There is a lot to consider when applying for a credit card. In addition to hundreds upon hundreds of offers, your credit score, history, and personal finances will have a big impact on what happens next.
Here’s an often overlooked tip: you need to choose a credit card based largely on your credit score.
When you know your credit score, there’s less guesswork when selecting an offer and completing an application. Instead, you’ll know exactly where you stand, which makes it easier to focus on the offers that you actually qualify for.
Your Credit Score
Credit card issuers take into account many details when deciding whether to approve or deny an application. Your credit score is one of the most important factors.
- Very Poor: 300 – 579
- Fair: 580 – 669
- Good: 670 – 739
- Very Good: 740 – 799
- Exceptional: 800 – 850
With a very poor credit score, you may have to opt for a secured credit card. This gives you the opportunity to build your credit, all the while taking the risk off of the credit card company.
As you work your way up the scale, you’ll find it easier to qualify for a large number of offers.
For example, a consumer with an exceptional credit score is most likely to qualify for the majority of credit cards.
Plan the Process Based on Your Credit Score
If you don’t know your credit score, you could find yourself applying for offers that you don’t qualify for. For instance, if a particular credit card requires a very good or exceptional score, but you’re in the fair range, your chance of approval is extremely low.
Here’s something else to consider: too many credit inquiries in a short period of time can have a negative impact on your score. For this reason, you don’t want to continually apply for offers that you won’t qualify for.
Knowing your credit score will help you better plan the search and application process. Here are some questions to answer during this time:
- Do you need to use a secured credit card to establish a credit history and/or build your score?
- Can you apply for an unsecured card that requires average credit, all with the idea of using it as a springboard toward a better offer in the future?
- Is your credit score high enough that you’ll qualify for almost every offer, including those that are considered the best of the best?
It’s easy to get into the habit of searching for a credit card based on your personal wants, such as an offer with a well known travel reward program. While it’s okay to make a list of what you’re looking for, don’t let this be the only thing you consider.
If you want to make the right decision without wasting any time, you’ll need to choose a credit card based on your current credit score.