Q: What is the minimum credit score needed to be approved these days?
A: The minimum credit score needed for approval varies by card, but it’s not the only criteria used. For example, someone with a low credit score simply because they are new to credit will probably be looked upon more favorably than someone with a low score due to late payments or a charge off.
The minimum score requirement for a credit card can also change depending on the economy. During the financial crash years ago, issuers became much more picky. Fortunately, things have now returned somewhat back to normal for 2013, but we will probably never again see the loosey-goosey credit availability experienced before. Here are some ballpark ranges to give you a better idea…
For The Best Reward Cards?
Want 5% cash back or double miles? A score for credit cards in this category will usually have to be above-average. For example, I would estimate that those 5% cash back credit cards usually require a minimum credit score in the 700 to 750 range (however to get the best rates you may need higher than that).
Therefore if you are brand new to credit or have a poor credit history, the best cash back and travel reward cards may be out of your league. That being said, there are plenty of 1% rebate cards (like the one below) that aren’t as picky.
For Fair/Average or Limited Credit History?
Although there is no official number, most consider a fair credit score to be in the range of 650 to 699. The average American often falls somewhere into this range, especially if they carry high balances, have had charged-off debt, or just a limited credit history. Many of these cards have fees and higher rates. Go here to find out more about credit cards for average credit.
For Bad Credit?
For credit cards with bad credit the minimum score can be anything as long as you are applying for a secured card (where you put up a security deposit). As you can imagine these do come with fees but if used correctly, they are an excellent way to rebuild your credit. To learn more check out our section about rebuilding credit using secured cards.
Conclusion? Ultimately, you need to remember that the minimum credit score for a credit card is never public information… the banks will never disclose what the magic number is to get approved. So ultimately, all we can really do is estimate the minimum credit score for credit cards based on consumer feedback.
Written or last updated April 2017