How to apply for a credit card

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Updated: 3/27/2003 1:09 pm
Credit card companies have made it easier than ever to apply for a credit card. Applications are available through direct mail, banks, stores, or restaurants. Though the applications may look similar, not all cards and credit agreements are the same. Many cards differ in annual fees, interest rates, and services. It's recommended that you get a clear understanding of your spending habits before choosing a card. If you know that you will be paying off the entire balance each month, you may opt for a card with no annual fee and higher interest rates. However, if you'll be carrying a balance from month to month, a card with lower interest rates may be preferable. Information on each card's rates, services, and fees will be printed on the application. Most credit card applications will ask the same basic questions including your annual income, employment, and credit references. If you do not have an established credit history or have a poor credit history, it may be easier to get a 'secured card.' This card requires you to deposit money in advance of spending to ensure that you do not spend more than you can pay. This card is also a good idea for those who have difficulty balancing their budgets or are worried about credit debt. For more information on applying for a credit card, consult a bank or financial advisor.

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