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How can I apply for a credit card?

Once you've decided which credit card is best suited for your circumstances, the next step is to find a convenient and effective way to apply for it.

Using a tablet and holding a credit card

There are loads of options for applying for a credit card. You've almost certainly received a mountain of direct mail from card companies.

Or at very least a hillock. And there are generally applications enclosed.

And credit card applications are also available at banks and other lending institutions.

However, unless you've thoroughly researched your options beforehand, you can't be sure that the deal you are applying for is the right one for you.

This is where - yet again - the internet is your friend. If you want to find out everything that's on the market, and make the most efficient application, online is where it's at.

Let's shop!

For an education into what deals are out there right now, you can compare credit cards with us. Perhaps you're after a balance transfer card? Maybe you need to improve your credit rating?

You can compare the benefits of different types of cards, and work out which one best suits you. Then you just apply online.

Most banks and credit card companies have online application forms that are extremely easy to complete.

In fact, many credit card companies offer an instant decision for applicants with a solid credit history.

Credit card applications are fairly straightforward, provided you have all the necessary information to hand. They take ten minutes to complete, give or take.

All applications collect your basic contact information such as name, address, phone numbers, and email address.

You'll generally also need:

  • your main bank account number and sort code
  • your previous address details if you've moved within the last three years
  • your employer's full address
  • details of your income and expenditure.
  • The latter is because credit card companies want to know if you have the ability to meet the monthly payments.

    The credit card page

    So how does it all work?

    An important factor in processing your application is your credit rating.

    When you submit a credit card application, you're authorising the credit card issuer to do a credit check. They want to know the risk involved with lending you money.

    This credit check helps them determine your creditworthiness, and how much credit to make available to you accordingly.

    They compare your income with your credit risk and other debt. They also look at how good you are paying your monthly bills.

    A debt-to-income analysis tells the card issuer what percentage of your current monthly income is allocated toward other debts.

    That includes your mortgage, personal loans, other cards, and car payments. This helps them assess your ability to make monthly payments.

    If your debt-to-income ratio is unfavourable, or you have a poor credit history, you may not be successful in your application.

    Or you might, but with less favourable terms, such as a higher interest rate.

    You can find out the likelihood of being accepted for certain cards with our card matcher tool. This is free to use, and doesn't impact on your credit score.

    TL;DR: Credit card applications in a nutshell

    In short, online applications are an efficient way to apply for a credit card.

    As long as potential borrowers realise they're authorising a credit check, know their income and other key details, then everything should be golden.

    How to ensure your application goes as smoothly as possible:

    • Have all the necessary information to hand (bank account details, employer's full address etc).
    • Use our credit card page to shop around for the card that's right for you.
    • Compare the interest rates as well as any terms and conditions, checking that it offers what you want (eg cashback payments or a low introductory rate).
    • Select the card you want... and then apply!

    Compare credit cards - you could find a great deal in minutes Compare credit cards

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