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Best Credit Cards for Good Credit September 2020

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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If you’re someone with a good credit score you should be able to qualify for a variety of credit cards. A “good” credit score falls between the range of 670 to 739, according to credit bureau Equifax.

There are cards for earning cash back, travel rewards or for completing a balance transfer. MagnifyMoney reviewed its database of over 2,000 credit cards to find the ones you can qualify for with good credit rating. Here are our favorite cards for people with good credit.

Best cash back credit cards for good credit

Cash back credit cards can be great tools to offset the cost of your shopping. They basically make your life just a few percentage points cheaper — who wouldn’t want that?

Watch out for the pitfalls with these rewards cards, though. Don’t talk yourself into spending more because you’ll receive cash back. If you opt for a cash back card that offers you up to 5X more points on certain categories, make sure you understand that you often have to activate the bonus categories and set up reminders for yourself if necessary.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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The information related to Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
Regular Purchase APR
13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent

Magnify Glass Pros

  • High flat-rate cash back You earn one of the highest flat-rate cash back amounts of any card on the market. This allows you to enjoy high rewards on all your purchases.
  • Simple cash back rewards Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. No need to deal with changing categories or activation.
  • First late fee waived You won’t have to pay your first late fee. Instead, if you are tardy, use it as a reminder to sign up for autopay.

Cons Cons

  • Must pay in full to earn the full reward The only way to enjoy the 2% cash back is to pay your bill in full. This is a great incentive to pay your bill on time so you earn rewards faster.
  • 3% foreign transaction fee This is one card to leave home if you travel abroad a lot — but it’s great as long as you stay within the United States. The foreign transaction fee will negate any cash back you earn from purchases made abroad.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This is one of the highest flat-rate cash back rewards credit cards on the market. It’s a great choice for those who want peace of mind that they’re getting good rewards without fussing with variable rewards categories.

Read our full review of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Discover it® Cash Back

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Up to 5% cash back in rotating categories You will earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. All other purchases will earn unlimited 1% cash back automatically.
  • Cash back match your first year Discover will match ALL the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There’s no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched. This is a great additional bonus for new cardholders that will significantly increase your cash back.
  • No foreign transaction fee Bring your card with you on your adventures abroad. It won’t cost you anything extra.
  • Free FICO® score Your FICO® score is the most common credit score used by creditors, and getting your official score helps you keep tabs on your good credit. Monitoring your score can also help alert you of any fraudulent activity on your card.

Cons Cons

  • You need to opt in for bonus categories Bonus rewards aren’t automatic; you’ll need to remember to log in and manually activate them each quarter. Set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget.
  • $1,500 quarterly cap on spending eligible for 5% cash back rewards After you hit the quarterly spend, purchases in the 5% category will earn 1% cash back.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Discover it® Cash Back offers great rewards-earning potential making this card a good way to earn rewards. Just remember to opt in to the quarterly-changing cash back programs.

Read our full review of the Discover it® Cash Back

Also ConsiderAlso Consider

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

This card is a great choice for forgetful people who want cash back rewards. It’s one of the only cards offering revolving categories each quarter that you don’t have to opt in for; you will get these rewards automatically. This card would also be a great choice for those who want cash back rewards and don’t mind working with a credit union.

Best for big spenders in gas

Commuting can be a huge cost, especially if you live far away from your work and don’t use public transportation. If you spend a lot of money on gas each month, consider getting a cash back rewards card that gives you higher rates of return for these purchases. It’s like having an instant coupon for gas with you all the time.

Platinum Visa® from Abound Credit Union

Platinum Visa® from Abound Credit Union

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 5% cash rewards for gas and 1% cash rewards for other eligible purchases.
Regular Purchase APR
10.75% - 18.00% Variable
Credit required
good-credit

Magnify Glass Pros

  • 5% cash back rewards on gas This is one of the best cash back rewards rates we’ve seen on any card. It does not change quarterly like with most cash back rewards — you will always earn cash back rewards at this rate.
  • Fair APR If you need to carry a balance from month to month, rest assured: This card comes with a fair interest rate. Although we recommend paying each statement in full, this card can be a good option if you qualify for the lowest APR.
  • No annual fee All these great rewards come with no annual fee. If you pay off your bill in full each month to avoid interest charges.

