When you apply for a credit card, you hope to be approved. But making common mistakes on credit card applications can earn you a denial right off the bat. Knowing what you’re up against before you fill in the blanks will help ensure you have the best shot at getting the credit card you want.
Credit card application mistakes are most detrimental for people with no credit history or those with bad credit. People with good to excellent credit rarely worry about these errors because they are not used to denials. Fortunately, you can improve a less-than-desirable credit history by approaching credit management and the application process with these potential mistakes in mind.
Credit card applications ask for your income, your account balances, employment status and even your monthly housing expenses. Fudging these numbers could give you access to more credit, but lying on a credit card application is considered fraud. Credit card fraud can carry significant penalties, including prison time — hardly worth the potential payoff of a higher credit limit.
Applying for too many cards too quickly
When your credit card application is denied, it’s tempting to fill out another and another. But too many credit inquiries can hurt your credit score and further increase the likelihood that you’ll be denied again. Instead of applying for credit cards en masse, choose one and wait at least six months before filling out another application.
Failing to read the fine print
Know what you’re getting into before you apply. Don’t accept the first credit card offer in your mailbox; instead look for the right credit card for your needs. Make sure you consider interest rates, annual fees and various rewards programs. Also, do some research on how easy or difficult it is to get a specific card. Applying for a credit card for people with excellent credit could be an exercise in futility if you have a less than stellar credit history.
Not considering a co-signer
If you go into the credit card application process knowing you might be denied, you should consider a co-signer. A co-signer essentially vouches for your creditworthiness and stands to take the fall if you fail to make your payments. But having a co-signer with good credit will increase the likelihood of an approval. You’ll want to find someone with whom you have a good relationship and make every effort to keep the credit card in good standing if approved, because you aren’t the only one with your credit on the line.
We all make mistakes, but the wrong move when applying for credit could cost you for years to come.
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