Best Credit Cards for Good Credit of 2020

Having good credit grants you access to a lot of exciting financial opportunities, including some great credit cards available from our Bankrate partners. Check out our expert advice and choose the card that can help you do the most with your good credit in the year 2020.

Bankrate's Best Credit Cards for Good Credit in 2020:

  • Best for overall versatility: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Best for free credit monitoring: Capital One® Platinum Credit Card
  • Best for raising your credit line: Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Best for low interest and low cost: Upgrade® Card
  • Best for boosted rewards on select categories: Credit One Bank Platinum Rewards Visa with No Annual Fee
  • Best travel card with no annual fee: Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
  • Best for travel redemptions: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
  • Best for flat-rate cash back: Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Best for first-year rewards: Discover it® Cash Back (not currently available)
  • Best for multiple rewards categories: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card (not currently available)
  • Best no-annual-fee card for families: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
  • Best for dining and entertainment with no annual fee: Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Best for digital wallet users: Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card (not currently available)

Need more information?

Skip down to read our card profiles and expert advice.

Best for large cash back potential

Chase Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (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 Chase's secure website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Rewards Rate:
Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
Welcome Offer:
Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
14.99 - 23.74% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other 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
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for free credit monitoring

Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Fair to Good (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 Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
N/A
Welcome Offer:
N/A
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
26.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Pay no annual fee
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set.
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Help build your credit through responsible use of a card like this
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for raising your credit line

Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Fair to Good (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 Capital One's secure website

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
Welcome Offer:
N/A
Annual Fee:
$39
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
26.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Earn cash rewards without signing up for rotating categories
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • No limit to how much cash back you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
  • Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for low interest and low cost

Upgrade Image

Recommended Credit Score

Fair to Good (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 Upgrade's secure website

Upgrade Card

Rewards Rate:
N/A
Welcome Offer:
N/A
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
6.99% - 29.99%

Card Details

  • Combine the flexibility of a card with the low cost and predictability of a loan from $500-$20,000.
  • $0 fees - $0 annual fee, $0 activation fees, $0 maintenance fees
  • No touch payments with contactless technology built in
  • See if you qualify in minutes without hurting your credit score
  • Use wherever Visa is accepted. (cannot be used at an ATM)
  • Great for large purchases with predictable payments you can budget for
  • Mobile app to access your account anytime, anywhere
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud liability
  • Access to a virtual card while you wait for your card to arrive in the mail

Best for boosted rewards on select categories

Credit One Bank Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (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

Credit One Bank® Platinum Rewards Visa with No Annual Fee

Rewards Rate:
2% cash back rewards on eligible gas and grocery purchases as well as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV services. Terms apply.
Welcome Offer:
N/A
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
23.99% Variable

Card Details

  • No annual fee for qualified applicants. Terms apply.
  • Get 2% cash back rewards on eligible gas and grocery purchases as well as mobile phone, internet, cable, and satellite TV services. Terms apply.
  • 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.
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability.
  • Stay in-the-know with customizable account alerts via email and text.
  • Manage your account on-the-go with the Credit One Bank mobile app.
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer

Some of the offers on this page may have expired.

The information about the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards and the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

This page includes information about Discover products that are not currently available on Bankrate and may be out of date.


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 Score
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Overall versatility 4.6 / 5
Capital One® Platinum Card Free credit monitoring 3.7 / 5
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card Raising your credit line 4.1 / 5
Upgrade® Card Low interest and low cost 4.2 / 5
Credit One Bank® Platinum Rewards Visa with No Annual Fee Boosted rewards on select categories 3.9 / 5
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card  Travel with no annual fee 4.4 / 5
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Travel redemptions 4.7 / 5
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card  Flat-rate cash back 4.7 / 5
Discover it® Cash Back (not currently available) First-year rewards 4.7 / 5
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card (not currently available) Multiple rewards categories 4.5 / 5
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express No-annual-fee card for families 4.5 / 5
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card  Dining and entertainment with no annual fee 4.6 / 5
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card (not currently available) Digital wallet users 4.5 / 5

A closer look at the top credit cards for good credit

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Why you’ll love it

Even if math wasn’t your favorite subject in school, it’s easy to understand how earning unlimited 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases can really add up. Also, pairing the Chase Freedom Unlimited with one of the Chase Sapphire cards can give you a potent rewards-boosting combination.

