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How do I Apply for a Credit Card?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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It’s fairly easy to apply for a credit card. People may receive regular offers in the mail, find lots of credit card application sites on the Internet, and even be asked by cashiers at department stores if they want to apply for a store or general credit card. Applications themselves are relatively simple, and usually involve giving name and address, past addresses if a person has not lived for one address for a long time, amount of income presently made, and social security number. Other information may include length of employment and employer address.

Most consumer counselors recommend that people do some research before they apply for a credit card. There are a number of Internet sites that do lump many credit offers together which can help people determine which offer is the most attractive. Things to look for include:

  • Interest rate
  • Annual Fees
  • Special programs and exclusions
  • Fines or Penalties

Not all credit card offers are the same, and sometimes credit rating may not be enough to qualify for certain offers. Companies may sometimes make a “comeback offer,” where they offer a smaller amount of credit or money loaned at higher interest rates. It’s still best to weigh all options before agreeing to get an offered card. When people apply for a credit card and don’t get a fair offer, they can reject the offer.

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The general ease to apply for a credit card can lead to some pitfalls. Especially when people are purchasing things at registers they may be offered discounts if they qualify for a credit card, or sometimes if they just apply. It should be noted that store credit cards typically charge much higher interest rates and the store hopes to capitalize on a discount given today by charging interest later. Sometimes it’s better not to apply for a credit card today, if it might lead to irresponsible spending in the future, and even if there is a discount for doing so.

Another thing people must be wary of when they apply for a credit card is the potential for people to steal their information, like social security numbers. People should carefully research any companies they plan to apply to. If an offer seems too good to be true, especially on the Internet or through the mail, it very well may be. Applying at the credit company instead of applying online can help keep information secure. Those who want a particular offer can reference the online or mail offer when applying.

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