Credit Card Application Tips

How to increase your chances of approval when applying for a new credit card in 12 steps.

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While applying for a credit card doesn’t have to be complicated, it can come with certain risks. After you’ve applied for a card, the credit card issuer will look at your income, credit history and the documents you’ve provided in your application to determine whether you’re a high or low-risk applicant. While making sure you meet the eligibility requirements is crucial, there are some other ways to improve your chances of approval when applying for a new credit card.

HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card

HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card

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HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card

Apply today and enjoy 5% cash back on all purchases. No minimum spend required.

  • Principal Annual Fee: S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter.
  • Cashback Rate: 5%
  • Annual Interest Rate: 25.9%
  • Minimum Income (Singaporean & PR): S$30,000
  • Minimum Income (Non-Singaporean): S$40,000
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Here are 12 handy tips to increase your chances of approval, plus learn how to apply and submit your application.

How to prepare before you apply for a credit card

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The pre-application process is considerably more important than the act of applying itself. While it may take only 15 minutes to fill out the form, getting your affairs in order so that you’re ready for the bank’s assessment of your application will take a bit more time and preparation.

Tip #1. Take your time

It’s never a good idea to rush into things, and it is your right as a consumer to assess the bank before it assesses you. Don’t jump at the first credit card deal you see because that’s usually not going to be the right one for you. Instead, spend some time comparing your credit card options and doing your research so you can find a card that suits your financial needs.

youngpersoncreditcardTip #2. Know your needs

There are many types of credit cards that suit different types of cardholders available on the credit card market. Before you begin your search, spend some time considering what you want, need and can afford with your next credit card. For example, if this the first credit card you’re applying for, you might want to apply for a student card or low-income credit card to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements. On the other hand, if you also want to keep your interest costs down, then you might decide to apply for a low rate credit card.

If you’re a regular spender who regularly repays their balance, a frequent flyer credit card might reward you for your spending.

Tip #3: Compare your options

Once you’ve decided what type of card you want, it’s time to begin comparing your options. Using reviews on comparison websites, you should compare the following to ensure you understand the costs and benefits associated with each card:

What do I need to compare?

  • Interest rates on purchases, cash advances and balance transfer
  • Annual fees
  • Interest-free periods
  • Rewards programs including the partnered program, earn rates and how you can earn and redeem points
  • Complimentary insurances including travel insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty cover
  • Additional cardholders and whether they come with an additional fee
  • Extra benefits such as concierge services and airline lounge passes that’ll help you offset the costs of the card

Comparing your credit card options will help you narrow down your search and will ensure that you’re selecting your next card based on an informed decision.

Tip #4: Check the eligibility requirements

You’ll need to meet a set of eligibility requirements to be approved for any credit card you apply for. Make sure you confirm that you meet the eligibility criteria before you submit your application, as rejected credit card applications can have a negative impact on your credit score. In Singapore, the eligibility requirements usually include:

Credit card eligibility requirements

  • Age: You must be at least 21 years of age to apply for a credit card, except for student credit cards where the eligibility age is 18 years.
  • Residential status: Whether you are a Singaporean, Permanent Resident or a foreigner impacts your chances of getting a credit card. Income eligibility also differs according to the residential status of the applicant with foreigners requiring a higher income per annum to be eligible.
  • Minimum income: Minimum income eligibility if you are a Singaporean or Permanent Resident is S$30,000 p.a. For foreigners, the minimum income eligibility is S$45,000 p.a.
  • Credit rating/ score: Your credit score is taken into cognizance while issuing you a credit card as the credit score reflects your creditworthiness.

There are specific eligibility requirements for every credit card, so make sure you know what these are and are confident you have met them before applying.

Tip #5: Check and improve your credit rating

Banks typically use a credit rating system when assessing your eligibility for the card and card limit in question. Based on your credit history, repayment habits and current credit lines, the lender will work out how much you can safely borrow. This information is available to lenders whenever you apply for any form of credit, but also to you at any time. You should request a copy of your credit history before applying, so you can correct any possible errors on it and see exactly what the bank will be seeing when they assess your application. If the report is less than ideal, it may be wise to delay your application and spend some time improving your credit score to increase your chances of future card approval.

Tip #6: Lower your credit utilisation ratio

If you already have a credit card balance, it’s wise to pay off your existing balances before submitting a new credit card application. This is because having a high debt utilisation ratio is a poor indication of credit-worthiness and reduces the likelihood of a successful application. To calculate your ratio, divide the total current balances on your cards by their total limits.

How to lower your utilisation ratio

For example, if the limits on your three cards are S$5,000 each, and you have S$4,000 balance on each of them, your ratio is S$12,000/S$15,000 = 80%. A healthy ratio is typically 30% or less. If you’re struggling to repay your debts because of high-interest rates, consider consolidating your debt with a 0% balance transfer credit card.

