Credit Card Guides

Steps involved in applying for a credit card

The steps involved in applying for a credit card:

It can take up to 2 weeks to get a credit card from when you start you application to when it arrives. But there are several things to keep in mind to make the whole process go to plan.

Have a good view of your finances, credit score and options

It’s important to have a plan when going through the application process. First, think about when exactly you need the card - is there an upcoming holiday or purchase you need it to pay for? As mentioned, the whole process can take up to 2 weeks, but it’s better to start much longer before you need it in the event of your application not going through.

If your first application is unsuccessful, applying for another card too soon thereafter is unwise for 2 reasons. First of all, the next application is less likely to succeed than if you had made no applications because the bank sees that you have been turned down for another card and this usually makes them less likely to approve. On top of this, each application involved an enquiry into your credit history, which temporarily lowers you credit score.

As such, it’s usually better to leave a couple of months between applications to prevent declined applications building up and your available options progressively narrowing. If you don’t have a high credit score, this can be particularly important. It’s also a good idea to have a couple of other cards in mind which you could apply for next so that you have options laid out up front.

From the perspective of your finances, if you’re applying for the credit card with a specific cost in mind, take not that you may not be eligible for the advertised APR (the actual rate offered will be based on your credit history).

Be prepared

While it’s better to get the process completed in good time, be careful when applying for a credit card. Read the Terms and Conditions thoroughly and if necessary consult the credit card company or bank to explain some of the details. Be aware of the issue of different APRs offered, and what you need to provide for a successful application.

Tips for a quicker application process

The first good practice for credit card applications is to do so online – in many cases you can find out the status of your application automatically and instantly. There is no risk of postage delays or failures, making online applications quicker and better.

Overall, it usually takes up to 2 weeks to get the credit card sent out, but if you go through the process correctly and all goes to plan you could have a card as soon as 7 days after starting the application process, or even sooner.