Credit Cards for Average Credit

Credit cards are a necessity for most Americans. They are required to book a hotel room, rent a car and many other conveniences. While a debit card can be used for things like shopping and online purchases they do not have the same terms and protections of a credit card.

With a debit card, if the card is used for fraudulent purchases, the money needed to pay bills is at risk. It can take up to two weeks to put the money back into the account, after a fraudulent transaction on a debit card. This can create a real cash flow problem when a purchase is made from a debit card. With the credit card, the money is not owed, rather than requiring a refund and therefore it does not impact the consumer’s cash flow. For these reasons a credit card is best when making purchases online.  

Getting Approved

Credit card approval is based on three major factors. Credit score, income and debt.

Credit score. Since income is generally not verified, the credit score is a major factor when seeking approval for a credit card. The better your credit the better credit card offers are available and the higher limits and lower interest rate you will receive. Credit ranges from 350 to 850. Fair credit is generally considered 620 or below. Good or average credit is considered 620 to 700 and excellent credit is considered 700 and up.

Income. Most cards do not have a specific income threshold that must be met. The income will impact the credit limit available to you. The higher the income the larger the credit line might be. Credit card companies also look at existing limits on cards and how they are managed to determine the limit for any new applications.

Debt to income. When an applicant applies for credit, the credit score is obtained and the credit report reviewed. The credit report shows all of the credit cards debt and loans for the applicant. As most companies use automated approval systems, the system will calculate the minimum payments for every debt on the credit report and compare that to the income you are declaring. This creates the debt to income ratio. The higher the debt, the lower the credit limit will be, and can lead to a decline on the application. High credit card usage also impacts the credit score.

If you have average credit you should be able to obtain a credit card without requiring a cosigner or a secured card. Many companies target excellent credit applicants only, so review the companies you are interested in. Often the website will indicate which customers a particular card is targeting.

A Few Cards to Consider

Capitol One Quick Silver Card has an approval record for those with an average score of 618. The card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases with easy redemption qualifications. There are no limits on how much can be earned or when they can be redeemed. The card also offers 0% interest on purchases through June of 2015. The credit limit is reassessed after 5 months of payments made on time and offers a way for consumers to increase their credit score through responsible use. This card has an annual fee of $39 dollars and a variable interest rate of 22.9% for purchases.

Capital One Classic Platinum card is a good card to consider for those who are rebuilding credit. Approvals are available for those with scores that are as low as 563. The average score on approved applications is 599. While the credit limits are generally low to start with, after making on time payments for five consecutive months the company will review the account for approval of a larger line of credit. This helps to rebuild credit as long as the account is used responsibly. There are no rewards with this card, but it is an opportunity to rebuild credit. The interest rate for purchases on the card is a variable rate of 20.9% and the card has a $39 annual fee.

Capital One as a whole is a good company to work with for those seeking to rebuild credit. There are a number of cards available to those with marginal credit scores. The terms are fair and the company has a good reputation for working with customers.

Barclays Rewards MasterCard is also a good card to consider for those with average credit. The average approved applicant has a credit score of 658 with 610 being the low score needed for approval. This card does not have an annual fee and offers reward points on purchases. The card offers 2 points for every $1 spent on purchases for gasoline, utility charges and grocery bills. Rewards of 1 point for every dollar spent is offered on all other purchases. Points can be used like cash and have generous redemptions. There are no blackout dates or redemptions fees. Customers can accumulate points with no maximums. Barclay also offers a look at your FICO credit score each month to help manage your credit. This is not a look at the credit report, only the FICO score. The interest rate on this card is high and is a variable rate of 24.99% for purchases.


Rebuilding credit is an important aspect of financial management. Unfortunately credit is a critical factor in everyday life. More and more companies pull credit to evaluate applicants for employment. Insurance companies pull credit and factor the score into the rates that are offered. Utilities and cell phone companies use credit to determine if there will be deposits required. So even beyond using credit, it impacts your life in various ways.

If you get a credit card and then run it up to the limit and make minimum payments, the credit score will be negatively impacted. If you make a single late payment the credit score can drop as much as 100 points. Having the discipline to manage credit effectively is essential to improving the credit score.