Best Credit Cards for Good Credit of 2019

Having good credit grants you access to a lot of exciting financial opportunities, including some great credit cards available from our Bankrate partners. Read our in-depth reviews, check out our expert advice and choose the card that helps you do the most with your good credit.

Bankrate's best credit cards for good credit in 2019:

Need more information?

Skip down to read our card profiles and expert advice.
Genesis FS Card Services Image

Recommended Credit Score

Fair Credit (580 - 740)

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.

Apply Now On Genesis FS Card Services's secure website

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®

Annual Fee:
See Terms
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
24.90% (Fixed)

Card Details

  • Pre-qualification available with no impact to your credit score
  • Previous bankruptcy OK
  • Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • Free online account access (mobile friendly)
  • Protection from fraud, if your card happens to be lost or stolen
  • Accepted at over 35 Million Locations Worldwide!
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Genesis FS Card Services Image

Recommended Credit Score

Fair to Good (580 - 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.

Apply Now On Genesis FS Card Services's secure website

Milestone® Gold Mastercard®

Annual Fee:
See Terms
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
24.90% (Fixed)

Card Details

  • Quick pre-qualification available with no impact to your credit score
  • Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • Choose your custom card design - Free
  • Free online account access
  • Protection from fraud, if your card happens to be lost or stolen
  • Accepted at over 35 Million Locations Worldwide!
  • Previous bankruptcy OK
Terms and Restrictions Apply
USAA Image

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent to Good (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.

Apply Now On USAA's secure website

USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 3X points per dollar on dining Earn 2X points per dollar on gas and groceries Earn 1X point for every dollar spent on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
Get 2,500 bonus points with your first purchase
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
11.90% - 27.90% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn 3X points per dollar spent on dining
  • Earn 2X points per dollar spent on gas and groceries
  • Earn 1X points for every dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Get 2,500 bonus points with your first purchase
  • Redeem points for cash, merchandise, gift cards and more.
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members
Terms and Restrictions Apply
USAA Image

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent to Good (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.

Apply Now On USAA's secure website

USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 2X points per dollar spent on gas and dining Earn 1X points for every dollar spent on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
Get 2,500 bonus points with your first purchase
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
11.90% - 27.90% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn 2X points per dollar spent on gas and dining with no cap
  • Earn 1X points for every dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Get 2,500 bonus points with your first purchase
  • Redeem points for cash, merchandise, gift cards and more.
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Image

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent to Good (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.

Apply Now On Amalgamated Bank of Chicago's secure website

ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®

Rewards Rate:
Earn 5x rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in popular categories such as dining, groceries, travel, and automotive Earn Points on Every Purchase! It’s simple: $1 = 1 Point
Welcome Offer:
Earn $150 Statement Credit after you spend $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
Regular APR:
15.15% - 25.15% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months; after that the variable APR will be 15.15% - 25.15%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Earn $150 Statement Credit after you spend $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days from account opening
  • Earn 5x rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in popular categories such as dining, groceries, travel, and automotive
  • No upper limit on the points you can accumulate, and since points never expire, you can save up for a big award!
  • Earn Points on Every Purchase! It’s simple: $1 = 1 Point
  • No Annual Fee
  • Select Your Rewards Your Way
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Genesis FS Card Services Image

Recommended Credit Score

Fair Credit (580 - 740)

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.

Apply Now On Genesis FS Card Services's secure website

Indigo® Unsecured Mastercard®

Annual Fee:
See Terms
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
24.90% (Fixed)

Card Details

  • No security deposit required
  • Card designs to fit your personality at no extra charge
  • Less than perfect credit histories can qualify, even with prior bankruptcy!
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • Pre-qualify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Accepted nationwide wherever MasterCard is accepted
  • Fast and easy decision on your application
  • Protection from fraud, if your card happens to be lost or stolen
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Credit One Bank Image

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent to Good (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.

