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Today applying for a card is as easy as just clicking on a button 'apply'. On the other hand, getting approved for a credit card is not that simple. Credit card issuers review different criteria when they decide whether you qualify for a card. And in this situation, you are left with a choice - either you leave it up to fate, or take everything in your own hands and try to influence your bank's decision. And here we are to advise you on these issues.
So, what do you need to improve the chances of getting a credit card?
1) Know Your Credit Score
Credit score is a key element for issuers that defines your eligibility for a credit card. It's important to know it and to monitor any changes in your credit report. Typically the cards with best perks and bonuses are available for people with good and excellent credit, and if you have a credit score lower than that, you need to build it first using secured credit cards or cards for poor credit. If you don't know what your credit score is, check it. Nowadays you can do it, using a variety of online services. Most issuers use the FICO scoring model. In this system your credit score may be bad, fair, good or excellent (these are the most common options, but there may be differences).
In general, scores fall along the following lines:
- 350-639†: Bad credit
- 640-699†: Fair credit, also called "average credit"
- 700-749†: Good credit
- 750† and up: Excellent credit
Note that your credit score may vary depending on which credit bureau's data you choose, because they use different formulas. If the number is lower than you expected, check your credit report to see what's causing the problem and then try to improve it.
2) Compare the offers
There's no need to rush and pick the first hot offer you see. That way you may well end up ruining your credit. For example, instant decision cards or cards too easy to get may leave you with fees that will make you eternally curse the day you decided to go with this card. On the other hand, it's also imprudent to apply for the cards that you have low chances of approval for. Don't forget that each credit card application ends up on your credit report, and you may lose points. Carefully examine the credit card's requirements. The things that may alienate a credit card issuer are the following:
- you are under 18
- you have never had a credit card before
- you have a short credit history
- you have an undischarged bankruptcy
- you have debt
- you have a bad or limited credit score
- you have recent late payments in your credit report
- you have no or low income
- you have too many recent applications for credit cards.
Before you apply, go through this list and put ticks against the things that may hinder you in getting a credit card. Knowing more about yourself as a potential lender will improve your chances of approval.
However, if after this simple guide you are still in the dark, don't give up, we are here to help you even more. Our credit card navigator will analyze your situation and come up with a solution that will make a decision a piece of cake and you'll instantly see which cards you have the most chances to get approved for. Go ahead and don't let doubts stop you from applying for the right credit card.