If you’re looking to get a credit card, you may already know that you’ll need a good credit score to help you apply for one. You can get a credit score by enrolling in Chase Credit Journey® as well as receive insights about what that score means. Having a good credit score can help improve your chances for approvals as well as the terms that come with the credit card.
You may be wondering how it is that you can have a credit score even if you don’t have a credit card and what score you need to get a credit card. In this article, you will learn:
- What credit score you need to get approved for a credit card
- VantageScore® vs. FICO® score ranges
- How your credit score affects your credit score approval
- Different cards you can get depending on your credit score (high, fair or low)
What credit score do you need to get approved for a credit card?
The specific credit score you'll need depends on the type of credit card you're applying for. First, let’s understand what the ranges are for credit scores. Knowing this can help determine the kind of card you’ll be able to receive.
There are two main models that lenders, issuers and credit bureaus often use to calculate your credit score—the VantageScore model and the FICO score model. Both models use a few key factors when generating your score, including payment history, credit utilization ratio and credit mix. However, they differ in their credit score ranges and in the weight they apply to these categories.
The VantageScore model—specifically Version 3.0, which is the most widely used model—weighs factors similar to those in the FICO score model. However, these factors are treated and weighed differently.
This model considers the following factors when generating a score:
- Total credit usage, balance and available credit (extremely influential)
- Credit mix and experience (highly influential)
- Payment history (moderately influential)
- Age of credit history (less influential)
- New credit (less influential)
The credit score ranges for a VantageScore scoring model are:
- Excellent: 781-850
- Good: 661-780
- Fair: 601-660
- Poor: 500-600
- Very Poor: 300-499
FICO credit score
A FICO score is generated using the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) software. It breaks down your score into a few categories, including:
- Payment history (highly influential)
- Amounts owed: (highly influential)
- Length of credit history (moderately influential)
- Credit mix (less influential)
- New credit (less influential)
The credit card ranges using the FICO scoring model are:
- Exceptional: 800-850
- Very good: 740-799
- Good: 670-739
- Fair: 580-669
- Poor: 579 and below
What credit score is needed for a credit card?
Now that we know what the different credit card ranges are and what they mean, let’s dive into what credit score is needed for a credit card.
In general, the better your credit score, the better your chances are of getting approved for just about any card. Some cards may require a specific range in order to get the perks that come with that card, like travel rewards or higher credit limits.
A credit score of about 700+ will likely qualify you for just about any credit card, including those with cash back rewards, lower annual percentage rates (APRs) and more. However, there are plenty of cards you can get with a score lower than this (more on that later).
With Chase Credit Journey’s score simulator, you can see how your actions could help or hurt your credit score. If you take out a new line of credit, for example, you can see how many potential points could be affected.
As mentioned above, the credit score that you need for card approval depends on the kind of credit card you’re applying for. Below, we break down the cards that are available depending on your credit score.
How your credit score affects your credit card approval
Your credit score is an essential factor in determining credit card approval. A good score can help you get a better mortgage rate, opportunities to open new cards and the ability to get loans. When a lender sees a good credit score, they can be reassured that you are financially responsible and will make timely payments. This opens up the door for you to build an even better credit score and continue to enhance your financial wellness.
Remember that your payment history is a more significant factor in determining your credit score than your credit mix. Making regular payments on your loans on time can have a greater impact on your approval odds than having different types of credit—otherwise known as credit mix.
Types of credit cards
There are several kinds of credit cards you can apply for depending on your credit score. Understanding the underlying details of these cards can help you determine your eligibility and whether you’d be a good fit for what they offer. Let’s explore them more below.
Cards for those with no credit history
Credit history allows you to establish a good credit score, putting you in a position to demonstrate creditworthiness, which is what a lender looks at to determine your eligibility for things like credit card approvals and loans. However, not everyone has a credit history. Having little to no credit history can spike higher interest rates and annual fees.
You may not have the kind of credit history or score you need to apply for certain cards, but don’t worry, there are still options. For example, you can apply for a starter card, or your very first credit card. This is a great way to start to build your credit history. Overtime, your credit will age and you will have more of a payment history—two big factors that go into calculating your credit score. You can keep track of your credit by using tools like Chase Credit Journey, which offer many helpful services including tracking and monitoring your credit.
Cards for those with an average credit
If you have an average credit score (around 650), you may have more options than someone with no credit history. You may be able to get approval for premium cards—which have additional perks and benefits—but these could come with a lower credit limit and higher interest rates.
Cards for those with a high credit
If you have an exceptional FICO or VantageScore (760+) you are likely able to apply for just about any credit card, including premium travel rewards cards with lots of perks and lower interest rates. You can also earn cash back and additional points that you can use toward miles for flights. These cards could come with high annual fees, however. Also be prepared to provide other information alongside your score, such as your income and employment.
Cards for those with a low credit
If you have a low credit score, there are still some options available to you. Below, we break these lower credit scores down by range.
Credit cards for those with a 600 credit score
With this range, you can get some access to cards (including no-fee cards or student credit cards) but you will start to see limitations to what those cards offer. For example, your APR could be higher and you might not get as many rewards or cash back opportunities.
Credit cards for those with a 500 credit score
If your credit score lands around 500 or lower, your chances of getting the credit card of your choice is significantly reduced. You may want to consider improving your score so you can have better chances of getting the card of your choice.
When it comes to applying for a credit card, it's helpful to have an understanding of what credit score will likely be needed to get approved as well as how credit scores are determined. That’s why enrolling in Chase Credit Journey is a great first step in developing your credit score. The additional knowledge it provides can help you choose which credit card to get based on eligibility. In the end, the better your credit score, the better your chances are of getting the credit card of your choice