No one likes to be rejected, especially when it comes to putting yourself out there financially. Maybe you noticed an enticing rewards credit card offer with benefits and points galore — but perhaps you’re worried about not being able to snag that approval. Here are some simple tips for boosting your odds of approval for a new credit card.
Pay Your Bills On Time
If you’re applying for a new credit card, the biggest piece of the puzzle is — you guessed it — your credit score. Lenders like to see that you’re able to responsibly handle an additional line of credit, and your payment history is the most important factor when it comes to determining your score.
You should make it a priority to pay off your entire credit card balance monthly, if you’re able to. And if you’re not quite able to swing that, then definitely at least pay the minimum balance on time every month. This will ensure that your account stays in good standing, and lenders like to see that. The same goes for your other bills too, like your utilities, rent, or cell phone.
If you currently have a decent score, a late payment has the potential to do some serious damage. For example, FICO data shows that if someone with a credit score of 793 made a payment 90 days late, their score would drop 100 points. Yikes!
Show Them The Money
Lenders want to see that you have the ability to pay your balances. When you supply your income level during your application, make sure to include all applicable sources. A 2013 amendment to the CARD Act allows you to include all household income that you “have a reasonable expectation of access to.”
Be sure to include your entire household income, as well as things like alimony, child support, disability, investment income, or retirement disbursements.
Set Yourself Up For Success By Applying For The Right Card
Not all credit cards are created equal. Some cards are geared toward consumers who are still building their credit. Generally, travel rewards or cash back cards require good to excellent scores, especially now while the country is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.
So, if you have poor credit — say a score of 629 or lower — it might be better to apply for cards specifically meant for people with bad credit. Cards like this can help you improve your credit over time, and qualify for better cards in the future.
A similar credit-building option to consider might be a secured credit card. With these, you put down a certain amount of money upfront, and then you can spend up to that amount on the card.