guide on credit card application process

Credit Card Application Tips

Improve your chances of success when applying for a credit card with our carefully curated tips.

Looking for a new credit card? Maybe you’ve already chosen one and are about to dive into the application process. Either way, you’ve come to the right place. These tips that have been gathered over years of credit card comparison will guide you to the finish line with a greater chance of being approved.

The principal idea of the credit card application game is to show the bank that you are a low-risk customer, and that you have the capacity to repay any money you borrow. While these suggestions offer a sure advantage in helping you achieve that, no tips in the world can guarantee your approval. You will ultimately need to fulfil the eligibility criteria required by each card provider.

Compare easy approval credit cards

Before applying for a credit card

In reality, the pre-application process is considerably more important than the act of applying itself. While it may take only 15 minutes to fill out the form, getting your affairs in order so that you’re ready for the bank’s assessment of your application will take a bit more time and preparation.

Tip #1. Take your time

It’s never a good idea to rush into things, and it is your right as a consumer to assess the bank before it assesses you. Don’t jump at the first credit card deal you’re offered over the phone because that’s usually not going to be the right one for you. Commit the time to doing research so that you can find the best deal for your specific needs.

Tip #2. Know your needs

Your purpose for this card is important when it comes to researching and choosing the best card for you. Your lifestyle and spending habits also factor into the criteria for your chosen card. If frequent flyer points are the main aim for you, you’d be looking for the best dollar to mile conversion ratio. If cashback is your goal, and you spend mostly on groceries, then you’d specifically want a card with the highest possible cashback rewards for that category. If you’re a frequent flyer, you’d want a card with a rewards program or no foreign transaction fee.

Tip #3: Compare your options

While looking at the credit cards on offer, you’ll need to study their fine print: what rates, fees and charges, interest calculations and interest-free periods apply to each card? How do these fit your needs? Will you be able to make prompt repayments so that you won’t be racking up interest each month?

Some of the popular cards you can start comparing include:

You can start comparing credit cards and start filtering your options on the credit card finder homepage.

Tip #4: Check the eligibility requirements.

It is important that you apply for a card you have a good chance of getting. This is because your credit report gets a mark each time any lender checks on it to assess your application. You should minimise applications by being realistic about which cards you can get. For example, if you’re a fresh graduate with a low income, you’re not likely to be approved for the American Express Platinum card. If you have a bad credit rating, the bank will not likely approve you for the $20,000 credit limit you’re after.

What are good and bad credit ratings?

Tip #5: Check and improve your credit rating

Banks typically use a credit rating system when assessing your eligibility for the card and card limit in question. Based on your credit history, repayment habits and current credit lines, they work out how much you can safely borrow. This information is available to lenders whenever you apply for any form of credit, but also to you at any time. You should request a free copy of your credit history before applying, so you can correct any possible errors on it and see exactly what the bank will be seeing when they assess your application. If the report is less than ideal, it may be wise to delay your application until a time when you’ve improved your credit report.

Improve your credit score  

Tip #6: Lower your credit utilisation ratio

If you already have a credit card balance, it’s wise to pay off your existing balances before putting in that application. This is because having a high debt utilisation ratio is a poor indication of credit-worthiness and may hurt your application. To calculate your ratio, divide the total current balances on your cards by their total limits, e.g. if the limits on your three cards are $5,000 each, and you have $4,000 balance on each of them, your ratio is $12,000/$15,000 = 80%. A healthy ratio is typically 30% or less.

Tip #7: Bank with your credit card provider-to-be

This will be very beneficial to your application process. Firstly, it will significantly speed up your application, because you’re an existing customer and the bank has already verified that you are a legitimate customer. Secondly, if you have a transaction or savings account with them, where your salary is deposited monthly, it proves that you have a paying job and a regular income stream. If you apply online and do it via internet banking, your application becomes even faster because your details will usually already be pre-populated on the forms. Existing customers get approved more easily and quickly without the hassle of having to provide much further documentation.

Pro-tip: put all your available funds into your transaction or savings account because the bank is going to look at that balance when approving your credit limit.

Applying for a credit card

Once you’ve done your homework and come to a good decision about the most suitable card for you, and your mutual suitability for it, you are ready for the actual application.

Tip #8: Be careful with the details

It is crucial that you get all the details right—addresses, contact numbers, referee details, current employment, previous employment, salary, outstanding debts and monthly details. It’s a lot of data, but it’s imperative that you get them all correct, because you will be asked for supporting documents shortly after and any discrepancies will negatively affect your application. For instance, if you omit details of an outstanding loan in your application which the bank later finds on your credit file, they’ll think you were trying to hide it from them. Even worse, you could be charged with fraud in the event they believe you knowingly provided false information.

Tip #9: Organise the required documents

This one is a no-brainer. If you want your application approved more swiftly, gathering the required documents early would be a smart move. Supporting documents that may typically be asked for are things like your passport, driver’s licence, proof of age card, proof of residential status, etc. Other documents like your payslips may be required to prove your income.

Tip #10: State your actual income

This is no time to be modest or to exaggerate your income. Deflating your income may sabotage your application by reducing the bank’s opinion of your ability to finance a debt. You need to show them that you are making enough money to service your lines of credit, so be sure to list all income and other forms of income in your application, including all that tutoring you do in the evenings and your regular lecturing stint at the university. Fabricating or inflating your income on the other hand is plain fraud, and that’s punishable by law.

