Applying for your next credit card can be stressful – especially if you’re new to the process. Wondering what information you’ll need to provide, or if you are even eligible to apply for a credit card? Here’s the information you’ll need handy to apply for a credit card – as well as how to find out if you’re eligible.
Who Can Apply for a Credit Card?
First, who is eligible to get a credit card? There are several requirements an applicant must meet to apply for a credit card in the United States. The most crucial factor needed is that the applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
Applicants between the ages of 18 and 21 must also provide proof of income. The CARD Act of 2009 introduced this requirement, as many card issuers were unscrupulously offering credit cards to college students with no means of repaying the debt they incurred. Those between 18 and 21 without proof of income must list a co-signer on their application.
Other essential requirements include:
- Proof of citizenship or residency: Many credit card issuers require those applying to be U.S. citizens or resident aliens with a Social Security Number (SSN).
- Credit score: Many credit card issuers have specific credit score requirements for their credit cards. The easiest way to know what credit score you’ll need to apply is to browse our Credit Needed resource page.
What Information Do You Need for Your Application?
Most credit cards have a set standard for the information you must provide on an application. Common details you’ll need for your application include:
|① Full legal name and contact information||You'll need your full legal name, contact address, phone number, and e-mail address to apply for pretty much every credit card.|
|② Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)||
Most credit card issuers require applicants to have a U.S. Social Security number to apply for a credit card. Since foreign citizens likely lack an SNN, they may receive an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead. An ITIN is an ID number the IRS issues to anyone who needs to file income tax returns in the United States but doesn’t qualify for an SSN. Be ready to provide either of these items when applying for a personal credit card.
The following banks accept foreign national applicants with an ITIN number, according to Experian:
Currently, only two major card issuers don’t allow applicants with an ITIN:
|③ Income||You'll need to provide income information when applying for a credit card. Banks like to see that you aren't too stretched financially, and part of this process is by evaluating how much income you have from things like your job, investments, and other sources.|
|④ Expenses||Your monthly expenses are the second part of the puzzle when it comes to gauging your risk as an applicant. Your monthly housing costs (rent, mortgage) current utilities, and other relevant info might be asked when you apply.|
|⑤ Credit Score||The final piece of informational lender needs to judge a credit card application is your credit score. Much of the information in your credit report is supplied by creditors and lenders, and potential lenders will use these details as a point of reference when considering you for a loan or line of credit. Your credit report is prepared and sold to prospective lenders and creditors by three credit reporting agencies – or bureaus, as they’re also known. They are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.|
Some credit card issuers may require additional information, depending on the type of credit card for which you are applying.
If you plan on adding an additional authorized user, for example, your bank may require details about that person. This information includes their:
- Full name
- Date of birth
If you are applying for a balance transfer credit card, your bank or the card issuer will require information about the balance you plan to transfer over.
It’s worth noting that while balance transfer credit cards are ideal for paying off large, existing credit card balances, the card issuer must approve the transfer. For this reason, cards like the Upgrade Card are preferable, as they offer a line of credit you can transfer to your bank account – allowing you to pay off any card balance – without worrying about bank approval.
Credit Cards That Don’t Require a Credit Check
Once you provide all this information, expect your bank or the card issuer to perform a credit check. A credit check – or hard inquiry – will allow the bank to inspect your credit report to verify the information you provide and ensure your credit profile is a match for the card offer.
Hard inquiries have a small impact on your credit score, though this impact dissipates over a few months. Still, a hard inquiry remains on your credit report for two years (24 months), meaning it may lessen the chances of any future credit card applications. Fortunately, there are credit cards that don’t require a credit check.
There are lots of credit cards on the market for people with bad credit or no credit. One of the more popular options, however, is the OpenSky Secured Visa. Perhaps the best reason to consider adding the OpenSky Visa credit card to your wallet is that it requires no credit check. The application process with the OpenSky Secured Visa is straightforward and takes just a few minutes. Approval is equally quick, making the entire process as painless as possible.
Related Article: How to Choose a Subprime Credit Card
Editorial Disclosure – The opinions expressed on BestCards.com's reviews, articles, and all other content on or relating to the website are solely those of the content’s author(s). These opinions do not reflect those of any card issuer or financial institution, and editorial content on our site has not been reviewed or approved by these entities unless noted otherwise. Further, BestCards.com lists credit card offers that are frequently updated with information believed to be accurate to the best of our team's knowledge. However, please review the information provided directly by the credit card issuer or related financial institution for full details.