Tip #7: Bank with your credit card provider-to-be

Opening a savings account or debit account with the bank you’re applying with could help with the application process. Firstly, it will significantly speed up your application, because you’re an existing customer and the bank has already verified that you are a legitimate customer.

Secondly, if you have a transaction or savings account with them, where your salary is deposited monthly, it proves that you have a paying job and a regular income stream. If you apply online and do it via internet banking, your application becomes even faster because your details will usually already be pre-populated on the forms. As long as they meet the eligibility requirements, existing customers can sometimes get approved quicker than other applicants without the hassle of providing further documentation.

What to remember during the credit card application process

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Once you’ve done some research, ensured you’ve met the eligibility requirements and selected a card, you can apply for your chosen credit card. While filling out your application, make sure to keep the following tips in mind:

Tip #8: Check your details

You’ll be asked to provide a lot of information during your application including addresses, contact numbers, referee details, current and previous employment, salary, outstanding debts and monthly expenses (just to name a few). While it might seem like a lot of information, it’s important to fill it out correctly and read over it before submitting the application. Mistakes on your application could slow down the process or result in a declined application. For instance, if you omit details of an outstanding balance and the bank later finds it on your credit file, they could think you’re trying to hide the debt from them and could decline your application.

Tip #9: Organise the required documentsccf-application-tips-250x250

As well as eligibility requirements, you’ll be required to provide a number of documents with your application. Supporting documents you’ll typically be asked for include your latest payslip, latest Income Tax Notice of Assessment or latest 6 months’ CPF contribution history statement

Tip #10: State your actual income

This is no time to be modest or to exaggerate your income. Deflating your income may sabotage your application by reducing the bank’s opinion of your ability to finance a debt. So if you have multiple sources of income (such as from part-time employment, freelance jobs or government payments), make sure to include these details. Fabricating or inflating your income, on the other hand, is considered fraud and punishable by law.

How to apply for a credit card when you’re self-employed

Mistakes to avoid when applying for a credit card

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Aside from the tips to follow before and during your application, the following are common mistakes to avoid if you want to increase your chances of approval.

Tip #11: Don’t apply for multiple cards at once or within a short period

You may be tempted to apply for more than one credit card just in case your first one doesn’t get approved, but don’t. Each credit enquiry that a lender makes about your credit history is listed on your credit file for five years. If you apply for a lot of credit cards at once or within a few months, it could appear to lenders that you have a lot of debt, even if that isn’t true. This could leave you in a vicious cycle of applying for credit cards and not having them approved.

In fact, some banks will automatically reject your application if you’ve recently applied for a credit card. For example, Citi states in its terms and conditions that your application may not be approved if you’ve applied for and been accepted for another Citi offer in the prior nine months. Be aware that this may be the case for other lenders too.

Tip #12: Don’t apply for balance transfers between cards funded by the same bank

Note that you can only transfer the balance of a card that isn’t funded by the same bank as your new card. This can be tricky because it’s not always clear which bank funds what credit card.

Applying for a credit card is a relatively simple process and can take as little as 15 minutes. However, if you don’t do your research beforehand, ensure you meet the eligibility requirements and prepare the necessary documents, you’ll likely reduce your chances of approval.

Compare cards and apply securely

Name Product Reward Cashback Offer Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
HSBC Revolution Credit Card
Up to 5X Rewards points (2 miles per S$1 spent) on qualifying purchases
S$150 cashback when you make S$800 in qualifying transactions in the first month of your account. Ends 31 March 2020
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$160.50 thereafter
S$30,000
Get free Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner luggage worth S$560. Simply make S$800 in qualifying transactions in the first month of your account. Or choose $150 cashback. Ends 31 March 2020.
Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Credit Card
Shopping, travel and lifestyle offers at over 3,000 outlets in Asia
Earn 1.5% cashback with no limit. Plus, there's no minimum spend
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today via MyInfo and receive up to S$100 cashback. End 31 May 2020.
UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card
6 air miles for every S$1 spent through Expedia, Agoda and UOB Travel.
Get S$150 cash credit if you spend a minimum of S$1,500 within 30 days. First 800 new customers only.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$256.80 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy free transfers to Changi Airport. Plus, 20,000 bonus air miles if you charge S$50,000 to your card in a year.
HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card
Earn 1 Reward point for every $1 on all spend.
Up to S$150 cash back when you spend
S$800 in your first month. Ends 31 March 2020

