Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the types of credit cards?

    There are a lot of types of credit cards to choose from. Rewards cards are attractive for people with qualifying credit scores because you earn a little something (such as cash back or travel points) when you make purchases with them. Consumers with good or excellent credit may also qualify for cards that offer 0% APR promotions on purchases or balance transfers. If you’re rebuilding your credit or you're new to credit, you may be better off looking for secured cards, student cards, or plain vanilla credit cards with no annual fee. Finally, entrepreneurs and small-business owners may find that small-business credit cards fit their needs best.

  • What credit card should I get?

    When choosing a credit card, consider a number of factors: the type of credit card you want (e.g., a cash-back credit card, a secured card, a student credit card); the annual percentage rate (APR); and fees, especially annual fees. Also think about what cards you might qualify for. If you’re new to credit, look for cards that are aimed at people with thin credit files. Already have a great credit score? Then you may qualify for one of the best travel rewards cards or cards that charge you no interest for a promotional period.

  • How can I get a credit card?

    Once you’ve made a decision on the right card for you, you’ll need to fill out an application that asks for your personal information, including your Social Security number, annual income, and housing costs. The credit card company will run a credit check and base its decision on your credit record, plus other factors such as how many credit cards you’ve applied for recently or whether you have another account with that bank. Although it’s possible to get an instant decision, sometimes you may need to wait several days for approval or rejection.

  • What is cash back?

    Cash back is a type of bonus paid by credit card issuers to cardholders for purchases made on the credit card. A small percentage of qualifying transactions is paid as cash back, which accumulates until the cardholder redeems the reward for a payout. Cash back may be awarded as a statement credit that reduces your outstanding credit card balance; or you may opt to receive cash back as a deposit to your bank account, a check, or a prepaid card.

  • Why was my credit card application rejected?

    The most obvious reason your application might have been rejected is that your credit score didn’t meet the issuer’s requirements. This could be because you already have high credit card debt relative to your available credit or, conversely, because you have little credit experience. It could also be because you’ve applied for too many credit cards or loans recently, or you have a recent delinquency or collection on your credit record. But you can even be denied if you have good credit, if your income is too low, or you haven’t been in a stable job for long enough. Finally, you may have been turned down if you didn’t fill out the application correctly or you’re too young to apply.

Key Terms

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