A simples guide

How to apply for a credit card

Although we advise against having one unless it’s essential, having a credit card at your disposal can be very useful. Whether it’s for regular spending to earn points, large purchases or to build up your credit history, your plastic can come in handy.

So once you’ve made the decision to get one, how do you actually go about it?


Before applying

Before you apply for a card there’s a couple of important things to think about.

  • Which card to get? This is not as simple as it sounds as there is a lot of choice out there but our comparison service can help give you an idea of what’s available. For example do you want a card that:
    • Offers you 0% on new purchases
    • Allows you to transfer and pay off an existing credit card balance more cheaply
    • Offers you rewards such as cash back or supermarket reward points
    • Or helps you build your credit history 
  • Check your credit history. Before applying for a card it’s a good idea to check your credit score. You can do this with one of the three big credit reference agencies. If your credit history isn’t as good as it could be it may affect which cards you are eligible for. This means it might be better to apply for a credit builder card rather than risk rejection applying for a standard card.

For help in cleaning up your credit history click here for help.

Applying for a credit card

There are four ways to apply for a credit card, however which ones are available to you will depend on the credit card provider:

  • Online with comparethemarket.com - the easiest way to get a new card is to research what cards are available in the market. We can help you do that by bringing a range of options together in our comparison tables. After deciding which card you want to apply for, all you have to do is click on ‘Apply Now’. Simple.
  • Online directly with a provider – Alternatively you could do the comparing yourself, investigating each provider in turn. Once you’ve found your preferred provider, you would then go through their application process.
  • By post – you could fill in a paper application form, sign, and submit through the post. 
  • In a bank or building society branch – if you visit a branch, someone there can help you with the application process.
Credit card and laptop

How long does it take to get your credit card?

Times will vary depending on which application route you follow, but as a general rule around 10 to14 days is normal.

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With roughly 200 different credit cards available, we’ll help you to find the right card for you. We make choosing it really simple. Find out how simple by comparing today.  

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