Given a scale between 300 and 900, an ‘average’ credit score might range between 500 to 700. An often-cited ‘magic number’ for credit scores in Canada is 650. Some banks use this as a threshold for whether or not applicants are eligible to be approved for products like unsecured credit cards, while others consider applicants with credit scores on the lower end of the average range.
Individuals who have undergone bankruptcy or a consumer proposal will work hard, using secured credit cards and diligent saving, to reach this level. Someone who typically has good credit might temporarily dip into this level if they are delinquent on bills, make a series of late payments, or run their balance up to the limit of their available credit.
With the wide range of factors affecting credit scores, keeping it in great shape is a challenge. To find your credit score, navigate to TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax and sign up for their free reports. If you have reviewed your score, but find it does not meet the minimum to be considered “fair”, check out the articles here and here to learn how to improve it.
What Can I Do with Fair Credit?
With fair credit, you gain access to a wider range of financial tools that grant more freedom to spend and save. It can take hard work to reach this threshold, and if this is you – congratulations! Credit is an indicator of your personal financial diligence and a fair score gives you the option to take on more responsibility. Whereas those with poor credit may experience more limited access to financing, fair credit can be used to take out a bank loan, open a line of credit, or benefit from cards with more favorable terms.
Recommended Cards for People with Fair Credit
#1 The BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
Even if your credit score is not quite perfect you can still get an excellent rate on purchases and balance transfers with the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard. You do need a credit score of at least 650 to apply, but the low interest rate is extremely competitive for a card that is available to those with ‘only’ average credit. The card’s key features are:
- $20 annual fee
- 12.99% interest rate on purchases and cash advances
- 3.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for first 9 months
- 12.99% interest rate on balance transfers after 9 months
- Extended warranty and purchase protection on eligible purchases
#2 The Scotiabank Value Visa
The aptly named Scotia bank Value Visa card isn’t just for those in the upper echelons of creditworthiness. Scotia’s card grants a competitive 11.99% purchase interest rate to those with fair credit and charges a low $29 annual fee as well. With the option to transfer your balance and pay just 0.99% on it for 6 months, there are few cards that offer such a comprehensive toolkit for stemming the nonstop flow of interest. Additionally, cardholders will be eligible to receive a discount of up to 20.00% when renting vehicles at Avis branches in Canada.
#3 The BMO Air Miles Mastercard
Just because your credit score isn’t the highest, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the vast travel benefits of the Air Miles program. The BMO Air Miles Master card offers new cardholders 1000 bonus Air Miles. In the meantime, they’ll enjoy the ability to collect 1 Air Mile for every $20 spent. At any of the Air Miles sponsored locations across Canada, the rate doubles. With so many ways to accelerate earnings and no annual fee, it’s ideal for many cardholders—not just those with fair credit. A balance transfer deal charging just 1.99% interest for 9 months is the cherry on top.