How to apply for a credit card when you’re self-employed

Mistakes to avoid when applying for a credit card

When it comes to your credit card application, there are some pitfalls to avoid, and you’ll do well to observe these rules:

Tip #11: Don’t apply for multiple cards at once or within a short period.

You may be tempted to apply for a second card just in case your first one doesn’t get approved, but don’t. Each credit enquiry that a lender makes about your credit history leaves a new mark on your credit file for five years. If you apply for many cards at once or during the same period, it would appear to every subsequent lender that you have a lot of debt, even if that isn’t true. This could leave you in a vicious cycle of applying for credit cards and not having them approved.

Understand your credit report

In fact, some banks will automatically reject your application if you’ve recently applied for a credit card. For example, Citibank states in its terms and conditions that your application may not be approved if you’ve applied for and been accepted for another Citibank offer in the prior nine months. Be aware that this may be the case for other lenders too.

Tip #12: Don’t apply for balance transfers between cards funded by the same bank.

Note that you can only transfer the balance of a card that isn’t funded by the same bank as your new card. This can be tricky because it’s not clear which bank funds what credit card. We’ve put together a short summary for you to make things easier:

Balance transfer criteria based on credit card issuer

Funding BankCredit Card Brand
HSBCWoolworths
CitibankIMB
Suncorp
CUA
Bank of Queensland
Virgin
MacquarieJetstar
WestpacSt.GeorgeBank of Melbourne

Finally, it is sometimes possible to get a credit card even if you have defaults on your credit file. The type of default and amount determines how risky the bank perceives it. If you have significant savings, and the serviceability calculation works in your favour, there is a chance you could be approved with some banks. It’s worth chatting to the bank first to determine your chances before making any decision to apply.

We recommend that you do your own research in any case, bearing in mind the factors discussed above.

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American Express Essential Credit Card
American Express Essential Credit Card

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14.99

Annual fee

0
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ME Bank frank Credit Card
ME Bank frank Credit Card

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HSBC Platinum Credit Card
HSBC Platinum Credit Card

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ANZ First Visa Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
ANZ First Visa Credit Card - Exclusive Offer

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14 Responses to Credit Card Application Tips

  1. Default Gravatar
    Selva | April 26, 2016

    I recently applied for ANZ credit card, what is the status on my credit car application?

    • Staff
      May | April 26, 2016

      Hi Selva,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Please note that you have come through to finder.com.au we are a financial comparison website and general information service and we do not represent any credit card company like ANZ.

      As we don’t have access to your application, I’m afraid you may need to get in contact with ANZ directly to follow-up your application. For your convenience, I’ve forwarded to your email the phone number of ANZ.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      May

  2. Default Gravatar
    CorTan | February 9, 2016

    I recently applied Citibank signature and got rejected. It is not related to the credit rating though. And they just simply said have not met our credit criteria. Would like to apply for another card with different provider. Is it safe to apply or should I wait? How many is too many in a specific period of time?

    • Staff
      Sally | February 10, 2016

      Hi CorTan,

      Thanks for your question and we’re sorry to hear about your rejected application.

      You may not have met the eligibility requirements (such as income, credit score, provided necessary documents) when applying.

      No, it’s not a good idea to apply for another credit card straight away as applying for multiple credit cards within a short period can reflect badly on your credit score and decrease your chances of approval in the future.

      You should wait a few months before applying for another card. In the mean time, you can start comparing other credit cards and making a shortlist of cards you’re eligible for. Make sure to read all of the relevant product disclosure statements and contact the providers to discuss your chances of approval before applying.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  3. Default Gravatar
    VISHAL | December 21, 2015

    This is my ref no plz check the status and get back to me

    • Staff
      Sally | December 22, 2015

      Hi Vishal,

      Please note that you have come through to finder.com.au, not a provider. As such, we’re unable to check the status of your application. You’ll need to contact your provider to confirm this information. If you can confirm the provider you’ve applied with, we may be able to guide you in the right direction.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  4. Default Gravatar
    Sharon | November 10, 2015

    how is my credit card application progressing

    • Staff
      Sharon | November 10, 2015

      Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that you’ve come through finder.com.au, an online comparison service and is not directly affiliated with any bank.

      Please see this page for information on how to check on your credit card application.

      I hope this has helped.

      Sharon

  5. Default Gravatar
    Barb | September 22, 2014

    I got conditional aaproval for a coles mastercard, is this approved? I have sent through the paperwork they asked for. Just looking for clarification.

    • Staff
      Shirley | September 23, 2014

      Hi Barb,

      Generally if you have been conditionally approved, and the documentation you’ve sent in supports everything you’ve stated in your application, then your application should go through.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  6. Default Gravatar
    Ernest | June 11, 2013

    How is my application progressing?

    • Staff
      Jacob | June 11, 2013

      Hi Ernest. Thanks for your question. Please see this page for information on how to check on your credit card application. Jacob.

  7. Default Gravatar
    Sonam | May 5, 2013

    My salary is $200,000 p.a. I want to buy a credit card with limit of $15,000 to $20,000. Is it possible?

    • Staff
      Jacob | May 6, 2013

      Hi Sonam. Thanks for your question. A credit limit is assigned based on the information you provide during the application. You can elect for a certain credit limit when you apply for a card, but the final say will rest with the lender. Let us know if you have any more questions. Jacob.

Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated September 28th, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
Enjoy a low and consistent interest rate on purchases and cash advances, combined with no annual fee.
11.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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