Are you considering applying for a credit card? Fortunately, learning how to get a credit card is pretty easy, and the decision is oftentimes provided within seconds. However, you will want to do your due diligence before you apply for a credit card.
Are You Ready?
Before you start researching how to get your first credit card, you will want to ensure that you are truly ready for one. Will you pay off your balance at the end of every month, or will you start heading towards your credit limit, whether that’s a gradual climb there or done suddenly? You want to ensure that you are in the former category as making serious credit mistakes at a young age can put you in a hole, financially and as it relates to your credit score, that can be difficult to pull yourself out of.
If you are younger than 21, getting a card solely in your name is impossible if you do not have verifiable income. In that case, your only options are to first gain a source of verifiable income and then apply for a credit card or find someone who trusts you and is willing to apply for a joint card, one that provides both parties with the rights and responsibility for paying off its balance, with you.
It’s also important to know that applicants of any age without a part- or full-time job may experience difficulty being approved for one as the issuing company wants to be assured that you will have the means to pay back anything that you borrow.
Decide Which Card To Apply For
Your credit score will go down a few points every time you apply for a credit card, so make sure to use your knowledge of how to get a credit card sparingly. In fact, you should research cards you’re considering and initially focus on one and plan to just use that one if you are approved for it. That way you can keep your number of credit card applications as low as possible.
Have you responsibly held an account at a bank for some time? If so, consider applying for a card with that same financial institution as banks look more positively on existing customers than those applying from the outside, everything else being equal.
Another option if you are trying to figure out how to get your first credit card is a secured credit card, which should also be considered by those with poor credit. Those with this card make a deposit, which essentially becomes your credit limit. This is also a great way to improve your credit rating and increase your chances of being approved for an unsecured card in the future.
The Application Process
You will generally have three options to choose from when you have decided which card to apply for.
Heading to a branch of that bank can be beneficial for a couple of reasons. You might receive a slightly better chance of being approved, and you can also receive assistance as you go through the application process, ensuring that any questions that you have will be answered at that moment.
You should also be able to apply over the phone, but that method is not recommended as there would be no immediate record of your application or proof that it was submitted accurately.
Meanwhile, the most common way of applying is online. This method allows you to take your time, not feel rushed, while also being able to receive a decision right away in nearly all cases. One benefit for some would be the fact that if you do happen to be turned down, it would not be as embarrassing learning about it after having applied online versus talking with somebody at a branch or on the phone.
Regardless of which application method you use, be ready with information such as your name, address, phone number, social security number, bank account information and employment and income details.
Make sure to read over the fine print to ensure that you are okay with the interest rates, fees and other legalese.
In that case, you will likely need to wait a few days to receive your card in the mail. This time frame will depend on the financial institution that you applied through and other factors. Once it arrives, use it with care.
Oh No, I was Denied
If this occurred instead, find out why. The financial institution is required to explain why you were denied. When you contact them, looking for more information about why you were not approved, ask them to also recommend a card that you would be much more likely to be approved for.
Use the provided information to improve your credit rating and your ability to be approved for cards in the future.