Credit Cards for Average Credit Score [2020 Picks]
Capital One® Platinum Credit Card
Credit Score Required:
Average, Fair, Limited
The Capital One® Platinum Credit Card is a MasterCard that gives you some of the best benefits of a credit card without requiring a perfect credit history. That means this card is a great tool for many people to take their credit score to the next level while they enjoy cash back on things like gas and groceries.
What We Like
Unsecured credit card – no security deposit required
Cashback rewards on things you buy every day like gas and groceries
Lower credit score requirements than many competing cards
Milestone® Gold MasterCard®
Credit Score Required:
The Milestone® Gold MasterCard® is the perfect card for people with alright but less-than-perfect credit. Milestone uses a pre-qualification process that lets you apply for the card without taking a hit from a hard inquiry on your credit report. That means this is a great card to help you take your credit score from average to excellent.
What We Like
Unsecured credit card – no security deposit required
Easy pre-qualification process with no credit check
Low annual fee of $35-$99 depending on credit worthiness
Having a credit card can help people pay for things in times of limited cash flow or emergency. Millions of Americans use credit cards as their primary way of purchasing items. But if you have an average credit history due to certain incidences, you may find it hard to get a credit card. Most items stay on your credit history for up to seven years, it may not be worth waiting this long to get a credit card. Instead, you should look for lenders who offer credit cards to people with average credit. You may not be able to get rewards cards or other awesome deals, but you can still have a good chance of getting back on the credit ladder.
It’s important to be wary when navigating the credit card industry if you have poor credit, you don’t want to end up being duped into signing up for an inferior or costly credit card. On top of this, you want to make sure that you’re actually choosing the best card possible. Choosing a credit card should be something that you do with great consideration. There are tons of great advantages that you can benefit from should you approach the application process seriously.
This article will look at various factors that determine the best credit cards to apply for if you have average credit. It will also outline the advantages and disadvantages of obtaining a credit card with average credit.
What to Look For
If you’re looking for a credit card and you have average credit, you should consider the following factors before deciding on which card to use: needed credit score, reputation of lender, and interest rate.
- Needed Credit Score – If you have an average credit score the first thing you should consider when applying for a credit card is the credit score you need. You don’t want to apply for a card you can’t get and end up with a credit inquiry on your credit report for no reason – this can damage your score. Research online and find out the average range of accepted scores for the cards you want to apply for. There are various lenders that traditionally lend money to people who have scores between 600-670.
- Reputation of Lender – The reputation of the lender you opt for can have a positive or negative impact on your credit report, and will also ensure you don’t have any hidden costs or fees. There are predatory lenders that attempt to sign on desperate people with poor credit histories in hopes of getting them to pay outlandish fees and charges – beware! This is one of the reasons we recommend looking at credit card with no annual fee.
- Interest Rate – Because you are a high-risk borrower, you may find many of the cards have high interest rates. Since you won’t be able to get any rewards, you should try and get a card with an interest rate that is as low as possible. Anything below 20% is considered a decent rate for those applying for cards with an average credit history.
Getting one credit card when you have average credit can help you rebuild your credit situation. In fact, take a look at the best secured credit card to rebuild credit. You don’t want to be stuck with an average score, and using a credit card and paying it off regularly can help boost your score. In addition, it’s a great way to help bridge gaps in cash flow in case of emergencies or other instances. As long as you are responsible with your new card, it can be a great way to move your credit score forward and return normalcy to your life.
The disadvantages lie in various aspects of cards you can attain with average credit. As you are a high-risk borrower, you will not be able to attain cards with lots of rewards points or the best credit card bonuses. Therefore, using credit cards to rebuild bad credit will not give you any real benefit aside from building credit. In addition, interest rates can be quite high, this is also because you’re a high-risk borrower. Also, many of the top lenders will not allow you to have a card with average credit, which means you will have to use lesser known lenders to get a card (this isn’t always the case). You also want to make sure you are capable of being responsible with the card, misusing it will result in even poorer credit being attributed to your name.
Secured cards are one of the best ways to build credit if you don’t think your credit score will allow you to get access to a credit card. They are also good first time credit cards. A secured card is simply a credit card in which you pay a deposit equal to the limit. For example, if you paid the bank $500, they would grant you a $500 limit. This allows the bank to reduce the risk that they end up having if you default on the money that they are lending you. Should you not be able to pay off your card, the bank will use your deposit to cover the costs.
Typically, the lender will refund you the amount that you put down on the card after you exhibit responsible lending behavior. This means that the card can turn into a normal credit card after a certain amount of time. But this will depend on the lender you choose. Obviously, this isn’t an option for everyone, as many people might not have the money to make a deposit on the card.
