Petal 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa Credit Card: The Best Card for Fair Credit     – CNET

Petal 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa Credit Card: The Best Card for Fair Credit – CNET

petal 2

The Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card is the rare card that offers a rewards program to people with a lower credit score, providing an opportunity to earn cash back while you build your credit — even if your credit score is as low as 580. 

Also unusual: it requires no security deposit, charges no annual fees, foreign transaction fees or even late fees. Instead, it incentivizes cardholders to make payments on time by offering extra cash back opportunities. As long as you make your payments on time, it won’t cost you to use this card — even for purchases made while traveling abroad. As such, it’s a solid option for a first credit card, a credit card for students or a card for people with a lower credit score. 


The Petal 2 Visa is a flat-rate rewards card that gives you the opportunity to earn the same rewards amount on all of your eligible purchases, regardless of the spending category (for context, some credit cards specialize in certain types of purchases, like gas credit cards or grocery credit cards.) But, there’s a twist built in to incentivize good credit-building behavior.

You’ll earn 1% on all of your eligible purchases up front. When you make 12 on-time monthly payments, you’ll earn an extra 0.5% cash back for a total of 1.5% — in lieu of penalizing late fees. And some local small businesses offer an additional 2% to 10% back on purchases at select merchants, which you can find through Petal’s app. 

Welcome bonus

The Petal 2 Visa offers no welcome bonus — a common practice among cards designed for people with lower credit scores. Check out CNET’s list of the best credit card welcome bonuses to see the options for applicants with stronger credit. 

Petal 2’s credit limit

The Petal 2’s credit limit — that is, the limit you can spend on the card — ranges from $300 to $10,000, based on creditworthiness. Your credit score, income, housing payment and other factors will help determine your initial credit limit, but you can request an increase after demonstrating responsible use over time.

Most credit cards designed for people with fair or average credit are secured credit cards; you must deposit money into your account before you spend it. Even among these types of cards, it’s tough to find one with a $10,000 credit limit. Though a larger credit line comes with the risk of overspending, it can help you build your credit score by minimizing your credit utilization ratio.

Alternative cards

While the Petal 2 Visa stands out among the crowd, there are some alternatives that may better suit students or applicants with particularly poor credit.

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Enrolled students are eligible for student credit cards, which typically offer more modest rewards. The Discover it® Student Cash Back* is CNET’s pick for the best student credit card on the strength of its rewards-earning potential, which is even better than the Petal 2 Visa.

You’ll earn 5% cash back on a rotating quarterly category when you activate (on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, then 1%) and 1% on all other purchases. And with Discover’s Unlimited Cashback Match welcome bonus, you can essentially double your annual cash back earned at the end of your first year. 

For more information about the rotating quarterly category and other perks, see our full review of the Discover it Student Cash Back card.

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

The Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit* has a less compelling rewards structure than the Petal 2 Visa — but this unsecured credit card has less stringent eligibility requirements, as applicants with a credit score of less than 580 may be approved.

There’s a $75 annual fee for the first year, which increases to $99 thereafter. You’ll earn 1% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases, and on monthly bills for your mobile phone, internet, cable, and satellite TV services. That’s not as good as the Petal 2’s rewards, but it’s better than most other cards for bad credit. 


What if my credit score is lower than 580?

If your credit score is lower than 580, your chances of approval are significantly lower. There are credit cards designed for people with bad credit, however, including secured credit cards that require you to put down a security deposit.

How do I improve my credit?

Using the Petal 2 Visa, or any other credit card, responsibly will help build your credit. For the most part, this means making payments on time and in full, while keeping your balance at or below 30% of your total credit limit (your credit utilization ratio). Credit card issuers will report your spending and payment activity to the major credit bureaus automatically.

How does the Petal 2’s APR compare?

The Petal 2 has a standard variable APR of 15.24% to 29.24%, though your particular APR depends on your credit score. Typically, the lower your credit score, the higher you can expect your APR to be within that range.

*All information about the Discover it Student Cash Back and the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Jaclyn DeJohn

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