Gather The Information Youll Need To Apply
Before you begin to apply for a credit card, youll want to make sure you have the information necessary to complete the online application. Youll be asked for some basic information including your name, contact details, and current address, as well as specific financial data such as your income. Further, youll need to supply security information including your Social Security number, date of birth, and mothers maiden name.
If you have a thin credit file, meaning you have little to no credit history, then you may be asked for more information or proof of the information you provided, such as a copy of a government-issued ID or a previous address.
Most credit card applications will require the same personal and financial details, such as income and address.
Its important to note that the terms pre-qualified and pre-approved are generally interchangeable and result in a soft credit inquiry, which does not affect your credit score. However, a pre-approval does not guarantee an actual approval for the card of your choice. With that said, if youve been prescreened for a card, you are more likely to be approved. In that instance, the issuer looks at available information to make a good estimate of your creditworthiness.
Choose Where To Apply
Already have a checking or savings account at a bank or credit union? McDonough says applying for a credit card from a financial institution where you have an account may be a good idea, since you have an established history there.
Andrew Fiebert, co-founder of personal finance resource Listen Money Matters, agrees. An existing banking relationship could improve your chances of getting a credit card application approved, he says, especially if youve handled your account responsibly, such as no overdrafts.
Secured Credit Cards For Poor Credit
Secured credit cards are an ideal option for individuals with poor credit, because they provide cardholders with an opportunity to build up their score.
Instead of trusting youll repay your credit card debt on time and in full, secured credit cards require a cash security deposit from cardholders, which they can pull from if you miss a payment.
Once youve proved your reliability and built up your credit, the issuer may then help you upgrade to one of their regular rewards cards .
If you feel this type of credit card is right for you, check out our picks for the best secured credit cards.
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Understand Why You Were Denied
Youll get a letter stating the reason why your credit card application was denied. This could be related to your credit report or credit score. If youve missed payments, have debt or tend to carry a high credit card balance, you may have a tough time getting approved for a credit card. You could also be denied for forgetting to fill out important information in your application or if you dont meet all the eligibility requirements.
Understand Terms And Conditions
When you sign a credit card application, youre agreeing to the terms and conditions in a contract. Just like any contract, you probably shouldnt sign it without first understanding whats in it.
Once you feel prepared to apply for a credit card, its time to search for and select the card thats right for you.
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Activate Your New Credit Card
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Most new credit cards have a sticker on the front with instructions for activating the card. Its an easy process. Just call the 1-800 number and follow the prompts. Typically, youll have to enter the credit card number , the last four of your social security number, billing zip code, and maybe your telephone number.
Make sure you call from your home phoneor the phone number that you put on your application.
Beware of sales pitches for add-on services, especially for credit card protection plans or credit monitoring.
Here’s How To Get A Credit Card Fast:
Regardless of whether you go for an account that gives you an instant number, your card should arrive within 7-10 business days of when you apply. If it doesn’t get to you within that time frame, you should definitely give customer service a call to check its status.
You can get a credit card any time after bankruptcy. But you should begin exploring options such as secured credit cards as soon as the bankruptcy is discharged in order to begin rebuilding your credit. Though some secured cards won’t approve people with recent bankruptcy, many will, such as Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card and OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card.
If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should be able to get a secured card as soon as your bankruptcy is discharged. If it was Chapter 13 instead, you’ll need the approval of the trustee during your payment plan.
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Best Credit Cards To Apply For Online
Its important to only apply for cards you think you can qualify for or risk not being approved, which can knock your score down a few points. By starting the search for you next credit card within your credit qualifications, you can feel more confident submitting your application.
Below are some of the best cards currently available, broken down by the different credit score ranges.
Want A Credit Card Heres What You Need To Know
A credit card is more than just a way to borrow money. Sure, its a convenient way to make purchases both big and small, but it can also help build your credit score, manage your finances, and add security to your transactions all within an interest-free grace period. Also, most credit cards also offer different benefits like rewards points, cash back statement credits or exclusive perks and insurances. If youre interested in applying online for a credit card but dont know where to start, heres a few things to consider.
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How Does My Credit Score Impact The Credit Card Application Process
Your credit score is an indicator of your credit risk. Your credit risk shows how likely you are to make your credit card payments on time.
A strong credit score can improve your chances of getting approved for a credit card because it shows creditors you can use your credit card responsibly. Having a low credit score means you might be approved for a credit card, but with a lower credit limit.
Your credit history directly impacts your credit score. Your credit history includes a record of transactions, and lists the types of credit you have like credit cards or loans. Your credit history will also show your payment history, including your on-time payments, late payments or missed payments.
How To Use A Credit Card
Credit cards are easy to use. If you go into a store, for instance, you may be prompted to insert your card in a chip reader or swipe it at the checkout. You can also add your card to digital wallet apps for contactless payments in stores. When shopping online, using your credit card is a matter of entering your card information, including:
- Your card number
- The expiration date
- Your card’s CVV security code, which is typically printed on the back
When you use your card to make a purchase, the merchant, the credit card company, and the card network coordinate to authorize and process the payment. All of this is done electronically and practically instantaneously.
