Best Credit Cards For Fair Credit

Improving your credit score and history starts with a solid credit card. With this comprehensive guide, learn the ins-and-outs of the best credit cards for fair credit out there on the market.

Capital One Journey Student Rewards

Capital One Journey Student Rewards card art
Recommended Credit:
630689
Fair Credit

Everyday Rewards

1%

Annual Fee

$0

Why We Like It:

"Choose your payment date"

If you’re a college student, you may be painfully aware of how important it is to start establishing a solid credit history. Maybe you’ve recently bought your first car or taken out a loan and have realized just how difficult that can be without previous credit. The Capital One Journey Student credit card is a sound choice for students looking to get a better credit score and build good habits that will follow them in life. Here’s why:

With this card, students with average credit can build on their existing FICO score to open the door to more financing options. The Capital One Journey Student card allows students to monitor their FICO score online in the credit card dashboard. It also rewards students with extra point bonuses for making payments on time. If you make your monthly payments for several months straight, without missing a payment deadline, you could be eligible for a higher credit limit.

That’s in addition to cash back rewards on purchases, which isn’t a typical perk of cards for moderate credit. Because Capital One is taking a risk on students who want to build credit, you may find the APR for this card is on the higher side. It will benefit you to pay on time and not carry a balance. However, this is a good choice for students who need to get more access to credit and learn how to use it the correct way.

OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card

OpenSky Secured Visa card art
Recommended Credit:
300
689
Fair, Bad, and No Credit

APR

19.64%

Deposit

$200

Why We Like It:

"Build credit no credit check"

If you have bad credit, you may feel like you’re hopeless to take hold of your financial future. It may seem like no card issuer is ever going to approve you because you have a low credit score or no credit at all. However, there are cards out there designed for poor credit and no credit applicants.

Often, if you have no credit or your credit history is not great you can apply for a secured card. While most people who apply for revolving credit want an unsecured card with lots of benefits, a secured card could be the kick starter you need to graduate onto better cards with more options and build a solid credit history. Here’s how.

Generally, a secured card is one where you put down a deposit that you can borrow against. Most often, the deposit will usually equal the initial credit limit you receive. In a lot of cases, this is just a few hundred dollars. A responsible user of secured credit cards will pay their bill in full each month and avoid maxing out their card to build credit in a healthy way.

The OpenSky Secured Visa is no different. If you are approved for this card, it will be contingent upon posting a deposit to spend against. This can pose a challenge for a couple of reasons. Someone with bad credit or no credit who is applying for a secured card may only have a few hundred in savings to begin with. It’s not recommended you drain your savings for any reason. That is your emergency fund. If you don’t have a bank account at all, your options for building credit are even more limited.

That’s where OpenSky can help. Here’s what we think about this card:

What can we say about the OpenSky Secured Visa? It has limited perks with little room to grow into a better card as your credit matures. It also has a higher deposit requirement than other more competitive secured cards. For these reasons, it may not be the best choice for bad credit or no credit applicants.

However, there will be a percentage of people drawn in by the prospect of a no credit check approval and because you don’t need a bank account. This means, for people who are truly starting with the bare minimum and building their financial profile from the ground up, it could be one of the only cards that offers any access to credit at all.

Everyone deserves access to credit, regardless of their financial situation or lot in life. Most Americans have a bank account and aren’t intimidated by the prospect of a credit check for a secured card. That said, for those who are really struggling to build a financial roadmap to success, this card offers a fair shot at building credit.

Assent Platinum Mastercard Secured Credit Card

Assent Platinum Mastercard Secured Card card art
Recommended Credit:
300
689
Fair, Bad, and No Credit

APR

See terms*

Deposit

See terms*

Why We Like It:

"Build credit refundable deposit"

The Assent Platinum Mastercard is a secured credit card intended to help people get access to credit even if they don’t have a great score. This type of card is not for everyone, but it definitely serves a purpose and has a niche. If you’re struggling to build credit and can afford to pay a deposit, this card may be an option for you.

Few benefits are bestowed upon cardholders, seeing as this is a card with no frills. Among them are no annual fee in the first year, monthly reporting to all three credit bureaus and wide acceptance. The fully-refundable deposit ranges, but starts around $200 and will generally equal your credit limit. If you need a credit card to book a hotel or rent a car, or do any number of things you have to have a credit card to do, having this piece of plastic in your wallet can unlock those opportunities.

This Mastercard doesn’t have its own mobile app at the time of this publication, but the account can be managed relatively easily online. Once established, you can access your online account 24/7 if you have questions about the card or want to check your balance or more. All in all, when used properly, this card could be a road to better credit and sweeter credit card deals in the future.

Milestone Gold MasterCard

Milestone Gold MasterCard card art
Recommended Credit:
630
719
Good and Fair Credit

APR

24.9%

Why We Like It:

"Build credit free custom design"

When it comes to Milestone Gold Mastercard, this card is designed for those seeking to build their credit. It’s a straightforward, what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of card. Users like the ability to raise your credit score, but don’t always appreciate the high fee. Here’s the whole scoop on Milestone Gold Mastercard:

For people with “Poor” credit who are interested in raising their score, the appeal about this card is clear. You can apply without hurting your credit score and it might give you access to credit. Due to Milestone implementing a “soft pull” process, an application for this card never negatively impacts your score. That could be important for people who are trying to build their credit rather than damage it trying to find the right credit card.

Because this is a card designed for people with less than stellar credit, those approved will find that it comes with hefty fees that actually range based on your creditworthiness and the downside there is that you don’t necessarily know what kind of fee you're going to be offered going into the application. The unclear terms and conditions confuse some users. Still, others report raising their credit using this card. At the end of the day, if your options are limited, this basic credit card could be just what you need to open the door to more credit opportunities.

Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Preferred Credit Card

Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Preferred Credit Card card art
Recommended Credit:
300
689
Fair and Bad Credit

APR

9.99%

Deposit

$200

Why We Like It:

"60 second approvals and no credit check"

The Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold is a good card for people who have to build their credit from scratch, or have “Poor” credit and are looking to rebuild. It’s in the family of secured cards, which means you get access to your credit limit against a deposit you must make once approved. This is different from unsecured credit cards, which make up the majority of traditional credit cards that don’t require a deposit and prepaid or pay-as-you-go cards that you load periodically.

What’s really enticing about this card choice is the very low fixed APR. The APR of this card is fixed at a below average rate which is a great thing for would-be credit users who don’t have the best track record making payments. The bottom line is a lower than average APR saves you money, and that’s particularly useful for people with “Poor” credit who have trouble getting approved for cards with a good rate.

There are some drawbacks, however. Mostly, you should know before you apply for the Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold credit card that it doesn’t come with any perks or rewards other than the opportunity to raise your credit score. There’s also no grace period on payments, so interest starts calculating right at the end of your billing cycle. The fees can hurt, too. Make sure to read the fine print, but otherwise, the low APR is a major boon.

Discover It Secured

Discover It Secured card art
Recommended Credit:
300
689
Fair and Bad Credit

APR

25.24%

Deposit

$200

Why We Like It:

"Secured but with cash back!"

The Discover It Secured card is a credit card for people with bad credit looking to grow their credit profile and build their score. The minimum FICO score for acceptance is 300. For that reason, it can also be useful for high risk applicants who aren’t interested in the allure of big rewards, like travel and cash back.

Scratch that! Unlike many competitors in the secured card marketplace, Discover It does offer the opportunity to reap cashback rewards. Earn 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter and 1% cash back on all other purchases. This perk makes it a standout card for people with bad credit or looking to build their credit for the first time. Here’s a sneak peek at what we love about this card:

At the time of publishing this article, the Discover It Secured card has no annual fee. That’s not likely to change anytime soon, as offering a suite of entirely “no annual fee” cards is a marketing point for Discover. With that said, since this is a secured card, it does require a deposit. For those who think a deposit sounds like a bummer, here’s why it’s actually a good thing: First, unlike an annual fee, positive credit behaviors on this card will lead to getting your deposit back if your account remains in good standing. Secondly, by putting a deposit down as your credit limit, you generally have access to better APR offers. As far as Discover It Secured is concerned it’s still going to be an above-average APR, up to 25.24 %, which is also not uncommon for those with bad credit. Finally, once you have established a relationship with Discover, several months in, they will review your account and you may be eligible to upgrade to an unsecured card. This is a wonderful gateway for those entering the world of credit purchases for the first time.

Because Discover allows you to view your FICO credit score in the card portal (you seriously can’t miss it), savvy credit card users with {fico.displayText} can directly tie their credit behavior to the impact it has on their score! That makes it easier than ever to manage your credit while building positive credit behaviors. We at CardGuru love Discover It cards, but don’t just take it from us. Take it from the hundreds of positive reviews this card gets online. If you are in the market for a credit building card, this is a good choice for a wide range of consumers, and the opportunity to earn cashback rewards doesn’t hurt either.

Discover it Student Cash Back

Discover it Student Cash Back card art
Recommended Credit:
300
689
Fair, Bad, and No Credit

Everyday Rewards

1%

Annual Fee

$0

Why We Like It:

"Get paid for good grades"

The Discover it Student Cash Back is a credit card with some enticing rewards for students. In fact, parents can be happy that their children are using a smart credit card that even rewards students for good grades! Whether you’re a student looking to venture out into the world of credit, or a parent looking into options for your new college student, we’re giving all the facts on Discover it Student Cash Back!

What’s not to love about this Discover it card geared at students? First, unlike many cards of this caliber, the annual fee on this card is, well, None. That’s amazing for a card that offers access to people with Fair, Bad, and No Credit. The APR, while above average, isn’t extraordinarily high either at a rate of 15.24% - 24.24% Variable. On top of that, it offers these great perks to make any student feel like a VIP:

Whether you're a student who likes dining out or eating in, with the Discover it Student credit card, you’ll be able to have your cake and eat it too. The cherry on top is that you get rewarded for good behavior, and can monitor your credit score like a responsible adult. If you’re a student who wants to build great credit practices and reap awesome rewards, the Discover it Student Cash Back should make a good addition to your wallet.

Discover It Student Chrome

Discover It Student Chrome card art
Recommended Credit:
630689
Fair Credit

Everyday Rewards

1%

Annual Fee

$0

Why We Like It:

"Extra cash back at restaurants and gas stations"

Are you a student? Are you longing for a ${fees.annual.displayText} card for people with ${fico.displayText}? If so, the ${name} card could be the right fit for you. In the following article we are going to look into the ${name} to determine if it’s what’s been missing from your pocketbook.

Let’s talk about APR. With the Student Chrome card, students will benefit from ${aprs.purchaseIntro.displayText} on all purchases. They also get ${aprs.balanceTransferIntro.displayText} on balance transfers. While this isn’t a balance transfer card, that’s still a below average rate. After the introductory period, your APR will bump up to a variable rate of ${"aprs.purchase.minimum}% to ${aprs.purchase.maximum}%.

