Make applying for a new card a painless and successful process by following these tips
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Before you start filling out an application for a new credit card, pause, and first take these four simple steps:
1. Review your credit report and score.
When reviewing these items, there are a few things you should look for:
- Errors and signs of fraud. If you find any, you’ll need to get those items corrected before applying for a new card.
- Your credit score. Knowing this will help determine what types of cards you may qualify for, depending on how high – or low – your score is.
- Where your credit needs improvement. Is a high credit utilization ratio bringing your score down? Pay down your balances before applying for a new card. Did you recently apply for another line of credit? Wait a month or two to allow your credit to bounce back from a hard inquiry before submitting a card application.
2. Compare and contrast card offers.
Ultimately, you want to apply the best card for you. However, just because a promotional card offer appears in your mailbox, doesn’t mean it’s the best one on the market.
Don’t apply for a card on a whim. Do some research, first. Read the card’s terms, reviews, and use card match tools, such as CreditCards.com CardMatch. Taking a little extra time to do these things will help match you with a new credit card that is well-suited for you.
3. Know what perks you’ll need and use the most.
Before you start filling out a new credit card application ask yourself, “How will this card benefit me long-term?”
For example, if you travel frequently, getting an airline rewards card might be best. But, if you tend to carry a balance, a card with a long no-interest introductory rate offer might be a better option.
Also consider fees and high interest rates. Once you have your pool of cards narrowed down based on your spending habits and needs, pluck out the ones with annual fees and particularly high standard purchase rates.
4. Ask for help.
If you still unsure what card to choose – or are a credit newbie overwhelmed by all the information you just took in – it’s OK to ask for help.
Talk with a credit-savvy friend or family member. Ask what they would do if they were in your situation. Their experience may help you avoid making a mistake.
By following these guidelines, applying for a new card will get easier each time. Happy card shopping!