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Afraid to Apply for a Credit Card Online? You Have Options

Dec. 9, 2014
Credit Card Basics, Credit Cards
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With mounting credit card breaches and hacks, many people are afraid that their personal information will be stolen. If you’re one of them and afraid to apply for a credit card online because of security issues, read on to find out more about online bank security and your options to applying for a new card online.

I’m afraid to apply for a credit card online — how can I know it’s secure?

All of the major issuers have security in place to keep your personal data protected. The sites use 128-bit encryption, which, according to Techopedia is “logically unbreakable” — in order to decrypt it, it would take 2 to the 128th power number of combinations. Even the most powerful computers aren’t able to break that level of encryption. And keep in mind, if you do your credit card research on NerdWallet and click on a link to apply for your chosen card, you’ll be taken to a secure application on the issuer’s site with that same high level of encryption.

Make sure the URL on the issuer site says “https” instead of “http,” since the “https” means you’ll be applying over a secure network. Also, most browsers have a lock sign next to the https, a further indication that the website is secure.

The benefits to applying for your new credit card online

Online applications are often approved immediately, or at least quickly. They’re easy to use — everything is step-by-step, but you can call the issuer if you need help understanding any of the instructions. Applying for cards online is also preferable for comparison purposes. You’ll be able to compare multiple cards side by side to pick the best card for your needs. Many issuers’ sites allow you to choose your credit score range, desired benefits and more and can point you to a card option that’s right for you.

NerdWallet also has a credit card comparison tool if you haven’t decided on an issuer. You can choose the type of card you want and the rewards structure you prefer, and filter by fees, network preference, issuer preference and credit score, if you so choose. NerdWallet has more than 1,200 credit cards in its database, so narrowing those options down will help you get the best card.

What are my other options for applying for a new credit card?

If you don’t want to apply for your new credit card online, many issuers offer additional options for applications. Here are the options for some of the major banks:

  • American Express: Apply over the phone at 1-800-243-3888
  • Bank of America: Apply over the phone at 1-866-422-8089 or at your local branch
  • Capital One: Apply over the phone at 1-800-695-5500 or at your local branch
  • Chase: Apply over the phone at 1-800-432-3117 or at your local branch
  • Citibank: Apply over the phone at 1-800-456-4277 or at your local branch
  • Discover: Apply over the phone 1-800-347-2683

There’s also a mail-in option, but it’s more time consuming than applying over the phone or filling out an application in-branch. Also, there’s a chance that your application will be lost in the mail, opening you up to security issues and more time spent re-applying.

» MORE: How to apply for a credit card so you’ll get approved

The takeaway: Credit card issuers have high levels of security to keep your personal information protected online. There are many benefits to applying online — like fast approval, ease of use and the ability to compare potential credit cards side by side. But if you don’t want to apply online, you can use the contact information above to apply via phone or in person.

Locks on digital screen image via Shutterstock