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2018's Best Credit Cards for Fair Credit

Below are our staff picks for 2018's best credit cards for applicants with a "fair credit" or average credit rating. Compare choices with 0% intro APR, cash back, and more:

Average APR
21.45%
Average Annual Fee
$28.50
Rate Trend
0.17%
since last month

Review Breakdown: Fair Credit Cards

Ready to choose a credit card? Our experts have compiled the following summary table to give you a quick glance at all of the best credit cards for fair credit and average credit. If you see a card you like, simply click on the card name to visit the issuer's official site for online approval.

Here are 2018's best credit cards for fair credit:

Credit Cards Fair Average Credit
Rank Card Name Feature Regular APR Expert Rating
1 Capital One® Platinum Credit Card Pay no annual fee 24.99% (Variable) ★★★★★ 4.8
2 Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card Unlimited 1.5% cash back 24.99% (Variable) ★★★★★ 4.8
3 Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® 1% cash back 19.74% - 25.74% Variable ★★★★★ 4.7
4 Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card with Cash Back Rewards 1% cash back 19.74% - 25.74% Variable ★★★★★ 4.5
5 First PREMIER® Bank Mastercard® Credit Card Fair Credit See issuer website ★★★★★ 4.5
6 First PREMIER® Bank Credit Card Fair Credit See issuer website ★★★★★ 4.5
7 Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® 1% cash back 24.99% (Variable) ★★★★★ 4.5
8 Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business Build business credit 24.74% (Variable) ★★★★★ 4.5
9 Discover it® Student chrome 0% intro APR 14.99% - 23.99% Variable ★★★★ 4.4
10 Discover it® Student Cash Back 0% intro APR 14.99% - 23.99% Variable ★★★★ 4.4
11 Fingerhut Credit Account Fair Credit See Issuers Website ★★★★ 4.3
12 Indigo® Unsecured Mastercard® Limited or damaged credit 23.9% ★★★★ 4.3
13 Credit One Bank® Credit Card with Cash Back Rewards 1% cash back 19.74% - 25.74% Variable ★★★★ 4.3
14 Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards 1% cash back 19.74% - 25.74% Variable ★★★★ 4.3
15 Milestone® Mastercard® with Free Choice of Card Image Fast decision process 23.9% ★★★ 3.0

7 Tips for Improving Fair or Average Credit

Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Finance Editor
Updated:
7 Tips for Improving Fair or Average Credit
CardRates.com Guide: Fair / Average Credit

Is your credit looking a little tattered and tarnished lately? Want to polish it up and make it shine like new again? There’s no reason to feel ashamed or embarrassed about having temporarily neglected your credit score – life happens. With a little focus and discipline, your fair or average credit can be back up where it belongs.

Improving your credit score depends a lot on where it is currently and how much improvement you’re looking for. A fair or average credit score is somewhere around the 630 to 700 range in the FICO scoring system. This list of 7 tips is a good place to get started.

1. Get copies of your credit reports

Building a plan to repair your credit scores starts with knowing what's keeping them down in the first place. This requires analyzing your three credit reports — one each from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to determine which accounts are hurting your scores and how best you can repair them.

You are entitled by law to a free copy of each of your three credit reports once per year, which you can obtain through AnnualCreditReport.com.

2. Lower your credit utilization rate

Another thing that can be holding your score down is your credit utilization, or the amount you owe compared to your total available credit. If this ratio is too high, it will negatively impact your credit score. If yours is high, there are two ways to go about lowering it. You can obviously pay down the amount you owe (if you have the resources to do that) or you can try calling your card companies and asking for a credit limit increase.

3. Pay off balances

If you have lots of balances on different cards, this can also be hurting your score. Try choosing the lowest balances and paying them off first. By reducing the number of active debt accounts, your score should improve quickly. Just don’t close those unused cards — they’re helping your score by keeping your available credit limit higher.

4. Don’t cancel your old credit cards

One of the metrics used in calculating your credit score is the length of time you’ve had the credit line open. If you no longer use the card, simply keep the cards in a desk drawer or your files. This will help to keep your debt to available credit ratio higher.

5. Diversify your credit

The types of credit you have also impacts your score. If credit cards are the only type of credit on your report, try opening a small installment-type loan. Believe it or not, doing this can actually improve your score.

6. Don’t apply for a lot of new credit at once

If you’re thinking this might be a way to improve your credit utilization, think again. Each new credit line triggers a hard inquiry of your credit report, and too many of these will negatively affect your score.

7. Pay your bills on time

Paying your bills on time every month is perhaps the best way to improve your credit score. Be diligent in paying your bills including your utilities, cable, phone, and so on. Late payments on any of these might be submitted to the reporting agencies and appear on your credit report.

Improving your fair or average credit score won’t happen overnight, but with a little work and discipline, it will happen. The benefits of having a good or even excellent credit score are worth the effort it takes to get there. Once your score is back where you want it, it’s easier to maintain over the long term.

Photo source: bp.blogspot.com

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

The information on this page was reviewed for accuracy on .

About the Author

Ashley Dull Finance Editor Ashley Dull

Ashley Dull is the editor-in-chief of CardRates.com, where she works closely with industry leaders in all sectors of finance to develop authoritative guides, news, and advice articles read by millions of Americans. Her expertise lies in credit cards and rewards programs as well as credit reports and how credit scores affect all aspects of consumerism. She is often asked to serve as an expert source on financial topics for national media outlets, such as CNN Money, MarketWatch, Money Matters, ABC News, and NBC News, and has recurring contributions to several leading finance websites. Connect with Ashley on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Ashley Dull

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