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What do lenders look for when choosing to approve your credit card application?

A lender considers more factors than just your credit score.

Updated

Lenders want to know if you’re able to repay your debt. That’s why they need your personal and financial information, including annual income, employment status, Social Security number and your credit score. Based on the information they receive, the lender will decide whether to approve your credit card application and what your interest rate will be.

Two main questions lenders ask

  1. Are you likely to repay the credit?
    You may have a great income and lots of money to repay the loan, but if your credit history suggests you renege on your debts or pay them late, then very few lenders will look favorably upon you unless they’re able to secure their loan against a security deposit.
  2. Are you able to repay the credit?
    Lenders need to see that you have a regular income so your repayments can be easily covered. If you don’t have a regular income, some lenders may deny your application, even if you have a good credit score.

Does credit repayment need to be guaranteed?

Not unless you’re applying for a business credit card. Personal credit cards usually don’t require a guarantee if you have a good credit score or higher. If your credit score is lower than that, a bank may require a secured deposit, which will act as your credit line.

How will a lender make sure I repay the debt?

Lenders believe that you will repay your debt. If you make a late payment, you’ll pay fees and interest. If you can’t repay your debt, your account will go to a collection agency. Lenders will always make sure they get what you owe.

Our pick for credit card offers

CardMatch™ from creditcards.com

  • Find card offers you are more likely to qualify for without impacting your credit score.
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Compare credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Citi® Double Cash Card
Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)
13.99% to 23.99% variable
$0
This one of the most valuable flat cashback cards. It comes with 2% cash back (1% when you buy plus 1% when you pay) and 18 months months to pay off transfers.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See issuer's website
See terms
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
N/A
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.74% to 23.74% variable)
$0
A market-leading balance transfer intro APR of 21 months and 12 months on purchases. Plus Citi Entertainment℠ for deals on dining and going out.
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
Earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable)
$0
Get rewards on gas and groceries with no annual fee. Ideal for everyday use, it's the only card that rounds purchases up to the nearest 10 points.
TD Cash Credit Card
3% on dining, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other eligible purchases
0% intro for the first 15 billing cycles (then 12.99%, 17.99% or 22.99% variable)
$0
3% on dining and 2% on groceries make this a valuable card for food purchases. Use it while traveling, too, with no foreign transaction fees. Available in: CT, DC, DE, FL, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Lenders look at many factors when you apply for a credit card, but all they want to know is whether or not can you repay a debt. To get approved for most credit cards, you need a good credit history and a steady annual income.

If you’re looking for the right card to fit your financial needs, compare your credit card options.

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