Cons Cons

  • 1% foreign transaction fee This is a great card to have on hand for road trips, but be aware that if you cross the border, your net cash back rewards will be reduced.
  • Credit union membership required You don’t need to be a member to apply for the card; however, if you are approved, you’ll need to open and fund a savings account with a minimum of $5.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card offers great value for big spenders in gas. If you frequent the pump, this card can earn you a nice cash back rate. This card offers other great features such as no annual fee and a fair interest rate. If you don’t mind working with a credit union, this card can benefit your needs.

Best for big spenders at U.S. supermarkets

Groceries can be one of your biggest budget-busters, especially if you have a large family, a specialized diet, or live in certain parts of the country. The good news is there are certain credit cards that offer great rewards for grocery purchases at supermarkets. Here’s our top pick for a credit card to maximize your cash back rewards at U.S. supermarkets.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
13.99%-23.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% on purchases for 12 months
Intro BT APR
N/A
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Intro 0% on purchases for 12 months (after that, a 13.99%-23.99% Variable APR applies) This can come in handy if you make a purchase and can’t pay it off immediately.
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets You’ll earn a whopping 6% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases — the highest level of cash back rewards we’ve heard of. Sadly, you’ll only earn this much on the first $6,000 worth of purchases each year. Remaining purchases will still earn 1% cash back.
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit There’s no limit to the amount of cash back rewards you can earn at U.S. gas stations and on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, and buses. That means you can enjoy the higher cash back rate all year long.

Cons Cons

  • $95 annual fee This card charges an annual fee, but it will still be worth the fee if you spend at least $1,583 at U.S. supermarkets or $3,166 in gas each year.
  • Foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars. If you use your card outside of the country, it’ll cost you unless you’re buying gas or groceries — then you’ll either be just about breaking even or earning 3.3% cash back rewards on groceries. It’s best to leave this card at home if you travel abroad.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card offers a fantastic cash back rewards program for grocery spenders. By using this card for grocery purchases, you will see the most rewards. Although it carries a $95 annual fee, this card will easily pay for itself with big spenders in groceries.

To see rates & fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Best travel rewards credit card for good credit

Travel can seem like a pipe dream to a lot of people. Even if you do have the cash, it still stings to see that much hard-earned money leaving your bank account. But with a travel rewards credit card, you can have a sort of de facto savings account specifically for travel. And with a sign-on bonus like the one for our top pick, you can be jet-setting somewhere fun and interesting as soon as a few months from now.

 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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The information related to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.
Regular Purchase APR
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Rewards are worth more when redeemed for travel You will receive 25% more value on points that are redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This raises the effective rate of rewards to 1.25 and 2.5 points.
  • Higher rewards for dining and travel You’ll earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. This is great for travelers and foodies.
  • 1:1 point transfer to frequent flyer programs You can transfer points to partner frequent flyer programs at a 1:1 ratio. This is a great way to accumulate points faster at your favorite airline.
  • Travel protections This card comes with trip cancellation/interruption insurance, travel and emergency assistance services, auto rental collision damage waiver and more. These features add a layer of protection when traveling abroad.

Cons Cons

  • Points are worth slightly less when transferred to partners You’ll miss out on 25% more value if you transfer points to travel partners like airlines and hotels. The points will still transfer on a 1-to-1 basis, but they won’t be worth as much as using the Chase Rewards portal.
  • Annual fee There is a $95 annual fee, which is typical of travel rewards cards. However, if you spend enough on this card, you will come out ahead.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card is the gold standard for frequent travelers. The Chase Ultimate Rewards portal helps you maximize your rewards even further and get you closer to covering the cost of a flight or hotel stay using rewards. If you’re a frequent traveler, this card will earn you a great rate.

Best airline credit cards for good credit

One of the biggest travel expenses is airfare. Even if you don’t have specific goals to travel regularly, surprises like cross-country family emergencies or get-togethers can take a big bite out of your budget.

Before signing up for an airline-specific card, it’s helpful to know what airline options you have near you. Different airlines tend to congregate more in different parts of the country; you won’t see any Alaska Airlines planes if you live in Maine, for example.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

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The information related to Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Annual fee
$69
Rewards Rate
2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Regular Purchase APR
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
Credit required
fair-credit
Excellent/Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Flexible points redemption options You can use your points to book hotel stays and car rentals and to buy gift cards or merchandise.
  • 3,000 bonus points every year You’ll get a bonus 3,000 points tacked onto your account each year on your card’s anniversary. This is a great added bonus that makes this card exceptional.
  • Travel protections This card comes with lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver and more. These features add a layer of protection when traveling abroad.

