Best Credit Cards for Good Credit of 2018

If your credit score is between 670-739, you have good credit and can qualify for most credit cards on the market with favorable interest rates and great rewards. From great cashback rates to low-interest offers, we’ve compiled the best credit cards for good credit from our partners. Read our reviews, helpful advice, and find the card that is right for you.

Bankrate's best credit cards for good credit in 2018:

Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. The offers that appear on this site are from companies from which Bankrate.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and the likelihood of applicants' credit approval also impact how and where products appear on this site. Bankrate.com does not include the entire universe of available financial or credit offers.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.

Best for travel

capital-one-venture-rewards-credit-card-032217.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A Purchases intro APR
N/A Balance Transfers intro APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

94 out of 100

Card Details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for first-year rewards

discover-it-cashback-match-012518.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Discover's secure website

Discover it® Cash Back

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% for 14 months Purchases intro APR
0% for 14 months Balance Transfers intro APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

93 out of 100

Card Details

  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Receive Free Social Security number alerts—Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Best for dining and entertainment

bc497160-9f2b-11e8-b3b7-dd1fc1cf23ad.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A Purchases intro APR
N/A Balance Transfers intro APR
16.24% - 25.24% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

97 out of 100

Card Details

  • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for overall rewards

wells-fargo-propel-american-express-card-071018.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Wells Fargo's secure website

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% for 12 months Purchases intro APR
0% for 12 months Balance Transfers intro APR
14.49%-26.99% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

97 out of 100

Card Details

  • New! Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that's a $300 cash redemption value
  • Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in
  • Earn 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit
  • Earn 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 14.49%-26.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for low APR

capital-one-ventureone-rewards-credit-card-041217.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Capital One's secure website

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% intro on purchases for 12 months Purchases intro APR
N/A Balance Transfers intro APR
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

80 out of 100

Card Details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.74%-23.74% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for gas & groceries

blue-cash-everyday-card-from-american-express-061616.png Card Image
Apply Now ON American Express's secure website

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% on Purchases for 15 months Purchases intro APR
0% on Balance Transfers for 15 months Balance Transfers intro APR
14.99%-25.99% Variable Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

89 out of 100

Card Details

  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.99% to 25.99%.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Best for everyday spending

a0f6d2c0-c8e0-11e8-a3eb-a72e4907d68a.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Chase's secure website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months Purchases intro APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months Balance Transfers intro APR
16.99% - 25.74% Variable Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

92 out of 100

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for cell phone protection coverage

wells-fargo-platinum-visa-card-041718.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Wells Fargo's secure website

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% for 18 months Purchases intro APR
0% for 18 months Balance Transfers intro APR
13.49%-26.99% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

81 out of 100

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 13.49%-26.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Credit Card
  • Easy access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for flat-rate cash back

capital-one-quicksilver-cash-rewards-credit-card-041217.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% intro on purchases for 15 months Purchases intro APR
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months Balance Transfers intro APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

93 out of 100

Card Details

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for rotating cash back categories

chase-freedom-082917.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Chase's secure website

Chase Freedom®

Recommended Credit Score:
670 - 850

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months Purchases intro APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months Balance Transfers intro APR
16.99% - 25.74% Variable Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

90 out of 100

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • 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
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.


Author: Bankrate Staff | Last Updated: November 25, 2018

Have questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.


In this article:

Best credit cards for good credit: Bankrate’s picks

Card Name Best for Bankrate Review Score
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Travel 94/100
Discover it® Cash Back First-year rewards 93/100
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card Dining and entertainment 97/100
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Overall rewards 97/100
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card Low APR 80/100
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Gas & groceries 89/100
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Everyday spending 92/100
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card Cell phone protection coverage 81/100
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card Flat-rate cash back 93/100
Chase Freedom® Rotating cash back categories 90/100

Why you can trust Bankrate

A good credit score means more than better interest rates on mortgages and loans. It also gives you access to many of today’s best credit cards. The experts at Bankrate have over a decade of experience offering advice on personal finance, they have turned their analytical minds to comparing the top cards to see which ones offer the best matches for people with good credit. Only the cards in this review made the grade.