It’s important to note that you should have a credit score of at least ${fico.minimum} before applying. It’s a student card, but not a card for someone who hasn’t started building their credit profile. Those who qualify will benefit from cashback rewards:

${description} Because this card is geared at students, it's excellent that it rewards good grades. There’s a lot to like about the Student Chrome card. If you’re a student looking to add some A+ plastic to your purchasing resources, this could be the card for you.

Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa for Rebuilding Credit

Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa for Rebuilding Credit card art
Recommended Credit:
300
689
Fair and Bad Credit

APR

26.24%

Why We Like It:

"Credit builder 1% cashback"

In a world driven by revolving credit, your worth as a consumer is judged by three little numbers. If you want to play in the big leagues, you need to build your credit. After all, your credit will impact whether or not you can qualify for a car loan, home loan or financing for emergency medical bills.

Even if you can qualify right now, a bad credit score will send your APR soaring out of left field on the big purchases you need the most. That kind of expense can cost you tons of money, and prevent you from reaching your goals of financial security. So what can you do?

That’s the million dollar question. In order to build your credit profile, you have to find one credit card you qualify for and use it strategically to raise your score. In all likelihood, if your credit is really bad, the options for the best card to use are probably pretty limited.

That’s where Credit One Bank comes in. With the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa, you could be eligible for a card that allows you to build credit without a deposit and even offers small cashback incentives. Here’s what you need to know about building your credit with Credit One:

Credit One is clearly a bank that believes in second chances. This is evidenced by their lack of a minimum credit score requirement to apply. That means even if your credit score is in the tank, or maybe you never started building credit, you can apply and possibly get approved!

Even better, the credit approval comes in the form of a soft credit check that doesn’t impact your credit score and can be done online in under a minute. You’ll know instantly if you’re approved for this card and can start planning your pathway to better credit.

The minimum amount Credit One offers is slightly more flexible than some other cards for bad credit, especially secured cards which typically match your deposit. The Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa doesn’t require a deposit to offer you a small amount to start spending right away.

It’s also a good choice for credit users who want to practice building credit on a card with some rewards. While the cashback incentive on purchases is below average, that’s still a lot better than many cards for bad credit which don’t offer any cashback rewards at all.

In addition, Credit One offers credit score monitoring through their custom dashboards. As you make timely payments, you’ll see your credit score improve and you may be allowed credit line increases if you show you can handle it responsibly.

Essentially, what’s great about this card is that it offers a path to redemption. Whether or not that path is clear, however, remains to be seen—and we’ll cover that in detail below.

Since a desperate quest for gold isn’t likely to fix your financial woes, let's keep the focus on raising your credit score—which you can certainly do with Credit One. Still, there are a few things about this card that can seem confusing to consumers, so let's take a deeper look:

In addition to the above concerns, you can also expect to pay a higher than average APR. This occurs simply because your credit score isn’t great. It’s a standard practice across the industry to offer higher APR to consumers with fair credit or below, or no credit at all.

That said, most of the complaints that Credit One receives are about the fine print being so confusing, misunderstood or tricky to navigate. That alone doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad deal. If you understand these potential pitfalls and the limitations bad credit presents for you when applying for a credit card, you can still use this card to rebuild your credit.

So, how do you go about building your credit with Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa? Well, the same way you would with any card. It’s simple, actually:

The first step to building credit is creating a budget and knowing what you can afford to pay off each month. Do everything you can to make sure you aren't spending more than you can afford in a few weeks when it comes time to pay the bill. Consider the amount you put on the card an advance to yourself. When it comes to advances, you need to pay them off within the allotted period. In this case, it’s each month. Once you have a budget and know what you can afford to put on the card and pay each month, you're on the right track.

If you know what you can afford, you can start to give yourself spending categories that make sense for your lifestyle. Perhaps you can afford to fully pay off a $75 balance each month and you want to use it for gas. Or you’re going to use your card to get lunch at work each day. Whatever the case, set boundaries around how you spend money on the card so you don’t end up in a bind thanks to impulsive shopping habits.

It may go without saying that once you’ve created a budget and analyzed your spending habits and the reach of your income, you should set a limit on how much you can spend on your Credit One Bank Visa. But we’re going to say it anyway: Setting up a reasonable spending limit creates yet another boundary to protect you from yourself.

While not a physical step in the process of rebuilding your credit, it’s important to say you should only apply if you’re seriously ready to raise your credit score. If you aren’t responsible enough for credit or are trying to get a card to fund a big, non-essential purchase like new furniture or a vacation, you should really consider if you need this card in the first place.

The Credit One Unsecured Visa may not be the best card, overall, but for consumers with credit that has been devastated by financial peril, it could be the best option right now. Our recommendation is, if you decide to apply for a Credit One card, be aware of the potential drawbacks we've described and be ready to use it to build your credit—and for that purpose only.

It may be the only credit card you carry in your wallet for a few years, so you'll need to be patient. Just keep in mind that building credit is a slow process. Once you’ve used it to create healthy credit card spending habits, you can eventually graduate to a better card with better rates and fee structure—and one that doesn’t have so many blind spots.

When it comes to rebuilding credit, the bottom line is simple: Your options are going to be limited. But with a consumer-friendly choice like Credit One offers, you have the opportunity to build your credit while reaping moderate rewards, provided you read and understand the fine print.

First Access Visa® Credit Card

First Access Visa® Solid Black Credit Card card art
Recommended Credit:
300
689
Fair and Bad Credit

APR

See terms*

Deposit

See terms*

Why We Like It:

"Credit not required for approval"

When it comes to sub-prime credit cards (or cards for bad credit, if you’re so inclined) they usually come in two forms: secured credit cards and unsecured credit cards. A secured credit card is one that requires a deposit, and an unsecured card does not. An unsecured card functions the way you would expect a credit card to function. It offers you a line of credit in good faith that you’ll make timely payments. If you have “Fair” credit or worse, finding an issuer that extends said “good faith” without strings attached, like a deposit, can be tricky. ${name} offers a solution that’s accepted everywhere Visa is.