Apply Now On Credit One Bank's secure website

NASCAR® Credit Card from Credit One Bank®

Rewards Rate:
Get double cash back rewards at the NASCAR.com Superstore, terms apply. Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases
Annual Fee:
$0 - $99
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
20.24% - 26.24% Variable

Card Details

  • See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score
  • Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases and double cash back rewards at the NASCAR.com Superstore, terms apply
  • No need to fret-you're covered by $0 Fraud Liability
  • Accounts are automatically reviewed for credit line increase opportunities
  • Choose your monthly payment due date for added convenience, terms apply
  • Monitor your credit with free online access to your Experian credit score, terms apply
  • Looking to rebuild credit? We report to the major credit bureaus monthly
  • Never miss an account update with customizable text and email alerts
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Genesis FS Card Services Image

Recommended Credit Score

Fair Credit (580 - 740)

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.

Apply Now On Genesis FS Card Services's secure website

Milestone® Mastercard®

Annual Fee:
See Terms
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
24.90% (Fixed)

Card Details

  • Card designs to fit your personality at no extra charge
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • Mobile account access at any time
  • Our application is quick and easy with instant pre-qualification available
  • Protection from fraud, if your card happens to be lost or stolen
  • Unsecured credit card, no deposit required
  • Pre-qualifying today will not affect your credit score
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Genesis FS Card Services Image

Recommended Credit Score

Fair Credit (580 - 740)

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.

Apply Now On Genesis FS Card Services's secure website

Milestone® Unsecured Mastercard®

Annual Fee:
See Terms
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
24.90% (Fixed)

Card Details

  • No security deposit required
  • Pick from multiple card designs at no extra charge
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • 24/7 access to your account information, even on mobile
  • Simple and fast application process
  • Prequalify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Don't have perfect credit? No problem!
Terms and Restrictions Apply
USAA Image

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent to Good (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.

Apply Now On USAA's secure website

USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military purchases annually on these categories combined. Earn 2% cash back on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
13.90% - 27.90% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined
  • Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members
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: Barry Bridges | bbridges@bankrate.com


Find the best credit card to match your good credit score

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. Check out our analysis and reviews of the best credit cards for good credit and make an informed decision today.

Bankrate resources on credit cards for good credit scores:

Best credit cards for good credit: Bankrate’s top picks

Card Name Best for Bankrate Review Score
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card Flat-rate cash back 4.8 / 5
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Travel redemptions 4.6 / 5
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card Best annual bonus 4.3 / 5
HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card No penalty APR 4.2 / 5
Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever Balance transfers 4.4 / 5
Discover it® Cash Back First-year rewards 4.8 / 5
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Large cash back potential 4.6 / 5
Discover it® Miles First-year travel redemptions 4.8 / 5
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card Travel with no annual fee 4.1 / 5
Discover it® chrome Gas purchases 4.1 / 5

How Bankrate scores credit cards for good credit

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 years of experience in personal finance, and they’ve used their expertise to compare the top credit cards for people with good credit. Only the cards in this review made the grade.

Review criteria

Our 5-star scoring system analyzes everything you should look for in a credit card. For this category, we paid particular attention to the benefits that open up to consumers who are able to achieve favorable credit:

  • 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.
  • Sign-up bonuses: These special offers give you the opportunity to earn hundreds in rewards for using your new card. With different cards offering sign-up bonuses in the form of cash back, miles and rewards points, we take the time to crunch the numbers and assign a comparable value to each card’s welcome offer.
  • Annual fee: For each card that charges an annual fee, we ask the same question as you — is it worth it? Our Bankrate Score weighs the annual fee against the rewards rate and redemption options to estimate the card’s overall value

A closer look at the top credit cards for good credit

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

In one word: simplicity. You’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, which means not having to mentally juggle categories or calendars. You get the same cash back rewards whether you’re at the gas pump or the lunch counter.

