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Credit Cards

The best credit cards for fair and average credit of June 2024

We analyzed dozens of credit cards for fair/average credit, and here are a few of the best options.

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If you have fair or average credit (generally 580 to 669, according to Experian), you don't have to settle for a no-frills credit card with high fees. There's an assortment of credit cards designed for people with fair or average credit that still offer rewards programs, helpful perks, no annual fees and no foreign transaction fees.

Below, CNBC Select reviews the best credit cards available to consumers with fair or average credit. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best cards for fair credit.)

Keep in mind that card issuers don't disclose exact credit score requirements and the ranges provided should only be used as a guideline. If you're unsure if you'll qualify, you can fill out a pre-qualification form to check your odds.

Best credit cards for fair and average credit

Best for cash back

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, up to 6 months of complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $39

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    29.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    $0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Average, Fair, or Limited

Terms apply.

Pros

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • Redeem cash back at anytime and for any amount
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • $39 annual fee
  • High variable APR
  • No welcome bonus

Who's this for? Many of the best cash-back cards require good or excellent credit, but the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is available to those with lower credit scores and offers generous cash-back rewards on purchases.

Standout benefit: If you have a weak credit score, it's harder to qualify for a credit card that offers decent rewards. However, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card earns a competitive 1.5% cash back on all purchases, with no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn.

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Best for welcome offer

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

On Discover's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

  • Welcome bonus

    Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    N/A on purchases

  • Regular APR

    28.24% Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    New / Rebuilding

  • *See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • Cash-back program
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • Starting at seven months from account opening, Discover will automatically review your credit card account to see if you can transition to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit

Cons

  • Cash-back program limits earnings: 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1%
  • Low credit line prevents cardholders from charging high-cost items or many expenses

Who's this for? The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is an unusually rewarding secured credit card that's an excellent choice for anyone looking for a lucrative welcome offer.

Standout benefit: Discover will match all of the cash back new Discover it® Secured Credit Card members earn in the first year. The card earns 2% cash back on the first $1,000 in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each quarter, then an unlimited 1% back on all other purchases. Once you factor in the bonus cash back you'll earn at the end of your first year, you're effectively earning 4% back in the bonus categories and 2% back everywhere else, which is exceptional for a secured credit card.

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Best for intro 0% APR

Citi Double Cash® Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

    19.24% - 29.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    For balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening, an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies; after that, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Fair/Good/Excellent

  • See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • 2% cash back on all eligible purchases
  • Simple cash-back program that doesn't require activation or spending caps
  • One of the longest intro periods for balance transfers at 18 months

Cons

  • 3% fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $443
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,213

Who's this for? The Citi Double Cash® Card offers a useful intro APR for balance transfers on top of an amazing cash-back rate on purchases.

Standout benefit: Anyone who wants to supercharge paying off credit card debt will appreciate the Citi Double Cash Card's intro 0% APR for 18 months on eligible balance transfers (after that, a variable 19.24% to 29.24% applies). An intro APR offer of this length isn't typically offered on a card that also has a welcome bonus and healthy rewards rate, which makes this card much more compelling.

The intro balance transfer fee applies to transfers completed within four months of account opening. There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) and a standard balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum).

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Best for no fees

Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card

  • Rewards

    1% cash back on eligible purchases right away and up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments; 2% to 10% cash back at select merchants

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    18.24% - 32.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Fair, Good, No Credit

Terms apply.

Pros

  • No credit history required (if you do have a credit history, that does factor into the credit decision)
  • No fees whatsoever
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away and up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments; 2% to 10% cash back at select merchants
  • Credit limits range from $300 to $10,000

Cons

  • Card isn't for rebuilding credit, but it's good for building credit
  • No special financing offers
  • No welcome bonus
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $249
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,577

Who's this for? The Petal 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa Credit Card can save you money because it has no annual fees, no late payment fees and no foreign transaction fees. You get all of that on top of cash-back rewards.

Standout benefit: You can earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away, which rises to 1.25% cash back after six on-time monthly payments and 1.5% cash back after you make 12 on-time monthly payments. This is a great way to encourage responsible behavior while earning cash back for everyday purchases. Cardholders also earn 2% to 10% cash back on purchases at select merchants.

[ Jump to more details ]

Best for students

Firstcard® Credit Builder Card with Cashback for College Students

  • Rewards

    Up to 10% Random Cashback on all purchases; Up to 15% cash back at 29,000 partner merchants; Earn 1.25% APY on bank account balances (4.25% APY with a Firstcard+ membership); An additional 1% cash back on all purchases with a Firstcard+ membership

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    N/A

  • Regular APR

    N/A

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    N/A

Terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • No credit check or Social Security Number needed
  • Earn interest and cash back

Cons

  • To earn cash back on all purchases you need a paid membership

Who's this for? The Firstcard® Credit Builder Card with Cashback for College Students is ideal for college students looking to earn rewards, earn interest and establish credit.

Standout benefit: The Firstcard Credit Builder Card is a secured credit card with an interesting twist. Instead of making an upfront security deposit, you'll get a high-yield checking account and your credit limit is based on your account balance. The account has a 1.25% APY and if you opt for the paid Firstcard+ subscription ($2.99/month), the APY increases to 4.25%, and you'll earn additional cash-back rewards on top of the interest.

