Applying for a credit card can be as simple as choosing one of best credit cards with rewards and filling out a short form. But getting approved for the card you want can be trickier, even for an experienced credit card owner. It pays to think about your enforcement strategy.
Follow these steps to get the credit card approval you want.
Check your credit score
A FICO score, often called a credit score, measures your creditworthiness on a scale of 300 to 850, where a higher score is preferable. Major banks, credit card companies, and credit unions often provide a free FICO score to their customers. If you can’t find a FICO score, you can access one for free at the credit bureau Experian (opens in a new tab). Remember: checking your FICO score will not lower your credit score.
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Choose a credit card that meets your needs
Once you know your credit score, you will have a realistic idea of how to choose a credit card for you. For those with excellent credit, you’ll have more options, like cashback and other rewards cards.
Even if you have bad credit or student, you can always identify the cards that will help you strengthen your creditworthiness. Students can even qualify for rewards cards. If you are interested, read our Best Rewards Cards for College Students.
For those hoping to get out of credit card debt, consider a balance transfer credit card.
Get pre-approved or pre-qualified for the card you want
Once you have your eye on a card that is within range of your credit score, you will want to maximize your chances of approval. Why? Each time you apply for a new credit card, the card-issuing bank will ask for your credit report (called a “serious inquiry” or “direct request”), which will lower your FICO score by a few points. So if you apply for a card and your application is declined or you decide you want another card, you will need to reapply with a lower credit score.
There are two ways to avoid a draw when applying for a credit card: pre-approval or pre-qualification. Each method assures the bank offering the card you want that you are sufficiently creditworthy. When a bank sends out credit card offers, often by email or regular mail, they’ve usually pre-approved you for that card. If by any chance this is the card you want the most, then just fill out the application.
For cards that have not has been offered to you, the issuer may be willing to check if you are eligible for the card before submitting a formal application. Contact the card-issuing bank or credit union and ask for “pre-qualification without further investigation”.
Become an authorized user if you need a credit boost
If you’re new to the world of credit or trying to fix a bad credit history, you might want to become a Authorized user on someone else’s credit card account. This arrangement usually occurs between a parent with good credit and a child or young adult. The parent’s longer credit history and positive credit rating are essentially shared with the child. Similarly, missed payments or other negative credit information is shared by both account owners, so avoid this option if in doubt about either party’s ability to use the account wisely. credit and pay bills on time.
Fill out the request form
The fastest way to complete an online application form on the bank’s website. The forms will typically require your legal name, date of birth, address, annual income, and social security number. You may also be asked about your monthly rent or mortgage payments.
Enjoy your new credit card
If you’ve followed the steps above, you’ll likely be approved for your new credit card soon. Be sure to track your account balance, note any suspicious activity, and pay your bills in full and on time. This will help boost your credit rating and qualify you for the best credit cards available.
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