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How To Qualify For A Credit Card

Are you wondering what you need to get approved for a credit card? Good news! You’ve come to the right spot. We’ll tell you how to be a gold-star credit card applicant and pick the credit card that’s perfect for you — so you can get started on the path of good credit maintenance quickly and easily!

Did you know that some things are non-negotiable must-haves? It’s true! Others are nice-to-have, or necessary only if you’re applying for a specific type of credit card.

Let’s get started with the must-haves…


Applying For A Credit Card 101

The basics you need to qualify for a credit card are as follows:


Your age

Just like you need to be 21 to order a hard seltzer, you need to be 21 to apply for a credit card. Unlike at the bar, however, financial institutions will give you a credit card when you’re under 21 IF you have your parents’ permission or your own source of income.


SSN (social security number) or ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number)

There’s a reason they tell you to take such good care of your Social Security Number. You need it for almost everything! It’s how you establish a credit history. However, if you don’t have a Social Security Number, here at UMe, we can accept your Individual Taxpayer ID Number (ITIN) instead.


Speaking of credit history…

You’ll need a good one to qualify for a credit card. Credit card issuers (AKA. the organization where you would apply for a credit card) will check your credit to make sure you are the kind of person who can reliably make payments. A score around 700 is a good idea, but even if you don’t have – ahem – excellent credit (or if you still need to build credit), you have options! More on that below.


Proof of income, employment, and residence

Credit scores aren’t the only way banks figure out if you’re a trustworthy borrower. They want to know that you’ve got money coming in that will enable you to make your credit card payments.

The bank will take a look at the income you report and use that to determine the kind of credit card offer you can get. They might look at something called your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which reveals if you have any existing debt, and whether you’ll be able to make an additional payment when and if they give you a credit card.

Proving that you have a job with a W-2 or pay stub shows them that you’re reliable. Your credit card application will likely ask you to report your housing situation. Proof of residence – and how long you’ve lived there – confirm that you are who you say you are, and also that you’re not a drifter who’s planning to skip town and miss payments.


Credit Cards For When You’re Just Starting Out

What if you haven’t had the opportunity to develop much of a credit history? If that’s your situation, may want to consider a secured credit card.


Secured vs. unsecured credit cards

Most credit cards are unsecured, meaning you aren’t required to put a deposit in a bank account to get a credit card. If you qualify for an unsecured credit card, you have established credit history (that is satisfactory), sometimes with around 7 years’ worth of credit reports from one of the three major credit bureaus.

For those without much credit, a secured credit card is sometimes a good way to get started. You’ll be required to put down a security deposit that can be anywhere from $200 to $1000.

Be advised that secured credit cards sometimes have lower credit limits. That means you’ll want to keep your credit utilization ratio low so that it’s easy for you to make accurate, on-time payments (which is how you boost your credit).

Once you’ve shown about a year’s worth of consistent use of a secured card, making all your payments on time, most financial institutions will allow you to get a regular credit card with a higher limit.


Application Process

Now that you have an idea of what lenders look for in an applicant, let’s review the steps involved with applying for a card.


Online or in-person? Does it matter?

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you apply online or in-person, the information financial institutions ask for is the same.

They’ll require that you provide much of the information we’ve discussed so far: your Social Security Number (or ITIN), your name, date, and birth date, and proof of residence.

Other information you may be asked to tell them about is any other authorized users you’d like to add to your card.


U Need A UMe Credit Card!

Want to find out more about how credit cards work before you make a decision? We’ve got you covered. Learn some more credit card basics here.

At UMe, our Visa Credit Card opens the door to a variety of benefits and rewards:

  • Cash rewards
  • Travel with convenient online reservations for airline tickets, hotel rooms, cruises, and car rentals

When you’re ready, one of our friendly UMe Team Members can walk you through the process, answering your questions as you go. Visit our branch to apply in person, or apply online, and start enjoying the rewards and benefits.

See the low rates and great rewards with the Platinum Visa.

get your visa reward card