Navigating the best credit card for a 650 credit score can be somewhat daunting for potential applicants.

With options ranging from cashback cards to balance transfer offers, there is a card for virtually any situation.

In our article, we’re going to be covering ten of the best credit cards for people with 650 credit scores. Each of the credit cards we review will include technical details regarding information like its APR and current promotional period.

We will also explain various factors that go into the approval process and offer tips for using credit cards responsibly.

Tips & Tricks to use when applying for credit cards

Top 10 Credit Cards for a 650 credit Score

Chase Slate

Best for: Consumers who need to transfer higher-interest balances

With a low introductory rate of zero percent for the first 15 months after account opening, the Chase Slate credit card is an excellent choice to consider.

This rate applies to both balance transfers as well as new purchases on the card. After the initial introductory rate period, the APR will vary between 15.99 and 24.74 percent.

Also, all balance transfer requests completed within the first 60 days after account opening will have their balance transfer fee waived.

After that, the standard fee of a minimum of $5 or five percent of the amount transferred will apply. Another positive feature of this particular card is the lack of an annual fee.

They also don’t apply penalty APRs for the occasional late payment as well. We also like that this card comes with free access to your FICO credit score as well.

The reported is updated monthly, and the service is a great way to improve your financial standing by actively monitoring your credit score.

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Standard APR: 15.99 to 24.74 percent
  • Promotional APR: 0 percent for the first 15 months
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Minimum of $5 or 5 percent of the transferred amount

QuickSilverOne

Best for: People searching for a cash rewards card with no earning caps

If you love to rack up cash rewards with your everyday purchases, the QuickSilverOne by Capital One may be an excellent choice.

The cashback percentage on this particular card is 1.5 percent of the purchase amount of your purchases.

The best part of this program is that there are no alternating categories, and there is no cap on how much you can earn.

Furthermore, the rewards never expire for the life of your account. There is a $39 annual fee that is fairly standard among reward credit card types.

This credit card does have a higher APR of 24.99 percent that you should take into account when making large purchases.

After making your first five payments on time, your account is automatically reviewed for a potential credit limit increase as well.

There is also a wide range of other benefits that come with this card like extended warranty protection on qualifying purchases and a roadside assistance program.

  • Annual Fee: $39
  • Standard APR: 24.99 percent
  • Promotional APR: Not applicable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Varies based on currently available promotions

Southwest Rapid Rewards

Best for: Users who travel regularly and value rewards

With no blackout dates or seat restrictions, the Southwest Rapid Rewards card is an excellent option for frequent flyers.

You will earn two points for every dollar spent on Southwest purchases and qualifying travel-related expenses as hotel stays in the Rapid Rewards program.

For all other purchases, the point earnings rate is one point for every dollar spent. In addition, they are currently offering a bonus of 40,000 points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening.

They also offer a special anniversary gift of 3,000 points that are paid out after your cardmember anniversary date.

One thing to keep in mind is that this card does come with a slightly higher annual fee of $69.

However, this can easily be offset with free travel rewards by using the card correctly. As for APR, it ranges between 16.99 and 23.99 percent based on creditworthiness.

  • Annual Fee: $69
  • Standard APR: From 16.99 to 23.99 percent
  • Promotional APR: Not applicable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Minimum of $5 or 5 percent of the amount transferred

Discover It

Best for: Current college students who are looking for a rewards card

For those of you who are in school currently, the Discover It credit card may be an excellent option for you.

This particular credit card rewards you for good grades with $20 in cashback bonuses each year that you maintain a GPA of 3.0.

This offer applies for up to the next five years that you maintain your account and good academic standing. As for regular purchases, you earn unlimited one percent on all your everyday items.

They also have a specialty program that changes each month that earns five percent cash back on qualifying purchases up to the maximum allotted amount. One of the best things about this particular card is that it has no annual fee.

This is a big plus when compared to other reward card program types. You also receive an updated FICO credit score on each monthly credit card statement as well.

As for APR, this credit card has an introductory rate of zero percent for the first six months.

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After that, the rate will vary between 14.24 and 23.24 percent.

