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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.

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There are loads of options for applying for a credit card.

You've almost certainly received a mountain of direct mail from card companies.

Applications are also available at banks and other lending institutions.

And of course you can apply for a credit card online, which is perhaps the quickest method, only taking 10 minutes to complete, give or take. 

Personal details

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.

  • And 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.

Credit rating check

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.

Making monthly payments

As part of the check, a card company will compare your income with your credit risk and other debt.

It will also look at how good you are paying your monthly bills, including your mortgage, personal loans, other cards, and car payments, for example. 

This helps it to 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 be offered a credit card, but with less favourable terms, such as a higher interest rate.

Find out your likelihood of acceptance 

A negative credit card application has the potential to harm your credit profile.

To avoid this happening, you can find out the likelihood of being accepted for certain cards with this credit card eligibility tool

This is free to use, and doesn't impact on your credit score.

And remember, before you apply, thoroughly research your options to make sure that the deal you are applying for is the right one for you. 

Once you’ve worked out which type of card you want, credit card applications are fairly straightforward, provided you have all the necessary information to hand. 

Top tips for a smooth application

  • 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 (e.g. cashback payments, long 0% interest deals or a low introductory rate).

  • Select the card you want... and then apply!


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