Why it might not be for you

As a new cardholder, you get a $150 bonus once you spend $500 in the first 3 months. Many cards, including cards in the good-credit category, have bigger and flashier welcome offers.

The bottom line

If you’ve worked hard to establish good credit and want to enjoy some of the benefits, the Capital One Quicksilver is a good way to enter a new world. You’ll find it easy to use and a consistent source of cash back rewards.

Read the full review and apply on Capital One’s secure website.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

If your credit is good and your passion for travel runs deep, this may be the card you’re looking for. The 10X rewards rate on eligible hotel.com/venture purchases through January 2020 is truly exceptional, and the points you redeem aren’t tied to any particular hotel or airline or subject to blackout dates.

Why it might not be for you

The $95 annual fee is modest for a card of this quality, and it’s waived the first year. It’s still a fee, however, and you’ll need to utilize the card strategically to offset that cost.

The bottom line

The Capital One Venture Rewards is one of the best travel rewards cards available from our partners. It might seem like you’d need excellent credit to apply for a card like this, but good credit will do.

Read the full review and apply on Capital One’s secure website.

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

Why you’ll love it

With a card that offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, earning cash back doesn’t get much easier. Plus, the 10% Anniversary Bonus on all the Cash Rewards you’ve earned once a year is certainly something to look forward to.

Why it might not be for you

When it comes to APR, the “good” in your good credit score could be relative. You’ll likely need a credit score well above 680 to qualify for one of the lower-end variable APRs.

The bottom line

The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard provides a way to earn a respectable amount of cash back with little effort on your part. Anyone who handles their personal finances diligently can appreciate a card that combines simplicity with usefulness.

Read the full review and apply on HSBC’s secure website.

HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

Why you’ll love it

If you need to finance a purchase or pay off some debt, this card’s 18-month 0% introductory APR offering makes it easier to do both, especially with no annual fee (variable APR of 12.99% -20.99% thereafter) . Not only will HSBC waive one late fee every 12 months, you also don’t have to worry about your APR increasing because of a late payment.

Why it might not be for you

Although the HSBC Gold Mastercard offers ample room to pay off debt and finance a purchase interest-free during the introductory offer period, you won’t be able to earn rewards. It might be best to think about pairing this card with a rewards or travel card that suits your lifestyle to optimize your spending experiences.

The bottom line

For those with good or excellent credit and who want a good bit of runway to delay interest, the HSBC Gold Mastercard credit card is a solid option.

Read the full review and apply on HSBC’s secure website.

Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever

Why you’ll love it

The Citi Simplicity Card offers one of the lengthiest 0% intro APR offerings on the market for balance transfers at 21 months. After that, your APR will raise to a variable 16.74% – 26.74%, depending on creditworthiness. For context, the only other card in this lineup with a comparable amount of 0% balance transfer interest cushioning is the HSBC Gold Mastercard credit card with an 18-month offering (variable APR of 12.99% -20.99% thereafter). If you’re looking for a card that will help you maintain your good credit by paying off debt at an introductory rate of zero percent interest, the Citi Simplicity will give you time to do so. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about avoiding certain fees in the process — including annual fees, penalty APR fees and late payment fees.

Why it might not be for you

Despite its lengthy balance transfer APR intro offering, the Citi Simplicity doesn’t provide any cash back rewards. And, if you’re a frequent traveler, you might want to think about having another card on deck before boarding the plane. The Citi Simplicity charges 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each purchase on every foreign transaction.

The bottom line

The Citi Simplicity is an excellent choice if you’re looking to pay off debt with some breathing room and keep your credit score squarely in the Good range. For travelers and rewards-chasers, there are more suitable cards for your interests.

Read the full review and apply on Citi’s secure website.

Discover it® Cash Back

Why you’ll love it

Good credit and disciplined budgeting go hand-in-hand, which helps make Discover it Cash Back such a tempting credit card. Match your spending patterns with the Cashback Calendar to earn 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories (when you enroll and up to a $1,500 quarterly maximum).

