A credit card search doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, if you go about it the right way, it won’t be. Your credit card search should involve a finite number of identifiable steps — a recipe for finding the right card.

Follow these steps one by one and you’ll find the right credit card for you without a lot of headaches.

Step One: Pull Your Credit Report

Before doing anything, take a look at your credit report to better understand what is within your credit history.

Your credit history impacts your credit score, which may determine what kinds of credit products and services you qualify for.

Step Two: Ask Yourself What You Want

You should never apply for a credit card without knowing why you’re applying for it. What do you want out of a credit card?

  • Do you want to build your credit history?
  • Do you want to just have a card around in case of emergencies?
  • Do you want rewards?
  • A card to use for travel or everyday purchases?
  • Are you looking to roll your existing credit card debt into a single card?

Being able to answer these questions will help you to target your search.

  • Emergency cards should have no annual fee, high credit limits and low interest rates.
  • Rewards cards should be tailored toward what you actually spend money on and provide you with rewards you will actually use — redeeming for cash is a popular option.
  • If you’re consolidating debt, look for cards with low introductory APRs on balance transfers for long periods of time.

Step Three: Use a Credit Card Search Tool

The internet offers a number of websites that allow you to search for credit cards. You enter in your criteria for a credit card and the credit card search tool provides results in the form of different credit cards offering what you’re looking for. This will help you to arrive at a list of three to five cards meeting your needs.

Credit card search tools also provide you with a thumbnail sketch of the credit cards offered. You’ll be able to take a quick look at interest rates, rewards programs and annual membership fees. This will allow you to compare apples to apples and see which credit product is the best fit for you.

Step Four: Rank Your Results and Start Applying

Once you have a solid list of credit cards, the only thing left to do is start applying. Rank your favorites, starting with your first choice and moving toward the bottom only if and when you get rejected.

Your credit card search doesn’t have to be difficult or frustrating. By following these four simple steps, you can streamline the process — saving time and getting the credit you need.

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.