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Standard APR: From 14.24 to 23.24 percent
  • Promotional APR: 0 percent for six months
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3 percent of the amount being transferred

Discover It Miles

Best for: General travel needs

If you do not want to be locked into a specific airline or hotel chain while traveling, this is an excellent rewards card to consider. Earning an unlimited 1.5 miles for every dollar spent, it’s very easy to quickly build up a sizable stock of reward points with this card.

They also have a special program that matches all of the miles earned after your account has been open for a year. With the way you the rewards program works on this card, there are no blackout dates for redemption.

You simply use the credit card to complete your airfare or other travel-related purchase. Once the purchase is complete, you can request a credit to your account using your points to cover your travel-related costs.

Another benefit of this card is that it carries no annual fee and has an attractive introductory APR of zero percent for 14 months. After this period, the rate ranges from 12.24 to 24.24 percent.

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Standard APR: From 12.24 to 24.24 percent
  • Promotional APR: 0 percent for 14 months
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3 percent of the amount being transferred

Capital One Platinum

Best for: People who are seeking to build their credit further

With an automatic account review completed after five months with on-time payments, the Capital One Platinum card is an excellent option for consumers looking to build their credit.

In addition to its fairly rapid credit limit increase system, the card carries no annual fee and unlocks a variety of other benefits.

This card allows users to pick their monthly due date when they first set it up to allow for easier budgeting. This is particularly useful for users who are on specific pay date cycles like bi-monthly systems.

It also comes with a variety of protective features like zero fraud liability and automatic travel insurance when you use your card on qualifying purchases.

Being a card to help establish credit, the APR is a little higher at 24.99 percent.

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Standard APR: 24.99 percent
  • Promotional APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Contact customer service for current offers

Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

Best for: Earning rewards at gas stations and restaurants

The Propel card by Wells Fargo is explicitly designed for use at gas stations and qualifying restaurants. This is a reward card that earns three times the points at U.S. gas stations and two times points at participating restaurants.

It also has an attractive bonus offer of 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months after account opening. For almost all other purchases, the standard earning rate is one times. While the points do eventually expire with this particular card, they are good for five years.

This allows more than enough time for the average consumer to redeem them. The card also carries no annual fee and has an excellent introductory APR of zero percent for the first 12 months.

After the promotional period, the APR will vary between 14.24 and 26.24 percent.

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Standard APR: Between 14.24 and 26.24 percent
  • Promotional APR: 0 percent for the first 12 months
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Up to 5 percent of the amount being transferred

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Best for: Consumers seeking a cashback program with few limitations

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is another great rewards card with very few limitations. With a special $150 bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months, it’s easy to get started earning from your everyday purchases with this card.

The cashback program on this card is fully automatic and is very easy to understand. For all your eligible purchases, you will receive a 1.5 percent cashback bonus.

The rewards can be redeemed at any time and are not subject to a minimum payout amount. There is also no expiration date on your rewards as well. Another nice feature worth mentioning is that this card carries no annual fee.

With an attractive introductory APR of zero percent for the first 15 months, it’s an ideal choice for financing large purchases. After the introductory period, the standard APR ranges from 15.99 to 24.74 percent.

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Standard APR: Between 15.99 and 24.74 percent
  • Promotional APR: 0 percent for the first 15 months
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Up to 5 percent of the amount being transferred

Capital One Spark Classic

Best for: Business owners searching for a cashback program

Designed specifically for business owners with average credit, the Spark Classic by Capital One is an excellent option to check out.

It has an easy to understand rewards program that has no minimum redemption amount. For all your qualifying purchases, you will receive one percent cash back automatically.

Another benefit of this card that is particularly useful for business owners is that you can add employee cards at no additional cost. The card also has a variety of other benefits that can prove to be particularly beneficial.

It carries no foreign transaction fees and offers quarterly and year-end summaries to help with budgeting and tax calculations.

For people who travel and rent vehicles, you’re eligible for a free collision damage waiver when you use your card at participating companies. As for the APR, the varial rate of this card is 24.24 percent.

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Standard APR: 24.24 percent
  • Promotional APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Varies based on current promotions

Venture One

Best for: Users with more established credit who travel regularly

Designed for people with a bit more established credit histories, the Venture One card is a great rewards card with many different benefits.

