If you have fair or average credit, chances are you’re able to find a few credit cards with decent interest rates.  What you might be missing out on, though, are the features that are found in cards aimed at those with stronger credit scores, such as cashback rewards, frequent flyer miles and reward points.  If you’ve spent time working on issues to restore your credit from past issues, it can be frustrating to know that you’ve come a long way and yet still have a long way to go before you can enjoy the same benefits as those with a higher  score.

However, if you do some research, you can find cards that bridge the gap and offer rewards and benefits even if your credit isn’t perfect.  Capital One, for instance, offers several cards for those with fair credit that feature a host of benefits.  Aimed at those with fair credit scores, this card is a popular choice for those who want to get more from their credit card while they work towards even stronger score. 

The rewards associated with credit cards vary, and can range from frequent flyer miles to roadside assistance to cash back on purchases.  Which card is best for you will depend on your specific situation and your preferences for rewards.  If you are a frequent traveler, a card that offers frequent flyer miles for your favorite airline may be an ideal choice, while a student who uses his card on textbooks and courses may find a cashback incentive more rewarding. 

Another benefit to choosing a card with rewards is the impact it can have on your credit.  It is important, of course, to pay your account on time every month, and avoid racking up high bills – maxing out a credit card will likely hurt your score, while maintaining a low balance and paying your bill reliably can have a significant positive effect.  If you’re mainly interested in accruing awards and building up your credit history, you may try the approach of using your credit card each month and then paying it down.  Aim for less than 30-40% usage of any available credit for the most favorable impact on your score.

Continuing to improve your credit can increase your access to rewards cards and even more favorable interest rates.  In the meantime, use your credit responsibly and do your homework.  You’re sure to uncover cards from lenders like Capital One that offer rewards cards even for those with less-than-perfect scores.

Before you make commit to any credit cards for fair credit it may be a good idea to visit our ‘Fair Credit’ page. This features a comprehensive list of credit card applications for fair credit, including some from lesser known issuers.

Also be aware that there is really no difference between ‘average’ and ‘fair’ when it comes to credit card applications. The terms are synonymous for the consumer. The only distinction is that different issuers use one term or the other. Capital One will use the term ‘Fair Credit’ and ‘Barclaycard’ uses the term ‘Average Credit’ when they describe the credit required to be approved for their cards.