How to Apply for a Credit Card

By Nicky LaMarco

  • Overview

    You see the advertisements on almost half of the Websites that you visit online: "Apply for your new Visa today!" You also probably get spammed with many offers in your email inbox daily as well. Thus, you would think that it is easy to apply for a credit card online, and that is true. However, before you rush out to get yourself a new credit card, you need to do your research because if you are not careful, you may be signing up for a high interest rate when you could do better or falling for an Internet scam. Here are some helpful hints to help you choose the right credit card.
    Credit Cards
    • Step 1

      Before you rush online to Google, take some time and read any credit card offers you have received in your home's mailbox. While it may be annoying to receive these month after month, these are often sent to you with your current credit history in mind, so you may find that you have some excellent offers. Keep them in mind before you head online to see if you can do better.
    • Step 2

      Repeat this process online. One of the greatest things about being able to apply online is that you can easily search and compare different credit cards online. Search in more than one browser at a time and you can compare cards right next to each other as you narrow down your options by the features you want. You also may take advantage of the many comparison charts you can find on financial consumer Websites.
    • Step 3

      Read the fine print. While you may be tempted to skip ahead and click the button saying you have reviewed and agreed with the terms and conditions of a card, this is the area where a credit card company can get you with a high interest rate due to the fact there is an unfixed APR charge or other unfixed variable. Making sure there are no unpleasant add-on fees in the future means that you will be saving money by taking the 10 minutes it requires to read the print before moving on.
    • Step 4

      Check the security of the Website you are thinking of applying for a credit card at before you input any personal information. Look for the padlock icon somewhere on the page which lets you know that the page is protected and encrypted properly. You will need to enter some pretty sensitive information that can be used for identity theft and other types of fraud if you give your information away to the wrong person. If you are not sure, do not risk it. If the credit card company is legit and the offer is real, you can be sent a paper application or there will be a contact number on the page somewhere.
    • Step 5

      Go ahead apply and submit your application. Generally, most credit card companies will need your name, address, employer, employer address and Social Security information. They also will probably want to know your income and the mortgage you pay on your home if you are a homeowner. If you are approved, some Internet applications will tell you right away while other credit card companies will inform you via mail, so be prepared to be patient.
    • Skill: Easy
    • Tip: Always check the disclosure packet in the mail to make sure the terms and conditions are the same you were offered online. Sometimes companies attempt to trick you, so call if you notice any discrepancies before activating your card.
    • Tip: Keep track of where you have applied and what credit card to expect. Some people receive a card in the mail and mistakenly activate it. Make sure the card you use is the card you signed up for.

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