Yes, applying for a credit card is a simple process, but let’s take a look at a few preliminary steps you should take as well.
Know Your Credit
How well do you know your credit? That information is gathered and stored by credit reporting bureaus, information that is available to you for free by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. Review your credit reports and obtain your credit score. If you have problems with your credit, clean these up first before applying for new credit. You stand a better chance of credit card approval if your credit is very good and at terms that are favorable to you.
Review Your Applications
Likely, you have received multiple credit card applications and you may wonder which one is right for you. You can narrow your search by eliminating credit cards that charge an annual fee or offer no incentives such as points or cash back with your purchases. Explore your options with Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express, choosing the card based on its interest rate, balance transfer offer, ease of payment and other factors that are important to you.
Submit Your Application
With most applications now available online, log on to your computer and fill out an application. You’ll be required to submit personal information about yourself including your name, address, your Social Security Number, and your employment information. Follow the steps as outlined, review your application and then hit the submit button.
Await a Reply
How easy is it to apply online? Very easy. In fact, your bank may render its decision within a minute or two. If approved on the spot, you’ll be given basic information including your approval confirmation and perhaps your credit line. You may also be given a temporary account number for you to use immediately for online purchases. Expect your new card to arrive in the mail in about seven to 10 business days.
When Not Approved
Your bank may choose not to approve your credit card application on the spot. Instead, you may receive notice that your application is under further review. You may be given a contact number to call during regular business hours for follow up. Or, the credit card issuer may follow up with you. If you are turned down, ask the lender for the reason why. There could be a problem that might be easily remedied by you or you may need to pay off other balances first before receiving new credit.
Credit Card Considerations
Applying for a new credit card is so easy. Some consumers, however, prefer to apply by mail or in person at their bank. Choose the method that is right for you, make application and once approved begin to use your card wisely. Understand the card terms and always make your payments on time.
See Also — New to Credit Cards? Some Tips for Beginners
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