These days, applying for credit card has become a very simple and fast process—you just enter your information into an online application and click “submit.” While the process is easy and fast, your application may not necessarily be approved, and each disapproved application can negatively impact your credit score. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to improve the chances that your credit card application will be approved.
After you submit your application, some banks will “approve” you for a new line of credit. The process can take 60 seconds or less. However, be aware that this approval may only be conditionally approved, meaning that approval is pending while the bank checks out your proof of income, any existing debt, etc.
Rather than leaving things to chance, there are a few steps you can take to improve the odds of your credit card application being approved.
1. Know your credit score
Your credit score is one of the most important number when it comes to being approved for new line of credit. A good or excellent credit history is impressive to issuers. To improve your credit score, be sure to make all payments on time, keep balances low on any cards you already have and avoid new debt. One note—it’s a good idea to check your credit score before applying for a new credit card. Be sure to look for any mistakes—if you find anything wrong, contact the credit rating agency and ask them to correct the errors.
2. Details count
When filling out your application, you need to get all the details correct. This is imperative. Typical applications will ask for your home address, if you’re currently employed (full- or part-time; employed or self-employed), salary, ask about any existing debt and your monthly expenses. If you get these details wrong and your monthly income and bank account details are not correct, your application may be declined. Have all your details together before you fill out an application and make sure to get all the details right.
3. Find the right card for you
Do your homework and find the right credit cards to fit your financial situation. If you don’t have a high income, there’s no way you’ll be approved for any prestigious credit cards. Instead, look for credit cards with requirements that match your financial situation (income, etc.).
4. Consider reducing your debt
When applying for a new card, the credit utilization ratio (your balance divided by your credit limit) will be considered. This is an important number—it figures as about 30% of your credit score. Keep your credit card use to below 30% of the credit limit per each card. If you have a higher utilization rate (high credit card balances), then consider paying down your existing balances. Lowering the amount of debt you have will lower your credit utilization ratio, which will improve your overall credit score.
5. Avoid applying for several cards at once
This is a common mistake—people decide to apply for not one, but several credit cards all at one time, or one right after another. This process will ruin your credit score, especially if you have numerous rejections. In addition, banks and lenders tend to view you as a greater financial risk and will not approve your application.
6. Figure out why you were rejected
If your application has been rejected, it’s a good idea to avoid applying for another credit card right away. First, figure out why you were rejected and try to fix the issue. Once you understand the issue and fix it, then you’ll be ready to apply for other cards.
7. Don’t miss payments on existing debt
Payment history is one of the biggest parts of your credit score. Missing even one payment can increase your interest rate on existing debt, which can lower your credit score. It’s even worse to pay late and have a high balance on your card. Develop a plan to ensure you pay your existing debts on time, every time.
8. Avoid cancelling other cards
Cancelling credit cards can shorten the length of your credit history on your credit report, while also reducing your overall credit. This can drive up your credit card utilization ratio. Avoid cancelling other credit cards before applying for a new card—also avoid cancelling multiple cards at once.
9. Don’t avoid credit completely
Some people just don’t want to carry a balance or create debt, so they completely avoid credit cards. You need an active credit history in order to have your credit card application approved. Credit card issuers look at your past payment history to determine if you’re financially responsible. However, if you have no credit history, there’s no information for banks or card issuers to review. This could keep you from not only getting approved for a new credit card, but could also affect getting a home mortgage or a car loan at some point in the future.
These are a few things you can do to increase the chance your credit card application will be approved. Nothing is guaranteed, but you can increase the odds of your application being approved if you have been proactive and done everything possible to make sure you’re financially fit before applying for a credit card.