Credit Cards for Good Credit

While FICO differentiates between good and excellent credit, we avoid such hair splitting; if you are able to get a premium credit card we will go ahead and say you belong to a broad category of credit called “good”. As a rule of thumb a 700+ score should suffice, and income requirements will range from $60-$80k will be advertised, but really, premium cards need big spenders to survive. It’s the only way they can hope to cover their sizable fixed costs. And while a relatively large income is an obvious indicator of higher than average spending, it is not the only thing being looked at, and perhaps not the most important factor. Jump to read more about these additional factors.

Good Credit Score Credit Cards:

World Elite Mastercard: WestJet World Elite
Visa Infinite: TD Aeroplan Infinite
For Cashback: MBNA World Elite
For Low Interest: MBNA trueline
For Air miles: BMO World Elite
Visa Infinite Privilege:TD Aeroplan Infinite Privilege

This card offers $250 WestJet bucks on activation, and an annual massively discounted companion voucher. Everyone you travel with gets a free first checked bag, the card has comprehensive travel and medical insurance, and the earn rate is 1.5% flat, 2% on WestJet products. The card costs only $99, and requires $70k personal or $120k household.

You get up to 30,000 Aeroplan points, half upon activation, you get a decent point earn rate, you get excellent insurance, and you get Air Canada travel perks such as an annual lounge visit, free baggage check, and priority checkin and boarding. On top of that, Visa is offering some pretty sweet added value to infinite holders as well, like concierge services, exclusive hotel offerings and treatment from their Luxury Hotel Collection, exclusive dining experiences, and sporting and entertainment benefits and special access.

For $89 you get 2% flat across the board, which is great. You get $100 right off the bat just for using the card, and you get all the important payment protections – purchase insurance, price match and extended warranty – which makes this an excellent cash back card in terms of security and usability. The big miss for this one is travel medical – usually cards with $70k individual / $120k household income requirements cover medical. In any event, this is arguably the top cashback card out there, and MBNA has a reputation as approving a higher percentage of applicants.

“But wait”, we hear a cacophony of readers bellowing in unison, “this is not a premium card”! Indeed, this is true, and you will find neither deposit bonus, travel insurance or rewards on this card. However, assuming you do have good credit, you should be able to get yourself a 5.99% purchase APR, which is 3-4% lower than the lowest competitor rates. If you anticipate needing to hold a balance at any point, this guy should be in your wallet.

This one carries an $80k individual / $150k household requirement for a reason. If you are an Air Miles aficionado, get your hands on this card! 2,000 welcome bonus miles, the best miles earn on spend in the market and…wait for it…an exclusive 25% discount on ALL Air Miles purchased North American flights. Add an excellent insurance package and free priority pass and perhaps we are doing this one an injustice in not giving it the top World Elite card status.

If you are a serious traveler, have a look at the infinite privilege by TD. Yes, the welcome bonus is higher – up to 55,000 Aeroplan points, 25k up front – but the VIP airport treatment is what really justifies the $399 annual fee price tag. Get a 50% discount on one companion business ticket each year, bypass security lines, and get access to priority pass and maple leaf lounges. For someone who will actually get use out of these perks, the annual fee is worth it. $200,000 household income requirement.

How do you know if you will qualify?

Premium cards offer crazy fixed value in the hopes of earning pride of place in big spending wallets. These cards throw down bold sign up bonuses, hundreds, sometimes thousands worth of insurance and payment benefits, and high percentages of cashback on spend. Their hopes for return on investment rests on achieving big spending averages and/or high interest-accruing balances.

Minimum income requirement – less important than you might think

The card broadcasts a minimum income requirement, but we are inclined to believe this is something of a box checking exercise.

The minimum spend amount is suggested by the issuer, not the bank who is actually footing the reward bill. And why does the issuer strongly recommend a minimum income? It is to appease the merchant networks, who want a good reason they are being charged high payment processing fees on particular cards – yes this is a higher than average fee, but we are bringing you a high value customer! The easiest method of transmitting this message is through a blanket income requirement. Seems to have worked for the merchants.

But not necessarily for the banks! And the banks need to foot the bill for generous rewards, the minimum value of which is mandated by the issuers in exchange for using their brand – brands like Visa Infinite or Mastercard World Elite to name two. (The issuers have it good don’t they?!)

Disposable Income > Income Requirement

The bank is probably less concerned with how much money you make than with how much money you have available with which to spend and generate fees. The bachelor/bachelorette earning $50,000 with minimal fixed liabilities might have more potential value in terms of spend than the family breadwinner earning $70,000 but with expensive kids. Again, one of the paramount concerns of the credit card company is the likely disposable income theoretically available to generate fees on the credit card, and in the above comparison the lower income earner could be the winner.

How Much Can you Afford to Borrow?

You might have a great FICO score, but have you demonstrated the ability to pay back large amounts? Premium cards will generally come attached with high credit limits, and the credit card company is keen to at least positively assess your ability to pay back debt, should you accrue it.

So again, the bank will be keenly interested in your disposable income levels, but also clues as to your financial maturity – got a mortgage? Conservative investor? Nothing foolish like payday loans? – to gauge your risk level.

Closing Balance

While income minimums and good FICO levels are the most visible of requirements, the bank will most likely check your disposable income to ensure you are worth the large upfront investment. You might squeak through with a relatively low FICO if your disposable income is high, and vice versa. If you find yourself getting rejected, take a shot with the MBNA World Elite – MBNA has the reputation of being a bit less conservative on approvals – or perhaps just go with the AMEX Gold, which has a lower barrier to entry but can go toe to toe with most top premium cards. Alternatively, check out our average credit category, in which we list a number of quality cards with smaller initial bank costs and, as a result, lower barriers to approval.

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