Best credit cards for fair/average credit in August 2022

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Having good credit grants you access to a lot of exciting opportunities like cash back, travel rewards and some of the highest rewards rates available. It has probably taken some work to land in the “good credit” range, so it’s a great idea to dip your toes in the new benefits available to you with a credit card from our partners for good credit. Check out our expert advice and find the one that works best for you.

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U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

Reward rate

5% cash back on your first $2,000 in eligible net purchases each quarter on the combined two categories you choose.


5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center.


1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.


1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

$200 bonus

Annual fee


Regular APR

16.74% - 26.74% (Variable)

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card is packed full of bonus rewards categories. It will take more than a little effort to track them all, but people who don’t mind strategizing to earn high rewards for all their purchases will enjoy having this card in their collection.
  • Multiple rotating and fixed bonus categories, which can make it easier to earn rewards quickly
  • The $200 sign-up bonus (after spending $1,000 within the first 120 days of account opening) increases the card’s first-year value
  • The $2,000 combined spending cap each quarter for your chosen 5% categories limits your ability to rake in rewards
  • Having to track and enroll in rotating categories can be a hassle for some
  • New! $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening.
  • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter on two categories you choose
  • 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center
  • 2% cash back on one everyday category, like Gas Stations/EV Charging Stations, Grocery Stores or Restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 16.74% – 26.74%
  • No Annual Fee
  • Pay over time by splitting eligible purchases of $100+ into equal monthly payments with U.S. Bank ExtendPay™ Plan.
  • Terms and conditions apply.


Purchase intro APR
0% Intro APR on purchases for the first 15 billing cycles.

Balance transfer intro APR
0% Intro APR on balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles.


Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa®

Reward rate

Earn 2.2% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment

Intro offer


Annual fee


Regular APR

8.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

If you value having an incentive for making your credit card payments, you will find a lot to love with this card option. You’ll earn a competitive rate of 2.2 percent cash back on your purchases each time you make a payment. The card is also fairly affordable, skipping the annual fee, foreign transaction fees and many other common maintenance fees.
  • You won’t need to use your reward earnings to offset any maintenance fees.
  • You’ll earn a bonus after you open a Rewards Checking account and make three purchases with the card in your first 60 days.
  • The high end APR range is well above average. That could prove costly if you don’t have the credit needed to qualify for the lower range and you end up carrying a balance.
  • You won’t get a break on interest if you carry a balance since there are no intro APR offers on purchases or balance transfers.
  • $200 bonus on your Upgrade Card after opening a Rewards Checking account and making 3 debit card transactions within 60 days.*
  • New Feature: Pay your balance in full early each month and avoid interest with EarlyPay.
  • Earn 2.2% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment
  • See if you qualify in seconds with no impact to your credit score
  • No Fees – $0 annual fees, $0 activation fees, $0 maintenance fees
  • Combine the flexibility of a card with the low cost and predictability of a loan
  • Access to a virtual card, so you can start earning while you wait for your card to arrive in the mail.
  • Contactless payments with Apple Pay® and Google Pay™
  • Mobile app to access your account anytime, anywhere
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud liability
  • *To qualify for the $200 welcome bonus, you must open and fund a new Upgrade Rewards Checking Account and make 3 debit card transactions within 60 days of your Upgrade Card account opening. The bonus credit will be posted to your Upgrade Card as a rewards credit within 1-2 billing periods following the third debit transaction on your Rewards Checking account. Your Upgrade Card must be in good standing to receive the bonus.


Purchase intro APR

Balance transfer intro APR


Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Reward rate

6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).


6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.


3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations


3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations


1% Cash Back on other purchases

Intro offer


Annual fee


Regular APR

16.24%-26.24% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

With generous rewards rates in family-friendly categories including purchases at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, on-the-go families will have a hard time finding a more rewarding credit card.
  • The base reward program is uber-lucrative, making this card a good choice for people looking for long-term value.
  • You don’t have to keep track of rotating spending categories or enrollment deadlines.
  • There is no intro APR offer on balance transfers.
  • You won’t earn the extra rewards for grocery shopping at major superstores and wholesale clubs, as those don’t count as U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a fixed monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low intro APR: 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 16.24% to 26.24%.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.