Cons Cons

  • $69 annual fee Many travel credit cards will waive their annual fee for the first year — but not this one. Otherwise, the $69 annual fee is typical and if this is your go-to card, the rewards you earn can likely outweigh the fee.
  • Foreign transaction fee This card charges 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars for purchases made abroad. It’s ironic that a travel card would include this fee. If you can, leave this one at home if you travel outside of the country. Also consider other airline cards that don’t charge a foreign transaction fee.
Bottom line

Bottom line

We recommend this card for people who frequently fly on Southwest Airlines and want to earn a higher rewards rate on those purchases. This card will allow you to earn more points on Southwest flights that will allow you to maximize your rewards. If you don’t fly Southwest and often fly abroad, this card isn’t for you.

Best for United frequent flyers

UnitedSM Explorer Card

The information related to UnitedSM Explorer Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

UnitedSM Explorer Card

Annual fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Rewards Rate
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays and on purchases from United. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
Regular Purchase APR
16.49% to 23.49% Variable

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Priority boarding Snag your seat before everyone else and avoid the rush to get on the plane.
  • Free checked bag You and one companion traveling on the same reservation will each receive their first standard checked bag free.
  • Hotel benefits This card comes with luxury hotel and resort collection privileges including room upgrades, complimentary daily breakfast for two, early check-in, late checkout and other amenities at more than 900 luxury hotels and resorts worldwide.
  • Travel protections This card comes with lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and more. These features add peace of mind when traveling.

Cons Cons

  • Annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95 Many travel credit cards will waive their annual fee for the first year — including this one. After that first year, the annual fee kicks in. However, the annual fee amount is typical and the rewards you earn can outweigh the annual fee.
  • Limited Star Alliance partners You can only use your points to book travel on United Airlines or their partners in the Star Alliance, including such airlines as Lufthansa and Air China. This is a negative if you don’t travel on any of these airlines.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card offers a good rewards program for United Airlines flyers. You will enjoy more miles on United purchases and will also get nice perks that make flying less stressful. We recommend this card if you’re a frequent United Airlines traveler.

Best for American Airlines frequent flyers

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

The information related to Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Annual fee
$99, waived for first 12 months
Rewards Rate
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases
Regular Purchase APR
15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
Credit required
excellent-credit

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Cheaper mile redemptions You’ll pay up to 7,500 fewer miles to fly to certain destinations with American Airlines. This can help you maximize your miles.
  • First checked bag free You won’t have to leave the things you really want to bring at home in order to save money. First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation.
  • Discount on in-flight purchases You can save money when dining on American Airlines flights. Receive a 25% savings on eligible in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights.
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount You can earn this discount by spending $20,000 or more on purchases using this card each card membership year.

Cons Cons

  • Limited “oneworld” partner airlines You can only book travel on American Airlines or their partner airlines in the “oneworld alliance.” Other member airlines include British Airways and Qantas, for example.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card offers solid benefits and ways to maximize your mile earnings. It’s an important card in any traveler’s wallet and can be a great benefit to frequent American Airlines flyers. Take advantage of the cheaper miles redemption to maximize your miles.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

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Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Annual fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
Rewards Rate
Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
Regular Purchase APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Free checked bag Save money and hassle by bringing all the stuff you need with you on your travels in a free checked bag.
  • Priority boarding Be the first on the plane so you don’t have to worry about luggage space or a long line.
  • No foreign transaction fee This card does not charge a fee for purchases made abroad. That means you can fly outside of the U.S. and not be charged additional fees like most other cards.
  • Discounts on Delta purchases You will enjoy several discounts when flying Delta. Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • Travel protections This card comes with Global Assist Hotline, car rental loss and damage insurance, and more. These features are a great way to have an added layer of safety when traveling.

Cons Cons

  • Limited SkyTeam partner airlines You can also use your Delta miles to book travel within the SkyTeam Alliance, a relatively limited network with other members like Air France and Aeroméxico.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card offers great benefits for those who fly Delta. You will enjoy a wide selection of benefits from priority boarding to in-flight savings that make traveling more comfortable and cheaper. We recommend this card for frequent Delta flyers who want added discounts when they travel.

To see rates & fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here.