Review criteria

Our 100-point scoring system analyzes everything you should look for in a credit card. We pay particular attention to:

  • Rewards programs: You don’t have to sort through fine print studying points, travel miles and cash back rates, because we’ve done the research for you. We show you the real value of rewards, how to redeem them and how to maximize them.
  • Annual fee: Many cards charge an annual fee, but how many of them are truly worth it? We help you answer that question by comparing benefits vs. costs for each card.
  • Sign-up bonuses: These special offers give you the opportunity to earn thousands of rewards points for using your new card right out of the gate.
  • Extras and discounts: The Bankrate score also factors in travel perks, special discount offers and all the other things that smart consumers like you can leverage for maximum value.

Building a good credit score is something you should take pride in. Bankrate can help you choose a credit card you’ll be proud to carry.

Deeper analysis on the best credit cards for good credit

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

For no-hassle travel rewards, the Capital One Venture Rewards card is one of the best on the market. Its annual fee is reasonable for a card that offers this much in travel rewards and it also sports a very attractive sign-up bonus equivalent to $500 in benefits when you spend $3,000 within the first three months. Your travel rewards will add up quickly with an unlimited 2 miles per dollar. Better still, there’s a ton of flexibility to redeem rewards with any airline, hotel, and even on discount travel sites, without blackout dates or restrictions. If you enjoy the ability to exchange points for frequent flyer miles at a generous rate (and who doesn’t?), Capital One is adding even more transfer partners. All in all, this is one of the best travel rewards cards available.

Highlights:

  • Flexible rewards can be redeemed for any purchase of flights, hotels, or rental cars, and that includes online and discount travel agencies.
  • 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 within the first three months of card ownership.
  • $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

Read Bankrate’s Capital One Venture Rewards Card review.

Discover it® Cash Back

With Discover’s Cash Back Match® Discover will match all of the cash back rewards you earn in your first year. That could be quite a sizable sum considering the 5% cash back rate on rotating bonus categories (when you enroll and up to a $1,500 quarterly maximum) and 1% back on everything else. These rotating categories are often in areas where you may already be spending heavily, like gas, restaurants, and purchases on Amazon.com, and Discover gives you visibility of the bonus categories coming up so you can plan your purchases accordingly.

Highlights:

  • After you enroll you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in various categories throughout the year.
  • Cardholders automatically receive a match of all the cash back they’ve earned at the end of their first year.

Read Bankrate’s Discover it Cash Back card review.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

This card gives foodies a big bang for their buck. If you frequently dine out and spend heavily on entertainment and groceries then the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card could be for you. This card offers an unlimited 4% back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on everything else. Better still, Capital One has an introductory offer of $500 cash back when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of opening the card, this is a very competitive bonus rewards perk. Though this card charges a $95 annual fee (waived for the first year), food lovers could really maximize their cash back returns with this offer.

Highlights: 

  • 4% on dining and entertainment, 2% at the grocery store, 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Capital One offers $500 sign-up bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of opening the card.
  • Access to premium dining and entertainment experiences.

Read Bankrate’s Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Card review.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

This is a very competitive rewards card for no annual fee that offers 3x rewards points on dining and travel — which includes gas purchases. The high rewards rates on high-spend categories like eating out and travel make this card a stand out. If you’re looking for a straightforward rewards card that delivers above-average returns then this is a great option, the only drawback is that your flights can only be redeemed through Wells Fargo’s Go Far Rewards. If you’re OK working around that, the Propel card has a lot to offer.

Highlights: 

  • Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of opening the account.
  • No annual fee.
  • Generous U.S. gas station and U.S. restaurant rewards.

Read Bankrate’s Wells Fargo Propel American Express Rewards Card review.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

If you want to earn travel rewards without paying an annual fee, this card lets you earn them at a rate of 1.25 miles for every $1 spent. Although its big brother card, the Capital One Venture, pays 2 miles for every $1, it also comes with a $95 annual fee. You’d have to spend $6,350 annually to earn enough miles to offset the cost of ownership on that card. A new benefit is Capital One’s expanding number of transfer partners, giving cardholders more choices in exchanging points for frequent flyer miles at a generous rate.

