In our “everyone is special” culture, the words average and fair have taken a decidedly negative tone. Actually, by definition they are not negative – they are normal, right in the middle, as to be expected, what you would anticipate in a given situation. Luckily, there are a few cards designed for this average category that are anything but – cards that really could go head-to-head against premium offerings.
Before we jump in, a word about FICO scores: average is around 620-680 but to get yourself one of these top cards you will need to fit in closer to the top end of that range, let’s say 650-680.
Average and Fair Credit Score Credit Cards
The travel medical insurance alone, which is difficult to find in non-premium cards, is an excellent reason to opt for the AMEX. Add the welcome bonus, the 1-2% point rewards and the first year fee waiver and this is king of the castle. Only a $15,000 annual income requirement.
And they do this without an annual fee (provided you stick one Rogers or FIDO product as a recurring payment on the card). So how do they make any money? Basically, they offer no insurance so fixed costs are low, and the sign up bonus is a small but considerate $25. No stated income requirement.
And did we mention they waive foreign currency exchange fees as well?
No stated income requirement.
What Sort of Cards Target an Average Credit Score?
Credit cards in this category (aside from the AMEX) must provide lower value on one or a few of: the point earn rate, the welcome bonus, or packaged benefits like insurance. This is necessary because:
- There will be no/a lower income requirements to qualify;
- Higher income requirements are a necessary requirement to charge higher processing fees to merchants;
- Higher processing fees means greater per-transaction profit for banks, meaning quicker fixed cost paybacks AND the ability to return more to the customer from the margin.
Additionally, average credit scores on average have less credit history, which means extending a credit line is inherently more risky. To make a return on investment, banks need to extend a decent amount of credit – but there is less certainty as to the ability of a customer to handle balance payments.
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