Credit Card Applications

How to apply for a credit card

In order to receive a credit card from a bank or credit card company, you must be able to pass an application requirement. Credit card applications collect information on you and your financial history — things like your credit history; your loans, if any; your bill payment history, including rent and car payments; and information about your bank account and whether you've gone into overdraft. Personal information may be collected, as well.

Credit card companies and banks do this to measure your risk to them. If you prove to be a liability, you will be denied a card; on the other hand, if you prove to have a good history of paying bills and showing good financial habits, you will be approved. Your approval rating also measures how much the credit card company will lend you. Obviously, the higher your approval rating, the more credit you'll receive. You may also be entitled to certain benefits, such as low APR credit cards and rewards, if your approval rating is high enough.

Filling Out Your Credit Card Application

You can find information and credit card applications on websites, in the mail or at your local bank. Online credit card applications are probably the easiest to fill out, but you will need to be armed with information, such as the exact amount of your loans and what you're paying per month, certain personal information like your Social Security Number or your driver's license number, and occasionally, you will have to provide proof of address (though this is rare).

Instant credit card applications are often found at booths and tables set up by credit card companies, either on the street or in a shopping center. They will run your application immediately and tell you if you qualify for a card or not, or they will accept your application and mail you a response within a week or so.

Bank credit card applications can be found at any bank. You do not need to have an account at the bank to apply for a credit card. These applications are normally processed within 12 to 14 days. You may need to provide more information to a bank to apply for one of their cards, but you may also get more benefits if you do (e.g., lower APR, rewards or a fixed rate).

If you get denied a credit card, find out why. Run your credit rating online for a small fee and check for any discrepancies that may hurt your credit. Ensure that you're paying your bills and loan payments on time. If you maintain a good credit score, you should have no problem applying for and receiving a credit card.

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