Purchase intro APR
0% on purchases for 12 months

Balance transfer intro APR


Discover it® Cash Back

Reward rate

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.


Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

Intro offer

Cashback Match™

Annual fee


Regular APR

13.49% - 24.49% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

The Discover it Cash Back is a popular choice for cash back rewards because of the rotating bonus categories. It’s an exciting way to earn cash back quarter by quarter and all year-round without committing to a set rewards category.
  • Discover will match the cash back you earn at the end of the first year.
  • There are a few cash back redemption options, including credit to your account and donations.
  • You must enroll to take advantage of the bonus categories each quarter.
  • There is a spending limit on your highest cash back category each quarter ($1,500 in combined purchases per quarter).
  • Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • New! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • New Intro APR: Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 13.49% to 24.49% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.


Purchase intro APR
0% for 15 months

Balance transfer intro APR
0% for 15 months


Citi® Double Cash Card

Reward rate

Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Intro offer

$200 Cash Back

Annual fee


Regular APR

16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

If you make your payments on time each month, it’ll be tough to find a better cash back card than the Citi Double Cash Card. With healthy financial habits, this card effectively becomes a 2 percent flat-rate cash back card (1 percent when you make purchases and another 1 percent when you pay your bill), a rare find in the cash back market.
  • You can convert your cash back earnings to Citi ThankYou points when paired with a card like the Citi Premier® Card, which can be redeemed for travel, gift cards and more.
  • There are no spending category restrictions or rotating categories
  • Your rewards can expire with this card if you don’t use it for a year.
  • The sign-up bonus spending requirement is higher than you’ll find on many no-annual-fee cash back cards.
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • For a limited time, earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.
  • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.24% – 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).


Purchase intro APR

Balance transfer intro APR
0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers

A closer look at Bankrate’s top credit cards for fair credit

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for dining and entertainment

  • What we love about the Capital One SavorOne: It’s rare for a no annual fee card to earn such robust rewards rates in these particular categories in dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery store categories.
  • Who this card is good for: Socialites and social butterflies who will make the most out of the SavorOne’s very generous dining rewards.
  • Alternatives: The Discover it Chrome card is another card that offers competitive rewards rates on dining. It also tacks on gas rewards which is great for people who are often on the go, something that the SavorOne falls a bit short on.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: Best overall cash back for families

  • What we love about the Blue Cash Preferred: The rewards categories on this card are some of the most popular spending categories for most consumers so if you play your cards right (pun intended), you’ll have a nice stack of rewards in your cash back match in your first year.
  • Who this card is good for: On-the-go people who spend a fair amount of money at gas stations and restaurants. You can earn 2 percent in those categories on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1 percent.
  • Alternatives: The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards card outpaces the Discover it Chrome by a lot if your main squeeze is getting the most out of dining rewards.

Citi Rewards+ Card: Best for rewards on small purchases

  • What we love about the Blue Cash Preferred: Thanks to the Citi Rewards+ Round Up feature, every purchase you make will be rounded up to the nearest 10 points. For example, a $4 coffee would be worth 10 points.
  • Who this card is good for: Frequent supermarket and gas station shoppers who want to earn cash back rewards easily without big spending habits.
  • Alternatives: If you want to expand beyond the Citi ThankYou® Points program, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card offers unlimited flat-rate rewards on all purchases, casting a wide net on your earning opportunities outside of a designated points program.

Credit cards for consumers with fair or average credit

You might have trouble qualifying for top-rated rewards credit cards and the most competitive interest rates if you have fair credit. The good news is that many issuers offer credit cards specifically designed for people who don’t have outstanding credit scores.

Used correctly, a credit card for fair or average credit could help you build your score and improve your chances at getting better cards, lower interest rates and more.

The more you know…

The pandemic has resulted in financial challenges for many Americans. According to our study, 33 percent of cardholders did something that could hurt their credit score during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What does it mean to have fair or average credit?

When you have a fair credit score, it means that your credit is one level below good but one level above bad or very poor. Credit score typically refers to your FICO® Score, a three-digit number that ranges from 300 to 850 using a scoring model developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation. If your score is between 580 and 669, you land in the range considered fair.

FICO score ranges

  • 300–579 = Very Poor
  • 580–669 = Fair
  • 670–739 = Good
  • 740–799 = Very Good
  • 800–850 = Exceptional

How your credit score is calculated

The three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—assign credit scores based on a combination of factors. Each one counts for a specific percentage of your credit score.