It has a simple rewards program that earns 1.25 miles for every dollar spent with no predefined spending categories. It also has a new cardmember offer of 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 in the first three months after account opening.

With no annual fee, this is also an attractive option for users who only want to use their card seasonally. Another nice feature of this card is that it has no foreign transaction fees making this an ideal choice for vacations and business travel use.

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It also comes with an introductory APR of zero percent for the first 12 months. After this period, the rate ranges from 13.24 to 23.24 percent based on creditworthiness.

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Standard APR: From 13.24 to 23.24 percent
  • Promotional APR: 0 percent for 12 months
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Must consult with customer service for current offers

Seven Tips To Use Credit Cards Effectively

Don’t Forget Your Annual Fee

While most annual fees on credit cards are $40 or less, it’s straightforward to forget about them when you use the card sparingly.

The result when you forget about these type of cards? A potential late payment that can negatively impact your credit score.

This is why we recommend that users who are looking for an emergency only card stick to options with no annual fee. With cards that you regularly use like balance rewards cards, the annual fee is much easier to spot on your monthly statement.

Be Careful At The Pump

With gas stations, paying at the pump can be particularly problematic when you do not have much of your available balance left.

The reason for this is that gas stations often do something known as an authorization that verifies a certain amount of available credit on a card. The exact amount varies from gas station to gas station but generally ranges from $50 to $75.

While they only collect the actual amount that you purchase in gas from your card carrier, this hold can remain in effect for weeks at a time until your card carrier releases it. These type of issues are particularly burdensome when traveling long distances.

Account History Matters

Before you consider closing all of your old cards that you haven’t used in a while, you should understand the impact that account history has on your credit score.

Generally speaking, credit reporting agencies look favorably on accounts that have been in good standing for quite some time.

The newer the account is, the riskier the account is determined to be by most credit reporting agencies. Closing multiple established accounts can potentially damage your credit score by tilting the balance towards your newer account types.

Understand How Credit Utilization Works

Credit utilization plays a huge part in how your credit score is calculated. In short, credit utilization is a measure of the amount of credit you are currently using compared to your available credit limit.

Credit reporting agencies look at each card’s credit utilization amount as well as your total utilization spread across all your credit accounts.

This is another reason why closing established accounts that have no balance can be particularly problematic. While most experts recommend that you should keep your card utilization under 30 percent, this number is not an absolute rule.

It’s meant more as a guideline to help encourage responsible credit card use and is an excellent place to start for most consumers. In some cases like balance transfers, the actual credit utilization for a particular card may be much higher.

Don’t Overestimate Reward Cards

While reward cards are great in theory, it’s straightforward to overestimate the potential savings you may achieve with a card’s cashback program.

The reason for this is that most cash back credit cards carry some annual fee. This is especially true for cashback cards aimed at those with lower to average credit scores.

With these fees, you can expect to pay an average of $30 to $40. To learn if a card is right for you, take the amount of the yearly fee and compare it to the purchase amount you would have to make to earn a profit in cashback rewards.

For a standard 1.5 percent rewards program, you would need to spend $2,000 to cover the cost of a $30 annual fee. Furthermore, the average APR of most reward cards is slightly higher than other card options.

Anytime you carry a balance and pay an interest charge. You are increasing the amount you need to spend to benefit from these types of programs. This is why we recommend that people who use rewards credit cards use them for their everyday purchases.

Instead of carrying a balance over from month to month, pay off the entire balance whenever possible to avoid being assessed an interest charge. By doing this, you can quickly collect your rewards safely and responsibly.

Avoid The Pitfalls of Balance Transfers

Balance transfers provide an excellent way to consolidate your high-interest credit card debts into one convenient payment. However, misusing them can result in potentially disastrous results to your credit report and ruin your monthly budget.

To get the most out of a balance transfer, you should start with a card that is specifically designed for this task. Some traits to look for in a good balance transfer card are low introductory APR periods and waived balance transfer fees.

Once you selected an appropriate card, you’re ready to begin tallying your debts for transfer. When considering which cards to pay off with a balance transfer option, you should always start with the highest interest cards first.

Compare your credit card APR rates to determine which one’s are the best candidates for balance transfers. Besides high-interest rate credit cards, it’s also a good idea to pay off credit cards that have a high utilization rate as discussed earlier.

