Credit Cards: Applying Online vs In-Person

It seems nearly impossible to do anything without having a credit card. As a result, if you don’t have one yet or if you only have store cards, you might want to apply for a new credit card. With various options available to you, it’s important to know whether you should apply online or in person. Weighing out the differences between these methods can help.

What are Your Options for Applying for a Credit Card?

While two methods for applying for credit cards are mentioned most often, online or in person, there are actually four ways to do so. In addition to applying online or in person, you can also apply for a credit card over the phone or via mail. However, you might want to do some investigating on the best way to apply, as you can get better perks when you do so one way versus another.

What is the Best Way to Apply for a Credit Card?

When comparing the two most common and popular ways to apply for a credit card, online is probably the best option. It’s fast and easy. You get an online application for a credit card, which can get approved within minutes of submitting your information. However, approval happens only when your credit score is within a certain range. Of course, the better your credit score, the better your odds of being approved when applying for a credit card.

According to the experts at SoFi Invest, “Applying online is better than in person due to the convenience it offers you.” You can also compare different credit cards to decide which one is the best fit for you, something that’s not readily available when applying in person.

Your application and information are also able to get to the credit card issuer faster, which is always an advantage. The faster your information is with the issuer, the better your odds of being approved and receiving your new credit card in the mail.

What to Do Before Applying for a Credit Card

You should know what to do before applying for a credit card regardless of the method you use for applying. The following steps should be carried out:

  • Become educated about credit scores – If you’re new to credit, you should learn about credit scores to know where you stand. Perhaps you have just begun to build your credit with a store card or two. Knowing that poor credit scores range from 300 to 629 while good to excellent credit falls between a score of 690 to over 800 is essential. You have better odds of approval if your score is good or better.
  • Learn your credit score – Access your credit score to see where it stands. You can sign up for access from the MyFICO website or some other credit-related sites.
  • Improve your credit if necessary – If necessary, you can take steps to improve your credit. When using your credit card, stay within 30% of your total credit utilization ratio. Pay off your bills in full. This can prevent you from having issues like rising APR, which can negatively affect your credit score.
  • Know how to answer questions – Credit card issuers ask certain questions whenever a person applies for credit. Some of the trickier ones involve your income. It’s important to be honest and not exaggerate your answer. Anything false on a credit application can be considered fraud. Even if you’re unemployed, you might still be approved for a credit card.
  • Be discriminating – Don’t just sign up for the first credit card offer you see. Be discriminating and research several cards to see which one is the best fit for your needs. For example, you might not need a card that provides you with rewards like sky miles if you don’t travel anywhere by plane. A card that offers rewards based on shopping at grocery stores might be a much better fit.

Applying online for a credit card is often the best option for many people. It’s straightforward and fast.

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