How to Get a Credit Card With Fair Credit

(May 2024)

How to Get a Credit Card With Fair Credit

In This Article

Getting a credit card with fair credit can seem like a tall order, especially if the card issuer has stricter FICO score requirements. To boost your chances of approval for this kind of credit card, understand eligibility requirements and be clear about the kind of features you need in the card.

That’s not all, though.

Read this article to understand what else needs to happen for you to get your preferred credit card even if you have fair credit. 

To get a credit card with fair credit:

  • Check your credit score 
  • Decide why you need a credit card
  • Shop the credit card that best suits your needs
  • Understand your issuer’s rule for the credit card 
  • Use pre-qualification
  • Gather relevant paperwork

Let’s dive right in!

1. Check Your Credit Score

To apply for a credit card with fair credit, know your credit score. Your credit score says a lot about your credit history and reflects how good you are with your finances. To avoid rejection from your card issuer—which can lead to a further drop in your credit score—make sure your credit score is correct.

To check your credit score, order a copy through the three main credit reporting agencies—Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian—or go to Under federal law, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year.

2. Decide Why You Need a Credit Card

To get a credit card with average credit, decide why you need the credit card in the first place. For example, decide whether you want a card with a zero percent introductory rate on balance transfers and purchases, a card with a cashback bonus, or a travel card with mileage rewards.

Your reason has a big impact on the kind of credit card you apply for—as well as your approval odds. Therefore, have a clear idea why you need that credit card and keep that rationale in mind.

3. Shop for a Credit Card that Best Suits Your Needs

To apply for a credit card with a fair FICO score, shop for a credit card that best suits your needs. To get the best credit card option, scout through the range of credit cards available for your credit score.

Most credit cards fall into these categories:

  • Regular rewards credit cards earn you rewards—cash back, discounts, points, and much more—when you use them for specific purchases.
  • Travel rewards credit cards grant you travel points and miles you can redeem for things like airport VIP lounge access as well as discounts on flights trickers and hotel rooms.
  • Premium reward credit cards offer you more points for every purchase you make, a large sign-up bonus point to purchase more goods, and much more. However, to own this card, you’ll have to pay an annual fee.   
  • Low interest credit cards offer you low interest on your purchases. 
  • 0% APR intro credit cards allow you to make purchases and transfers for at least one year with no interest incurred.

4. Understand Your Issuer's Rules for the Credit Card

To apply for a credit card with fair credit, understand your issuer’s rules for the credit card you seek. Several card issuers offer credit cards for fair credit. Apply if you find a card issuer whose qualifications you meet.

For instance, your card issuer may insist that you not have opened more than three or four credit cards in the last 6-12 months. Or perhaps, if you’re applying for a regular rewards card, your issuer may want you to spend a certain amount before you get rewards.

Research and understand your issuer’s rules before applying so that you don’t miss out on rewards or get a credit card that reduces your credit score further.

5. Use Pre-Qualification

To get a credit card with average credit, use pre-qualification. The good news is, applying for a credit card with soft pull preserves your FICO score because it doesn’t knock any point off your score—at least temporarily. Check in with your lender(s) to see if you pre-qualify before applying for a credit card with fair credit.

Thankfully, several card issuers—including Chase, Capital One, Bank of America, and American Express—allow you to pre-qualify for a credit card. However, remember that a match from your card issuer does not guarantee card approval. It only means you have a good shot at obtaining a credit card.

6. Gather Relevant Paperwork

To apply for a credit card with fair credit, gather the relevant paperwork. Your lender will request a few things as means of identification before you’re granted the card you seek.

  • Government-issued ID
  • Social security number
  • Address
  • Signature
  • Phone number
  • Source of income
  • Other special requirements for a unique credit card application

Application Channels

To apply for a credit card with fair credit, apply through any of the below means:

Website – You can apply online through your issuer’s website. This is the easiest way to apply for a credit card. Fill out the application form online and upload all the documents required for the credit card. Applying online can involve a long or short response time, depending on your issuer. Usually, it doesn’t take much time, and you receive a response quickly.

Email – This allows you to fill out the application forms and send them to your issuer through their work emails. While submitting your form, upload the required documents along with the forms and await a response. Applying through email is not as efficient as applying on your issuer’s website. It can delay response time, depending on your issuer.

Phone – Some issuers offer call services. You can reach them from your location by calling their numbers. Customer service then directs you on the steps to take to apply for the credit card you seek fully. You get to speak with your issuer directly when you apply through a call. He or she can help to clarify matters bothering you and explain things you don’t understand about the process. Some issuers also advise on the type of credit card that would suit your needs. You can access all these through phone calls. 

Branch – Lastly, you can apply for a credit card in person. Although, this is restricted to applying only during business hours. Applying in person gives you the leverage to make further inquiries on the card options available, and what card is suitable for you.


To apply for a credit card with fair credit, check your credit score. Be sure your score is intact before you apply for a credit card; otherwise, you may lose more points off your credit score. 

Next, identify your reason for a credit card, then shop for credit cards that best suit your needs. After that, be sure you understand and accept your issuer’s rules for the credit card you seek.

Use pre-qualification to know whether you stand a chance.  Finally, gather the relevant paperwork needed, and apply.

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