If you’re looking for an unsecured card, the ${name} may be the right one for you. How can you know? Here are 4 things to think about before you apply for this card:

If you answered yes to all 4 questions, and you don't mind paying an initial program fee, this could be the card you’ve been waiting for. This card is not recommended for people who need a large credit limit or intend to carry a balance because of limitations with regards to the credit line, high APR and other fees. If you use this card irresponsibly, it can hurt you. The issuer reports to all three credit bureaus, which is a great thing if you plan on being smart about how you use your card and building credit. All in all, ${name} is a good choice for people with limited options for unsecured credit cards, and this is reflected by a high number of positive consumer reviews online.

Total Visa® Unsecured Credit Card

Total Visa® Unsecured Credit Card card art
Recommended Credit:
300
689
Fair and Bad Credit

APR

See terms*

Why We Like It:

"Application response provided in seconds"

The Total Visa credit card can be filed under cards for fair credit, poor credit and bad credit. However, unlike many cards in this category, it offers unsecured credit. That means you don’t have to pay a deposit to qualify for the Total Visa credit card. However, you do have to have a checking account and this card is not without fees. One such, a program fee, must be paid at the time of approval. It should be noted, the program fee is smaller than most deposits on a secured line of credit.

The initial offering for approved applicants is relatively limited, with the opportunity to grow your credit line as you make timely payments. However, the application is fast and approval has relatively low requirements, making this a seamless process for most credit seekers. Many people can get from application to credit decision, online, in under ten minutes.

If approved, applicants will be the proud owner of a Total Visa credit card, which is generally accepted everywhere without restrictions. They will also have manageable monthly payments, allowing disciplined shoppers to build good credit habits by paying their balance in full each month. This issuer reports to all three credit bureaus, so if you play your cards right you will see your score increase. That’s the big benefit of Total Visa ownership.

Indigo Platinum Mastercard Review

Indigo Platinum Mastercard card art
Recommended Credit:
630
719
Good and Fair Credit

APR

24.9%

Why We Like It:

"Credit builder no deposit"

The Indigo Platinum Mastercard is for people with a credit score that leaves something to be desired. It isn’t your average, everyday card for the basic consumer, but instead, a card geared toward people who have made some credit mistakes and need to re-establish creditworthiness.

It reports to all three credit bureaus, which makes it a good choice for increasing your credit score. Beyond that, it has few perks. Each will be considered here as we examine the Indigo Platinum card for building credit and establishing good credit card shopping habits.

The Indigo Platinum Mastercard is issued by Celtic Bank, which promotes its mission to approach financial challenges “with a creative and problem-solving mindset.” With that in mind, this card is best for people who need to get their credit score to match their financial goals. Why is it, then, that most review sites only give it a two-and-a-half out of five stars?

Well, if you think of a five star card as the gold standard, one that springs to mind is the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which has competitive APR offers as well as rewards geared toward people with "Excellent" credit. Access to five star cards like that one could be among the reasons you are trying to build your credit to begin with.

However, if you have a "Fair" or "Poor" credit score, or have yet to establish credit, you can run into a slew of problems. For instance, you might have trouble getting qualified for a loan you need to buy a house or a car, or pay bills. You might lose job opportunities that require a credit check. Getting your house in order when it comes to credit is essential to your personal life and the well-being of your family.

That’s where the Indigo Platinum shines, almost literally, if you take into account the card issuer offers six colorful designs to choose from. Its higher than average APR, annual fee and low credit limit contribute to its negative reviews. That said, for someone who doesn’t have a lot of options, this could be the right card to square up your credit once and for all, if used properly.

In addition to reporting to three credit bureaus, which ensures your timely payments help to increase your score, this card has a few other important perks:

Consumer complaints usually stem from the above average APR, and the annual fee eating into an already small credit limit of just a few hundred dollars. Some customers believed their spending habits and payment history entitled them to credit line increases that they hadn’t received at the time of reviewing. The nature of these complaints is no different than most cards geared at people with bad credit.

Unfortunately, your credit history does follow you around, and a few mistakes in your portfolio can limit your options when it comes to credit building initiatives. Sometimes a credit card like the Indigo Platinum Mastercard is the only way to re-establish your worth in the eyes of creditors and gain access to more benefits and rewards. Other times, to expedite the process of regaining creditworthiness, people can use a credit card in conjunction with other credit-building techniques, including:

If you have "Fair" to "Poor" credit or no established credit history, the Indigo Platinum could be the right card for you. It’s an accessible, no-frills card with a low limit, intended to help consumers start the long journey to better credit. In order for that to work, however, it has to be used responsibly.

Accordingly, consumers should set limits on how they use the card, keeping their utilization at less than 30% of the credit limit. People who use this card should also plan to pay their balance in full each month. These are commitments to consider if you’re thinking about the Indigo Mastercard.

For average consumers with at least "Good" credit and a solid credit history, there are more rewarding cards out there. Also, for people who are looking to make a one-time large purchase, this is not likely the card for you, regardless of where your credit score stands. Most people who apply for this card only have access to a few hundred dollars initially.

Ultimately, the Indigo Mastercard by Celtic Bank could be a good choice for building credit, especially if you don’t want to put down a deposit to get access to revolving credit. With the right expectations and attitude about spending, there’s little in the way of improving your overall credit health with this card.