Highlights:

  • Flexible rewards can be redeemed for any purchase of flights, hotels, or rental cars, and that includes online and discount travel agencies.
  • There’s an introductory 0% APR offer on purchases for 12 months; after that the variable APR 13.74%-23.74%
  • This card comes with travel protections and insurances.

Read Bankrate’s full Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card review.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

For busy families spending heavily on food, gas, and clothing at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and select U.S. department stores, this card allows you to earn high cashback rates. There are cards with more generous welcome offers — this card offers $150 when you spend $1,000 in the first three months — but it also has easy redemption with automatic cash back benefits and we appreciate its simple rewards structure. If you’re more of an urbanite (you don’t have a car and don’t spend much on groceries) then this card isn’t the best choice for you, but for suburban families who want rewards on their everyday spending, this is a great choice.

Highlights:

  • 3% back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 a year, then 1%).
  • 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% back on everything else.
  • No annual fee.

Read Bankrate’s full Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express review.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

For everyday spending, the Chase Freedom Unlimited gives you straightforward 1.5% cash back on all your spending. This makes it a great set-it-and-forget-it option for anyone wanting to get rewarded for their spending without having to juggle multiple cards or bonus categories. The other great benefit is that Chase offers 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months so if you’re looking to consolidate debt or spread out the cost of a big purchase, this is a great feature. One thing to note with this card: It charges foreign transaction fees so it might not be the wisest choice if you travel outside the U.S. often.

Highlights:

  • $150 sign-up bonus after you spend at least $500 within the first 3 months of card ownership.
  • No annual fee.
  • Introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, regular APR 16.99 – 25.74% variable.

Read Bankrate’s full Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

The Wells Fargo Platinum Visa offers 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months, which is a long introductory period if you’re looking to pay down debt or spread out the cost of a big purchase over a year and a half. As a cardholder, you get additional benefits such as cell phone protection when you pay your bill using your Platinum Visa card. This is a nice added perk in addition to the introductory interest rate offers.

Highlights:

  • 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months (variable 13.49% – 26.99% rate after that, depending on your creditworthiness).
  • No annual fee.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Quicksilver card offers a simple and straightforward 1.5% cash back on all your purchases with no annual fee. That means you don’t have to track spending in certain categories and juggle multiple cards if that’s not your thing. It also comes with a good (but not great) $150 sign up bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months. This is a very low spending target and so if you don’t use your credit card often and worry about missing out on the welcome offer for some higher-spend cards, this might be a good option for you.

Highlights:

  • 0% intro APR period for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro APR period, regular variable APR 14.74% – 24.74%.
  • Sign-up bonus of $150 when you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Read our full Capital One Quicksilver card review

Chase Freedom®

For anyone who is up for doing a little bit of work to unlock extra rewards value, this is the perfect card for you. Chase Freedom allows you to earn 1% cash back on all of your spending and 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories, you need to enroll to earn and there is a quarterly maximum but that’s an extremely high cash-back rate. You will get maximum value if you pair this card with a Chase Sapphire card as you can boost the value of your cash back rewards through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

Highlights:

  • 1% unlimited cash back on everything.
  • 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories (on up to $1,500 in combined spending per quarter and you must activate to earn).
  • $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months of opening the account.

Read our full Chase Freedom review.


What does good credit mean?

When it comes to your credit score, you want to aim high. With good credit, it should be easier to get a mortgage, credit cards or a car loan. A “good” credit score is considered to be between 670 and 739, and good credit means that you can qualify for more favorable rates on your borrowing. This can save you money on interest charges over the life of your loan.

Despite that fact that you may not get the absolute lowest rates — those usually require excellent credit to qualify — if you’re among the 21 percent of people who fall in the “good” range for credit, you’re still going to fare better than someone with poor credit.