Your payment history: 35 percent

This record indicates how often you make your payments on time vs. how often you may have missed or skipped payments. In the eyes of credit card issuers and other lenders, paying on time helps establish you as a reliable person to do business with.

How much of your available credit you’re using: 30 percent

Your credit utilization ratio is a percentage that measures how much credit you’re currently using in relation to how much credit you have available to you. As a general rule, experts recommend using no more than 30 percent of your available credit.

Length of credit history: 15 percent

If you just opened your first credit card a month ago, your credit score won’t be as strong as someone who’s had a credit card for several years and has built up a solid history of paying their bills on time.

New credit: 10 percent

Applications for new lines of credit account for a small part of your credit scores. Just remember that any application involving a hard credit check can put a small, temporary dent in your credit score. Applying for multiple cards in a short period of time might even give potential lenders the impression that you’re trying to borrow more than you can afford to repay.

The types of credit you have: 10 percent

Part of your credit score is determined by your credit mix, which can include credit cards, car loans, student loans and mortgages. Credit mix counts for just 10 percent, so you’ll want to avoid aggressively opening new lines of credit just to expand it.

Five ways you can improve your credit score

If your credit is fair-to-average, your goal should be to improve your overall credit standing. A higher credit score makes it easier to qualify for better financial products like premium credit cards and auto loans with favorable terms. It can even impact your ability to secure housing and employment. With consistency, you can raise your credit score over time. Here are some good credit habits to help you raise your credit score.

  1. Pay your bills in full and on time. Any missed or late payments will hurt your score. If you do have unpaid balances from time to time, keep them as low as possible.
  2. Don’t use more than 30 percent of the total credit available to you. Use Bankrate’s credit utilization ratio calculator to quickly determine your current ratio.
  3. Look for pre-qualified offers on credit cards, loans and other types of credit. A pre-qualification check won’t affect your credit score like a hard inquiry.
  4. Check your credit report and be prepared to correct errors. Incorrect information on your credit report—even something as simple as a misspelling of your name—could be keeping your credit score lower than it should be. Check your report and find out how to dispute errors.
  5. Be careful about canceling older credit accounts. A credit card that you’ve had for a long time adds to your length of credit history. Even if you don’t regularly use the old card anymore, keeping your account open and occasionally active could benefit your score. Consider setting up autopay for a small recurring charge—like a streaming service—on your old card so you won’t worry about cluttering up your wallet.

Don’t expect your credit score to go from fair to good overnight. In fact, it could take months to see it improve significantly. Think of it as a long-term project that will pay off in the long run.

Why a higher credit score matters

A good credit score can make your life easier in many ways. Good credit means more opportunities and better interest rates. For instance, if you have a good credit score, you are more likely to be approved for a loan, credit card, car loan, mortgage, or another type of credit account—but if your credit is just average or fair, you’ll likely pay higher interest rates even if you’re approved. Plus, your credit score may also affect your insurance premiums or your ability to get a job.

For example, if you have an average credit score of 660 and you apply for a credit card with a variable APR ranging from 15 percent to 24 percent, you may be approved for a card with 22 percent APR. But a person with a credit score of 700, however, might be approved for the same card with a lower APR rate of 18 percent.

How to choose the best credit card for fair credit

Choosing the right credit card isn’t always an easy task. The best credit card for fair credit is one that will help you reach your financial goals. When searching for a new credit card, it’s important to keep in mind that the card will be a tool to help you improve your credit score. Here are some of the things you should consider when choosing a card for fair credit:

  • Does the card have tools that help you improve your credit score? Monitoring your credit is an important first step to improving it. Does the card you’re after offer tools to help you with keeping track of your credit score? For example, some credit card issuers, like Citi and Discover, offer free access to a cardholder’s FICO score.
  • Does the card offer value? Most credit cards for fair credit come with simple, straightforward rewards programs. But simple doesn’t have to mean less valuable. There are credit cards for fair credit that earn cardholders as much as 5 percent cash back on select purchases.
  • Does the card fit into your budget? Can you afford any costs associated with the card? Be sure to consider factors like the annual fee, interest rate, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees.

