Technology means it’s faster and easier than ever before to apply for credit cards. Yet you’ll still need certain information at your fingertips when preparing to apply. Here are the basic steps for completing an application for credit, plus a few tips to help the process go smoothly, along with what to do if it doesn’t.

Your Application for Credit: The Basics

The credit application process is actually quite simple, so long as you know what sort of details you may get asked, whether you’re applying for credit cards online or by mail. Prepare to provide information such as your:

  • Full name
  • Social Security number
  • Birth date
  • Current address (and how long you’ve lived there)
  • Email address (usually optional)
  • Annual income
  • Current employer (and how long you’ve worked there)

These details are typically requested on credit applications, but some creditors may request a variety of information.

Some lenders will ask for employment information, financial/asset information or numerous other bits of information depending on what you’re applying for. For example, a mortgage application will ask about the property you’re purchasing, while a car loan application will require details on the vehicle.

Know Your Credit Score

When applying for any type of credit, the potential lender will check your credit score. Your credit score is a three-digit number that indicates your creditworthiness (your ability to repay loans). This score is a result of your credit history accumulated up to that point, including all outstanding loans, missed (or made) payments. The higher your credit score, the better your chance of getting your application approved.

Credit Application Tips

Check your credit score first, and if it’s low (below “good”), work to improve your credit score before applying.

Or consider an application for a secured credit card to build your credit history.

Also, don’t apply for several credit products all at once. Do some shopping around first, and then apply for the one that best suits your lifestyle and financial commitments.

However, if your application for credit doesn’t get approved, don’t give up just yet. Go over your application again to ensure you included all of your income and information. Consider applying to other institutions, or simply regroup and make a plan to improve your chances of a credit application approval in the future.

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