Why it might not be for you

Rather than offering an upfront welcome bonus, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. It’s a potentially valuable incentive, but not everyone will be OK with waiting a year to cash in on it.

The bottom line

Knowing how to adjust your spending habits when necessary is one of the keys to maintaining good credit. Discover it Cash Back helps you earn cash back in the process at an exceptionally generous 5% rate.

Read the full review and apply on Discover’s secure website.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Why you’ll love it

Even if math wasn’t your favorite subject in school, the welcome offer has some intriguing arithmetic: 3% cash back on the first $20,000 in purchases in your first year equals $600 in cash back rewards. It really leaves the old sign-up bonus ($150) in the dust.

Why it might not be for you

As lucrative as the introductory offer is, frugal spenders might see it as a double-edged sword. Once you get used to the 3% rewards rate, it could be tempting to keep spending all the way to the $20,000 per first year maximum.

The bottom line

Your good credit instincts probably tell you to take it easy on the credit card spending. If you can reconcile those sensibilities with this card’s first-year earning potential, the payoff could be considerable.

Read the full review and apply on Chase’s secure website.

Discover it® Miles

Why you’ll love it

The Discover it Miles is a well-rounded card for travel enthusiasts with good credit looking to maximize their travel rewards with a generous welcome offer. After the first year as a cardholder, Discover will match all of the miles you’ve earned for an unlimited amount. You can earn 1.5x miles for every dollar spent, so if you earn 70,000 miles, that’s $700 in your pocket toward travel purchases. There’s no annual fee, and the balance transfer APR is 10.99% for the first 14 months before switching to your regular purchase APR. After the first 14 months of having a 0% purchase APR, your rate will switch to a variable 13.99% – 24.99% APR for purchases, depending on your creditworthiness.

Why it might not be for you

The Discover it Miles is a great option for those looking to maximize travel rewards within the first year, but its overall travel redemption offerings aren’t quite as robust as some other cards out there. And, while you’ll see a lower-than-average APR (10.99% for 14 months) on balance transfers, many cards offer a 0% introductory balance transfer rate.

The bottom line

Depending on how much you’re willing to spend in the first year, this card could really help you bring in enough miles to help you foot the bill for your next vacation. For long-term travel rewards earning, consider one of the other travel cards for good credit..

Read the full review and apply on Discover’s secure website.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

This card shares some of the same selling points as the Capital One Venture, especially the fact that you can earn 10x miles on purchases made with the card at Hotels.com/Venture through January 2020. Likewise, the CapitalOne VentureOne also benefits from a growing number of transfer partners, which gives you more options in redeeming your points for travel.

Why it might not be for you

Although it doesn’t have the $95 annual fee (after the first-year waiver), the CapitalOne VentureOne doesn’t measure up to its big sibling on the non-hotel rewards rate. Earning 1.25 points per dollar is definitely a step down from 2 points per dollar.

The bottom line

One mark of a good-credit consumer is the ability to live within your means. If you like traveling but not extravagant travel spending, the rewards earned through the Capital One VentureOne can help you chip away at those costs.

Read the full review and apply on Capital One’s secure website.

Discover it® chrome

Why you’ll love it

The Discover it Chrome offers sensible spenders with good credit a simple, low-hassle way of earning cash back rewards on everyday purchases, specifically gas and dining. You can earn 2% back on eligible gas and dining purchases for up to $1,000 per quarter and 1% on every other purchase. This card also holds one of Discover’s most valuable cash back features — the Cashback Match™ program. Discover will match all of your rewards earned at the end of the year dollar-for-dollar. Cardholders will enjoy a 0% introductory APR for the first 14 months on balance transfers and purchases; a variable APR of 13.99% to 24.99% will apply thereafter.

Why it might not be for you

It’s true — this card offers a little bit of everything for most types of spenders. If you’re a frequent flyer or want a greater cash back percentage for different types of purchases, this isn’t necessarily the card for you. There are other Discover cards that also offer its Cashback Match™ with more generous rewards structures.