Assess Why You Have Average Credit
One of the important things to do before applying is to assess why you have average credit, this can help you approach the entire application process a lot better. If you have a good understanding of why your credit score is the way it is, you might be able to fix it before you apply.
Credit scores are complicated, they don’t make much sense to the average consumer. Credit reporting bodies report your lending information and then come up with an algorithm that calculates your score. But a lot of what goes into your score can be hard to understand. Regardless, there are two primary things that impact your score – they’re explained in more detail below.
Items on your credit score typically impact it negatively. For example, you might have a missed payment for a past credit card. This can greatly reduce your score. But not as much as other items such as defaulting on a debt or declaring bankruptcy. There are tons of different items that can appear on your score, overall these include bankruptcies, liens, missed payments, defaults, late payments, and judgements. If you have items like this on your report, it is probably the primary factor that you have average credit.
The other major contributor to an average credit score is the amount of debt that you are currently carrying. Lenders want to make sure that you don’t have too much debt – it could mean that you might not be able to pay back what you owe. Each month, your lenders send your balances to credit reporting bodies and your credit score is updated. If you have high debt levels, your credit score will remain the same, but if you lower them, your score will increase.
Consider Improving Your Score
If you feel that there are items on your report that may be unfair, contact the reporting agency and see if they will remove them. If not, credit repair companies have been helping people across the nation improve their scores quickly. Also, if you can pay down your debt before you apply for a card, you will see that your credit score will increase dramatically. These are both ways for people with average credit to ensure they have a better chance of getting the best credit card they can.
Take Your Application Seriously
Because of modern online application processes, many people don’t take their application as seriously as they should. Often, people will just apply for any card that they think they might be eligible for – this is the worst thing that you can do.
The more you apply for credit cards, the lower your credit score will end up being. Each time a lender runs your credit report it reduces your score. Make sure that you know which type of card you are looking for before you begin applying. If you’re not eligible for a card, there is no point in trying to shoot in the dark.
Those who want to ensure that they get the best possible credit card should make sure that they reduce their chances of having to reapply for another card. If you make the mistake of applying for too many cards, the issuers that will be willing to accept your application will grow fewer and fewer. The last thing you should do if you want to get the best possible credit card for someone with average credit, is to reduce your credit even further by over applying. If you travel a lot then consider applying for the best travel credit card offers.
If you have an extremely high income level, your credit score won’t be as important as someone who earns a low salary. Lenders understand that people with large salaries are more likely to be able to pay off their debt. They might not offer you a high-limit if you have a bad credit history, but they are likely to offer you a credit card if you happen to be a high-earner. You should make sure to factor your income into deciding which is the best credit card for someone with average credit. Consider looking at the best credit cards with cash back.
Applying online is the best way to apply for a credit card in the 21st Century. Lenders will still allow you to apply at a branch or through the mail, but we don’t suggest that you do this. Applying through a bank branch can take a considerable amount of time. The process will mean that you have to fill in physical forms, and they might end up making you wait for a decision. This isn’t a good process if you’re trying get the ball rolling quickly. If you're looking for your company then look at the best business credit cards for fair credit.
As for mail applications, we don’t suggest this either even if you received offers for pre-approved credit cards. Not only do mail applications take the longest to be approved, they also leave you open to potentially devastating fraud. Putting your personal information on a form and shipping it in the mail can leave you open to having your identity stolen.
We suggest to all our readers that they use online applications for secured and unsecured credit cards. You can typically get them done in under 15 minutes, and they provide you with the quickest possible decisions. A lot of modern lenders provide instant decisions to their borrowers. In addition, your information is much more secure using online encryption software that many lenders employ for their applications.
If you have average credit and you want a credit card, you should consider all the factors mentioned in this article prior to making a decision. Just because you have average credit, doesn’t mean you have to forever. Getting the best possible credit card you can and using it for responsible borrowing behavior is one the quickest ways to help you improve your situation.
But you need to make sure that you choose the right card, you don’t want to end up with an inferior card just because you rushed to judgment. That’s why we have helped you narrow down the best possible credit cards for individuals who have average credit with our credit card comparison. You should start your research by checking out our list of top picks for those with average credit. We’ve made sure to find the top choices on the market. You can even take a direct link to their application page through our website.
It’s important that you take into consideration all the information that we have provided on this page. If you want to find the best possible credit card for someone with your credit score, you need to be aware of all the tips and tricks we’ve provided you with. You should always ensure to use your card responsibly and carry as little of a balance as possible – you don’t want to owe large amounts of interest! Read about how to transfer credit card balance to a better interest rate card.
Financial Advisor - MoneyBeagle.com
Michelle is part of our expert team of financial advisors with a proven track record in the credit card industry. After graduating with an Economics Degree focusing on Personal Finance, she got involved with several credit and debt counseling startups.