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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.