Best luxury credit card for good credit

Even though traveling is fun, it can still be a stressful experience. Between fighting throngs of crowds and cramming into airline seats, it can be enough to drive even the most ardent travel-lover insane sometimes.

The good news is you may avoid all of that with a luxury credit card. These credit cards could give you an across-the-board better travel experience, from the moment you arrive at the airport until you make it back home. Here is our top pick for a luxury credit card.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee
$550
Rewards Rate
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Free access to over 1,200 airport lounges Get away from the crowds in premium airport lounges all over the globe. This is a great feature that will allow you time to decompress before or after flights.
  • $200 toward airline fees and incidental purchases each year Amex will refund you up to $200 in the form of a statement credit per year on purchases from a qualifying airline you select ahead of time. This includes things like meals, checked bag fees, and more.
  • Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck : Amex will refund you every four-and-a-half years for TSA Precheck ($85) or every four years for Global Entry ($100) fees. If you were thinking of using these services, it’s a great idea to take advantage of this rebate and enjoy a quicker check-in when flying.
  • Great rewards program Earn a fantastic rewards rate of 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. It’s more than double what many other travel cards offer.

Cons Cons

  • High $550 annual fee Luxury doesn’t come cheap. If you spend a lot on travel, though, this card can still pay for itself. Make sure this card is right for your needs.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card is a stand-out favorite for globetrotting jet-setters who prefer a bit of comfort while traveling. Watch out for the $550 annual fee, though. If you spend a lot on travel each year, however, this card might actually save you money and will allow you to travel in luxury.

To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Best 0% Intro APR credit cards for good credit

If you really need to buy something moderately expensive but don’t have the cash for it yet, 0% Intro APR purchase cards can be a great way to go. They’re basically like free short-term loans. These cards are similar to 0% Intro balance transfer cards, but not all balance transfer cards also offer you the ability to make new purchases with the introductory APRs.

It’s recommended to only use these cards to buy things that you absolutely need rather than using them for a big splurge. These cards offer great opportunities to better your life, without the extra cost — if you can pay off the card before the promo period is over.

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Intro 0% APR for 15 months If you need to make a big purchase, you’ll appreciate the purchase APR offer of 0% intro on purchases for 15 months. After, a 15.49% - 25.49% (variable) APR applies. The card also offers N/A. After, a 15.49% - 25.49% (variable) APR applies. The balance transfer fee is a reasonable $0.
  • Good flat-rate rewards Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
  • Sign-up bonus One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fee The annual fee for this card is $0, so as long as you don’t carry a balance and incur interest charges, all the rewards you earn are net cash back in your wallet. And you can travel abroad knowing that the foreign transaction fee is none, so you won’t be charged an extra fee for each transaction you make.

Cons Cons

  • There are cards with higher rewards rates Though the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a solid cashback rate, there are flat-rate cards that offer up to 2% cash back, and cards that offer up to 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories.
Bottom line

Bottom line

With a strong 0% Intro APR offer on both purchases and balance transfers, as well as good ongoing rewards, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers cardholders an excellent value.

Read our full review of the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

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The information related to Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Intro BT APR
0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers
Balance Transfer Fee
Balance transfer fee – either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Regular Purchase APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Intro 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers Enjoy no interest charges for nearly two years in a row — that’s one of the longest 0% BT APR intro periods in the business. After the intro period, the APR goes to 14.74% - 24.74% (variable). The card also offers an intro APR of 0% for 18 months on purchases. After the intro period ends, the regular purchase APR is 14.74% - 24.74% (variable).
  • No late fees Citi offers one of the most unique benefits in the credit card world — no late fees. Of course, it isn’t a free pass; you still need to pay your bill on time or risk a huge credit score drop from the negative mark on your credit report.
  • Choose your bill due date To make it as easy as possible on your finances, you can choose your own due date. Get paid in the middle of the month? No problem. Prefer to pay it right away? Pay it at the beginning of the month.

Cons Cons

  • 3% foreign transaction fee If you’ll be traveling abroad, leave this card at home — otherwise it’ll end up making your trip 3% more expensive.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This is one of the longest 0% BT APR intro periods in the credit card market for balance transfers and offers a fantastic opportunity for those who need to finance a large purchase — as long as you pay it off before the period expires. Use this card as a means to rid yourself of high interest charges while you pay off your bills.

Read our full review of the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Learn more

You don’t need a perfect credit score to qualify for most financial products. You’ll still get access to virtually all of the things an 850 credit score would unlock as long as you have a credit score of at least 760.

