How to Get Approved for a Credit Card

Find out what credit card companies typically look for


It’s probably happened before—friends tout the perks that come with owning a credit card and you’re left wondering how they got one in the first place. After all, you’re interested in a card that works for you too. So what does it take? While there’s no way to know for sure whether your credit card application will get the green light, following these four tips can definitely increase your chances.

Start Good Habits Early

From car loan payments, to rent, to credit cards, staying current on the money you owe and always paying on time can help you build good credit—and credit card companies look at your payment history when they consider your application.

Know Your Score

A credit score rates your creditworthiness based on many factors—like the number of recently opened accounts, latest credit checks and how well you’ve paid your bills. Banks look at that score whenever you apply for a credit card. Usually, the better your score, the more likely you are to get approved.

Keep Your Balance in Balance

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is a simple comparison of how much you owe to how much you earn. Understanding this balance can help you apply for a reasonable amount of credit, so you don’t end up swamped with monthly payments. The credit card company will also want to check your DTI to make sure they don’t approve you for more than you can afford.

Look for the Right Fit

Many credit card companies offer online tools to help you zero in on the right card for your life. Take some time to look at the benefits and terms of each, and apply for those that make most sense for you. Another way to help find the right fit is through credit card pre-qualification. While these offers don’t necessarily mean you’ll end up with that new card, learning how they work is a good place to start. And they can be a good first step on the road to getting approved.


We hope that you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.