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Applying for a credit card has never been easier. Gone are the days of filing out a long application and waiting anxiously for the reply. Today, approval is just a click away.

Choosing the Right Card

While applying for a credit card is easier than ever, the requirements for obtaining a card have not changed. Based on your credit history, score, and length of credit, you may or may not be approved for a card. You can avoid a denial by doing a bit of online research before you apply. For example, American Express credit cards require:

  • A FCIO score between 700 and 750
  • A lengthy history of on-time credit payments
  • A well-balanced ratio of credit extended to credit owed
  • A steady work history

In comparison, bad credit credit cards don't review your FICO score and only require a $12,000 annual income.

You can narrow your search and avoid bad news by becoming familiar with the minimum qualifying requirements of the credit card you are applying for.

Online Approval Tools

Technology has changed the way credit cards are marketed, awarded, and maintained. Several new websites offer tools that allow you to determine which credit cards you qualify for and to compare:

  • Interest rates
  • Annual fees
  • Finance and other charges

The "Choosing a Credit Card" page at US government web portal can help you evaluate the various cards and determine their affect on your family finances.

It's also a good idea to check your credit score before you apply. Take advantage of free annual credit report reviews to be sure there are no errors on your report. If you find an error, have it removed before you apply.

Apply at a Secure Site

Credit card applications are full of private information identity thieves would love to get a hold of. Before you apply online, make sure the site you are visiting is secure.

On Internet Explorer, a secure site is indicated by a closed padlock displayed right after the web address. If you want to know more about the site and its security certification, just click on the padlock. A pop up window will appear and verify:

  • The authenticity of the site you are visiting
  • The date of certification
  • The company that certified the site

Mozilla/Firefox displays a padlock on the lower right hand edge of the screen. If the padlock is closed the site is secure, if the padlock is open the site is not secure. You can click on the padlock icon for further information.

Your personal identifying information is very valuable and should be guarded carefully. Never apply for a credit card on a site that:

  • Was recommended to you by email from a person you do not know
  • There is offensive material on the site
  • You are asked for passwords or credit card numbers as identifiers

Once you have applied, it is wise to close your browser and start a new session.

Where to Apply

Many sites allow you to apply for a credit card. Choose a site that is secure and offers the services you need.

You may choose to visit the company's website. They will take your application and may be able to give you an answer in just a few minutes. You may also apply at websites that allow you to compare and evaluate a variety of credit cards. Theses sites will open a secure line and transfer you to the appropriate site.

Be sure to keep a record of the application, the date and time you applied, and the site you used.

Applying for a credit card online is fast and easy. Use online tools to evaluate and apply for the credit card that best suits your family's budget and financial goals.

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Please note your financial situation is unique and our tips & advice presented here may not be appropriate for your situation. CreditCardXpo.com recommends that you seek different advice & opinions from your own accountant or financial adviser who understands your individual circumstances before making any important decisions or implementing any financial strategy.