Credit One Bank Unsecured Platinum Visa

Credit One Bank Unsecured Platinum Visa card art
Recommended Credit:
300
689
Fair and Bad Credit

APR

26.24%

Why We Like It:

"Credit builder 1% cashback"

This card is an ideal fit for users who have bad credit or are looking to build their credit score for the first time. Credit One Bank also offers credit score monitoring and learning opportunities for those who are new to credit. There is an annual membership fee that starts being assessed in year one, with the amount dependent upon the initial credit line issued. This fee may change each subsequent year.

While easier to access than a traditional credit line, the total amount you will pay in annual fees isn’t the only confusing concern for consumers. Aside from not knowing your fee until the time of approval, you also don’t know what kind of card you’ll be eligible for when you make application, what your rates will be and more. The credit card terms and conditions, online, are generic and all of this makes some consumers uneasy.

That said, the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa is an unsecured card, which means there is likely no deposit required, making it a solid choice for people with “Poor” credit who don’t have a lot of cash on hand. If you need access to credit and don’t have a score that supports better options, this could be a fine choice when used responsibly as a credit building tool, rather than as a line of credit to be treated lavishly.

Indigo Unsecured Mastercard

Indigo Unsecured Mastercard card art
Recommended Credit:
300
689
Fair and Bad Credit

APR

24.9%

Deposit

$0

Why We Like It:

"Credit builder no deposit"

What the Indigo Unsecured Mastercard offers consumers is freedom. If you’ve struggled to get a credit card because of your credit score or lack thereof, this could be the card for you. That’s even true if you have a previous bankruptcy, as all credit scores are considered. With a host of things that require you to have a credit card to book or buy, this can open up a lot of possibilities, but hold the phone! Don’t apply until you know all the details about the Indigo Unsecured Mastercard.

First, as the name suggests, this is an unsecured card, which means it's one of a handful of cards that might offer you a credit card with no deposit even though your score isn’t great. If you’re jumping for joy, hold up a second, because that doesn’t mean it comes at no cost. The standard APR of this card is well above average—not unusual for an unsecured card geared at low credit users, but oftentimes secured cards, which require deposits, offer a bit of an APR reprieve. That’s the trade-off.:If you carry a balance for any length of time on this card, you’re likely to pay what you would have for a deposit anyway in APR.

With that said, don’t carry a balance and you're fine. If you are trying to raise your credit score by getting a card intended only for small purchases you can pay off each month, go for it. This could be a great card because it has no deposit. It will likely come with an annual fee, which will be decided on a case by case basis, but that’s also typical. With online account access and credit bureau reporting, this is a fairly good choice for bad credit users, even though it has no bonuses or perks. Don’t be deterred from building your credit, because once you do you may qualify for better credit card offers.

Capital One Platinum

Capital One Platinum Credit Card card art
Recommended Credit:
300
719
Good, Fair, and Bad Credit

APR

26.99%

Why We Like It:

"Credit builder no annual fee"

The Capital One Platinum card is a pretty vanilla card. It’s certainly not the worst card you could have in your wallet if you have a less than stellar credit score. For people with a “Fair” score, who don’t have a lot of high reward options, the Capital One Platinum card offers a stepping stone to better credit and a higher credit limit through the “Credit Steps” program. This program allows people with below-average credit to increase their limit by making timely payments.

There’s no balance transfer fee at the time of writing this. However, this is not a balance transfer card. The high APR will make transferring any large balance counterproductive. Instead, people with “Fair” credit should use this card to propel their credit score into the “Good” or “Excellent” territories.

To make the best use of this fundamental card, only charge what you can afford to pay each month. Once the bill comes around, pay it in full prior to your payment due date. In doing so, you will build your credit in a positive light and gain access to a higher spending limit with Capital One “Credit Steps” program.

Best Credit Cards For Fair Credit

If you thought that it isn't possible to build good credit with a limited credit history, or nearly impossible to rebuild credit after a bankruptcy, then you're in luck! Below, this guide will cover the methods and cards that will improve your credit and get you back on track toward the financial confidence that you deserve. If that's something you'd like to do, then you've come to the right place.

Even if you have fair credit you can save money and even earn some rewards along the way—as long as you pick and responsibly use the right credit card

The credit cards below were chosen to show you the different ways you can take advantage of various credit cards to fit your needs.

Capital One Platinum Credit Card

For those who don't want to drain their savings on a secured credit card.

The Capital One Platinum Credit Card is a good option for you if you have Good, Fair, and Bad Credit. If you've been using a secured credit card and have been able to responsibly use your credit to build a little bit of a credit history, this card might be a great option to graduate to. However, with a fairly high APR, a flat 26.99% variable, be ready to responsibly pay your outstanding balances in full each month.

The basics of Capital One Platinum

If you're looking for a card without an annual fee that requires little credit history for approval, then the Capital One Platinum might be the card for you. Also, with a chance to earn a higher credit limit, that may give you the freedom to do a little more responsible spending.

People love Capital One Platinum because of the access to a higher credit line after some payments on time

If you've ever been frustrated that your bank or credit card issuer won't consider raising your credit limit even after you've shown responsible use, then we understand!

Access a higher credit line. If you're a Capital One Platinum credit cardholders you can enjoy a credit line increase in just a handful of months after opening the account as long as you make the monthly payments on time.

Although it's not guaranteed, this feature of an increase in credit line is built into the card. A higher credit line, if not used, can lower your credit utilization and gradually improve your credit score.

