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What Credit Score Do You Need To Get Approved For A Credit Card?

You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone, and this content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser.

Being declined for a new credit card is frustrating. Improve your chances of approval by applying to cards that are suited to your credit score.

What credit score do you need to get approved for a credit card?

If you’re looking to be approved for a credit card, you’ll need to meet all of the card issuer’s minimum criteria for creditworthiness and income:

  • Established credit—timely payments on credit accounts for two or more years
  • A stable income
  • A credit score (FICO score) that meets the bank’s minimum criteria

The less debt you have and the longer you’ve been making timely payments on your existing credit accounts, the more likely it is you will be approved for cards with the lowest rates and best rewards.

What credit score do you need to get approved for a credit card?

FICO scoreRecommended credit cards
750 or better (Excellent)Chase Sapphire Preferred(R) Card
700 to 749 (Good)Capital One(R) Savor(R) Cash Rewards Credit Card
600 to 699 (Fair)Capital One(R) QuicksilverOne(R) Cash Rewards Credit Card
Under 600 (Poor)Discover it(R) Secured

How to use our credit score guidelines for credit card approval

Once you know or estimate your credit score, avoid being declined when you shop for a new credit card by choosing a card for which you have an above-average chance of approval.

If you walk into a bank for a loan or apply for a credit card online, you have no idea what credit score is required to get approved. So if you know your score is 665 (and that’s about average), that doesn’t help you if the credit card you’re applying for requires a 670 credit score.

One of the things I try to do as a financial blogger is shed light on areas of finance that you wouldn’t know about if this stuff isn’t your job. Most people go about life, see a celebrity pitching a credit card and apply.

I sit around running spreadsheets looking at how much a 0 percent balance transfer with a 4 percent fee will save you over a card with a 10.99 percent regular APR over 18 months. (Answer: $110.27 per $1,000 transferred. You can use our balance transfer calculator to try other scenarios.)

The same is true for credit scores required for credit card approval. All you care about is getting a good card. I care about who the bank will give that card to and who it won’t.

Most credit card offers require very good credit

Let’s be clear about that. A lot of people who apply for credit cards are denied. And if you get denied too many times in a year, that can actually hurt your credit further.

Most so-called “prime” and “superprime” credit cards are only available to applicants with credit scores of 750 or better. These include most American Express, Chase, and Bank of America credit cards.

Even with good credit, there are other reasons you might still be declined—like too much overall debt or even just one recent late payment.

To help you avoid that, let’s look at what cards you can get with various credit scores. You can also browse the credit card section of this website. Each card features a minimum required credit quality category.

Credit scores

Excellent credit: 750+

Reaching the excellent or superprime credit level often requires at least 10 years of on-time payments and a mix of credit accounts such as credit cards, student loans, and a mortgage.

Even if you’ve responsibly used credit for up to five years, you may still be declined for many cards simply because the banks want customers who have an even longer track record of timely payments.

Obviously, if you’re in this range, you have your pick of any of the best credit cards, and you can take advantage of promotions in which the banks will actually pay you in cash or travel rewards for opening and using a new credit card. You can see examples of this with these credit cards that offer sign-up bonuses, some worth $500 or more.

The card we like best in this category is the Chase Sapphire Preferred(R) Card. It’s got a pretty hefty $95 annual fee, but the rewards package you’ll get for it is high value. It’s an amazing travel credit card and to top it off it has a $625 value travel sign up bonus if you meet the reasonable minimum spend requirements.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Credit Needed: Excellent Credit
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/AN/AN/A18.24% - 25.24% Variable$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred(R) Card

See recommended credit cards if your FICO score is 750 or bettervbxzxuccbetvfcacaxctyuebxyawyqwu.

Good credit: 700—749

To have good credit, your credit scores need to be in the 700s. Scores in the high 600s are borderline “good”.

While our scale for “good” originally went as low as 680, you’ll have a much harder time getting approved for credit card offers the further below 700 your credit score is. Based on new data, we’ve increased the minimum level for “good credit” to 700. At this level of credit score, other factors—such as your income, debt levels, and recent payment history will be big factors in the banks decision to approve you.