The bottom line

While there are better rewards cards out there, the Discover it Chrome boasts a well-rounded slate of cash back on gas, dining and spending, plus 0% intro APR offers for balance transfers and large purchases.

Read the full review and apply on Discover’s secure website.

What does good credit mean?

A FICO score between 670 and 739 generally qualifies as a “good” score. However, what does a good credit score mean beyond the numbers?

A credit score usually refers to FICO score (short for the Fair Isaac Corporation), which uses predictive analysis based on your financial history to measure your overall creditworthiness. The score relies on information taken from one or more of the three big credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The “good” credit range for VantageScore, another credit scoring model, goes from 700 to 749.

Lenders use credit scores and other financial 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 probably get better interest rates.

Good credit can make it easier to get approved for credit cards and to secure a mortgage or car loan. It also improves your chances of qualifying for more favorable interest rates, which can save you money on interest charges over the life of your loan.

Of course, people with excellent credit usually get the lowest rates. You’re still likely to fare better than someone who has a fair or poor credit score.

So, when it comes to your credit score, aim high.

What’s the difference between good credit and fair credit?

If you have a fair credit score, the distance between you and a good score could be as little as 1 point or as many as 90. It depends on whether your score lies on the low end or the high end of the fair credit spectrum (580-669 for FICO or 650-699 for VantageScore).

Regardless of the distance, being one level below good credit can make a huge difference when you apply for credit. You could miss out on access to great credit card offers on rewards, cash back and 0% interest cards. You could also end up paying higher interest when you borrow money.

Consider this hypothetical example involving two credit card applicants and the APR (Annual Percentage Rate) they might pay depending on their credit scores.

FICO score

APR offer

Interest charges on $10,000 balance paid off in 2 years at $500 per month
Applicant 1

670 (Good)

15%

$1,579

Applicant 2

665 (Fair)

18%

$1,978

Source: Bankrate Credit Card Payoff Calculator

In this example, just a 5-point difference in your FICO score could cost you $399 over two years.

The difference doesn’t end at credit card APR. Paying a higher interest rate on long-term loans (a mortgage, student loan or car loan) can mean the difference of thousands of dollars over time.

The same principles apply to the difference between good credit and excellent credit, which FICO defines as any score over 800. People with excellent credit scores generally have the best shot at premier credit cards and low interest rates on everything from car loans to mortgages.

How to get a good credit score

If you have fair credit or poor credit, it may be easier to improve your credit score than you think. Follow these tips to get your credit score closer to good:

  • Get a copy of your credit report so that you can correct any errors or inaccuracies that show up. A good rule of thumb for anybody is to check your credit report at least once a year.
  • Pay your bills on time, if at all possible. Even if you can’t pay off the entire balance, you can at least make your minimum payment. Any late or missed payments will hurt your score.
  • Don’t carry a balance above 30% of your credit limit on any of your cards, although you’ll want to keep it as close to 0% as possible. Your credit utilization — how much of your available credit you’re using — is one of the key components in determining your credit score. Using more than 30% of your available credit could drive your score down.
  • If you have an old credit card, think about keeping it instead of closing it out. VantageScore points out that an account held for a long period of time says “experienced credit user” to potential lenders. Even if it’s a card you don’t use anymore, that card could pay dividends to your credit score. Keep the account active by making a small charge and paying in full and on time each month.
  • Keep an eye on all your credit accounts. In addition to your credit card, your financial behavior with any other loan also plays a part. If you miss a mortgage payment or car payment, you’ll also do damage to your credit score.

How to correct an error on your credit report

Disputing errors on your credit report involves two steps: one, contacting the credit bureau or bureaus in question (such as Experian, TransUnion or Equifax); two, contacting the person, company or organization that provided the information you believe to be inaccurate to the credit bureau.

