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How to Apply for a Credit Card

How to Apply for a Credit Card

These days, you can apply for a credit card by filling out a quick application and clicking submit. If you want the best chance of getting an approval and low fees, you probably don't want to complete the first application you find. If you haven't established credit, you may want to check out offers from your credit union or local bank. You can even speak to bankers in person or on the phone to understand which cards will offer you the best value and greatest chance of acceptance.

Completing Your Credit Card Application

Before you apply, take a moment to gather some information:

Your Credit Score

Do you know your credit score? If not, you might enroll in a site like Credit Karma to find out. Unsecured credit cards may require good to excellent scores; however, your local financial institution may offer you a card based upon having a checking or savings account with them even if you haven't established a credit history yet.

If you can't qualify for an unsecured credit card, you might consider applying for a secured credit card. You have to deposit funds to use secured credit, but prompt payments will still get reported to the credit bureaus. This will put you on the road to establishing good credit. That way, you can enjoy secured credit offers in the future.

Compare Credit Card Offers

If you visit or call your local financial institution, bankers can direct you towards offers that are likely to accept you. Besides learning about minimum credit scores, income, and other qualifying information, you can also choose between basic cards and those that offer all sorts of perks and rewards. Some credit cards may also offer you an introductory period with reduced fees and interest.

Typically, the best offers require higher credit scores. Also, cards that have a lot of perks may also have higher fees. If you don't think you can enjoy the benefits of travel points or similar rewards, you might just find a basic card with lower fees.

Information You Need to Apply

Typically, you will need to supply this information for your credit card application:

  • Your legal name, address, and your Social Security number
  • Your annual or yearly income or household income

Some card companies may also ask for information about your bank accounts. They might also request a driver's license or state ID and a bill in your name to prove you live at your home address. If you're not a U.S. citizen, you might ask about alternate identification from your own country that card issuers will accept.

Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Credit Card

You will find it prudent to do a little research to make sure you have a realistic chance to get approved for any credit card you apply for. A low income may not disqualify you; however, lying on your credit card application can get you in trouble, so tell the truth. You can find credit cards for young adults, students, homemakers, and all sorts of people. Most of all, you can benefit from taking the time to find the best value before you apply. If you need help, visit your credit union or community bank.