Fraud coverage. If your card is lost or stolen, Capital One will have your back. You won't be held responsible to pay back any fraudulent purchases made on your card.

Drawbacks: No rewards or intro APR offers

If you're looking to get generous cashback rewards or pay down debt with no interest, then move onto the next credit card review below.

No signup bonus or cashback rewards. Although it's true that there's no annual fee (which is great) that also means the Capital One Platinum Credit Card comes without any signup bonuses or cashback rewards.

No intro APR offers. There's no balance transfer fee on the Capital One Platinum Credit Card. But, without an intro APR offer on purchases or balance transfer, this card would be the wrong one to choose if you're looking to pay down debt or make purchases without worrying about interest. With a relatively high APR it makes it very difficult to use this card for transfer balances and paying down debt with little to no interest. Moving a balance onto this card and paying down debt will almost certainly be counterproductive.

Discover it Miles

Great for those looking to double their unlimited travel rewards points on every purchase.

It's true that for many consumers Discover credit cards might not be on the top of their list for travel rewards.

But, they do consistently rank very high in J.D. Power's credit card customer satisfaction survey, which makes being a Discover cardholder a great overall experience. So what if Discover had a card with great rewards to match its superior customer service? Now it just might.

The basics of the Discover it Miles credit card

Have you ever asked yourself, "Why are credit card signup offers so limiting in what you can earn?" If you answered yes, then this card is right for you. Many credit card signup offers look all too familiar: Spend X amount of money within Y days of account opening, and get Z dollars in rewards. That said, Discover it Miles totally shakes up the rewards system by focusing on potential for maximum travel rewards benefits. If you like to travel and want to avoid fees, but still want to get in on earning travel rewards, then the Discover it Miles credit card might be for you.

Who doesn't like more rewards?

In the intro period of using the Discover it Miles, you get to choose how much you'll be rewarded, and what you use your miles on.

Double your rewards with Discover Match. Unlike most other signup bonus offers, the Discover it Miles credit card has a new way of rewarding new card members like you. At the end of the first year, Discover will match your earned rewards and double the miles.

Flexible travel rewards that can benefit both frequent fliers and hermits alike. Although called the Discover it Miles credit card, use your rewards points for so much more than just flight miles. Whether you're staying close to home or jet setting to the other side of the world, redeem your miles for any of the following categories: airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites, and commuter transportation.

No annual fee and straightforward rewards program. With no annual fee and a simple rewards program, the Discover it Miles card earns cardholders miles for every dollar spent.

Redeem miles for travel credit or cash back. Unlike many travel cards that simply offer rewards credit towards travel purchases, the Discover it Miles card also gives cardholders the option to get cashback for a comparable transfer rate per flyer mile.

Annual in-flight WiFi credit just for being a cardholder.

Beware of some glaring drawbacks

Looking for a huge signup bonus with generous cashback offers all the time for every purchase? Looking to tackle debt by transferring a balance? Then the Discover it Miles might not be for you. Here are some additional setbacks of this card for average credit:

Simple and straightforward, but not an extraordinary rewards program.

No intro APR offer on balance transfers.

Discover card dead zones.

However, Discover is now more widely accepted worldwide than it used to be, so this isn't as much of an issue today.

Difficulty getting approved with "Fair" Credit.

If possible, continue making payments on all other credit cards you might have to lower your total debt to income ratio.

Chase Slate

The perfect card for those looking to transfer a balance and tackle debt.

You might be wary of signing up for another credit card, especially if you have debt. However, the Chase Slate might very well be a part of the solution and not the problem.

The basics of Chase Slate

If you're looking for a huge signup bonus offer or a generous rewards program, then don't look into the Chase Slate. Although, for those looking to find a balance transfer card with an introductory APR to help pay off debt without interest, keep reading below. The Chase Slate credit card might just be the answer to consolidating your debt without a balance transfer fee and then paying it off interest free. Plus, there's no annual fee.

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Drawbacks: No rewards program and an average intro APR offer

The Chase Slate gets a lot of things right, so it's a little hard to fault it for any huge glaring shortcomings. But, without rewards and an average intro APR offer, there are other cards with better offers in these fields.

No rewards offered. Rewards are nice, absolutely, but paying off debt and having peace of mind is most likely even nicer.

Average intro If you're looking for the card with the longest intro APR offer, then Chase Slate may not answer the call. But still 0% for the first 15 months is pretty sweet.

Capital One Spark Classic for Business

For the budding entrepreneur with trustworthy employees.

It's no easy task to start or fund your own business. It's also hard to face the fact that you need to spend money to make money—even the best and incredibly lucrative ideas out there needed borrowed funds to grow. That's where the Capital One Spark Classic credit card for business comes in. Let's take a look at the basics first, then dig into the details to see if this card can fuel your business:

The basics of Capital One Spark Classic for Business

Are you looking for a credit card to fund your business without an annual fee and a rewards program? Are you worried that your average credit will make it hard to qualify for a business credit card? If you answered yes to both questions, then you may need the Capital One Spark Classic for Business credit card. The Capital One Spark Classic for Business is a solid business credit card for those with average credit.

The card doesn't have an annual fee, and doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. And if you ever need to make a trip abroad for your business, the card has no transaction fees, which could really pad your wallet while you stay that extra night at the hotel.

People love the Capital One Spark Classic for Business because it makes it easy to build credit while monitoring expenses

The Capital One Spark Classic is an accessible business credit card for those with fair credit. Using the card responsibly by paying back your monthly statements on time will help you build and strengthen credit for your business.

