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In 2012 millions of consumers will likely submit an application to open up a new line of credit. Before doing so, it is of utmost importance that individuals gain a thorough understanding of their personal credit situation to avoid being extended an offer of higher than expected rates or rejected outright. While every lender has a different set of approval standards, there are basic steps consumers can take to minimize their risk of being turned down for a new credit card.

If you are in the market for a new credit card but you know that your credit score is not in the best shape, or if you don’t happen to have much of a credit history at all, here are some things you can do to boost your numbers and improve your chances of being approved:

Be Choosy When Applying

Instead of submitting an application for every credit card offer that comes your way, only apply for lines of credit you are likely to be approved for. This will require that you do a bit of research first but it is well worth the time and effort – if you have your application rejected from several lenders over a short period of time it will have a negative impact upon you credit profile.

Stability and Security

If you move around a lot or switch jobs frequently, it will likely have an impact upon your chances for acquiring a credit card. Lenders look more favorably upon you if you can be considered “secure and stable,” meaning that you have resided at the same address and worked for the same company for a period of time.

Check For Errors

Your credit profile is an essential key to determining whether or not your application will be approved. Therefore it is extremely important to know what type of information appears on your credit profile and to periodically check that it is accurate. Should you discover an error, contact the agency immediately and issue a request for it to be corrected.

Cultivate Good Credit

It is essential to prove to lenders that you can be responsible when it comes to managing credit. They determine your creditworthiness based upon your prior borrowing behavior and pay especially close attention to whether or not you are capable of repaying what you owe on time. This is why it is important to consciously build up your credit history slowly over time.

Spend Less Than Your Limit

Lenders and credit scoring agencies consider maxing out your credit card to be an indication of financial distress, so take care to keep your debts well below your allotted limit. Additionally, being mindful your limit will keep you conscious when spending and reduces the chances of you accruing penalty charges for going over your limit which will cause the termination of any special introductory rates and offers you may be taking advantage of.

Submit Your Payments On Time

Paying all of your bills on time every single month is the very best way to demonstrate to your lender that you are capable of managing your finances responsibly. Even if you only pay the minimum amount, as long as you refrain from paying late or missing a payment altogether you can avoid taking a hit to your credit score. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you think that you will be unable to make a payment, contact your lender and let them know as soon as possible to try to negotiate different terms – either an alternate payment date or minimum amount.