How to apply for a credit card

If you want a new credit card, here is exactly what you need to do to apply for it.

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Applying for a credit card

You can apply for a credit card online. It takes about 10 minutes and you can apply anywhere and at any time of day:

You could find out if your application had been accepted in principle in seconds. The provider may need longer and will contact you by email, phone or post.

You can also apply for a credit card:

Over the phone: Your provider will talk you through the application and take all the details they need from you. You will usually be sent a pre-filled application form in the post to sign in and return.
Through the post: You will need to complete an application form and send it back to the credit card company. You can request a form online, over the phone or pick one up from a branch.
In branch: If your provider has one, you can apply in your local branch.

What information do you need to provide?

You will need to provide your:

  • Name

  • Address

  • Date of birth

  • Nationality

  • Employment status

  • Salary

Do you need identification documents?

Credit card providers can usually check your identity through credit scoring agencies and the electoral roll. However, they occasionally need to ask for extra identification documents like copies of your driving licence, passport, bank statement or utility bill.

You would usually need to post these documents or take them into a branch for verification.

Will you be accepted?

Credit card companies will usually only accept your application if:

  • You are 18 or over

  • You live in the UK

  • Your annual income is above a specified amount

They will also run a credit check to decide if they will offer you a credit card.

Find out more about how credit card companies decide and what you can do to give your application the best chance of being accepted.

What if you get declined?

Don't reapply straight away because this can damage your credit report. Ideally it's best to wait at least six months. During that period, it's a good idea to take steps to improve your credit rating.

Here is how to choose a card that is more likely to accept you.

Find the best credit card for you, whether you're looking for 0% card for balance transfers or purchases or day to day spending and rewards