Responsible use can make you eligible for an automatic credit line increase. Having a higher credit limit doesn't mean you have to use it all, but it's a nice cushion to have nonetheless. If you can keep your credit utilization relatively low that will help to build up good credit. This becomes much easier to do with a higher credit limit.

Monitor your expenses to budget better and know where your money is going. Get custom, itemized, quarterly (every three months) and year end reports that keep track of your spending. Not only will this help you budget to determine what costs are necessary (and which ones aren't) but it'll also help simplify the dreaded accounting and taxes. These purchase records can even be easily downloaded into multiple formats like QuickBooks and Excel to make accounting that much easier.

Experienced customer service to address your business specific needs. Good customer service can go a long way. However, customer service specifically meant to work with and for business owners might seal the deal for you. With access over phone, online, and even mobile application from your mobile device, get the help and answers you need to get your business moving forward.

Free employee cards. If your business continues to grow, give your employees cards at no additional cost. No longer will you have to deal with reimbursement forms. On top of that, earn the rewards that come from their purchases. That said, just remember to stay on top of everyone's credit card statements because you'll ultimately be personally liable for all of your employees' purchases.

Drawbacks: Relatively high APR and low initial credit limit

As with most other cards for those with average credit, both a somewhat high APR and low credit limit isn't all that surprising. Nonetheless, both of these factors could potentially have a significant impact on your business and finances.

APR can make or break your piggy bank. The best way to avoid paying interest is to not keep a balance in the first place.

But, if you build your credit score up to within the good or even excellent range and show credit card issuers that your credit history reflects responsible spending, you'll be able to secure a more desirable APR.

No new cardmember offer. There are no intro APR offers or signup bonuses with the Capital One Spark Classic.

Now, if you have fair credit and are beginning to use a business credit card, the most important thing to focus on is responsible spending and paying back your monthly statements on time. In other words, don't worry about rewards because even the best ones will pale in comparison to the potential debt that could pile up if you don't stay on top of your spending.

Chase Freedom

For those looking for a simple, no frills rewards system.

The terms and fundamentals of the Chase Freedom card are quite similar to Chase Slate card we review just above. So why pick one over the other? To put it simply, the Chase Slate is great to pay down existing debt, whereas the Chase Freedom can give you great rewards without an annual fee.

Like Chase Slate, Chase Freedom also has similar APR rates, so if you're looking to take advantage of your responsible credit card use, this might be a wonderful way to bring your moderately good credit score up into an excellent range. The APR ranges from 17.24-25.99%.

The basics of Chase Freedom

Are you looking for a credit card with cashback offers? If you're looking for a card with no annual fee, a signup bonus and cashback rewards, then the Chase Freedom credit card might be for you.

People love Chase Freedom because of a signup bonus and rewards on top

It's not always easy finding a card that offers a signup bonus and good rewards without needing to pay an annual fee. Chase Freedom meets all of those criteria, so let's dig in for more details.

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Drawbacks: Poor customer service and its balance transfer fee

Poor customer service could make it difficult for Chase to earn your trust. Many have reviewed the customer service to be lacking when disputing a charge or wanting a review to lower their APR.

Balance transfer fee could put a big dent in your bank account.

If this sounds like the right credit card for you, apply here.

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards

For the straight shooter looking for steady rewards.

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards credit card is a great choice if you have average credit and are looking for a straightforward cashback rewards program. That said, if you're looking to make a balance transfer to pay down debt, look elsewhere. With an annual fee and a below average intro APR offer, when it comes to balance transfers there are much better options out there than the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards credit card.

The basics of Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards

Are you tired of remembering which credit card you need to pull out of your wallet depending on what kind of purchase you're making? If you answered yes and you're looking to get a solid cashback rate for everyday spending, then the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards credit card might be just the right card for you.

People love Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards because it's easy to qualify with limited credit and still earn cashback rewards

If you were looking for a credit card to help you build/rebuild credit, earn cashback rewards, and get access to a higher credit limit with responsible credit card use, then the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards card is what you're looking for.

Earn unlimited cashback. No matter what you buy, where you spend, or when you use your card, Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards will give you unlimited cashback rewards.

There are no rotating categories or signup minimum purchase requirements; just start earning cashback immediately after opening your account.

Cashback rewards won't expire. As long as your account stays active, the cashback rewards won't expire. So, no need to worry about losing any rewards you've earned.

Getting a credit line increase can often prove to be quite difficult even if you're a responsible cardholder, so knowing you'll get a credit increase after just five months of timely payments made is a wonderful perk.

Drawbacks: The annual fee and lack of intro APR offer

With an annual fee and below-average intro APR offer, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards card isn't for you if you're looking to make a balance transfer onto your new card.

Annual fee that eats into your rewards. The fact that the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards card offers cashback at all is a good thing. But, the annual fee of has to be taken into consideration too.

Don't carry a balance with the high APR. Carrying a balance on your card is that last thing you want to do, regardless of what the APR is. But, carrying a balance on your card that has a high APR is even worse. The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards falls under one of those cards you don't want to carry a balance on. A relatively high APR is to be expected with cards aimed for those with fair credit, but it's high even for a Fair Credit credit card. On top of that, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards doesn't offer any intro APR, so this would be the wrong card to transfer a balance onto.

Milestone Gold MasterCard

For the toe-dipper who wants to prequalify without further hurting their credit.

The Milestone Gold MasterCard is aimed to help those with Good and Fair Credit. Even with a previous bankruptcy on your credit history, there's a chance for you to get approved for the Milestone Gold MasterCard. It's also possible to get pre-qualified before applying, which won't impact your credit score.

