Every credit card company has its own definition of what is a “fair” or “average” credit score, so it’s difficult to peg those terms’ exact meaning. However, FICO reported that the average credit score is 706 (as of September of 2019), so that is our standard for this page.
The cards below may approve you with an average/fair credit score. This list is based on data points we’ve seen with past customers, plus a “loose” formula that has often proved to be accurate: a card that offers an interest rate “range” starting at over 17% and going over 20% is more likely to approve fair-credit customers. (For example, Walmart offers its credit cards with an interest rate of 17.99%, 23.24%, or 26.99%. While your rate will depend on their assessment of your credit history, the range of potential rates suggests they are open to “fair credit” customers.)
Using that as our basis, below is a list of no-annual-fee credit cards that we feel fair credit customers should qualify for, ranked from “high likelihood of approval” to “might qualify.” If you find we are wrong, please let us know your experience: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Capital One Platinum MasterCard – Capital One specifically says this card is for average credit customers, but their definition of “average” seems actually to be below average. If you don’t qualify for other cards here, this no-rewards card with a 26.74% interest rate may be your next option.
- Blue from American Express – This credit card is sort of the entry-level American Express Card, offering a modest rewards program and an interest rate of 25.49%.
- PayPal Cashback Mastercard – While this card offers a great cash-back rate of a flat 2% rebate on all your purchases, and while it is probably open to fair credit customers, be wary of the interest rate you might get with this card: either 21.49% or 25.49% or 28.49%.
- Hilton Honors American Express Card – No-annual-fee Hilton rewards card gives fairly generous rewards and should be open to many fair-credit customers. Interest rate range of 17.24% to 26.24%, depending on credit history.
- American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card – No-annual-fee credit card that lets you earn American Airlines frequent flyer miles is likely open to fair credit customers. Interest rate range of 17.49% to 25.49%.
- Walmart Credit Card – Walmart Mastercard or store credit card issued by Capital One is usually friendly to fair credit customers. Offers a modest rewards program that includes a 5% rebate on Walmart.com purchases and smaller rebates on other purchases. Interest rate could be 17.99%, 23.24%, or 26.99% depending on your credit history.
- AARP Rewards Visa – Get 3% cash back at restaurants and gas stations, 1% rebate everywhere else. Interest rate range from 17.74% to 24.49% suggests this card may be OK for fair credit customers.
- Choice Privileges Visa – Rewards/loyalty card of the Choice Hotel chains (Comfort Inn, EconoLodge, more) is likely open to fair credit customers, given that it offers interest rates of either 16.74%, 21.49%, or 26.49%.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited – Get 1.5% cash back on all your purchases with this credit card that should be accepting fair credit customers, judging by its interest rate range of anywhere from 16.49% all the way up to 25.24%.
- Chase Freedom – This Chase card offers 5% cash back on rotating categories that change each calendar quarter, and 1% cash back on everything else. Interest rate range of 16.49% to 25.24%.
- Discover It Card – While this card doesn’t completely match our formula in terms of its interest rate range (with rates as low as 13.49% but going up as high as 24.49%), it is known to be open to people with middle-of-the-road credit scores. Cash back card offers 5% cash back in different categories each calendar quarter, much like the Chase Freedom card described above.
- Capital One Quicksilver – Capital One is known to be more open to fair credit customers than some other major credit card lenders, and this flat cash-back card that offers a 1.5% rebate on every purchase is a popular choice for many people whose scores are decent but not stellar. (If you don’t get approved for this no-annual-fee card, Capital One could offer you its QuicksilverOne card that has the same rewards but a $39 annual fee.)
- Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa – Earn 1.5 points per dollar charged to this card, and use your points toward travel purchases with the card. (Points are worth a penny each in paying for travel purchases, e.g., 10,000 points equals $100 in travel rewards.) The interest rate may be as low as 16.49% but could be as high as 24.49%; fair credit customers will probably be approved at the higher end of that range.
In addition, you might find it even easier to get a credit card tied to a specific retail store than to get an all-purpose credit card like those above. See our Store Credit Cards section for a list of credit cards that are probably easy for fair credit consumers to get.