*Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on product links. For more information, please see our Advertiser Disclosure
There are many lists out there for credit cards like the best no annual fee credit cards, best travel rewards credit cards, and the best cashback credit cards 2015. Here we bring you the best credit cards available based on the credit score required to get approved for these offers. We only evaluated cards from major banks from which we are affiliated with, and personal credit cards (business cards and co-branded cards were not considered for this evaluation).
The following cards were determined by credit category based off three factors:
- Rewards –Bonus rewards, rewards for all purchases, and bonus rewards in special rotating categories.
- Annual fee
- Benefits and Features –Most credit cards are associated with a program that includes additional benefits, such as purchase protection, travel assistance, zero fraud protection, and more.
Credit cards that require excellent credit to qualify are going to be the best of the best. For example, all of the featured cards below come with great benefits and features such as purchase protection, auto rental insurance, roadside assistance, travel accident insurance, and more.
According to the CompareCards’ annual savings calculations, the following cards have an annual savings of more than $1,000, assuming the average spent monthly is $2,000. Additionally, they all come with an introductory APR for purchases, offer a sign-up bonus in the form of cash back or points, have no annual fee, and will earn the cardholder rewards for all purchases.
- BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card
- Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card (requires excellent/good credit)
- The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express (requires excellent/good credit)
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (requires excellent/good credit)
- BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card
Credit cards made for those with good-excellent credit are going to have some of the same great benefits and features you would find with excellent credit, credit cards, but not all of the features you would expect. Determining the top credit card offers for good credit was tricky because a lot of credit card offers fall under this credit score range.
According to the CompareCards’ annual savings calculations, the following cards have an annual savings of more than $1,000 (assuming the average spent monthly is $2,000), although not quite as high as you might save with one of the featured cards for excellent credit. Additionally, they all come with an introductory APR for purchases, have no annual fee, and will earn the cardholder rewards for all purchases.
- Chase Freedom®
- Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
- Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
- Discover it ® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer
There aren’t nearly as many credit card offers that fall under the fair credit range, so it wasn’t difficult to determine which offers are the best. What's even more scarce are credit cards for fair credit, instant approval, and low interest rates. Once you start to get into the lower credit score ranges, the credit cards will have higher interest rates, and will likely be lacking in extra features and benefits and may not come with any rewards.
Since all of these credit cards offer something different that makes them the best in the fair credit category, we’ll go over their perks individually.
- Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a clear winner under this credit category, which requires average – fair credit. This is the only card of the three that offers an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 9 months, but it does not come with a sign-up bonus and has an annual fee of $39. We feel the annual fee is a reasonable price for the rewards and introductory APR’s.
- NFL Extra Points Credit Card requires good - average credit and comes with an intro APR of 0% for balance transfers for 15 months, but that is not offered for purchases. New cardholders can also earn a sign-up bonus of 10,000 points after meeting purchase requirements and there’s no annual fee. Cardholders can also earn 2 points on NFL or team purchases and 1 point on all other purchases.
- Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® requires average – fair credit, and offers 2X cash back rewards on purchases for gas, groceries and utilities and 1X cash back rewards on all other purchases. There are no introductory APR’s, but this card also doesn’t come with an annual fee.
Most cards for those with bad or poor credit are going to be secured credit cards. Remember, prepaid debit cards can’t build credit so those should never be used as a way to try to repair your credit. The following credit cards all report to the major credit bureaus so you can be sure that your account management and activity will help you with your credit building efforts.
None of the below offers come with intro APR rates, they all have an annual fee, and don’t offer added benefits or features.
- Credit One Bank® Visa® - No Deposit Required - There are a few versions of this card for bad and fair credit. The annual fee ranges from $0-99, depending on your creditworthiness, and the APR is 15.65% - 24.15% variable. The main perk of this card is that it will earn cardholders 1% cash back on gas purchases.
- Capital One® Secured MasterCard® is one of the most popular secured credit cards on the market. There is no annual fee with this card, which is pretty good feature to have with a secured card. The APR is rather high at 24.99% variable. Cardholders will have free access to their credit score and may qualify for a credit line increase based on payment history and creditworthiness.
- First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card comes with an APR of 11.99%, which is pretty low for a secured credit card. The annual fee is $44 and there are no rewards with this card.
A Note About Credit Score Requirements
We feel it’s important to note that there is always a bit of discrepancy when it comes to credit score requirements. That’s because there are three different credit bureaus, and thus, different credit scoring models that are used, which also have different ranges for what they would consider to be bad, fair, good, and excellent credit.
- Experian-Uses the Fair Isaac Risk Model or PLUS
- TransUnion –Uses the EMPIRICA Score
- Equifax –Uses the BEACON Score
Some even argue that FICO (Fair Isaac Company) Score is separate from Experian/Fair Isaac Risk Model, but that the FICO Risk Score is also used by all three bureaus. Confusing, isn’t it?
* Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.