S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get free Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner luggage worth S$560. Simply make S$800 in qualifying transactions in the first month of your account. Or choose $150 cashback. Ends 31 March 2020.
Standard Chartered Spree Credit Card
Up to 20% savings on your fuel
Apply today via MyInfo and receive up to S$100 cashback. End 31 May 2020.
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Enjoy up to 3% cashback on all online spend in foreign currency and all vPost spend. Plus, up to 25% off on postal services and lots more.
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Earn 3 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 when you spend with Singapore Airlines, Scoot, SilkAir or KrisShop and 1.2 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 on all other spend.
Get S$150 cash credit if you spend S$1,500 or more within 30 days. First 800 new customers only.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy up to 3,000 KrisFlyer miles if you charge at least S$1,500 to your credit card in the first month.
UOB Yolo Card
Wide range of discounts including at Bubble Tea Factory. Plus, complimentary travel insurance
Enjoy up to 8% cashback on dining, travel, shopping and entertainment. Plus, a further 3% cashback in selected categories
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and get up to S$230 in bonus cash credits. T&Cs apply.
Citi Rewards Credit Card
10X Rewards on certain shopping spend, including online purchases
Up to 20% cash back at selected merchants
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get 30,000 Citi Thank You points when you spend S$3,000 in the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 March 2020.
UOB Lady's Card
10X UNI$ (or 20 miles) per S$5 spent on chosen category with no min. spend required
New customers can get up to S$230 in bonus cash credits. Until 30 June 2020. Ts&Cs apply
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and get up to S$230 in bonus cash credits. Plus, 0% interest on some purchases for up to 12 months.
HSBC Advance Credit Card
Enjoy annual fee waivers, up to 16% off your fuel, 1-for1 lifestyle offers, and more
Enjoy up to 3.5% cashback on all purchases with no minimum spend
S$0 annual fee for 1 year (permanently waived for HSBC Advance banking customers) - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get free Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner luggage worth S$560. Simply make S$800 in qualifying transactions in the first month of your account. Ends 31 March 2020.
Standard Chartered Rewards+ Credit Card
Up to 10X rewards points for every S$1 spent in foreign currency on
overseas retail, dining and travel
Apply today via MyInfo and receive up to S$100 cashback. End 31 May 2020.
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy a range of perks including 1-for-1 movie tickets with Cathay Cineplexes. Plus, complimentary travel medical insurance.
UOB One Card
Up to 10% cashback on Grab and UOB Travel transactions; 6% for your Singapore Power bill; and 5% back on all other spending
New customers can get up to S$230 in bonus cash credits. Until 30 June 2020. Ts&Cs apply
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and get up to S$230 in bonus cash credits. T&Cs apply.
Citi Cash Back Card
Get up to 20.88% off fuel. Plus, travel offers in 95 countries
8% cash back on dining, groceries and petrol transactions
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get a welcome gift of S$120 cash back when you spend S$1,200 in the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 January 2021.
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card
Complimentary stay at a Hilton hotel in Asia Pacific each year. Plus, enjoy four airport lounge passes
N/A
S$337.05 annual fee
S$50,000
Earn 16,000 KrisFlyer miles if you spend at least S$10,000 within the first three months. Ends 30 April 2020.
UOB PRVI Miles Visa Card
6 air miles for every S$1 spent through Expedia, Agoda and UOB Travel
Get S$150 cash credit when you apply. Minimum S$1,500 spend within 30 days. First 800 eligible applicants only
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$256.80 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy up to S$150 in cash credits. Plus, free travel cover.
American Express Platinum Credit Card
Up to 50% off your food bill for unlimited visits at hotels around Singapore
N/A
S$321 annual fee
S$50,000
Get Samsonite luggage (worth S$600) and a 1-night stay at Swissotel The Stamford Singapore (worth S$529) when you pay the annual fee in the first statement and spend S$4,500 in the first 3 months. Ends 31 March 2020.
Citi Prestige Card
Deals and discounts in more than 90 countries. Also, get six complimentary golf games across Asia
Up to 20% cashback at selected merchants
S$535 annual fee
S$120,000
Get a welcome gift of 62,500 Citi ThankYou Points (25,000 Miles) or Gadget Welcome Gift. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 March 2020.
American Express True Cashback Card
Enjoy free travel insurance benefits of up to S$350,000
Earn 1.5% cashback on all eligible spending. no minimum spend or cap
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$171.20 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and get a 3% Cashback bonus when you spend S$5,000 in the first six months.
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card
Enjoy money-saving offers on Hertz, Grab and at restaurants in Singapore and overseas
S$150 cashback for use at singaporeair.com when you spend a minimum of S$12,000 untill 30 June 2020
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$176.55 thereafter
S$30,000
Earn 8,000 bonus KrisFlyer miles when you spend S$5,000 in the first 3 months of card membership. Ends 30 April 2020.
UOB PRVI Miles World Mastercard
