Applying for a credit card can be a fairly straightforward process.
Depending on the lender’s criteria and your credit history, you could even get an instant decision.
Whether you’re applying for your first credit card or looking for a card that offers a better interest rate, for example, here are some tips on how to make sure your application runs smoothly.
How do I apply?
Well this is entirely up to you! Some lenders let you complete the entire application process online.
This way, you have the flexibility to shop around and find a competitive deal without this being visible to lenders on your credit history. You can do this by using a price comparison site’s soft search, which is a tool that allows you to narrow down your search and highlight credit cards for which you are more likely to be accepted for.
Money saving websites and credit checking services like ClearScore are a good place to start. Here at Ocean, we have QuickCheck, which lets you check your eligibility for our credit card without affecting your credit score.
I don’t like applying online?
Of course, you’re not limited to applying for a credit card solely online. You might prefer to speak to someone face-to-face or over the phone. In this case, you can contact some lenders direct to see what deal they can offer.
Bear in mind that each time you apply for credit, it will be marked on your credit history. So hold off applying for a number of cards at once - this can make you appear desperate to borrow money.
It’s for this reason that a soft search check is worthwhile. It’s a good idea to ask whether the lender can check your eligibility in this way before you apply.
What will I be asked?
Of course, the criteria will differ from lender to lender, but you should expect to be questioned on your employment status and income and asked to provide personal details like your name, age and address.
Credit card providers will use this and information from your credit history to work out whether you pose a risk of missing your repayments.
If you’ve struggled with your repayments in the past – which your credit history will highlight – you might find that lenders are less likely to lend to you.
Which credit card is best?
Well this will depend on how you plan to use your credit card and what you’re eligible for. There are many types of credit card available - from interest free to cash back deals. You can find out more about these here.
Remember to consider all your options. Some cards may benefit you more than others.
Will I always get an instant decision?
This will ultimately depend on the credit card provider. Depending on your circumstances and their lending criteria, you may get an instant decision when you apply – but you may not.
Some lenders might request documents as proof of your income or to confirm your identify, for example, which may mean the application process takes slightly longer. If you’re self-employed, lenders will typically complete additional checks to assess your annual income.