Still unsure if a fair credit credit card is right for you? Check out our Credit Card Spender Type Tool where you can get personalized credit card recommendations based on your credit score, spending habits and daily needs.

Four things to consider before you apply

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you shop around for a credit card.

  1. Know the score. It’s important to have a general idea of which cards you might qualify for based on credit score. Check your credit score before you go card shopping and look for recommended credit scores in each card’s marketing details.
  2. Look for lower APR. Annual percentage rate (APR) represents the total cost, including interest, charged by credit card issuers and other lenders. If you typically carry a balance on your credit card, APR will come into play. The lower the APR, the less interest you’ll have to pay if you don’t pay off your balance each month.
  3. Get a sense of the fees. With every card you’re interested in, check for annual fee, late fee, foreign transaction fee and other charges. A card that’s less expensive to own could provide more value.
  4. Keep an eye out for pre-qualification. Online tools like CardMatch™ help you compare pre-qualified offers without hurting your credit score.

Three things to avoid with credit cards for fair credit

Having a fair credit score can be tricky, as you may have to take extra precautions when applying for a credit card or loan. If you want to improve your credit score over time, you should avoid the following issues when using a credit card for fair credit:

  • Avoid opening new accounts too quickly. It’s tempting to open up as many accounts as possible in order to lower your credit utilization ratio and get higher scores, but this might not always be the best idea. Opening too many new accounts at once can actually hurt your score because it looks like you’re desperate for more money or in financial trouble. Instead, be patient and wait until you have paid off some of your existing accounts before applying for another one.
  • Avoid closing multiple accounts at once. Each time you open a new account, it lowers your average age of accounts by one year. That means that if you open five new accounts within six months and then close them all after one year, it will look like you have only one account open for two years instead of five years—which could hurt your score significantly.
  • Avoid getting a card that has a high interest rate and a balance transfer fee. The APR on this type of card can be higher than other cards, so it’s important to pay off the balance each month. Balance transfer fees can also be expensive, and they only apply when you transfer existing debt onto your new card.

How we evaluate credit cards for fair credit

As someone with fair credit, you should focus on maximum value and potential to build your credit score. While Bankrate uses a 5-star scoring system to rate a card’s overall quality, cards in the fair credit category receive particular attention in the areas of:
Rewards value

An affordable APR could save you money if you ever have to carry an unpaid balance from one month to another.


Continuing the focus on affordability, our top-rated cards for fair credit often charge no annual fee or have an annual fee in the $29-$99 range.

Extras and discounts

Our top recommendations include cards that increase your credit line if you make the required number of on-time payments.

Cost of ownership

Many of the cards on our list offer pre-qualification, which means you can get an idea of how likely you are to get approval without a hard credit inquiry that takes a small bite out of your credit score.

More information on credit cards and credit scores

If you’re looking for options with fair credit or ways to build your credit score, check out some Bankrate resources:

  • How to build credit with a credit card
  • How to score a rewards card without good credit
  • Why is good credit so important?
  • What’s a good APR for a credit card?

Frequently asked questions about credit cards for excellent credit scores

Your credit score gives lenders a general idea of how likely you are to pay what you owe. Although it’s easier with a higher credit score, consumers who have fair credit can and do receive approval for many types of credit cards.

While many credit cards for fair credit fall into the no-frills category, some offer features such as cash back, points and other benefits. On the other hand, you’ll probably have trouble qualifying for a zero-interest intro offer on a balance transfer credit card with a credit score below 670.

The lowest possible credit score is 300, which few people actually have. It’s possible to qualify for a card with a credit score in the 300s, even if you have no credit history. People with fair credit can generally expect a minimum required credit score of 580, about 130 points below the national average.

Most travel credit cards require good-to-excellent credit to qualify, so getting one with fair credit might be difficult. There are travel credit card options available for travelers with less than stellar credit like the Credit One Bank® Wander™Card, but a boost to your credit score will open up a world of travel credit card options.

That said, there are credit cards for fair credit that come with travel perks like no foreign transactions fees and rewards for travel purchases.

Your credit limit will be determined by a combination of your credit score, credit history, your income and your debt. You can’t really guess what your credit limit will be beforehand, but if you need a card with a specific credit limit secured credit cards are an option.

Advertiser Disclosure is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. The offers that appear on this site are from companies from which 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. does not include the entire universe of available financial or credit offers.

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