Applying for a credit card is a simple process that can usually be done online, over the phone or in person, depending on the issuer.
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What Information You’ll Need
When applying, issuers will use a few common pieces of information to evaluate whether you should be approved or denied for a given card. Be sure to have this info handy before you begin an application.
Social Security Number and Other Identifying Info
Issuers use your Social Security number â€” along with information like your name, address and phone number â€” to verify your identity and pull your credit reports and credit score. Having access to an applicant’s existing credit behavior is an important step in the application process, as it helps predict how the borrower will use credit moving forward.
Keep in mind that when an issuer pulls your credit report it will typically result in a hard credit inquiry, usually reducing your credit score. It may be wise to check your credit score beforehand so that you understand the implications of a hard inquiry.
Issuers will often request your income figures for the year as part of your application. Issuers use income data while determining both whether you should be approved for a card and, if so, where the issuer should set your credit limit.
Online vs. In-Person Application
Still wondering, “But where can I get a credit card?” Applying for a credit card online is usually the fastest route to a decision, but applying in person also has its benefits.
It’s easiest to apply for a credit card online. If you’re not sure which specific credit card or issuer you’d like to go with, there are a handful of websites where you can compare popular offers. Reviewing each available credit card in terms of benefits (rewards programs, 0% introductory APRs), annual fees and standard APR is the best way to filter out which ones best fit your needs.
When you’ve settled on a first choice card, go to the issuer’s website, find the card and enter the requested information. If you’re approved, you may know right away. In some instances, issuers may require more time to consider an application, which typically results in a decision being mailed to you.
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Over the Phone/ Through the Mail
Some issuers will allow individuals to apply for cards over the phone. There’s not much difference in applying over the phone versus applying any other way.
Applying through the mail will take even longer, given the physical limitations of snail mail. It’s still an option, though.
Of course, you could always apply for a credit card the old-fashioned way by walking into the branch of a bank. There may be some benefit to applying in person if you’re worried about being denied.
Applying in person â€” like calling an issuer â€” also allows applicants to easily ask specific questions about a card so that they’re confident in their choice.
There’s really no wrong way to apply for a credit card. It all starts with knowing where you can get a credit card, and it all comes down to what you’re most comfortable with.