When applying for a credit card it is always a good idea to know your personal credit score, since this will affect your ability to negotiate beneficial terms for your credit. If your credit score is poor – e.g. due to unpaid bills, a habit of paying your bills to late or an earlier filing for bankruptcy – you will most likely end up with a high interest credit card, if your application is accepted at all. If your credit card score is poor, it is therefore advisable to try to rebuild you credit score.
You might already have received a lot of different credit card offers through the mail, on the Internet or from credit card promoters in malls or on campuses. Simply choosing the credit card company that has the flashiest online commercial or the one that is handing out balloons at your local mall every Saturday may however not be the wisest decision. Always compare several credit card offers before you make up your mind. The credit card that is ideal for you friend might be highly unsuitable for you, your financial situation and your lifestyle. Do not only choose among the credit card companies that shower you in commercials and promotional gift. Instead, you should always contact your bank and ask about their credit card offers for long time customers. By applying for a credit card from a bank that knows your financial history and current economical situation you might be able to negotiate a better deal. This is however not a strict rule, and you should always compare the offer from your bank with offers from other credit card companies.
The credit card application will usually be sent to you by ordinary mail, since you need to sign it. Today, there is also the possibility to apply online or over the phone. Be very careful when you fill in a credit card application, regardless of if it is to be mailed, transmitted online or over the phone. You will share highly personal information in your application and you do not want this information to end up in the wrong hands. There are many examples of dishonest websites gathering personal information from unsuspecting individuals. This information is then used for fraudulent undertakings and can seriously harm your financial situation. In cases of severe identity theft, you could even face charges and it can take a long time to establish that you are in fact innocent and that someone else have been using your name, address, social security number etcetera.
Only fill out credit card applications for credit cards that you actually need. Filling out applications as a “test” or to get some promotional gizmo is unadvisable since each application will be noted on your personal credit record. Having a large amount of different credits can make creditors perceive you as a high risk person. Having a lot of different credit cards is also generally a bad idea, unless you know from experience that you are a very neat and organized person that will keep track of all your different debts regardless of how many credit cards you use. Only use several credit cards if you actually gain something from it.