Once your balance transfer is completed, it’s essential to calculate the number of payments necessary to pay your balance in full before the promotional period ends.

The reason for this is that many promotional periods offers to charge the full amount of accrued interest that would have regularly been assessed when the promotional period ends.

This is particularly true for store card accounts.

The last tip to remember when using balance transfers is that you should never rack up a balance on the cards you just paid off. This is one of the biggest mistakes new credit card users make that can result in even larger payments than they initially had.

It’s a good idea to store your paid-off cards in a safe area at home to help curb the temptation of using them while you are away.

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Always Pay More Than The Minimum Amount

While it may be tempting to pay just the minimum payment amount, this can negatively impact your financial future. The reason for this is that the minimum payment barely covers the total interest charges and applies a tiny amount to your principal balance.

In theory, you can pay off the card in full by not making any additional charges and making the minimum payments each month.

However, the amount of time necessary to pay off the card can easily be several years for even the smallest balances. By making larger payments, you are decreasing your total principal balance by a larger amount each month.

This has a compounding effect that helps to apply progressively larger portions of your payment to your principal amount each month. Even making an additional payment of $5 or $10 over the minimum payment amount can have positive effects on your total remaining debt.

Understanding The Credit Application Process

While the exact process differs slightly from lender to lender, credit card companies use a wide selection of information to help make their approval decision.

This section is going to cover several important aspects to consider to help improve your chances of success when applying for credit cards.

The Impact of Stability

One of the biggest things credit card companies are concerned about is the stability of their borrowers.

To assess this, they ask their borrowers to tell them the number of years they have been with their given employer.

The reason for this is that borrowers who have been with the same employer for longer periods generally have a lower risk profile than borrowers who job hop frequently.

While it is normal to change jobs several times throughout your life, it may be best to hold off applying for a credit card if you have just switched employers.

If you are in this situation, consider waiting at least six months before you consider applying for new credit cards to help improve the stability of your borrower profile.

Income is Key

Your total income amount is key to both the approval process and in determining the initial credit limit you are granted.

When you supply the creditor with your annual salary, they use this number to calculate how much debt you can reasonably be expected to handle responsibly.

They look at your credit report as well to see how much current outstanding debt you have in relation to your total income.

This is why the utilization ratio that was discussed earlier is so important. If your total outstanding debts occupy too much of your yearly income, the chances for approval are significantly reduced.

Always remember that you can include multiple sources of income in your application that you expect to receive regularly to help improve your chances of approval.

It’s All in Your Score

While the credit card companies do use some of the background information you provide in your application, the majority of their decision comes from your credit score.

The three credit reporting bureaus that they will use are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. It’s normal for your credit score to vary slightly from bureau to bureau.

The reason for this is that each credit reporting agency uses a slightly different algorithm to calculate your total credit score.

Your credit score will reflect a wide variety of factors like your payment history, total debt load, and any negative remarks from previous creditors.

It’s a good idea to request a copy of your credit report from the three bureaus once a year to check it for potential inaccuracies. If any are found, you should contact the relevant creditor to have the issue resolved as soon as possible.

Don’t Apply For Too Many Cards At Once

The credit scoring system is designed to reflect occasional inquiries for financial products like mortgages, automobile loans, and credit cards.

However, an excessive number of inquiries for new credit accounts can adversely impact your credit score.

It’s important to note that not all inquiries are created equal. For things like installment loans, multiple applications completed within a short period are generally counted as one inquiry.

With credit cards, this is not the case.

This is why it is important to know what type of credit card you are looking for and to keep your total applications down to one or two credit card offers at a time.

It generally takes three to six months to recoup the point losses you will experience from a credit card application. However, this can be offset with the responsible use of your newly opened credit card account in much less time.

Credit Card for a 650 Score – Conclusion

By using the tips outlined in our guide, you should be well on your way to selecting the best credit card for you and using it responsibly.

Remember to take your time browsing our recommendations and to think about what’s important to you in a credit card.

You should also always check the card company website and carefully review their offer details to make sure their terms and conditions have remained the same before applying.

About the Author

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Michael launched Your Money Geek to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.

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