6 best secured and unsecured credit cards for 600 credit scores
Let’s face it: a lower credit score—even if it falls in the “fair” 600s—can hinder your potential to reap juicy credit rewards.
The good news is that there are credit cards with robust reward programs, benefits, and other incentives aimed specifically at people with scores around 600.
This article will go over the top contenders for this credit range—both secured and unsecured.
With responsible use, these cards can help build your score over time while also earning you valuable perks and cash back.
What does a credit score in the 600s mean?
Credit scores range from 300 to 850. Scores between 600 and 649 are considered fair, while 650-699 is good.
If your score falls in the fair range, it indicates you’ve had some late payments, defaults, or other negative marks on your credit history. Lenders see you as a higher risk than people with good or excellent credit.
The main reasons your score could be low include:
- Carrying high balances and high utilization rates on credit cards
- Missed or late payments
- Defaults or collections
- Limited credit history
Scoring on the lower end doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for any credit.
There are credit cards marketed specifically to people rebuilding their credit. Approval is easier for secured cards since they require a refundable deposit.
You can also boost your chances by applying for cards you pre-qualify for. Pre-qualification doesn’t guarantee approval but shows which cards you’re most likely to get based on a soft credit check.
Unsecured cards with the best rewards for 600 scores
If you want a traditional unsecured card with rewards, the ones below offer some of the most value. Since your credit limit may be lower, look for cards with no or low annual fees.
Capital One QuicksilverOne
- No annual fee
- 20.99% variable APR
- 1.5% cash back on all purchases
- Chance to graduate to Quicksilver with better terms after 5 months of on-time payments
- Low security deposit may be required
The QuicksilverOne from Capital One is a solid pick for people with average credit. It offers an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no bonus categories to keep track of. There are no annual fees or foreign transaction fees.
The main drawbacks are the high APR and the possibility of needing a security deposit. But making five months of on-time payments can get you upgraded to a Quicksilver card with better rates and the same rewards.
Credit One Bank Platinum Visa®
- No annual fee
- 23.99% variable APR
- 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases
- Credit limits starting at $300 - $500
The Credit One Platinum Visa has no annual fee and offers 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase. It's easy to qualify for and a solid starter card to build credit.
First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard®
- No annual fee
- 25.24% variable APR
- No rewards program
- Credit limits starting at $200 - $400
The First Progress Platinum Elite card is a basic, no-frills card that doesn't charge an annual fee. It requires fair credit for approval and is a way to start establishing positive payment history.
Milestone® Platinum Mastercard®
- No annual fee
- 23.99 - 29.99% variable APR
- No rewards
- Free access to FICO score
The Milestone Platinum Mastercard helps build your credit profile by reporting to all three credit bureaus. It provides free access to your FICO score each month.
Secured credit card options
A secured credit card can be a wise move if you need to build credit from scratch or rebound from past mistakes.
They require an upfront security deposit that acts as your credit line. On-time payments get reported to help build your credit score.
Here are two of the top secured cards.
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
- No annual fee
- 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter
- 1% cash back on other purchases
- Cashback match: Discover will match all the cash back earned after the first year
This Discover card offers an exceptional rewards program for a secured card. The cashback match at the end of the first year is a unique perk. Responsible card use can help build credit to potentially upgrade to an unsecured line.
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
- $0 annual fee
- 26.99% variable APR
- No cash-back rewards
- No foreign transaction fee
- Free access to your credit score
The Capital One Platinum Secured has no rewards, but it’s an easy card to get approved for. It requires a security deposit of $49 up to the credit limit you’re approved for. Making the first five monthly payments on time can get you bumped up to an unsecured Capital One card.
Tips for raising your credit score
Beyond just making payments on time, there are other important ways to manage these cards responsibly and build up your score:
- Keep credit utilization low – Try to keep your balances below 30% of the credit limit on each card. Lower is better.
- Apply for increases – Request higher credit limits after five to six months of on-time payments. Higher limits help lower your utilization.
- Mix types of credit – Consider adding a secured installment loan or secured credit builder loan from your bank or credit union. This mix of credit types shows you can manage different kinds of accounts responsibly.
- Don’t close old accounts – Keep your oldest credit cards open, even if you don’t use them often. The length of credit history has a significant impact on your scoring.
- Check your credit reports – Review your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to check for any errors or fraudulent activity that could be affecting your scores.
Which credit card is right for you?
There are many paths to take when looking to increase your credit score from the 600s.
Secured credit cards require an upfront deposit but are simpler to get approved for.
Unsecured cards from issuers like Capital One and Discover offer rewards and benefits with minimal eligibility requirements.
But you may need to start with a lower credit limit.
Maintaining on-time payments and low balances are the keys to whichever card you choose. With responsible use over time, these cards can help build your credit health and unlock better approval odds for top rewards credit cards going forward.