To get a credit score close to 700, you will need to have been using credit for at least three years without any late payments. You’ll have a good chance of credit card approval provided you aren’t overextended with too much debt or too many credit card accounts.

You can take advantage of great cards like:

Capital One Venture—One of the best overall cards for earning travel rewards with a hefty $500 value sign up bonus if you meet the minimum spend requirements.

This offer requires Excellent/Good credit.

    Card Highlights

    • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
    • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
    • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
    • View Capital One(R) Venture(R) Rewards Credit Card details and how to apply »

Read our full review of the Capital One(R) Venture(R) credit card

Capital One(R) Savor(R) Rewards Credit CardStrong rewards program that includes unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases.

This offer requires Excellent/Good credit.

    Card Highlights

    • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
    • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
    • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
    • View Capital One(R) Savor(R) Cash Rewards Credit Card details and how to apply »

Read our full review of the Capital One(R) Savor(R) Rewards Credit Card

Discover it(R) Cash Back —Generous cash back rewards with 0 percent intro APRs on both purchases and balance transfers.

Discover it® Cash Back

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good
  • INTRO OFFER: 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.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APRAnnual Fee
0%14 months0%14 months14.24% - 25.24% Variable$0

Read our full review of the Discover it(R) Cash Back

Chase Freedom—Earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate, plus unlimited 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.

Chase Freedom®

Credit Needed: Excellent/Good
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APRAnnual Fee
0%15 months0%15 months17.24 - 25.99% Variable$0

Read our full review of the Chase Freedom card

See more recommended credit cards if your FICO score is between 700 and 749 or 650 and 699.

Fair credit: 600—699

If you’ve just started to use credit or are recovering from a missed payment or two, you’ll probably have a lower credit score in the 600s.

This means you’ll have trouble getting approved for many of the credit cards you see advertised most, but don’t worry, there are still offers out there for you.

Not knowing this, you may try to apply for several cards and get declined which, in turn, will hurt your credit score even more. If you’re in this group, you’ll want to know which credit cards will offer you the best chance of approval and apply for those cards first. You may be able to get approved for some of the leading cards, but it’s iffy.

Here are your best options:

Capital One—If you have OK but not great credit, Capital One credit cards should be your first stop for a new credit card. Capital One is a major card issuer that has some cards well-suited for consumers with average but not-quite excellent credit. Because they’re such a big bank, Capital One has lots of great cards and you may be able to upgrade your card as your credit improves.

The no-fee Capital One Platinum card gives you access to a higher credit line after making your first five monthly payments on time. It’s designed to be a good first credit card or a good first new card as you get back on your feet from past credit problems.

This offer requires Average/Fair/Limited credit.

Alternately, the Capital One QuicksilverOne credit card offers unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase with a low annual fee.

This offer requires Average/Fair/Limited credit.

Compare more of the best Capital One credit cards here.

Credit One BankCredit One Bank is a lesser-known but rapidly growing issuer with credit cards especially for consumers with average or limited credit. Compare some top Credit One credit cards.

See more options—If your credit score is between 600 and 699, you still have a good chance of getting approved for Credit Cards For Young Adults

  • Rewards Credit Cards
  • Cash Back Credit Cards
  • Travel Rewards Credit Cards
  • Balance Transfers Credit Cards
  • Credit Cards Sign-up Bonus Offers
  • Credit Cards For International Travel
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards
  • Students Credit Cards
  • Credit Cards For Military Members
  • 0 APR Credit Cards
  • No Annual Fee Credit Cards
  • Low Minimum Spend
  • Credit Cards For Building Credit
  • Secured Credit Cards
  • Low APR Credit Cards
  • Gas Credit Cards
  • Credit Cards For Grocery Stores Purchases
  • Hotel Credit Cards
  • Store Credit Cards
  • Prepaid Cards
  • Business Credit Cards
  • See All
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