Having a good or excellent credit score (670 and above) can put you at a big advantage when it comes to qualifying for the best rewards credit cards, but there are some that you may be able to get approved for with average credit.
There are two scenarios that could lead you to having average credit: 1) You are completely new to credit and looking to get your first card in order to start building a credit history; or 2) Something has happened over the years that has caused your credit score to take a hit and you are looking to repair it.
Whether you are just starting your credit journey or you are fixing damaged credit, CNBC Select has ranked the best credit cards for fair and average credit, and there’s one that can help you do both — while also letting you earn cash back every time you use it.
Below, we take a look at the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card and explain why it is the best choice for people with average credit who also want to earn cash back. (See our methodology for more information on creditwise) But first, we look at how to best manage your cash-back card so you can later qualify for more rewards.
Here’s how to best use your cash-back card
Credit cards that reward you with cash back when you spend can be a great tool for your wallet and your overall financial health. It’s basically like getting money back when you shop for the things you need.
Some of the best cash-back credit cards include the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card, which offers 2.5% back on all your purchases (up to $250 per billing cycle), as well as others that have no annual fee. The Citi® Double Cash Card comes with no annual fee and rewards cardholders with 2% cash back (1% on all purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill).
There are even some cash-back cards catered to foodies, such as the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, and others that are great for grocery shopping, like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.
But most, if not all, of these require having good or excellent credit to qualify. If you aren’t there yet, here are some steps to take with the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card that teach you how to manage credit wisely and can lead you on the way to qualifying for these other cards.
Pay your bills on time. On-time payments make up 35% of your FICO score calculation.
Make your payments in full. If you don’t think you can pay the full amount, at the very least pay the minimum so your account stays in good standing.
Only charge what you know you can pay off. Carrying a balance month to month can become costly once the interest starts accruing.
Use 30% or less of your credit limit. Using up all of your available credit shows that you may be a financial risk to lenders and it also increases your credit utilization rate, or your debt-to-credit ratio (which lowers your credit score).
Before you apply, know the terms to redeem your cash back. For example, with the Capital One QuicksilverOne, you earn your cash automatically, but other cards may require you to pay your balance off first (which is the case in the Citi Double Cash Card mentioned above).
Why the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is the best cash-back card for people with average credit
The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card stands out because of its generous and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases that is available to those with average credit. Usually the best cash-back rates are given to good or excellent credit cardholders, but this card opens up doors for others to qualify.
With the Capital One QuicksilverOne, you can keep track of your credit score and future purchases by using Capital One’s free credit monitoring service, CreditWise® from Capital One®. The card also encourages good credit habits: once you make your first five monthly payments on time, you may qualify for a higher credit limit.