Good credit scores don’t happen by accident. Whether you deliberately aimed for your score or not, you have good financial management skills. However, this isn’t enough to guarantee your approval for a large number of financial products.

It’s actually possible to have a good credit score yet still be a high financial risk. For example, your credit score doesn’t take your salary into account. You could have a perfect credit score yet be unemployed with no income, in some cases.

When you apply for financial products, banks will look at your entire situation beyond just your credit score. Each bank will have their own approval criteria, and you might not pass one of them even if you have a good credit score.

Take heart, however; in general, you will be approved for most good financial products and services if you have a good credit score. But if the bank is very picky or something uncommon has happened to you (such as a recent job loss), it’s not surprising to be rejected.

Potential creditors don’t like to see a string of recent credit inquiries on your report because it might be a sign that you’re going on an out-of-control credit binge. Your score will be docked a few points per credit inquiry. This is a relatively small cut compared to more major transgressions like late payments and foreclosures, however.

When you have a poor credit score (600-648), you need every point you can get. The difference between a poor and a fair credit score is just 48 points; you need to do everything you can to gain those points and move up into the next bracket. Having a hard credit pull on your credit report will set you back even longer.

If you’ve got good credit, though, you don’t need to worry as much. You have 150 points between 700 and the maximum score of 850. That’s plenty of room to pay for small dings on your credit. You can have a hard inquiry on your credit report and still have a good credit score, unless you’re starting with a borderline good score of 700-705.

You’ve worked hard getting your score to this point, now how do you keep it there? Luckily, it’s not hard; basically, continue doing the good things you’re already doing.

Paying all of your statements on time and in full is one of the best things you can do to maintain your high credit score. A single late payment on your mortgage could set you back 60 points or more, downgrading you from good credit to average. Make sure all of your debt accounts are set up on autopay to avoid this potentially costly error.

Credit utilization (the percentage of available credit you’re using) is also one of the biggest factors in determining your credit score. The less available credit you’re using, the better. In general, a credit utilization ratio of 10% or less will boost your score the most. This means that you’ll have a credit card balance of $1,000 or less for each $10,000 of credit you have available to you.

A few minor factors will also boost your credit score, but not as much as having a good payment history and a low credit utilization ratio. Keep credit inquiries to a minimum. In order to avoid a slew of inquiries that will be reflected in your credit score, make sure companies use soft pulls if you need to shop around for the best interest rates.

Also consider keeping your oldest credit cards open and closing any newer ones you’re not using. This will increase your average credit age. In general, an average credit age of five years or more is considered best and will boost your credit score.

You don’t want to be juggling around a ton of cards you’re not using. Closing old cards sounds like a good idea until you consider one factor: It may ding your credit score.

Creditors like to see that you can effectively handle credit accounts over long periods of time. That’s why average credit age is one factor included in credit scoring models.

If you close out an old card, your average credit age might drop. This would cause a corresponding dip in your score. The effect wouldn’t be huge (not as large as a late payment, for example), but it could be there nonetheless, especially if your average credit age is five years or less (over five years is the optimal average credit age).

That’s why most experts recommend keeping your oldest credit card open. If you want to juggle fewer accounts, close any newer ones that you’re not using. Of course, if your oldest credit card charges an annual fee and you’re not using it, then go ahead and close it anyway. Paying an annual fee for a card you’re not using likely outweighs any benefits from keeping the card open for the sake of boosting your average credit age.

Furthermore, if you close your old credit card before you apply for a new card, it’s possible that your credit score will drop enough that your application will be rejected, especially if you have a borderline good credit score. In this case, it’s better to wait until after you’ve applied and been approved for the new credit card before closing your old card, if you decide to do so.

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Best Secured Credit Cards with Low Deposit Requirements – September 2020

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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Secured credit cards are used as a tool to build a credit history from scratch or put positive information on a credit report after negative incidents such as bankruptcy, missed debt payments or accounts in collections. By feeding positive information into a credit report, you can improve a credit score, which is essential for getting the best financial products on the market.

In order to be eligible for a secured credit card, you must provide a minimum deposit. This deposit typically serves as your line of available credit, but in some cases your line of credit may be higher. Plenty of secured cards require rather hefty minimum deposits of $300 or more, which may be prohibitive for many Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Fortunately, alternatives to the high deposits exist. We’ve pulled together a list of the best secured cards that require a deposit and/or credit union membership fee of $200 or less.