It’s also important to use your credit card in ways that will help boost your credit score, while not costing you more than necessary in terms of interest and fees. For example:
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Using Credit Cards Responsibly
Getting Your First Credit Card
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Student Cards For Students
If youre still in school, you may have limited income and credit history. Fortunately, there are credit cards designed specifically for your needs, too. Like secured credit cards, student cards can help you build your credit, while earning some rewards.
See our list of the best credit cards for college students if you think a student card suits your needs.
Confirm You Have Enough Income
If you’re at least 21 years old, you can list household income and assets that you have reasonable access to on your credit card application. Applicants who are 18-20 years old can only list independent income and assets, but even having a part-time job should provide enough income to get a credit card for the first time.
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Understand The Credit Card Landscape For Young Adults
Getting approved for a first credit card can be tough, especially if you’re younger than 21 and more so if you don’t have a job.
Federal law requires adults younger than 21 to have verifiable income before they can be approved for a credit card without a cosigner. Income must be from a job. However, child support or government benefits may allow you to be approved.
If you dont have income, then youll have to find someone whos willing to open a joint credit card with you or make you an authorized user on one of their credit cards.
Another thing that makes it tough to get a first credit card is insufficient .
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CIBC Pace It Installment Plans allow eligible cardholders to convert eligible Card Transaction to monthly installment payments over a fixed period of time. When you create an installment plan you will have the ability to choose the payment term with a corresponding annual interest rate. Once you accept the Installment Plan Terms and Conditions and the installment plan is created, you can cancel it at any time but you cannot change it. CIBC Pace It Installment Plans are only available: on Accounts in good standing and for certain eligible Account types and eligible Transactions. For complete Terms and Conditions, visit CIBC Pace It Skip to terms and conditions..
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Decide How You Want To Use The Credit Card
Pinpointing what kind of credit card you need will simplify your search and help you get the most out of your credit card. For example, are you trying to earn travel rewards? Do you need to finance a big purchase over time? Or are you trying to repair or build up your credit?
Before you consider individual cards, know these common credit card types and their main benefits:
- Rewards credit cards: Ideal for earning cash back, points or miles on your spending.
- Introductory 0% APR cards: Ideal for avoiding interest charges if you want to transfer a balance or if you plan to use the card to finance a large purchase.
- Sign-up bonus cards: Ideal for earning extra points on a large, planned purchase. You’ll need to spend a certain amount on the card within a few months of having it to qualify.
- Secured credit cards: Ideal for building a credit history or raising a low credit score. With a secured credit card, you provide a deposit to the lender that is typically equal to your credit limit. Because this reduces risk for the lender, secured cards are often easier to qualify for than traditional, unsecured cards.
- Student credit cards: Ideal for building credit and earning points while you’re in college.
Read The Terms And File Them Away
The terms and conditions is a lengthy document that you may not want to read all in one sitting. Luckily, with new credit cards, issuers are required to include the most important pricing details on a single piece of paper. Those details include fees, interest rates, and other pricing features.
Rewards credit cards will also come with a benefits guide that you’ll want to reference to learn more about taking advantage of the benefits and perks of your credit card.
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Alternatives To Getting A Credit Card At 16
- Become an authorized user: There’s no minimum age requirement for authorized users.
- Get a job and wait two years: You can get your own credit card account when you’re 18, as long as you have enough independent income for monthly bill payments. You should get a student credit card if you go to college, as they tend to have much better terms than other starter credit cards. A secured credit card is a good backup plan, too.
- Get a debit card: This won’t help you build credit, and you won’t be able to borrow money. But a debit card linked to your checking account will free you from having to carry cash all the time.
You can get a credit card at 16. You just can’t get an account in your own name. But if someone is willing to add you as an authorized user, you can start learning about, using and building credit. And in a couple years, you’ll be able to get your first card.
The best way to get a credit card fast is to apply online and then request expedited shipping once you’re approved. Applying online also means you could be approved instantly and perhaps even receive your card number to begin making purchases right away, though no card can guarantee either 100% of the time. Typically, it takes about 2-4 weeks from the time you apply for a card to actually receive it, depending on how long approval and shipping take. But there are certain things you can do to get your card quicker.
Tips On Managing Multiple Cards
Having an array of credit cards can allow you to earn the maximum available rewards on every purchase that you make with a credit card.
For example, you might have a Discover it Cash Back card to take advantage of its rotating 5% cash-back categories so that in certain months, you can earn 5% back on purchases such as groceries, hotels, restaurants, and gas . You might have another card that always gives you 2% back on gas. Use this card during the nine months of the year when Discover isnt paying 5% cash back on gas.
Additionally, you might have a card that offers a flat 1% back on all purchases. This card is your primary card for any purchase where a higher reward isnt available. For example, you might be able to earn 5% on all clothing purchases in October, November, and December with your Discover card the rest of the year, when no special bonus is available, you would use the 1% cash-back card.
Another consideration is store-branded credit cards that can only be used for purchases in that particular store or on their website. Opening a new store credit card that offers a significant discount on those purchases can be a huge benefit if youre doing a lot of shopping in one place for example, back-to-school shopping, holiday shopping, or a major purchase like appliances for your home. Getting such a card and paying it off right away can be advantageous to get the discount, but it may also be a good idea to close the store card afterward if it is no longer needed.