Why it might not be for you

Other cards offer higher rewards rates, and the 3% foreign transaction fee should be a red flag for international travelers.

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 the unlimited cash back earnings, the payoff could be considerable.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

The Capital One Platinum accepts fair to good credit, allowing you to build credit with responsible use even when your score isn’t it’s best. Also, there is no annual fee, no penalty fee and no foreign transaction fee. This card’s travel protection and rental car insurance are also excellent perks.

Why it might not be for you

If you expect you’ll carry a balance, this card is not the best choice. The regular APR on this card is 26.99% (variable) and the late payment fee is up to $39. Also, there’s no 0 interest introductory APR on balance transfers or purchases. Finally, if you want to earn cash back or miles, look elsewhere, because this card offers no rewards.

Bottom line

While you won’t get a 0 percent introductory APR offer on balance transfers and purchases, this card’s shortage of fees and the ability to build credit make it a fine choice for the consumer with fair to good credit.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

The Capital One QuicksilverOne is all kinds of fun with 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases. There are also no foreign transaction fees, which is handy for overseas travel or making online purchases with a merchant that works with a foreign financial institution.

Why it might not be for you

Sadly, this card has no sign-up bonus, which means it doesn’t compare well to its big sister, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. Also, there’s a $39 annual fee that isn’t waived the first year.

Bottom line

While the QuicksilverOne’s regular APR is not a joyful perk (26.99 percent variable), its cash back rewards are more than competitive. Also, as with all Capital One cards, the prospect of no foreign transaction fees gives it that much more to appreciate.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Upgrade® Card

Why you’ll love it

Pay a fixed monthly payment over a fixed amount of time with this card’s automatic installment plan. Unlike traditional cards’ payment options, of say, the minimum plus 1 percent each month, you’ll pay off your Upgrade Card balance within 12-60 months.

Why it might not be for you

While this card has no annual fee, there are also no rewards, which can impact your spending joy. There’s also no 0 percent intro APR on purchases or balance transfers. In fact, balance transfers aren’t allowed.

Bottom line

If you need to get a firm grip on your card payments, the Upgrade Card is a good option. Also, it’s a fine choice as a financial product. However, there are no rewards, and no balance transfers are allowed with this card.

Learn more and find out how to apply.

Credit One Bank® Platinum Rewards Visa with No Annual Fee

Why you’ll love it

In addition to high cash back on select everyday categories like gas and groceries, this Credit One Bank card offers no annual fee (for qualified applicants; terms apply) and no APR penalty for late payments.

Why it might not be for you

Initially, you may not fully benefit from the rewards program if your credit limit starts out as low as $300. That’s because you can’t make the big purchases that could turn into big cash back earnings. Also, the regular APR is a high 23.99 percent (variable).

Bottom line

Although you may not fully enjoy the rewards this card offers in the beginning if you’re granted a low credit line, good credit habits can turn into a higher limit, which can turn into bigger cash back earnings.

Learn more and find out how to apply.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

This card offers 1.25X miles per dollar spent to the Venture’s 2X miles per dollar spent. However, both the Capital One VentureOne and the Venture benefits from a growing number of transfer partners, which gives you more options in redeeming your miles for travel.

Why it might not be for you

Although it doesn’t have the $95 annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne doesn’t measure up to its big sibling on the rewards rate. Earning 1.25 miles per dollar is definitely a step down from 2 miles 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 our full review and find out how to apply.

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 2X miles per dollar rewards rate is generous, and the miles 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. 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 our full review and find out how to apply.

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 2020 with more tools at your disposal. You’ll find this card easy to use and a consistent source of cash back rewards.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Discover it® Cash Back (not currently available)

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, then 1%).

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 rate.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card (not currently available)

Why you’ll love it

This travel card gets high marks for multiple rewards categories, earning 3X points not just for airfare, hotels and rental car purchases but also dining out and eating in, gas stations, popular streaming services and more. It’s also worth noting that the Wells Fargo Propel doesn’t charge an annual fee.

