Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.
Online credit card applications
Apply for a credit card online using these simple tips.
While it’s possible to apply for a credit card in-person or over the phone, applying online is one of the most popular options thanks to its convenience, speed and security. But if you’ve never applied online, or if you have concerns about the process, follow this step-by-step guide to help you with your next credit card application.
How to apply for a credit card online
1.Compare credit cards
This is an important step to help you find the right card for you. Start by thinking about what you want a credit card for and then consider the different features, rates and fees that are available on different cards. As part of this process, there are a few additional factors to review that can help you slim down your selection.
Identify your credit score
Your credit score is a measure of your credit history and plays a large role in whether an issuer will decide to offer you a particular card. Scores generally fall into four categories based on the numeric score:
Excellent: 740 and higher
If the credit card you have an eye on requires an excellent credit score and your score rests in the fair range, you’ll want to look for another card that’s obtainable in your credit score range.
Review credit card types
There are a wide variety of credit cards to choose from, with each type offering certain advantages depending on your needs. For example, if you travel often and want to earn some value out of your spending, a hotel, airline or general travel card are a great fit. Others, such as a balance transfer card, can help you pay down existing debt on better terms.
Choose where to apply
If you’re concerned about your ability to qualify for a certain range of cards, take a look at credit cards offered by your existing bank or credit union. The additional history you have with them, assuming it’s good, may give you the edge when it comes to your application.
2. Click through to the credit card online application form
Once you’ve found the card you want, click the Apply now button. This will take you to a secure online application, where you can review all the card details before filling out the application form.
Credit card application eligibility requirements
Before you get started with an online credit card application, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. These can vary between cards but usually include the following:
- Minimum age. You’ll need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card.
- Residency status. Most cards are only available to citizens and permanent residents of the US, while some cards may be available to temporary residents as well.
- Credit score. You’ll generally need a good credit score to get approved for most credit cards. However, there are credit cards for those with poor credit or no credit history.
Some banks will let you check for pre-approval when applying for cards. To check for pre-approval, you’ll need to submit a few details such as your Social Security number.
Besides letting you know whether you’re likely to be approved for a card, pre-approval doesn’t result in a hard pull on your credit score. These “soft pulls” can prevent the standard dips in your credit score caused by a standard credit card application.
3. Provide your details and submit the application
Once you’ve confirmed all the card details, you’re ready to fill out the online credit card application form by providing a range of personal and financial details. This process usually takes around 10 to 20 minutes.
After you’ve completed the different sections of the online credit card application form, you’ll get a summary of all the details you’ve provided. This gives you a chance to check that all the information is accurate before you complete the application. In some cases, reviewing these details could be the difference between getting approved or declined, so it’s an important step to take.
Once you’ve confirmed your information, just hit the Submit button and you should get a response in 60 seconds.
What details do I need to apply for a credit card?
You’ll need to have the following information in front of you when applying for credit cards online:
- Personal details. This includes your full name, date of birth and Social Security number.
- Contact details and address. You usually need to enter your phone number, home address as well as a valid email address.
- Current employment details. Enter your current employment status and your occupation. If you are self-employed, you may need to provide your accountant’s details.
- Employer’s contact details. Some banks may require you to provide the details of your employer, including the company name, address and contact details.
- Income. This is where you enter your regular income from employment. But some applications may ask for specific details, such as your before or after-tax income, so read each application carefully. Another tip: If there is an information button, click on it to get more information about what’s required.
- Monthly expenses. Some banks require you to enter the amount of the rent or mortgage payment you make each month.
Customizing your card during the application process
During the application process, you’ll be asked about different credit card features you can customize or request, such as:
- Balance transfer. If you want to take advantage of a balance transfer with your new card, you’ll likely need to request it when you apply for your new card. You’ll need to list the issuers of the current credit cards which you wish to balance transfer. You’ll also need to enter their respective card numbers and how much you want to balance transfer from each card. Keep in mind there may some limits to the amount you can transfer.
- Additional cardholders. If you want to share your credit card with a partner or family member, you’re usually given the option to include this request on your application. To add a secondary cardholder, you will need to share their details, including their full name, date of birth and any other requested information. Additional cardholders can also be requested after your initial application. Either way, you will still be the one responsible for keeping the account in good standing.
What if I get denied?
If you get denied after a credit card application, it doesn’t mean you’re not credit worthy. Consider why you might have been denied and factor that into your next credit card choice. In some cases, you can call the issuer directly to get more information about why you were denied.
Once you’ve picked yourself up and dusted yourself off, take a look at your other credit card options and consider a few tips to improve your chances. Just remember that too many card applications too quickly can put a dent in your credit score.
Other ways to apply for a card
Applying online has many benefits — it’s fast, convenient and you can do it from the comfort of your home. But if you feel like applying online is a complicated process, you have other options:
- Apply in person. Visit a bank or a credit union branch, or a store if you’re applying for a store card, and talk to the credit card representative. They will guide you through the process. This is also a fast way to apply if you have the necessary documents with you. The only drawback is that you have limited options to choose from.
- Apply by phone. Another option is to call the bank or the credit union and apply by phone. The process is similar to applying in person, except you can do it from anywhere. Just make sure to have the necessary information required to apply, such as your Social Security number, income, expenses and employer information.
- Apply by mail. Another option is to gather all the information and mail it to your bank or credit union. This is the least-preferable method because it takes longer for the mail to physically arrive to the bank. And then there’s the possibility of losing the documents on the way.
Compare rewards credit cards
If you’re ready to get a new credit card, start by comparing a range of options. Once you find one you want to apply for, click through to the application, follow these steps and wait for the response. If you have more questions about the application process or what to consider before getting a new credit card, get in touch with us using the comment section below.Back to top
Read more on this topic
X1 Card review This metal card adjusts your limit based on your income.
Which credit cards have gotten better during COVID-19? Earn more rewards on select categories or get an extension of some travel perks.
BMW MINI Card review A decent rewards card for MINI and BMW fans.
SoFi Credit Card review A new 2% cashback card enters the ring.
United® Credit Card from First Hawaiian Bank review A select few have access to this United card.
Guide to Chase military credit card benefits Chase offers a simple, strong military benefit.
Best credit cards for consultants Travel credit cards can offer top-notch rewards for consultants.
Karat Black Card Review A card for influencers who can’t find the right traditional card.
What should you do after your credit card application is denied? Have you been 'friend-zoned' by every credit card you long for? Read what the experts have to say about pivoting towards success after your credit card application has been rejected.
Assent Platinum 0% Intro Rate Mastercard® Secured Credit Card review You can save on interest — but probably not enough to justify paying a $49 annual fee.
Ask an Expert