Some credit report errors can be as simple as a misspelled name or incorrect address, while others may involve outdated information. For example, maybe you paid off a car loan but the account is still listed as open on your report.

You’ll need to provide documentation to address the errors, such as balance statements, receipts, etc. Be sure to send copies of your documents, not the originals.

Uncertain about what to say? Don’t worry. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sample letters for contacting credit bureaus and information providers.

An example of using a credit card to help your credit score

If you already have good credit but want to keep improving your credit score, many of the sound financial habits that have served you well so far will continue to be useful. The way you use credit cards can also make a difference.

Consider the Capital One Quicksilver, our selection for best flat-rate cash back among credit cards for good credit. Making payments on time benefits your credit score, but cards like the Quicksilver also have the potential to help you reduce debts on other credit accounts.

The Quicksilver card offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 15 months (16.24% – 26.24% variable APR thereafter). You could transfer a balance from one or more credit accounts, including a credit card, student loan or personal loan. Transferring your debt would give you 15 months to pay it off interest-free (before the offer expires and the card’s regular APR takes effect).

To potential lenders, having high credit utilization across multiple accounts could make you seem like a risky borrower. Consolidating debt with a balance transfer is a possible remedy that might help you take your credit score from good to excellent.

UltraFICO, Experian Boost may be good news for good credit

New credit-scoring models launched earlier this year aim to benefit consumers who have good credit habits even if their traditional credit profiles are lacking.

Credit bureau Experian now offers UltraFICO™ and Experian Boost, which expand the criteria used to evaluate creditworthiness. Credit bureaus have traditionally focused on five indicators: payment history, length of credit history, amounts owed, credit mix and new credit. These new products supplement that information by adding deposit accounts to the mix — checking, savings and money markets — and considering factors including:

  • How long the accounts have been open
  • The accounts’ level of activity
  • Amounts in savings accounts
  • Mobile wallet transactions such as PayPal and Venmo

Experian Boost goes a step further by factoring in payments for utility and cellphone service as well.

UltraFICO and Experian Boost are designed to open doors to people whose credit activity doesn’t line up with traditional scoring methods. “Thin-file” consumers who’ve never taken out a car loan or a mortgage, for example, tend to come up short under the prevailing definitions of credit history.

If consumers in those groups have positive histories with their checking and savings accounts, the new systems can partially compensate for shortfalls in traditional credit score criteria. They can also help those working to rebuild their credit after suffering a financial setback.

“I think it’s too soon to tell the overall impact, since they’re only been in the marketplace a few months,” says Bruce McClary, vice president of marketing for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). “But the potential is significant.”

Things to consider before you apply

Any time you apply for a loan or credit line, from mortgages to credit cards, the lender will request a copy of your credit history from one or more of the 3 major credit bureaus. It’s part of how lenders separate qualified candidates for credit from applicants who may be more of a risk.

This request is called a “hard inquiry” or “hard pull.” It can lower your credit score, but usually the effect is temporary. “Soft pulls” involve the kind of credit checks that don’t require your consent, such as pre-approved credit card offers, and they don’t affect your credit score.

The lesson here is to limit the number of times you apply for credit, triggering a hard inquiry that can cause a short-term dip in your credit score.

Exceptions apply in some cases. If you’re “rate-shopping” for a student loan, car loan or mortgage, for instance, FICO treats multiple hard inquiries within the same 45-day period as a single inquiry.

However, the rate-shopping exception doesn’t mean your credit score will escape unscathed if you submit applications for multiple types of credit in a short window — say, a mortgage and a car loan in the same week.

More reviews and research

If you don’t have enough information to make a decision just yet, you’ve come to the right place. Bankrate can help you analyze the facts and sift through the statistics.


Barry Bridges is a senior editor for Bankrate. Before he started writing about personal finance, he was an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina. Send your questions about credit cards (and fantasy baseball) to bbridges@bankrate.com.

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