If you have a fair credit score, you have some credit card options, and you are not as bad off as someone with bad or poor credit, but you definitely could use some improvement in your FICO score or Vantage score. Chances are before this that you had a credit card for those with poor credit, so the good news is that you now qualify for a better credit card. The bad news is that even though the types of credit cards you now qualify for are “better” they still often come with an annual fee, poor rewards, less perks then a credit card for good or excellent credit, and a high interest rate. Granted you should qualify for a lower interest than your old card, which was designed for those with poor credit.
To raise your credit score first and foremost work on dropping any credit card balances you have to zero. The amount of available credit that you utilize, in addition to any loans that your have, current and closed in the past 3 years, will directly affect your credit score. Once your balances are zero, wait 30 days and apply for one new credit card, this time a card designed for those with fair credit. You should not close out your old credit card however, as this will lower your credit limit and credit utilization threshold. Also the more accounts you have open, the better the credit reporting agencies and FICO can calculate a credit score for you. Many people with only one open account get denied credit for having too few open accounts in good standing. If the old credit card has an annual fee just put up with it until your credit score reaches the excellent range. Once your credit score reaches the excellent range you can apply for credit cards that carry no annual fee without worry of rejection. Once you get approved for those cards, you can then drop the fee harvester credit cards like a bad habit.
When it comes to finding a credit card designed for those with fair credit, you want to look for a card with the best possibler interest rate. You should not concentrate on rewards programs at this point, they tend to have pretty high interest rates that pretty much negate any benefit gained by the rewards, especially after you take into account any annual fee the card might have. There are plenty of credit cards for those with fair credit that do not have an annual fee, especially credit cards offered by credit unions. If you can qualify for a credit card backed by a credit union this may be your best bet as these cards tend to carry a lower interest rate than their bank backed counterparts. This is because credit unions are not run for profit. Baring that you should also look into a credit card issued by the bank that you already do business with for checking and savings, often times you will get a slightly better rate for being a bank customer, or special perks.
You should also pay heavy attention to what fees the credit card is charging, and under what circumstance. Lastly you may want to consider what if any perks the credit card company offers. Perks can include such things as rental card collision damage, no foreign transaction fees, purchase protection and travel insurance. You also need to consider the credit cards terms and conditions well before applying. For example some credit cards charge you interest from the very moment you purchase an item, while the better credit cards out there offer a grace period, which allows you to pay off all or part of the charges before incurring interest.
Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard®
This credit card has no annual fee. The down side is that it requires the upper range of fair credit to qualify. If you do qualify however the interest rate is decent, a 24.99% variable APR. The interest rate is offset by the fact you receive 2x cash back rewards for gas, groceries and utilities purchases, and 1x cash back on everything else. 1000 points equals 10 dollars. You receive a complimentary credit score and alerts every time your credit score changes, for better or worse, making this credit card ideal for those striving towards excellent credit.