At a Glance

There are a number of different forms of credit for a borrower to consider taking out, but credit cards are among the most popular choices. Learning everything there is to know about this common form of credit, along with the requirements needed to secure a new card, can help anybody get access to funds that they may need.

In this article, you’ll learn:

What is the credit score needed for a credit card?

The credit score for credit card approval can vary depending on the lender and the credit card in question. Credit ratings vary from 300 (Poor) to 850 (Excellent) and there are credit cards made for people who have credit scores anywhere within this range. However, the APR mentioned earlier will typically be far higher if you have a lower credit score. For a good APR and an all-around good credit card, it is recommended to have a credit score of at least 650.

How does your credit score affect credit card approval?

When considering whether or not to approve a potential borrower for a new credit card, there are a variety of factors that will be considered. However, credit score is one of the leading indicators that a lender uses and is the primary basis for pre-approval or pre-qualification. A stated credit score needed for credit card approval essentially acts as a bare minimum qualification that potential borrowers should meet. If you apply and don’t have the required score, it’s not likely that you will be approved.

Types of credit cards based on your credit score

As mentioned, there are a number of different types of credit cards which allows borrowers with ranging credit scores access to credit. However, each of these cards are not equal and tend to come with differing interest rates, perks, and more. Below are four common categories for credit cards:

1. Credit cards for no credit history

Lenders understand that all borrowers need to start somewhere. After all, you aren’t born with an established credit history. This is why there are credit cards for borrowers who do not have any history with credit. There is no required credit card score range for this type of card, but they typically have no perks and a higher APR. Alternatively, it may be a secured credit card that requires you to pay a cash deposit before giving you access to funds.

2. Credit cards for low credit

For borrowers with low credit scores, it’s not unusual to see those borrowers using a starter card as outlined above. Generally, credit cards for borrowers with low credit have low credit limits and some limited perks.

3. Credit cards for average credit

Borrowers with an average credit score of around 650 will have the ability to apply for any type of credit card, though they may not be approved for more premium cards. At this level, APRs start to fall and the perks associated with credit cards, along with credit limits, increase.

4. Credit cards for high credit

Borrowers with a high credit score of above 760 can apply for any credit card, including premium travel cards that offer perks worth thousands of dollars yearly. In looking at what credit score is needed to get a credit card, a high score will give you access to any type of card you may want or need.

Related: Credit Score Ranges 

Can you get a credit card with limited or no credit history?

Yes, as mentioned you can get a credit card if you have a limited credit history, including those who have no history whatsoever. However, having a credit score to get a credit card is what gives you access to a lower APR and higher credit limit. Starter cards meant for those with little-to-zero credit history typically have a large APR and lower credit limits or they are secured cards.

How to improve your credit score to get the best credit card?

If the credit score required for credit card approval on a certain card you are looking at acquiring is too high, then learning to improve your score may be the best strategy. There are a number of ways to start increasing your credit score, but the most pertinent include:

  • Make all debt payments on time and in full 
  • Use less than 30% of your total credit limit during a billing cycle 
  • Sign on as an authorized user on another person’s account 
  • Pay as much as you can on a card at any given time 
  • Reduce negative spending habits 

By using some of the above tips, you can increase your credit card credit score that you need to get approved for the car you are seeking.

Learn more: How to Improve Your Credit Score 

Other factors that affect credit card application

A person’s credit score is not the only factor that is looked at in a credit card application. While the credit card score chart is certainly important, lenders will also look at your income level, history with credit (if applicable), current debt outstanding compared to income, and more. Borrowers can request access to their credit report if they would like to see the specific factors. 


Generally, most borrowers have a credit score of at least 650 when they apply for a credit card. In looking at how much credit score is required for credit card approval, however, borrowers with low scores can still get approved if they are applying for low credit score cards.

In looking at what credit score is needed for a credit card, it’s natural to wonder what happens if you are rejected. A hard inquiry into your credit will have occurred during the application process which will temporarily decrease your score by a few points, but this will go up after a couple of months. Beyond this, being rejected for a credit card will not affect your score.  

Learn more: Does Getting Rejected for a Credit Card Affect Credit Score? 

While considering what credit score you need for a credit card, it’s natural to wonder what the lowest score possible is. There are credit scores geared towards people with no credit score, however, meaning the answer is that there is no lowest score. For the best credit cards and best APRs, though, you should aim to have a credit score of at least 650.

Looking beyond what is a good credit score for a credit card, many people wonder whether having a card will improve their credit score. Assuming a person makes all on-time payments and handles their debt responsible, then yes having a credit card can increase their credit score over time.  

Related: How to Use a Credit Card to Increase Credit Score?