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NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards for Fair or Average Credit, 2015

Best Credit Cards for Fair or Average Credit

If you have fair or average credit, you can still get great rewards and perks with your credit card. We’ll break down the best options for someone whose credit score is in the 630 to 639 range, and help you on your way to a higher FICO score.

The NFL Extra Points Credit Card: Best average credit card

Don’t be put off by the name: The NFL credit card is pretty much the best average credit card out there. It has no annual fee, as well as cash-back rewards. You earn 1 point on every dollar you spend, redeemable as a 1% statement credit; you also get 2 points per $1 on NFL and team merchandise, as well as 20% off every purchase at NFLShop.com. Its major drawback is that it doesn’t give bonus rewards, whereas the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard gives 2% rewards on groceries, gas and utilities. However, we’ve seen anecdotally that the NFL card is easier to qualify for if you have fair credit, and its signup bonus is better as well: Earn 10,000 bonus points after $500 in purchases in the first 90 days, enough to redeem for a $100 cash back statement credit compared to Complimentary FICO® Credit Scores as a benefit to active cardmembers. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Credit Scores from your Barclaycard online account.. Whether you’re glued to your TV every Sunday or haven’t quite figured out what a touchdown is, the NFL card is a great option for rehabbing your credit.

The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Average credit meets rewards

The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is pretty much the most accessible average credit card – Capital One is known for being generous to those with not-quite-good credit, for a price. For a $39 annual fee, you’ll get rewards and 0% on purchases and balance transfers until February 2016, and then the ongoing APR of 22.9% (Variable). You’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. There’s no cap on rewards, either, and cash back is easy: You can get statement credit upon request and for any amount you’d like.

How does the QuicksilverOne compare with the NFL card? Assuming you hold the card for two years, you’d need to spend $17,800 a year to earn more rewards with the Quicksilver than the NFL credit card. If you spend more than $17,800 a year, or around $1,500 a month, you’re better off with the QuickSilverOne; otherwise, the no-fee NFL card is more rewarding.

Example image of Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Pros

  • Qualify with average credit
  • High rewards rate
  • 0% on purchases and balance transfers until February 2016
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Sign-up Bonus

Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day

Annual Fee

$39

Intro APR Promotions

0% on purchases and balance transfers until February 2016

APR

  • APR: 22.9% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.4%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 22.9%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back doesn't expire and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • Get a 20% Statement Credit on all Uber rides purchased with this card through April 2016
  • 0% intro APR on purchases until February 2016; 22.9% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR until February 2016
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Get free access to your credit score and learn how everyday decisions can affect your score using Capital One® Credit Tracker

The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard: 2% on bonus categories

The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard for Average Credit offers 2 points per dollar on Net Everyday Purchases, which is Barclays-speak for groceries, gas and utility bills, and 1 point per dollar on everywhere else. There’s no cap on those rewards, and the card has no annual fee, putting it a notch above the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card for many people with average credit.

Example image of Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard®

Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard®

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Apply Now on Barclays's secure website

Pros

  • Qualify with average credit
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • High APR

Sign-up Bonus

None - after first purchase

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

None

APR

  • Purchase: 24.99%, Variable
  • Penalty APR: Up to 27.24%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

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

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  • http://macintoshgames.tripod.com tufdaawg

    under fair credit credit cards you list the NFL extra points as the best of the best for average credit. yet, under “pros” and “cons” it says you need excellent credit. kind of takes away from that average/fair credit thing, huh?

    • Joe Keilso

      That’s what happens when a woman types this article. Obviously she didn’t do her research.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joekeilso Joe Keilso

      It’s called Deception. So people can sign up. It’s also known as a “waste of time.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/joekeilso Joe Keilso

      [NerdWallet note: Comment removed for offensive content].

    • vacuumation

      I don’t see where it says you need excellent credit. It’s been over a year since you posted this comment, so either it was a typo that’s been corrected, or like most cards, its requirement standards changed over time. I’ll guess the latter.

  • Silver Savior

    Barclays qualifies me when others don’t anyone know of any obscure credit cards out there that I might be able to apply for with a score in the low 600s? Capital one says I have too many cards with them because they bought my two HSBC cards.

  • Tony Williams

    There’s no nfl team there.

  • Marquise DeSade

    Barclay’s requires paperless billing agreement
    I prefer an original paper trail from a card issuer

  • Craig Mead

    NFCU credit card rewards visa gave me a 7000.00 with a fico of 590. I have mostly medical bills and no huge credit lines a car with a 15,000 balance. I know NFCU uses your revolving credit as a big factor and does use medical against you.