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How to Apply for a Credit Card Online

Last Updated: August 31, 2023
5 min read

Key points about: online credit card applications

  1. Credit card applications will result in a hard inquiry on your credit history, which can impact your credit score.

  2. Be sure to apply for a credit card that suits your lifestyle and income.

  3. Ask credit card providers clarifying questions to help you choose the best credit card for you.

Applying for a credit card online can be intimidating for some people. Will you be approved? What happens if you’re declined? How much credit do you need? Before you apply, it can be helpful to know what information is required when applying for a credit card and if submitting an application affects your credit score. Once you know what you need, you can apply in minutes by filling out a Discover credit card application online.

Ask yourself these questions before applying

  • Why are you getting the card?
  • How do you plan to use it?
  • Are you looking to reach personal goals for your credit score?
  • Will you be paying off your credit card balance every month?
  • How much can you afford to spend each month?
  • Do you want to earn rewards for everyday spending or in particular categories?
  • What are the potential fees?
  • Is your credit good enough to get approved?

Did you know?

You can compare Discover credit cards to other industry-leading cards to choose the one that’s best for you. Find Discover Cards that offer rewards in specific categories and everyday spending, all with no annual fee on every credit card.

Applying for a credit card online can affect your credit score

Before you apply for a new credit card, it’s important to understand how it may affect your credit score. Every credit card application results in a hard inquiry into your credit, which creditors can see on your credit report. The impact from applying for credit cards varies from person to person based on their unique credit histories. According to FICO, credit inquiries generally have a small impact on one’s FICO® Credit Score.1 For most people, one additional credit inquiry can take less than five points off their FICO® Credit Score. However, inquiries can have a greater impact if you have few accounts or a short credit history.

Is it safe to apply for a credit card online? Look for security

The most important way to protect your personal information when applying for credit cards online is to ensure the website is secure. You should always make sure that the URL in the address bar is “https” rather than “http,” ensuring the session between the web server and the browser you are using is encrypted. 

See if you're pre-approved

With no harm to your credit 2

Can I get a credit card online? Do your research

Online research is the key to finding the best credit card for you. A few online searches among issuers can provide valuable information. You can find cards tailored to your credit profile and find the best credit card rewards program for you, whether that’s one with cash back, travel rewards, no annual fees, or some combination of the above.

Consider your lifestyle

If you want to earn rewards for everyday spending on gas and restaurants you will want to look for a card offering the highest cash back in those categories. However, if you are a frequent traveler, you will want to look for a travel card with good rewards, and a variety of ways to redeem for travel.

Examine pre-approved offers

If you have received a pre-qualified credit card offer, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be a good fit. Always read the terms and conditions carefully.

What is credit card pre-approval?

Pre-approval means that a lender looks at your credit report to determine whether you’re likely to be approved. This review is a soft inquiry, and it doesn’t affect your credit score since you haven’t applied for credit yet. Although approval is more likely if you’re pre-approved, approval isn’t guaranteed. The credit card issuer needs to review the information you provide in your application  and your current credit profile before deciding whether you’re approved.

If you received a pre-approved offer for a 0% APR intro rate, make sure you know the standard purchase APR and any additional fees that apply. It’s also important to keep in mind that pre-approved status is not a guarantee you will receive the card if you don’t meet the issuer’s credit standards when you apply.

How to accurately fill out your credit card application

When you apply for a card, all details have to reflect your current financial and personal situation. For example, if something might be changing in a few weeks (e.g. you’re getting a pay raise or starting a new job) you still need to state the details that currently apply to you. Ensure you pay attention to the questions that your credit card issuer asks you, and review any additional information they may provide regarding their questions.

Take your time

It’s important to pay attention to what is required in each field. Mistakes like mixing up your first and last names or incorrectly entering your income can result in a processing delay or even a declined application.

Get clarification

If a section of the application is not explained clearly and you are unsure of what to enter, contact the credit card provider and get them to clarify it for you. Do not take a guess and risk giving the wrong information because it could have a negative effect on your application, causing it to be delayed or even declined.

How to get a Discover Card

You can apply for a Discover credit card online. You may want to fill out a pre-approval form to see the APR and offers you might qualify for before you apply. But again, keep in mind that even if you receive a pre-approved offer, you’ll still need to complete an application.

While every credit card application is different, understanding the application process and how to avoid common mistakes may increase your chances of approval and set you up for financial success.

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  1. FICO® Credit Score Terms: FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.

    Discover Financial Services and Fair Isaac are not credit repair organizations as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Discover Financial Services and Fair Isaac do not provide “credit repair” services or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history or credit rating.

  2. No Credit Impact for Pre-Approval: There is no hard inquiry to your credit report to check if you’re pre-approved. If you’re pre-approved, and you move forward with submitting an application for the credit card, it will result in a hard inquiry which may impact your credit score. Receiving a pre-approval offer does not guarantee approval. Applicants applying without a social security number are not eligible to receive pre-approval offers. Card applicants cannot be pre-approved for the NHL Discover Card.
  • Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.