How to Find a Credit Card For Good Credit
Written by: Kristy Welsh
Last Updated: July 26, 2017
When your credit is in good shape, you don’t have to look too far to find a credit card you qualify for. But that’s not to say you should take whatever offer turns up first. On the contrary, the better your credit, the deeper you should dig for the best deal. Because a better deal is out there and you deserve it.
Know Your Credit Score
If you don’t know it, you can purchase your FICO score through myFICO.com. Credit scores change all the time, so if it’s been a while since you’ve seen it, double-check your score before you start the card application process. (If you discover your credit is worse than you thought — and you’re in subprime territory — here’s how to find a credit card for bad credit.)
Know Where to Look
Bankrate lets you search by card type (e.g., 0% APR cards, balance transfer cards, reward cards, etc.), credit score, and card issuer.
Nerdwallet lets you search by card type; credit score; fees; monthly spend; card network (American Express, Discover, VISA/MasterCard); financial institution; years you’ll keep the card.
Choose the Right Credit Category
Make sure the credit card you apply for is one for which your credit score qualifies you for. That means knowing your credit score and just how good it really is. Here’s the general breakdown of credit score ranges:
- Excellent: 750 to 850
- Good: 700 to 749
- Fair: 650 to 699
- Poor: 600 to 649
- Bad: 300 to 599
That said, you’ll notice the ranges may vary from one site to the next, so do your best to choose the category that best applies to you. For instance:
Nerdwallet breaks it down by Excellent (720 to 850), Good (690 to 719), Average (630 to 689), and Poor (350 to 629), and eliminating Fair altogether. Use your credit score number to determine which of these categories you choose.
Bankrate and CardHub limit the choices to Excellent, Good, Fair, Bad, and No Credit History, eliminating Poor altogether (which shouldn’t affect you if you have good credit).
Compare Costs and Features
Fees. Look at annual fees (which you should do your best to avoid), APR, fixed vs. variable interest rates, balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, international use fees, late fees, and over limit fees.
Cash back and rewards. Do they offer cash back? If so, what percentage? Do they offer a rewards bonus? If so, how much do you have to spend to get it? What categories of spending are the rewards points tied to? Do you spend in those categories?
Narrow it Down to One Card
Every time you apply for a credit card, the issuer will pull your credit, which counts as a hard inquiry on your credit reports. Hard inquires put dents in your credit score so the last thing you want to do is plan on applying for multiple cards in hopes that one of them approves you. On the contrary, you only want to apply for one card.
Think of it as a purchase you can’t return. Do your homework and get it right the first time.
What to Do if You Are Turned Down
Maybe your credit isn’t as good as you thought. Maybe it’s only Average or Fair. Or maybe it’s really Bad and all you qualify for is a secured credit card. Look at all of these possibilities carefully and make sure you know where you stand before applying again.