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More on our top credit cards for fair or average credit

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card can help you build credit and earn rewards at the same time.

Rewards

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases

Welcome bonus

None

Annual fee

$39

Notable perks

Cardholders receive up to six free months of Uber One membership through Nov. 14, 2024. Once you enroll, you'll receive a monthly credit for your Uber One membership for up to six months. Uber One gets you $0 delivery fees with Uber Eats, up to 10% off eligible Uber Eats orders and member pricing with Uber.

This card has no foreign transaction fees.

[ Return to card summary ]

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is a secured credit card that offers generous rewards, including a unique welcome offer with no cap to how much cash back you can earn.

Rewards

  • 2% back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1% back
  • 1% back on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Discover will match all of the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

Secured credit cards require an upfront security deposit, which also determines your credit limit. This card has a $200 minimum deposit which is refunded if you make all of your Discover payments on time for six consecutive months. The card also has no foreign transaction fees, making it useful for traveling abroad.

[ Return to card summary ]

Citi Double Cash® Card

The Citi Double Cash® Card takes the guesswork out of earning cash back with an amazing return on all everyday purchases

Rewards

  • 5% total cash back on hotels and car rentals booked through the Citi Travel portal (through Dec. 31, 2024)
  • 2% cash back on all other purchases: 1% back when you buy and 1% back as you pay

Welcome bonus

Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening.

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

The Citi Double Cash Card is a cash-back card, but it earns cash back in the form of Citi ThankYou® Points, which gives you additional redemption options. You can redeem points at one cent each for gift cards, cash back and travel (booked through the Citi Thank You site). You'll also have access to a limited number of Citi's transfer partners (at less favorable ratios), including:

  • Choice Privileges (1:1.5)
  • JetBlue TrueBlue (1:0.8)
  • Wyndham Rewards (1:0.8)

This card also provides a path to increasing the value of your rewards as you strengthen your credit. If you pair it with a Citi credit card that enables access to all of Citi's transfer partners (such as the Citi Strata Premier Card), the rewards you earn with the Citi Double Cash can be transferred to any ThankYou® travel partner at the best ratios Citi offers.

[ Return to card summary ]

Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card

The Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card isn't just easy to get, it also has fewer fees than most credit cards.

Rewards

  • 1% cash back on all purchases
  • 1.25% cash back on all purchases after making six on-time monthly payments
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments

Welcome bonus

None

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

The application process for the Petal 2 Visa Credit Card differs from most credit cards. Applicants may be asked to link their bank accounts, and then WebBank reviews the data, taking into account bill payments and earnings. This allows Petal to determine your eligibility from more than just your credit history. And if you have no credit history, that's no problem — it's not required. (It's one of the reasons this card is on our list of best cards for rebuilding your credit history.) However, if you do have a credit history, that does factor into the credit decision.

[ Return to card summary ]

Firstcard® Credit Builder Card with Cashback for College Students

Firstcard is a fintech company that offers free and paid memberships, and it provides a path to earning interest and cash-back rewards with the Firstcard® Credit Builder Card with Cashback for College Students.

Rewards

  • 5% cash back on 12 education platforms (Grammarly, ChatGPT, Adobe, Duolingo and more)
  • Up to 15% cash back at 29,000 partner merchants
  • Up to 10% Random Cashback on eligible purchases
  • Earn 1.25% APY on bank account balances
  • Firstcard+ subscribers earn an additional 1% cash back on all purchases and receive 4.25% on bank account balances

Welcome bonus

None

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

This card has no late fees, no overdraft fees and no foreign transaction fees. Plus, the money in your bank account is FDIC-insured and earns interest, which is unusual for a secured credit card.

[ Return to card summary ]

FAQs

While many of the best credit cards require good or excellent credit, there are credit cards that give people with fair or average credit better qualification chances.

Credit cards designed for people with fair or average credit can still offer rewards programs, helpful perks, no annual fees and no foreign transaction fees, though they may have higher interest rates.

Most credit card issuers offer an instant decision on whether you're approved or denied, including many of the ones listed above. If you don't receive instant approval, you can call the bank to see if they're missing any of your information and give them a compelling case of why you should be approved.

Bottom line

The best credit cards for consumers with fair or average credit cover a range of features and benefits. You can earn rewards, welcome bonuses and take advantage of intro APR financing. You get all this plus the opportunity to rebuild your credit as you pay down debt and consistently make on-time monthly payments.

Why trust CNBC Select?

At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every credit card story is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of credit card productsWhile CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics. See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best credit cards for fair and average credit.

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Our methodology

To determine which credit cards are the best value for anyone with fair credit, CNBC Select analyzed the most popular credit cards available to those with no credit or who are rebuilding their credit. We compared each card on a range of features, including the annual fee, rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR and foreign transaction fees. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is to redeem points.

Catch up on CNBC Select's in-depth coverage of credit cardsbanking and money, and follow us on TikTokFacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Petal 2 Visa Credit Card issued by WebBank.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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