6 air miles for every S$1 spent through Expedia, Agoda and UOB Travel
Get S$150 cash credit when you apply. Minimum S$1,500 spend within 30 days. First 800 eligible applicants only.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$256.80 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy up to S$150 in cash credits. Plus, free travel cover.
Citibank SMRT Card
Up to 5% savings on groceries, fast food, movies, and coffee. Plus, 3% savings on online shopping
Redeem S$10 cash back for shopping vouchers with every 10 SMRT$ earned
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get a welcome gift of S$120 cash back when you spend S$1,200 in the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 January 2021.
Citi PremierMiles Visa Card
Deals and discounts in 95 countries. Plus, 10% off on hotel bookings with Expedia
Up to 10% cash back at selected merchants
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get 37,300 miles when you spend S$9,000 in the first 3 months. Annual fee applies. Ends 31 March 2020.
American Express CapitaCard
Earn 3X STAR$ when you shop at participating CapitaLand malls, and more
Get a referral bonus of S$50 worth of CapitaVouchers when you refer a friend
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$171.20 thereafter
S$30,000
Add supplementary cardholders and get S$20 worth of CapitaVouchers for each approved member (up to two cardholders). Ends 30 April 2020.
Maybank Business Platinum Mastercard
Get your business logo printed on your card. Plus, enjoy a global concierge service
Get up to S$50 cash credits to offset your credit card payments
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$180 thereafter
N/A
Get up to S$1 million in Travel Accident Insurance when you purchase flights or travel packages using your card.
Maybank eVibes Card - The Student Card
Up to 8% off accommodation bookings globally with AGODA
1% cash rebate on all spend
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$20 thereafter
N/A
Get an Adidas wristwatch worth S$120 when you use your card in the first month. First 500 successful applicants only.
Maybank Platinum Visa Card
Get complimentary travel cover of up to S$500,000
Up to 3.33% cash rebates on local spending - up to a monthly limit of S$100
S$0 annual fee for 3 years - S$80 thereafter
S$30,000
Get an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account at least S$300 in the first 2 months.
Maybank Family & Friends Credit Card
Earn up to 3X interest on your child's savings with Maybank Family Plus
Up to 8% cashback with minimum spend of S$800 per month
S$0 annual fee for 3 years - S$180 thereafter
S$30,000
Get an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account at least S$300 in the first 2 months.
Maybank Manchester United Platinum Visa Card
Chance to win a trip for 2 to watch Manchester United FC every season
1.6% cash rebate on all spend locally. No minimum spend or cap
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$80 thereafter
S$30,000
Get American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account a minimum of S$300 in the first 2 months.
Maybank DUO Platinum Mastercard
Car servicing vouchers, vehicle merchandise and more
5% cash rebate on petrol transactions in Singapore and Malaysia
S$120 annual fee
S$30,000
Get an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account at least S$300 in the first 2 months.
Maybank FC Barcelona Visa Signature Card
Chance to win a trip for 2 to watch FC Barcelona every season
1.6% cash rebate on all spend locally. No minimum spend or cap
S$120 annual fee
S$30,000
Get an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account at least S$300 in the first 2 months.
Maybank Visa Infinite Credit Card
Complimentary two-way airport limousine transfers. S$3,000 minimum spend per month
Earn up to 5X TREATS Points (2 air miles) on all spend
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$600 thereafter
S$150,000
Get an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account at least S$300 in the first 2 months.
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card
Complimentary access to selected VIP airport lounges. Plus, travel cover of up to S$1,000,000. Ts&Cs apply
Earn up to 3.2 Air Miles (8X TREATS Points) per dollar spent in Singaporean restaurants, petrol stations and more
S$0 annual fee for 3 years - S$180 thereafter
S$30,000
Get an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account at least S$300 in the first 2 months.
Maybank World Mastercard
A range of dining, shopping and travel deals - including up to S$1,000,000 of travel insurance
10X TREATS Points (4 air miles) on every S$1 spent at selected merchants
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$240 thereafter
S$80,000
Get an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account at least S$300 in the first 2 months.
Standard Chartered Prudential Visa Signature Card
Up to 10X rewards points on foreign spend, with no minimum spend required
Apply today via MyInfo and receive up to S$100 cashback. End 31 May 2020.
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Standard Chartered Visa Infinite X Credit Card
3 miles per $1 spent on foreign currency.
Get Cashback/Reward points/Bonus Interest on IRAS, Education, Insurance & Rental payment. T&Cs apply
S$695.50 annual fee
S$30,000
Standard Chartered Manhattan $500 Card
N/A
Earn 0.25% cashback on everything you spend.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$32.10 thereafter
S$18,000
Standard Chartered Priority Banking Visa Infinite Credit Card
Earn 2.5 points for every $1 spent on your credit card
Apply today via MyInfo and receive up to S$100 cashback. End 31 May 2020.
S$321 annual fee
S$30,000
Apply today via MyInfo and receive up to S$100 cashback. End 31 May 2020.

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