • Qualified applicants will receive a card with a competitive APR and no annual fee along with 1% cash back rewards on all purchases, terms apply
  • View updates to your Experian credit score with free online access, terms apply
  • Make paying your bill easier with the ability to choose your payment due date, terms apply
  • Access your account on-the-go with the Credit One Bank mobile app
  • Never miss an account update with customizable text and email alerts
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.99% to 23.99% Variable
$0 - $99
Fair
Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card with Cash Back Rewards Review

at Credit One'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

3.8/5.0
  • Qualified applicants will receive exclusive benefits such as 1% cash back rewards on all purchases, no annual fee, and a competitive APR. Terms apply.
  • Manage your account quickly and easily from your mobile device by using the Credit One Bank mobile app.
  • Use your Apple device to make purchases securely through Apple Pay®. Apple Pay is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.
  • Your account is safeguarded against unauthorized charges with Zero Fraud Liability at no additional charge.
  • Take advantage of free online access to your Experian credit score and credit report summary so you can track the key factors impacting your credit health. Terms apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.99% to 23.99% Variable
$0 - $99
Fair

+See More Cards for Fair Credit

Best Credit Cards for “Poor” FICO Scores (<580)

Once your FICO credit score has fallen below the 580 mark, your credit is considered to be “poor.” At this point, you’ll have to be very particular about which locks you try to unlock, as the majority of prime credit cards will be a very poor fit due to your perceived credit risk.

With a poor credit score, the only credit cards your credit-score key will be likely to unlock are secured credit cards — which require an up-front deposit — or unsecured credit cards from subprime card issuers, which often carry high rates and fees. On the bright side, as you use your new poor-credit card, like the ones below, to build credit, your key will start to open many more locks.

Surge Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.1/5.0
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
N/A
25.90% - 29.99%
See website for Details
Bad, Poor Credit
Indigo® Unsecured Mastercard® - Prior Bankruptcy is Okay Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Pre-qualifying today will not affect your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit histories can qualify, even with prior bankruptcy!
  • Mobile friendly online access from anywhere
  • Fraud protection for stolen or lost cards
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.9%
$0 - $99
Fair/Good
NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card Review

at Netspend'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

3.6/5.0
  • With Netspend Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • No Overdraft Fees on purchases using your card.
  • Use the NetSpend Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted. Click "Get My Card " for full details.
  • See additional NetSpend® Prepaid Visa® details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Up-to $9.95 monthly
Not applicable

+See More Cards for Bad Credit

Best Credit Cards for “No/Limited” Credit

If your credit score is the key to unlock the credit card of your dreams, then having an unestablished or limited credit report can often feel like not having a key at all. Thankfully, there are a few credit cards on the market that are specifically designed for keyless entry, so to speak, providing credit novices a way to establish and build their credit scores.

Although neither is ideal, having no credit is often better than having poor credit, and the potential card options are frequently evidence of that fact. With no or limited credit, you can still typically qualify for a range of quality credit cards, such as our best offers below, that include low or no annual fees, as well as options for cash back purchase rewards.

Surge Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank'ssecure website

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.1/5.0
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
N/A
25.90% - 29.99%
See website for Details
Bad, Poor Credit
Indigo® Unsecured Mastercard® - Prior Bankruptcy is Okay Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Pre-qualifying today will not affect your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit histories can qualify, even with prior bankruptcy!
  • Mobile friendly online access from anywhere
  • Fraud protection for stolen or lost cards
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.9%
$0 - $99
Fair/Good
Milestone® Mastercard® - Less Than Perfect Credit Considered Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

3.9/5.0
  • Prequalify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • Mobile account access at any time
  • Protection from fraud if your card is stolen
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • *Dependent on credit worthiness
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.9%
$35 - $99
Bad, Poor Credit

+See More Cards for No/Limited Credit

Build Your Credit Score for Better Options

Before the age of mass-production, each lock-and-key set was made by hand by skilled artisans, giving strong credence to the saying, “there’s a lock for every key.” Even today, however, when locks and keys are produced by the thousands, most keys can still find their matching lock.

With dozens upon dozens of credit card options available in the marketplace today, nearly any consumer can find the right card, regardless of his or her particular credit score. Of course, you may have to try a few locks before you find the right fit for your credit-score key. Research your options and check for pre-qualification when possible before applying to minimize your chances of selecting the wrong lock.

And once you’ve unlocked a card, be sure to use it wisely to keep your credit score on the right path. If you have your sights set on that excellent-credit master key — or simply want to turn your poor credit score into a good one to broaden your range of potential locks — you’ll need to keep everything rust-free (metaphorically speaking).

Responsible card use includes making all of your payment on time, maintaining low balances across your cards, and being conservative about opening new credit lines. Like the large number of cards on the market, however, there’s an abundance of mobile apps and other tools designed to help consumers maintain their personal finances, so be sure to make use of the right tools to keep your credit-score key in peak condition.

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