When people refer to a three digit number to describe your credit score, they’re usually referring to your FICO score (short for the Fair Isaac Corporation), which uses predictive analysis based on your individual financial history to measure your overall creditworthiness. Your score is based on information taken from one or more of the three big credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Potential lenders use this information to determine what kind of interest rates you qualify for. If your financial history shows that you always pay your bills in full and on time, you’re considered less of a risk and you’ll get the best rates available.

There’s also a competing score that’s used, called a VantageScore. This is a scoring model lenders also use that was created by the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. For this scoring system, a score between 700 and 749 is considered good and about 12 percent of people fall into this category.

The difference between good credit and fair credit

There are not many points between good credit and fair credit. You are considered to have fair (or average) credit if you have a FICO score between 630 and 689, verses around 670 and 739 for good. The span of a few points can make a big difference in what you’re offered by lenders. The difference between fair credit and good credit could mean missing out on access to great credit card offers on rewards, cash back, and 0% interest cards, a lower credit score also means that you may end up paying higher interest on your borrowings. Never fear though, your credit isn’t fixed and with some time and effort you can build up your score.

It’s definitely worth investing in improving your credit score. If you have a FICO score of 702 for example, you’d qualify as someone with an excellent credit score. But, miss a credit card payment and your score drops a few points, putting you at 698 which means you could fall from “Good” to “Fair” and the rates you’re offered will be higher. For example, say you’re applying for a credit card with an annual APR range of 13% to 21%. If your credit score is good, you might be offered an APR of 15%. But if your credit score is fair, you might be offered an APR of 19%. On a $10,000 balance, a 15% APR could mean $1,500 in interest charges over the course of a year. But if you’re paying 18% APR, that means you’re paying $1,800 extra on that balance in one year.

Paying a higher rate on long-term loans like a mortgage, student loans or car loans can mean the difference of thousands of dollars over time.

How to get a good credit score

If you have fair credit or worse, it may make sense to work on improving your overall credit score first, to try to qualify for more favorable rates. Here are some tips for improving your score:

  1. Check your credit report. Be sure to obtain a copy of your report and scan it carefully for any errors or inaccuracies.
  2. Always pay your bills on time. Even if you can’t pay off the entire credit card bill make sure to make your minimum payment. Any late or missed payments will hurt your score.
  3. Don’t carry a balance above 30% of your card’s limit. One part of the make-up of your credit score is an analysis of your credit utilization — how much of your available credit you are using. In general, using up more than 30% of your available credit can adversely affect your score.
  4. Consider keeping an old credit card. Typically the longer you’ve had a card, the better for your score as long as there are no delinquencies on that account. Even if you don’t use it, if there little to no cost of ownership, it’s likely worth keeping.
  5. Mind your other balances. In addition to your credit card payments, your financial behavior with any other loans also plays a part. If you miss a mortgage payment, that will hurt your credit score just as much as a missed credit card payment.

Things to consider before you apply

When you apply for any kind of loan or credit line — e.g. a mortgage, credit card, car loan — the lender will check your creditworthiness by requesting a copy of your credit history with one or more of the three major credit bureaus. This is often called a “hard inquiry” on your credit. For some people, this can lower your credit score, although it usually recovers reasonably quickly. A “hard inquiry” or “hard pull” only happens when you formally apply for credit, other types of credit inquiries are “soft inquiries” and these don’t affect your credit score. When you have too many inquiries on your credit over a short time period this can adversely impact your score. So here’s what you can do to stop that happening:

  1. Check your credit score for free before applying for a new card or any other type of loan. This way you can be more confident that you meet the credit requirements of the card you’re applying for, which makes it less likely you’ll be declined and the hard pull on your credit won’t be for naught.
  2. Make sure to space out applications for your loans and credit lines, especially if you have a short credit history. If you know you’re going to be applying for a mortgage in the next 12 months, and you also want to get a new credit card, maybe apply for your credit card first and give your credit score enough time to recover to give yourself the best chance of securing the lowest rate.

More reviews and research

Like we mentioned before, if you have good credit, there are a lot of credit cards that you can apply for. If you still want to do more research, you’ve come to the right place. We have in-depth reviews on every major credit card on the market today, including categories like cash back, travel, and more. Check out more reviews below.

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