$200 minimum deposit with rewards: Discover it® Secured

The Discover it® Secured has a minimum deposit of $200. This is our favorite secured credit card for a number of reasons, including the ability to earn cash back, and our favorite feature — automatic monthly reviews of your account that start at month eight.

Here are the benefits of the Discover it® Secured in more detail:

Automatic monthly reviews starting at month eight: If you qualify, you could be transitioned to an account with no security deposit. Even better, you could potentially be eligible for a bigger credit limit. This feature really sets Discover apart from the competition – and your goal should be to get back your deposit as quickly as possible through responsible credit behavior.

Bankruptcy? No problem: If you have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the past, you can still qualify for this card. It is a great way for people to rehabilitate their credit.

Earn cash back: Most secured credit cards do not offer any rewards. With the Discover it® Secured, you have the opportunity to earn cash back while building your credit. You earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically. Earning cash back is not the primary reason to select a secured credit card, but it is a nice option to have available.

Free FICO® Credit Score: Discover will provide you with a copy of your official FICO® credit score. A good step in proper credit behavior is to monitor your score each month.

Read our review for more information on the Discover it® Secured.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Discover will automatically review your account starting at month eight to see if you can be transitioned to a card without a security deposit. If you qualify, you can receive an unsecured card and your security deposit will be refunded. Note that the reviews are based on various factors, including responsible credit management across all of your credit cards and loans.

$49, $99, or $200 minimum deposit: Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® offers a minimum deposit as low as $49. If you don’t receive the $49 minimum deposit, you may receive a deposit of $99 or $200. This may be a good option if you don’t have $200 to deposit, just remember that the $49 deposit is not guaranteed. If approved for the card, once you make your minimum required security deposit, you will receive a credit line of $200.

Read our review for more information on the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Capital One has a feature where they will automatically review your account for on-time payments and will inform you if you’re eligible for an upgrade. If eligible, you will be refunded your security deposit and will receive an unsecured card. The catch is that there is no time frame for when your account will be reviewed. Capital One said that it depends on various credit activities.

$200 minimum deposit: Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Citi® Secured MasterCard®

The information related to Citi® Secured MasterCard® has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Citi® Secured MasterCard®

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$200
Regular Purchase APR
22.49% (Variable)

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a no-frills secured credit card. There is a $0 annual fee and a $200 minimum deposit requirement. There are no rewards associated with this card — however, that’s fairly standard for a secured card. When coupled with responsible credit behavior, this card can help you build credit and work your way to an unsecured card.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Citi will hold your security deposit in a Collateral Holding Account for 18 months. Prior to the 18-month term ending, Citi will send you a notification in the mail informing you if you will be transitioned to an unsecured card. If transitioned, you will receive an unsecured card and your deposit back. If not, you will still have your secured card. The status of your account at the end of the 18-month term and whether you get back your deposit depends on your account history and other credit factors.

Best Strategy for Rebuilding Credit

The strategy for building a strong credit score with a secured card is simple. Make one small purchase each month ($10 or less), wait for your statement to come in, pay your bill on time and in full and then repeat the next month. By making just small purchases, you’ll be using a very low amount of your overall credit limit (also called utilization), which helps drive your credit score up faster because it shows you’re responsible.

Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score and Credit Report

Once you’re in the process of building or rebuilding your credit, it helps to have a benchmark. Do a monthly check in with your credit score to see how it’s improving.

In addition, you should also keep tabs on your credit report by downloading the report from each of the three bureaus. By law, you’re entitled to one free report from each bureau per year. You can download them all at once or space them out throughout the year. Go to annualcreditreport.com to download your free reports. Monitoring your reports will ensure all the information there is accurate and alert you about anything that may be damaging to your score, like an item in collections or reported missed payments.

A Word to the Wise

Never carry a balance on your secured card. The point of a secured card is to be building (or rebuilding) your credit history. Make one small purchase a month and pay it off on time and in full. Follow those two steps and you’ll see your credit score start to raise quickly.

Find other secured card options on our secured card comparison table.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Credit Cards

Deserve Edu Mastercard Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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deserve edu mastercard review
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For college students juggling courses, exams, papers and career planning, building credit may seem like the least of your worries. But now is the best time to build a good credit score, since it will help you when renting an apartment, applying for a car loan and perhaps even applying for certain jobs.

