Credit Cards for Fair Credit

Credit Cards for Fair Credit Published on May 21, 2015 12:33 pm

fair credit scoreThere's no "official" definition or score for this category, but these circumstances typically go hand in hand...

  • High Balances: Using too much of your credit limit is bad for your FICO score. So if you currently have any cards that are maxed out or close to it, a credit card for fair credit will probably be easier to get approved for.
  • Late Payments: 35% of your credit score is based on payment history. Whether your payment is 1 day late or 30 days late, it's classified as a "30 day late payment" if the issuer reports it to the credit bureaus.
  • Bad Debt: Even just one bad debt or account written off will significantly bring down your credit score. It stays on your report for at least 7 years, but will have the greatest impact during the first 2-3. If this has happened to you, your credit might be classified as "fair."
  • Limited Credit History: Are you relatively new to credit or have you rarely used it in the past? If so, then you probably fall under this category.

Credit Cards for Fair Credit in 2015

Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard®

Barclaycard RewardsIt's almost impossible to find a major credit card for fair or limited credit history that comes with no annual fee AND a rewards program. With this one, you get both! And what makes it really blow away the competition is that they give you free access to your genuine FICO score every month through your Barclaycard account online.

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2 points per $1 on gas, grocery, and utility purchases and 1 point per $1 everywhere else
  • Use the points you earn like cash to pay for almost any purchases you've made.
  • No redemption fees, no limit on the points you can earn and no complicated set up.
  • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly providing you the opportunity to rebuild your credit score
  • Complimentary FICO® Credit Scores as a benefit to active cardmembers. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account.

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One QuicksilverOneCapital One designed this version of the QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards card for those with fair credit, which significantly increases your odds for getting approved if apply for this type of credit. The card also offers an enhanced cash back reward program that lets you earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every single purchase (which is unique for reward cards in the fair credit category). The annual fee is $39 and the regular APR is 22.9% variable.

  • Apply toll-free by calling 877-525-5805
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories and no sign ups needed to earn cash rewards
  • Redeem the cash back you earn for any amount, any time – cash back doesn't expire and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases until February 2016; 22.9% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR until February 2016, a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Get free access to your credit score and learn how everyday decisions can affect your score using Capital One® Credit Tracker

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Capital One PlatinumFor those with limited credit history, credit card options can often be very limited. That's why the Capital One Platinum card can be an excellent option because you will get to enjoy Platinum MasterCard benefits such as the extended warranty program, auto rental insurance, 24-hour travel assistance services and more. Best of all there is no annual fee in the first year and only $19 per year thereafter.

  • Apply toll-free by calling 877-525-5805
  • Start with a $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $19 after that
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account – even from your smartphone with our mobile app
  • 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
  • Get free access to your credit score and learn how everyday decisions can affect your score using Capital One® Credit Tracker

Discover it® for Students

Discover it for StudentsThis card offers the same 5% cash back rewards program as the standard consumer Discover it card, but that version is not offered to those with average credit quality. With this card, the required credit score is more lenient since it was designed for students with fair and limited credit history. Just be aware that you must be a current college student to be approved for this offer.

  • No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on your first late payment. And paying late won't increase your APR.*
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.* Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score on monthly statements, online and in our mobile app.*
  • Call for 100% U.S.-based customer service day or night. Or get text alerts when your payment is due. And free mobile app helps you stay on top of your account.
  • New Freeze it℠ on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers. Freeze or unfreeze your account in seconds via our website or mobile app.*
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text – and never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.
  • 0% intro APR* on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 12.99% - 21.99%.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms and other info by clicking "Apply."

Don't know where you stand? Then try this tool!

Are you unsure whether you have good credit, fair credit, or bad credit? If so, then try out this tool which will help you find credit cards that best match your credit profile. In three easy steps, you can check if you pre-qualify for a card without affecting your credit score.

Opening a new card and managing it responsibly is one of the best things you can do for your personal finances. Why? Because the difference between bad and good credit is like night and day. Once you build (or rebuild) a good credit history, new opportunities will await. This is because things like mortgages, car loans, and most reward cards are hard to get approved for with a mediocre or average credit rating. But once you break that barrier and achieve an excellent score, you will find those opportunities come more easily.

Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

†Advertiser Disclosure
The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card issuers from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including the order in which they may appear within listing categories. does not include all credit card offers that might be available to consumers in the marketplace.