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Having credit is absolutely essential as an adult. It enables you to make large purchases like a vehicle or home and even affects your ability to get a job, in some cases. With that said, if you don’t already have a credit card, now is the time to apply for one. Of course, you can also apply for a new card if you already have one. However, if you have previously applied for a credit card and were rejected, you may wonder how you can go about applying and actually be approved. Here is everything you need to know about applying for and being approved for a credit card.

Know Your Credit Score

The first step you must take when you decide you want to apply for any credit card is to know your current credit score. This is important because it can give you better insight into which card is appropriate for you. Many companies allow you to apply for a certain card when you have at least fair credit, but there are also credit cards available for those with even poor credit. At the same time, if you are looking to apply for a rewards credit card, you must have good to excellent credit. If your credit score isn’t the best, you might want to improve it if you have any outstanding debt or have a habit of spending more than your balance on current cards before applying for a new one.

Reduce Your Debt

If you spend more than 30 percent of your current credit card’s limit, your credit score will take a hit. The best way to maintain a good credit score is to spend less than that amount each time you use your card. This is known as your credit utilization ratio. A good way to lower this amount is to pay off existing balances as soon as possible and paying off your purchases more than once per month to lower your balance.

Avoid the Temptation of Applying for the First Offers You See

When you receive offers in the mail inviting you to apply for a credit card, it may be very tempting to bite and go ahead and apply for said card. However, this can be a trap. If your credit is not good, you will find that it’s difficult to be approved, even if you apply for a card for which you were invited to apply. It’s also important to remember that each time you apply for a credit card, it ends up on your credit report, which can adversely affect your score if you are rejected. Always make sure you find a card that is appropriate for you and that fits your credit profile before applying.

Include All Income in Application

One thing you must include in any credit card application is your income. This is because it lets credit card issuers know how much money you make versus the amount you would be able to spend using a credit card. Issuers will calculate your debt to income ratio, which determines your ability to make payments toward your spending with a credit card. There are two means by which your debt to income ratio can be lowered, either by your income increasing or your debt decreasing.

In other words, you should list all income on the application. That includes any earnings you get in addition to your full-time job, so that you can have a more accurate ratio determined. Never overstate your income, either, because falsifying information can result in your being charged with credit card fraud.

Keep at it and Don’t Give Up

Even if you are rejected after applying for a credit card, don’t just move on. Issuers give consumers the opportunity to plead their case, which means that you might be reconsidered for their credit card. This is done by calling the credit card issuer. To plead your case, plan out what you will say before calling. Ask why you were denied and check your free credit report to ensure that there are no discrepancies listed. Remember to always be cordial when speaking with a customer service representative and back up your plea with facts about how and why you are financially responsible.

These are great tips on how you can apply for a credit card and be approved. Be sure to make a checklist for yourself and to apply for only cards that fit your criteria. It’s the best way to ensure that you are approved.