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Pre-Application Tips for Credit Cards

Oct 7, 2007
For the most part, credit card applications are fairly identical in what they want to know about you and your finances. There may be some differences, depending on the company and the level of credit that you are seeking, but, in general, there are some things that all card issuers will want to know before they approve you for one of their credit cards.

Knowing in advance what the company will be looking for and improving those areas (whenever possible) before you actually apply to the company can improve your success rate. The following are some of the items that most (if not all) credit card companies will look at during their decision process.

Rent or Own: This is one of the standard questions that you see in almost all applications. There was a time when buying a home was looked upon more favorably than renting a home, but that is changing. Due to the increase in home foreclosures the advantages that buying had over renting are diminishing.

When it comes to answering this question, be truthful. You cannot lie about this and get away with it. Just be honest about it and understand that many renters get credit lines just as home buyers do. One caveat to this is that if you are in the works of moving from renter to owner you may want to wait until you have closed your home buying deal before applying for a new credit card.

Employment is another question that is usually asked of applicants. Again, do not lie about this. If you are unemployed and have no other source of income hold off on the application until you find work. If you believe your monthly income is too low, find a part time job so that you can include that added income in the household financial information that they are sure to ask about on the application.

Speaking of household income, this is yet another of the most popular questions asked on credit card applications. This is one of the most important questions on the application and much will be decided based on the answer you give.

Some companies have a minimum annual household income. If you fall below this amount you will be denied. It is that simple. Often you can find this cut off amount on the application itself so look for it.

Annual household income includes anything that brings in money to the home. If you have income from stock dividends, income from part time jobs or other sources include that on the application. It is not a good idea to make up sources of income but do include the income that you honestly receive. If you are on the short list for a raise at work, wait until you get that raise before submitting your application.

Keep in mind that aside from approving or denying the application, your household income amount is also used to determine the credit limit that the company will give you. The more income you can state on the application, the higher your credit limit will be (in most cases).

The last thing you should do in your pre-application process is reduce your debt as much as possible. If you can pay off some loans, do so. Even if the loans are small, paying them off shows the credit card company that you are financially astute.
About the Author
Peter Kenny is a writer for The Thrifty Scot, please visit us at Credit Cards and Bank Charges
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