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Experian and CreditMatch

Best Credit Cards for Fair Credit

People with excellent credit can find plenty of attractive credit card offers, while those with poor credit have several options to help them rebuild their history. But if you have fair credit, don't worry. There are still a number of good credit cards available to you. Here are the best of the bunch from our partners.

At Experian, one of our priorities is consumer credit and finance education. This post may contain links and references to one or more of our partners, but we provide an objective view to help you make the best decisions. For more information, see our Editorial Policy.

Some of the best credit cards for people with fair credit offer rewards on purchases and don't have an annual fee. However, there's no single best card for everyone. It depends on which cards you're able to qualify for, where you usually shop and how you plan on using the card.

3 Partner Offers

Our Picks for the Best Credit Cards for Fair Credit
Capital One<sup>®</sup> Walmart Rewards<sup>®</sup> Mastercard<sup>®</sup>

Capital One® Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®

5% cash back on Walmart.com
2% cash back on dining & travel
2% cash back on Walmart in-store purchases
1% cash back on all other purchases

Petal<sup>®</sup> 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa<sup>®</sup> Credit Card

Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

2% - 10% cash back from select merchants

Upgrade Visa<sup>®</sup> Card with Cash Rewards

Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards

1.5% cash back

Capital One® Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®

The Capital One® Walmart Rewards® Mastercard® is a retail card that could be a good fit for Walmart regulars. There's no annual fee and you can earn cash back rewards on purchases. Plus, new cardholders can earn 5% cash back for the first 12 months when they use their card with Walmart Pay to make purchases inside Walmart stores.

You can redeem your rewards to get a statement credit, pay for purchases from the previous 90 days, get gift cards or book travel through Capital One. You won't pay foreign transaction fees if you take this card abroad, and you can use the Quick Cash feature to get cash back at participating Walmart registers without paying a cash advance fee.

Capital One® Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®

Apply

on Capital One's website

Fair - Exceptional

Capital One® Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®

APR

17.99% - 26.99% (Variable)

Intro APR

N/A

Rewards

5% cash back on Walmart.com

2% cash back on Dining & Travel

2% cash back on Walmart In-store Purchases

1% cash back on All Other Purchases

Annual Fee

$0

Card Details
  • Earn 5% cash back on Walmart.com purchases, including pickup and delivery
  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases in Walmart stores, 2% cash back on restaurants and travel purchases, and 1% cash back on all other purchases everywhere else Mastercard® is accepted
  • Introductory offer: Earn 5% cash back on purchases in Walmart stores when you use this card with Walmart Pay for the first 12 months after approval
  • Redeem rewards for cash back, statement credits, recent purchases in and out of Walmart, travel, and gift cards
  • $0 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees


Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

The Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card could be a good option if you're having trouble getting approved for other credit cards. When you apply, you'll link your bank account and give Petal Petal read-only access to view your transactions. Petal can then use this information, in addition to your credit, to decide if you qualify.

If you're approved, your card will have at least a $500 credit limit. As the name implies, there's no annual fee, and there's no foreign exchange fee. You can also earn 2% to 10% cash back at select merchants, which you can find within the Petal app.

Applying starts with a preapproval request, which will tell you if you're likely to qualify for this card or the Petal® 2 Visa® Credit Card without hurting your credit scores.

Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

Apply

on Petal's website

Fair - Very Good, New to Credit, Rebuilding

Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

APR

19.99% - 29.49% Variable

Intro APR

N/A

Rewards

None

Annual Fee

$0

Card Details
  • Petal 1 was designed for consumers who already have a credit history, and want to improve their credit safely, responsibly, and affordably with no annual fees
  • No Annual fee. No international fees. (Late and bounced payment fees apply.)
  • $500 - $5,000 credit limits
  • Variable APRs 19.99% - 29.49%
  • 2% - 10% cash back from select merchants
  • Build credit alongside tens of thousands of Petal Card members
  • Cash flow technology may help applicants without credit history get approved
  • Petal's mobile app makes it easy to manage your money, track your spending, and automate payments
  • See if you're pre-approved within minutes without impacting your credit score
  • Petal reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • No deposits required
  • Card issued by WebBank, Member FDIC

Rates and Fees

Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards

The Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards is considered a line of credit rather than a traditional credit card, but it could be a good option if you have fair credit and want a card for emergencies rather than everyday spending.

