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How to Apply for a Credit Card Online

Last Updated: June 15, 2021
4 min read

Applying for a credit card online can be intimidating, as you may have heard all sorts of information and might not know what to believe. You’ll want to be aware of all the information required when applying for a credit card and if submitting an application affects your credit score. Once you know what you need, you can fill out a Discover credit card application online in just a few minutes.

To help ensure that you’re prepared for the application process, consider these tips when applying for a credit card online:

1. Ask yourself these questions

  • 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?

2. 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 will affect your credit score.1 Every credit card application results into 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. For most people, one additional credit inquiry will 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.

3. 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. Per, https means that the session between the web server and the browser you are using is encrypted. 

4. 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 score 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. 

5. 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 a good miles-to-point value, and a variety of ways to redeem for travel.

6. 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. If you received a pre-approved offer for a 0 percent 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. 

7. 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. If something might be changing in a few weeks (e.g. you are getting a pay raise or starting a new job) you still need to state the details that currently apply to you. Pay attention to the period of earnings you need to provide (e.g. weekly or monthly) and whether the amounts include or exclude tax. If you receive bonuses or commission, check to see if this will be accepted or if you can only use your base pay. 

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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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