Student credit cards are designed specifically to help you do that.

The Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students is a solid choice for college students looking for their first credit card — in particular, for international students studying in the United States, because this card doesn’t require a Social Security number (SSN) to apply.

We break down how this card stands out and where it falls short, as well as some tips on how to build credit while in college.

Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students

APPLY NOW Secured

on Celtic Bank’s secure website

Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1% unlimited cash back on ALL purchases
Regular Purchase APR
18.74% Variable
Credit required
bad-credit
Good/Fair/Limited

What is Deserve?

Deserve is a fintech company with the goal of providing credit to underserved people, particularly millennials and Gen Z with little to no credit history.

Founded in 2013, Deserve’s original purpose was to help international students obtain credit, and since then, the company has expanded to target all college students in the U.S. The Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students offers straightforward terms and a good opportunity for students to build credit from scratch.

Applying for the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students

Students at U.S. colleges and universities, whether U.S. citizens or permanent residents or international students on a visa, are eligible to apply for the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students. Unlike many other credit cards, an SSN is not required to apply. However, be aware that you won’t build credit history until you’ve linked a valid SSN to your Deserve account.

Because this is a student credit card, applying with a .edu email address may allow for speedier application processing than using a personal email. However, you can apply using a personal email. You’ll also need to provide the following:

  • Contact information and address
  • Employment and income information

Potential sources of income may include:

  • A full- or part-time job
  • An allowance from family
  • A trust/inheritance
  • An investment account

Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students rewards, fees and more

Rewards: Cardholders earn 1% unlimited cash back on ALL purchases. While there are cards offering 1.5% or even 5% back, bear in mind this is a student card meant mainly to build credit.

$0 annual fee: There is a $0 annual fee for this card, allowing you to reap the rewards of the cashback program and build credit without paying to carry the card.

No foreign transaction fee: Both international students visiting family back home or U.S. students studying abroad will benefit from this card’s foreign transaction fee – which is none.

Amazon Prime Student reimbursement: Pay for an Amazon Prime Student membership with your Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students and get up to $59 in reimbursement for it. Note that an annual student membership costs $59 while a monthly subscription costs $6.49.

Reasonable interest rate: This card’s interest rate is 18.74% variable APR. When compared with competing cards, which may have APRs higher than 20%, this is quite reasonable. However, we always recommend paying off your card’s balance in full to avoid incurring interest charges.

No deposit required: Many of the cards available to those with no credit history or limited credit history are secured cards, requiring a deposit in the amount of your credit limit. The Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students is an unsecured card, meaning it doesn’t require a deposit.

Up to $5,000 credit limit: The Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students offers a potentially high credit limit. However, you’re not guaranteed the maximum — and Deserve doesn’t allow cardholders to request higher credit limits. The company does review each cardholder’s behavior from time to time, and if you get a credit limit increase, you’ll be notified by email.

Is the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students right for you?

The Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students is a good first credit card that can help you build an excellent credit score (if you’ve linked a valid SSN). However, there are more generous cashback student cards on the market. You’ll likely need a SSN to apply though, so for applicants who don’t have one yet, the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students offers an accessible option.

How to build credit while in college

Following these best practices can help build an excellent credit score:

  • Always pay on time. Paying on time is the most important factor in building and keeping a good credit score – it accounts for 35% of your FICO Score. If your card allows it, setting up autopay is a good way to ensure that you never miss a payment.
  • Pay in full every month. It’s better to pay your statement off in full every month rather than just making the minimum payment due, so that you don’t let your balance creep up. Plus, by paying in full, you can typically avoid interest charges and thus save money.
  • Keep your utilization low. Your utilization is how much of your credit limit you’re using, and accounts for 30% of your credit score. As an example, if you spend $200 on a credit card with a $1,000 credit limit, that’s 20% utilization. Keeping your credit utilization at or below 30% will help build a good credit score. In other words, don’t max out your card.
  • Don’t apply for too many cards. It may be tempting to apply for new cards with exciting rewards and benefits, but each application pulls a hard inquiry from your credit report. Too many inquiries makes it look like you’re desperate for credit.
  • Check your credit score. Many issuers provide your updated credit score for free on a monthly basis; if not there are sites that provide it for free. Checking your score regularly is a great way to stay on top of any credit changes and track your progress.

Read: View Your Free FICO Score for all 3 Credit Bureaus

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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