You'll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases and there's no annual fee, cash advance fee, origination fee or late payment fee. But, unlike with a traditional credit card, all your purchases start accruing interest right away.

After you use the card to make a purchase or transfer cash to your bank account, all the transactions from a billing period are combined. The total then becomes an installment loan with a fixed monthly payment and repayment term. If you're using it for emergency expenses, earning rewards and having a fixed repayment plan could be helpful.

Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards

Apply

on Upgrade's website

Fair - Exceptional

Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards

APR

8.99% - 29.99%

Intro APR

N/A

Rewards

1.5% cash back on Card Purchases

Annual Fee

$0

Card Details
  • Earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment
  • Combine the flexibility of a card with the low cost and predictability of a loan
  • $0 fees - $0 annual fee, $0 activation fees, $0 maintenance fees
  • No touch payments with contactless technology built in
  • See if you qualify in minutes without hurting your credit score
  • Access to a virtual card while you wait for your card to arrive in the mail
  • Great for large purchases with predictable payments you can budget for
  • Mobile app to access your account anytime, anywhere
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud liability

Rates and Fees

How to Decide Which Card Is Right for You

If you have fair credit, you'll be able to qualify for a variety of credit cards. Consider the perks that different cards offer and how they align with your lifestyle. It can also be helpful to learn about credit card basics before choosing a card.

For example, a card that offers a great rewards rate might not be a good pick if you regularly overspend, carry a balance and pay a high interest rate. However, if you pay your bill in full each month, then a rewards card could be a good option even if it has a high interest rate.

How to Improve Your Fair Credit Score

What qualifies as a fair credit score depends on the type of credit score. However, similar actions can help improve your FICO® Scores and VantageScores.

  • Pay down credit card debt. Paying down revolving account balances can lower your credit utilization ratio, an important scoring factor.
  • Make on-time payments. Paying your bills on time can help you build a positive credit history, which can improve your credit scores over time.
  • Dispute credit report inaccuracies. Check your credit reports for inaccurate negative information that could be hurting your scores. You can file disputes to get it corrected or removed if it is indeed incorrect information.

Some actions, such as lowering your credit utilization rate, can quickly lead to credit score changes. However, improving credit scores often takes time, and diligence and patience can be important.

How to Use Your Credit Cards Responsibly

Responsibly using your credit card can also help you improve your credit score while limiting how much you'll pay in fees and interest. In general, try to:

  • Make monthly payments on time. Making at least the minimum monthly payment each month can help you avoid late payment fees. You can often avoid interest on purchases if you pay your bill in full each month.
  • Watch out for fees. Read over your card's terms and conditions to learn about the fees. For example, if you use your card for a cash advance, you may need to pay a fee, and interest could start accruing right away.
  • Don't use a large portion of your balance. Regardless of whether you pay your bill in full, try to limit spending on your card and maintain a low credit utilization rate.

As a rule of thumb, some people use their credit card as if it's a debit card. They check their budget, and only spend what they can afford to pay off in full each month. This approach can help you avoid taking on high-rate credit card debt, which is one of the main dangers of using a credit card.

What to Do if You Are Denied for a Card

You may have several options if you applied and didn't get approved for a credit card.

First try calling the credit card company and asking why your application wasn't approved. In some cases, you may be able to resolve the issue. For example, if the company couldn't access your frozen credit report to review your credit, you may be able to temporarily thaw your report and then get approved.

Alternatively, you may want to focus on improving your credit or try for a different credit card right away. Applying and getting denied can hurt your credit scores. However, each card has its own requirements, and you might get approved for a different card.

Find Your Next Credit Card

In addition to looking for lists of the best cards, you can use online tools to help narrow down which credit card will be best for your specific needs. Within Experian's CreditMatchTM credit card marketplace, you can filter cards based on your preferences and credit profile. You can then choose up to four cards and get a side-by-side comparison to make the best pick for your needs.