What information do I need to provide to apply for a credit card?

What information is required when you submit a credit card application? If you are like most people, you probably receive several unsolicited credit card offers in the mail every week. Deciding to apply for one of those offers should be done with caution. Not all mailed offers are from legitimate companies and sending your information to them in the mail can have negative consequences.

Though mailing in an application is one way to apply, the best way to apply for a credit card is online. Here is the information you need to provide if you are going to apply for a credit card.

Personal Information

When you are applying for a credit card the company will need some personal information from you. They will need your legal name and may ask for your maiden name or any aliases you have gone by in the past. They will need your birth date, social security number, mailing address, and phone numbers. Most companies now ask for your e-mail address as well so that they can contact you with any questions or send confirmation that they have received your information.

Personal information may also include your marital information and if married, your spouse’s name, birth date, and social security number. This information will be used to run a credit check. Your credit score as well as your debt to income ratio are factors that companies use to determine if you will be approved for a credit card or not. If you are applying for a joint account, both your credit score and your spouse’s score will be considered. If you are just adding your spouse as a cardholder, just your credit score will be accessed.

Financial Information

Of course, the most important aspect of being approved for a credit card is your financial situation. An application will ask for your total household income annually. If you get paid weekly then just multiple your weekly income by 52 to find your annual income. Put down your gross income. This is the amount of money you make before taxes and other deductions are taken out.

Typically, credit card companies will also ask if you rent or own your home and for how long your have done so. Most applications will ask for your monthly rent or mortgage payment amount. Depending on the type of credit card you are applying for, the application may ask for a summary of your total monthly expenses. For this you only need to include monthly bills such as utilities and car payments and not things like food and gas.

An application may also ask for the phone number of your employer so that they can call and verify employment and income. Depending on the type of card, the application may ask if you have any bank accounts or investment accounts and for the amount of money in those accounts. There may be other voluntary questions that help companies track applicants such as occupation, how you heard about the offer, and if you plan on doing a balance transfer.

Why Apply Online?

You need the same information to mail in a form as you do to apply for a credit card online. However, applying online gives you additional options. For example, you can research a credit card company online, read reviews, and see what special offers are being made. You can download the fine print and read it carefully before deciding what card is right for you. This gives you the time you need to make sure you are making the right decision.

Applying online will also give you the opportunity to have an instant answer. Most companies offer online applicants a reply within minutes, though some offer a reply within 24 hours. A reply does not mean that you will know if you are approved or not. Most replies will tell you that you are approved, you are denied, or the company needs more time to review your application.

Typically a credit card company will send the reply to your e-mail so that any sensitive information will not pop up on the screen. The e-mail will give you options and additional information as well as let you know of any additional information the company may need from you in order to process your application.

One of the best ways to find the card you are looking for is to compare what different cards have to offer through our free online comparison tool. Seeing offers, rates, rewards, and features side by side can help you determine what card will best suit your needs. Use our free online credit card comparison tool right now and find the card that is right for you!

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Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or any other credit card company or issuer. The opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any credit card company or issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any credit card company or issuer. Credit Card Chaser may be compensated through various affiliate programs with advertisers. As always, Credit Card Chaser is an independent website commmitted to helping people research credit card offers and find the best credit card!