Nobody wants to be average. Average is boring, average doesn’t stand out – average is, well, average.
But it’s not always a bad thing to be average, especially when it comes to your credit score. Having average credit is likely to get you decent interest rates, unsecured credit card offers and some solid cash back opportunities.
So why does it feel like credit cards for average credit are just that – average? And how can a consumer boost their score into the above-average to good and even great score range? Believe it or not, the process of improving credit can be simple, though it certainly takes some time to boost your score. But first, let’s address the original question – are all average credit cards really just “average”?
Average credit cards are often a huge step up from bad, poor or no credit offers. Some include cash back opportunities and interest-free introductory periods, and most include lower interest rates than their bad credit counterparts.
Capital One® offers the most fair credit options of any of the major credit card issuers; Barclaycard is a lesser-known issuer (in this country) that’s also making a name as a national credit card company willing to lend above-average cash back credit cards to people with average credit.
One of the best fair credit options available is the Capital One Cash Rewards card, which includes one percent cash back on all purchases and a 50 percent cash back bonus on cash back accumulated each year. (You’ve probably seen Jimmy Fallon slinging this card on your TV). The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard for Average Credit counters that offer with double points per dollar spent on gas, groceries and utilities, and this is perhaps the only average credit card available that includes a 6-month interest-free period applied to balance transfers. See, average credit isn’t so bad, right?
That said, there are several smaller credit card issuers willing to approve consumers with scores in the mid-to-upper 600’s, plus many local banks offer unsecured cards with decent APR’s. If you’re unsure about the fair credit offers you find online, it’s worth checking in with your local bank or credit union to find out what kinds of options are available to you.
How to Boost Your Score to Above Average or Better
While the above credit card options are decent-enough, it’s understandable and encouraged if you’re ready and willing to do the work necessary to improve your score. In fact, one of the easiest things you can do is use your fair or average credit card responsibly and make on-time, in-full payments each and every month for a year or more.
The biggest factor that determines your credit score is your payments history. The more on-time payments you make, the better you look in the eyes of creditors. Not only that, when you make payments in-full or well above your minimum, you’re working to pay down your current balance or avoid carrying a balance completely – both of which have a positive impact on your score.
Much like your payments history, another crucial element to improving your credit score from average to good is the amount of debt you carry each month. Essentially the higher your debt, the lower your score, especially if you don’t have a lot of credit available to you in the first place. It’s important to keep the amount of debt you owe under a third of your total available credit line; the creators of the FICO score have even said so.
If you’re ready to take your credit score to the next level, it’s worth applying for an average credit card, using it properly and giving it a year or so to boost your score. The above tips serve as simple steps to get your average credit score up, and if you think the average credit card offers are solid, wait ’til you see the good and excellent credit offers available…
This post was written by Jason Bushey. Jason is a personal finance expert and the Editor of Creditnet.com, a leading authority on credit card reviews, rewards and advice.