However, with the aim to help those with credit users rebuilding after a hard financial fall, the card will expectedly not offer any signup bonuses or rewards. So, if you're after rewards, then look for a different card review above.

The basics of Milestone Gold MasterCard

If you're comparing subprime credit cards (aimed to help those with substandard credit scores or limited credit scores) it's common to find high interest rates, fees, and a lower credit limit. So with that in mind, the Milestone Gold MasterCard is one of the better options out there. If you're in the market for a card that can help you rebuild credit and re-establish your credit history over a year or two, then let's look into the Milestone Gold MasterCard below:

People love the Milestone Gold MasterCard because you can prequalify before applying

You can get a better picture of whether you'll be approved with a prequalification.

Prequalify for a good estimate. Prequalification doesn't guarantee approval, but having a better picture of whether you'll qualify or not can potentially greatly put your mind at ease. On top of that, prequalification won't hurt your credit score. So, rather than applying right away, if you're unsure whether you'll be approved or not it's best to see if you prequalify.

Solid minimum credit line. If approved, you'll receive a minimum credit limit. The credit limit is based on your creditworthiness, income, debt, and other qualifying factors.

Drawback: Annual fee that automatically kicks in

The annual fee eating into your credit limit isn't ideal, but it all depends on how badly you could use the buying power.

Annual fee automatically kicks in. It's $35 - $99 (Dependent on credit worthiness).

First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard Secured

For the slow and steady credit builder.

The very first thing to notice about this credit card is that, unlike the other ones we've reviewed so far, this is a secured credit card.

All the other ones so far have been unsecured credit cards. Secured simply means that you are securing your line of credit by depositing money upfront. That deposited fund is what typically will equal the line of credit you're approved for. Now that you know what a secured credit card is, let's find out if First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard Secured Credit Card is the right secured one for you.

The basics of First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard

The First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard Secured Credit Card does not require a credit history or minimum credit score to be approved. This card might be a good option for you if you are looking to build credit while having your credit usage reported monthly to all three major credit bureaus to establish a credit history.

People love the First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard because it is straightforward to use

With no minimum credit score or credit history required, getting approved for this card is nearly automatic.

Easily secure your credit line with a deposit.

It offers a grace period like most unsecured credit cards. With a grace period of 25 days, you can avoid paying interest on your purchases as long as you pay your entire balance by the due date each month.

Drawbacks: High security deposit minimum and annual fee

The First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard isn't the easiest card to gain access to.

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Fairly high security deposit minimum.

That minimum deposit could make it difficult for some that don't have enough cash upfront to start using the card and building credit history.

It has an annual fee.

However, if you see it as the cost of admission in order to start building credit and show credit bureaus that you can responsibly use credit, the fee doesn't seem like too much money if it's to build a better financial future.

But with that said, understandably, an annual fee is still nothing to get excited about.

Indigo Unsecured MasterCard

For the person trying to rebound from bankruptcy.

If you've had difficulties getting approved for other credit cards, the Indigo Unsecured Mastercard might be a good start for an unsecured card. Accepting applicants with a wide range of credit scores that are less than perfect, or even those with previous bankruptcy, the Indigo Unsecured MasterCard offers a reasonable APR that could put you on the right track to rebuilding the credit you deserve.

The basics of Indigo Unsecured Mastercard

If you have Fair and Bad Credit (even if that means having gone through a bankruptcy) and are looking to improve and rebuild your credit, then the Indigo Unsecured Mastercard might be the card to help you do just that. Let's take a look below at the good, and not so good, aspects of the Indigo Unsecured MasterCard:

People love the Indigo Unsecured Mastercard because you can prequalify without impacting your credit score

If you're trying to improve your credit score, the last thing you'd want to do is negatively impact it by applying and being denied for a credit card that you are getting in order to improve your score. That would be so counterproductive!

Get prequalified. You can request to be prequalified before applying for the card. It's an easy process that should only take a few minutes online. This will allow for the bank to let you know whether they think you meet the necessary criteria to be accepted.

Just keep in mind that getting prequalified doesn't necessarily guarantee being approved, but being prequalified will give you the confidence you need to apply. However, if you aren't prequalified, it won't potentially negatively impact your credit score history like being denied outright on your application would.

Report to all three major credit bureaus. You want to show the three major credit bureaus that you can responsibly spend and repay using your credit card. As long as you continue to make your monthly payments, having the credit bureaus receive reports of this is good news for you.

Continuing to make monthly payments on time to pay off your balance will demonstrate the kind of financial responsibility that credit card issuers will look for on your credit history and report. This will give you access to better mortgage terms, loans, and cards down the line.

Drawback: Low credit limit

It's hard to find a credit card issuer that's willing to offer a huge credit limit to those that are rebuilding credit, so a low credit limit is to be expected.

Low credit limit means limited use. Although it's to be expected, a low credit limit on your Indigo Unsecured MasterCard can be hard to use and certainly not very useful if you're trying to make a big purchase.

The best way to see this opportunity of a credit line would be to understand that this card is primarily meant to help you rebuild credit and not finance big purchases. Use the credit line offered to show credit bureaus that you can responsibly spend and repay your monthly statements, regardless of how much the credit limit is.

Average Credit Consumers

"Poor," "Fair," and some "Good" credit scores can fall under the descriptor of "average" credit. However, the vast majority of average credit users are in the "Fair" range. That can feel like a weight that you just can't free yourself from. However, with a bit of organizing and research finding a credit card to help dig yourself out of a credit pit is an application away. There's plenty to consider based on your needs as well—perhaps you're better suited to a card that will give you perks for gas, or benefits for staying often at a particular hotel chain.