To obtain the credit card of your choice, you'll need to submit an application that involves some investigation into your financial health.
Credit card applications ask for background information on you and your financial status, which is then shared with credit bureaus to gain an even deeper history of your debts, property and financial activity.
What you'll be asked for
A financial summary
Many issuers ask for a self-reported summary of the bank accounts you have open and an estimate of your monthly housing costs.
Source of income
If you don't have a job, you can substitute other regular sources of cash, such as money from parents or a joint checking account.
Status of citizenship
Issuers are legally required to verify your identity, making the status of your citizenship fair game.
Similar to other financial forms, be prepared to provide your date of birth and social security number.
So that issuers can get in touch with you, you'll be asked to provide an address, e-mail and phone number.
If you lack a credit history...
Get a co-signer
Parents can be a co-signer on your application, which puts them on the hook of making sure the bill is paid.
Be an authorized user
By being an authorized user on another's credit card account, you can use their timely payments to boost your credit.
Get a secured card
A secured card is a stepping stone to regular one that requires an initial deposit that is returned after consistent payments.
The decision on your application carries more consequences than just whether or not you get the card. Before you even begin using it, your credit score can be impacted.
How credit scores are affected
For issuers to gauge your creditworthiness, they send an inquiry to credit bureaus, the act of which can change your score.
A new card increases your total available credit and decreases utilization until you make purchases, helping your score.
Age of accounts
Your new card decreases the average age of your credit accounts, which can lower your score.
What comes with the decision
(If denied) A reason
Issuers will inform you of the reason behind a denial, whether due to items in your credit history, or not having one at all.
A credit limit
Your new card will have a limit on what you can borrow, which depends on other cards you have and your overall credit profile.
After approval, you'll receive your card in the mail, which includes a 16-digit number, expiration date and security code.