5 Tips for Applying for a Credit Card
If you’re applying for a credit card for the first time ever, the process can be a bit intimidating. Everywhere you turn, you’re likely pummeled with adverts that promise “0% APR for the first year” or “rewards and cash back” incentives. Credit card companies are always in competition with each other, and each one will do just about anything to make their product seem irresistible. How will you know if you’re choosing the right one? Never fear – this guide has been developed for those who are advancing on unknown waters and need a bit of guidance in the process. These are five essential tips for applying for a credit card.
Check Your Credit Score
Before beginning the process, you’ll want to get an idea of where you stand with major credit unions. Some credit card applications ask for this number before running the actual credit check, so you’ll need it just in case. Credit card companies will want to know about your credit history before approving or denying your application
Mention That You’re a Student
If you’re currently in school, be sure to mention this on the application or to the company representative who is assisting you. Certain companies offer special credit cards for students, and they come with particular perks that you might find useful.
Always Pay Attention to the Interest Rates
Even if a credit card is advertised with “0% for the first 6 months,” it is imperative that you find out what the interest rate will eventually change to after those few, short months have passed. The interest rate associated with a credit card will have a heavy impact on your monthly payments, as well as how much you end up paying back for purchases made on credit.
Compare Credit Card Companies
Never investigate just one company. Make a list of several and compare their offers. While one company might offer an attractive interest, it might also carry harsh penalties if you happen to miss a payment (it happens more often than you’d think). Weigh the pros and cons of each company, and make a decision accordingly.
Don’t Apply for Several at Once
Lastly, avoid placing several credit card applications at one time. It might seem strategic to apply for lots at a time to increase your odds of being approved for at least one, but it can actually harm your credit in the long run. Whenever a credit card company taps into an applicant’s credit history, this small probe can slightly harm their credit score. If several companies are doing this at once, it can really do quite a bit of damage. Likewise, it signals to credit unions that there could be suspicious activity going on with your identity and finances. Stick to one or two applications at the most.