No matter what type of credit card you apply for, there are a number of things to keep in mind. Using a well-thought out approach taking all factors into consideration is a good way to go about planning, applying for and managing your credit cards, and working through the steps in advance will make sure you have all bases covered. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when preparing to apply.
Take stock of your credit and financial circumstances, and what you need the card for.
You should have a clear picture of your finances and credit score, and a rough financial outlook for the coming 12 months while planning your applications. Check your credit score with one of the leading credit agencies like Experian. Then see if you can think of any extenuating circumstances that might bring about uncertainty in the next few months (such as a planned job move or moving house). With these things in mind, you should have an idea of your credit worthiness from the perspective of lenders, as well as an idea of your own confidence in being able to make repayments on time.
Next think about the purpose of applying for the credit card. Is is for spending on a trip or big purchase? In this case, a 0% purchase card could be the right option. For bringing another credit card debt under control, a balance transfer credit card could be an option. If your looking to make money back on spending, a cashback credit card might be best.
With an idea of the ideal card in mind as well as your credit score, try and estimate your chances of being approved for the ideal card. You can use one of the many online eligibility checkers to get an insight into your chances of success. If it seems like there is too much doubt as to whether or not you’ll be approved, perhaps consider a credit builder card or taking steps to improve your credit score before applying.
It’s important to keep in mind that you may not be offered the advertised APR for a given card. This is because lenders are only obliged to offer this rate to 51% of applicants. You may be offered a higher rate or a shorter interest free period after applying.
At this stage you should have an idea of your main needs and options, as well as any notable risks. You should be in a good position to navigate the application process wisely.
You can then start the application process. It’s best to have a few backup cards you could apply for in mind also. But be aware that it’s not a good idea too apply for cards in too short a time-frame since this will leave a mark on your credit score.
It’s better to apply online since this could save a lot of time in sending post back and forth. Also, there are some offers that can only be availed of by applying online. You can even find out instantly if your application has been accepted. Make sure you take your time when applying, ensuring you’ve gone through the steps correctly.
If you’ve completed the application online and been approved, you can expect to receive your card in the post in around 2 weeks.