How to Apply for a Credit Card: The Complete Guide for 2021

How to Apply for a Credit Card: The Complete Guide for 2021

Knowing the requirements, you can better prepare and know which cards you may want to apply for.

how to apply for a credit card

Credit cards are an essential tool that is used for many financial transactions.

In fact, there are many transactions that only accept credit cards which just goes to show you how important it is to at least have one for those kinds of occasions.

But you don’t have one, you say? That’s not a problem.

The truth is credit card applications are very straightforward.

You just need to meet some basic requirements to apply for one.

Once you have met them, most credit card companies will be gladly happy to issue you one which you can use for a variety of transactions offline and online.

Remember, however, that credit cards can also be a double-edged blade.

It can either be a great financial tool to help you pay for products and services or it can become a heartache if you aren’t able to make payments.

It can become a huge debt if we are not careful.

However, if you’re an adult with a stable job and a good payment track record, then it should not be a problem.

Let’s read on today how to apply for a credit card.

Basic Requirements to Apply for a Credit Card

how to apply for a credit card

If you’ve decided to get a credit card, there are four basic requirements that you will need to help you get a card. These include the following:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age or 18 years old if you have a parent’s consent or have a verifiable income
  • Social Security Number
  • Source of Income
  • Good Payment History

Let’s explore each of these so you’ll know how to apply for a credit card.

Must be at least 21 years of age or 18 years old if you have a parent’s consent or have a verifiable income

Credit card companies will check your age before they allow you to get a credit card.

If you are below their threshold age of 18 will automatically be denied because it’s assumed that you do not have the capacity to pay back the balance you would accrue on the card.

If you are 18 and above, you will still need a parent’s permission to get one or have a way to prove that you have some sort of income.

Generally speaking, however, it is easiest, if you are 21 and over when applying for one.

Social Security Number

You will need to have a social security number in order to establish a credit history.

Non-citizens who do not have a social security number is unlikely to be approved for a credit card as there would not be a verifiable credit history or credit score.

Source of Income

Credit card companies and banks will always ask for your estimated monthly income.

It is an important part on how to apply for a credit card.

For obvious reasons, these companies will be unwilling to lend money if you don’t have the capacity to pay it back.

Now it’s not necessary to report all of your income, but just the income that would be used to pay for your credit card.

If you have income earmarked for other things such as child support, then you can take it out to the available income that you can use to pay for the card.

Generally speaking, reporting how much income you have is run on an honor system, but in certain situations, banks may ask for proof of income such as a pay stub or a W-2 for them to determine your ability to pay.

If you are a full-time college student, you may qualify for a student card, especially if you have some source of income like a part-time job. 

Good Payment History

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A good payment history also factors in how to apply for a credit card.

There are two types of credit cards that you can try to apply for: secured and unsecured credit cards. 

Secured credit cards do not actually need to check your payment history.

Applications will require, however, to put in a security deposit to qualify for the card. The deposit can be around $200 to $1000.

This deposit is used to guarantee payments are made even if you are unable to pay.

The purpose is to ensure that you have a good payment history even if you miss a payment as the deposit will take care of that balance.

Another great thing with secured credit cards is that a hard credit inquiry will not be required and therefore won’t affect your credit score negatively.

Unsecured credit cards on the other hand are the regular credit card that you’d often encounter.

These credit cards often require that you have a good payment history for you to be approved for a card.

You would need to have at least a good rating in the credit score for credit card companies to give you their approval.

In some cases, there are companies and cards like the Capital One Platinum Credit Card that accept applications with a fair credit rating but not many.

Typically, those with lower scores will get higher and more expensive rates while those with a FICO credit score of good or excellent are usually granted credit cards with much better terms like low interests and maybe waived annual fees. 

How to Apply for a Credit Card

Before you actually apply for a card, look for a card that best works for you.

A search online can bring you a list of the best credit cards that are available for you to apply to.

There are different credit cards depending on the rewards program or points that it comes with, low interest rates, and cards that are easy to apply to depending on your credit score.

Once you have chosen a card you want, you will need to fill out a basic application form. You will typically be asked to fill in the following information:

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Gross Annual Income
  • Home Ownership
  • Length of Time at the Current Residence
  • Authorized Users (if any)
  • Balance Transfer (if any)
  • Signature and Date

All this information is necessary to establish your identity, your capability to pay, and risk assessment of whether or not you can be approved for a credit card.

Once you complete the application form, you just need to wait for the credit card company to assess your application and give their approval.

This can typically take a few days to a few weeks depending on the card company’s procedure.

You may also be requested to provide documents to confirm the details you entered in your application form.

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Final Thoughts

There are many credit cards available out there and so it’s just a question of choosing the right one for you.

Knowing the requirements, you can better prepare and know which cards you may want to apply for.

It’s easy and can only take a few minutes to apply for. 

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Author: John Benares

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