How to get a credit card




Credit cards can be an essential financial tool, whether you use it to pay for everyday expenses or help finance bigger one-time purchases. If you’ve decided to get a new credit card, follow these steps on how to open one today.

Credit cards are an essential financial tool. When you use your card responsibly, you can build credit, finance new purchases, get out of debt and earn rewards.

If you’ve decided to open a new credit card, it may seem as simple as applying, but there are a few more factors to consider to ensure you get the best card for your needs.

How to get a credit card

Five steps to follow when you want to get a credit card:

  1. Decide why you want a credit card
  2. Check your credit score
  3. Shop around for the best credit card offers
  4. Read the fine print
  5. Apply for the best credit card for your needs

1. Decide why you want a credit card

The first step is to figure out the reason you want to get a credit card. To make the decision easier, answer the common questions below.

  • Do you want to build or rebuild credit? If you’re just beginning your credit journey, or looking to repair poor credit, it can be a little more difficult to find a card that fits your needs that you’ll also qualify for. Check out secured cards or cards for building or rebuilding credit.
  • Do you want to earn rewards? rewards credit card is a great way to earn cash back, points or miles on every purchase you make. You can maximize rewards by considering cards that offer bonus rewards in specific categories, such as gas, groceries, restaurants, entertainment and travel.
  • Are you in debt and paying high interest? Carrying a balance on a high interest credit card can be costly.
  • Do you have a big purchase coming up? Many credit cards offer no interest on new purchases for over a year.
  • Do you travel abroad? Some credit cards charge around a 3% fee on purchases made outside the country If you travel abroad, a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

2. Check your credit score

Many bank issuers are transparent about the credit score requirements needed to open certain cards, such as “average” or “good/excellent.” It’s key to know your credit score so you know which cards you have the best chances of qualifying for.

  • Very poor: 300-579
  • Fair: 580-669
  • Good: 670-739
  • Very good: 740-799
  • Exceptional: 800-850

These ranges are estimates and vary by card issuer.

3. Shop around for the best credit card offers

It’s a good idea to compare several credit cards so you know what’s available.

Compare the rewards, fees, perks and credit requirements to see which card is best for your needs.

4. Read the fine print

When you’ve narrowed down the credit card you want, make sure you read the fine print before applying. It’s important you review the details specific to the card you want to apply for.

The terms and conditions listed in the fine print are key for you to understand before submitting an application.

Review the annual fee and interest rates for purchases, balance transfers, cash advances and penalties. Plus, be aware of any fees for foreign transactions and late payments.

5. Apply for the best credit card for your needs

Once you’ve settled on the best credit card for your needs, you can submit an application. The quickest way to do this is online (whether it’s on a laptop or via a mobile device). You also have the option to call, go in-person to a bank or send in a paper application.

The application process is similar between issuers, and you’ll typically be required to provide your name, address, date of birth, social security number, annual income and employment status.

After you submit an application, you can receive a decision in as little as 60 seconds, but it may take longer. If you’re instantly approved, expect to receive your card within the next two weeks.



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