Why it might not be for you

This card uses the American Express credit card network, which isn’t accepted by as many merchants worldwide as the Visa or Mastercard networks.

The bottom line

Do you want to earn generous travel rewards without pouring a lot of money into a few expensive categories, possibly putting a strain on your good credit score? Consider the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card.

The information about the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Why you’ll love it

This card has exceptional rewards rates for spending at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores — three categories where busy families are likely to make a lot of purchases. The card doesn’t charge an annual fee either, which is good news for your family’s budget.

Why it might not be for you

The welcome offer — a $150 statement credit when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months — is unremarkable, especially compared with other cards on this list. Also, frequent shoppers at places like Costco and Walmart should note that American Express doesn’t include wholesale clubs and superstores in its definition of U.S. supermarkets.

The bottom line

The Blue Cash Everyday Card seems tailor-made for suburban families with lots of places to go and meals to prepare. The straightforward rewards might even provide an opportunity to teach your kids about the importance of building good credit through responsible financial choices.

Annual Fee: $0

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

This card’s rewards program matches up well with people who make room in their budgets for food and fun: unlimited 3 percent cash back on dining and entertainment and 2 percent back at grocery stores. You also get 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. One thing you don’t get? An annual fee.

Why it might not be for you

Your options for redeeming rewards include statement credits, shopping on Amazon.com and gift cards, but you can’t redeem them for travel. Frequent travelers might consider a travel rewards card that earns miles for dining purchases in addition to airfare, hotels and the like. (The travel category does include numerous choices for good-credit consumers.)

The bottom line

Maintaining good credit doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t spend money on things you enjoy. If the things you enjoy include dining and entertainment, the Capital One SavorOne can help you earn cash back at a more than respectable rate.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card (not currently available)

Why you’ll love it

For your first 12 months as a cardholder, purchases with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ and other qualifying digital wallets earn 1.8 percent cash rewards — a 20 percent boost over the regular 1.5 percent rate. You can also get protection for your smartphone (up to $600 with a $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft just by using the card to pay your monthly phone bill.

Why it might not be for you

Even with the first-year bonus on qualifying digital wallet transactions, it wouldn’t be difficult to find a flat-rate cash back card that offers higher returns on every purchase. Also, your wireless carrier might offer its own smartphone insurance coverage.

The bottom line

The bonus cash rewards rate on qualifying first-year digital wallet purchases provides a way to earn more cash rewards without necessarily spending more. Consumers who are fans of digital payment services and good credit scores should check out the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa.

The information about the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

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:

Check your credit report

Get a copy of your credit report so that you can check for errors or inaccuracies that show up. Some credit report errors can be as simple as a misspelled name or incorrect address, while others may involve outdated information (loans that you’ve paid off still listed as open, and so on). A good rule of thumb for anybody is to check your credit report at least once a year.

Correct any errors on your credit report

Disputing errors on your credit report involves two steps:

  1. Contacting the credit bureau or bureaus in question (such as Experian, TransUnion or Equifax)
  2. Contacting the person, company or organization that provided the information you believe to be inaccurate to the credit bureau

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

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.

Pay on time across the board

Pay all your bills on time, if at all possible. 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.

Watch your credit utilization

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.

Let an older card age gracefully

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.

Keep the account active by making a small charge (your monthly cloud storage, for example) and paying in full and on time each month.

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 Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa card, our good-credit pick for digital wallet users. Making payments on time benefits your credit score, but cards like the Cash Wise Visa also have the potential to help you reduce debts on other credit accounts.

The Cash Wise Visa offers a 0% introductory APR on qualifying balance transfers for 15 months (14.49%-24.99% variable APR thereafter). You could transfer a balance to the Cash Wise Visa from a different credit account and have 15 months to pay off the balance 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.

The information about the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

UltraFICO, Experian Boost may be good news for good credit

New credit-scoring models launched in 2019 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.

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.

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 (also known as welcome offers)

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 analyze 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.

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.


Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, loans, mortgages and other personal finance products for Bankrate since 2018. His work has also appeared on websites including Nasdaq.com, Zillow.com and The Simple Dollar. He was previously 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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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.