How to safely apply for a credit card online
August 17, 2023 4 min read
Online applications can make it quick and easy to apply for a new credit card. It’s possible to submit an application and get a response within minutes. But scammers and fraudsters are always looking for new ways to access your personal information online. So it’s natural to have some concerns about submitting an online application.
Fortunately, your bank likely has security measures in place to help keep applications secure. And there are a few simple things you can do to help keep your personal information safe too.
- It’s usually safe to apply for a credit card online, especially if you’re on the credit card issuer’s official website and you use a secure connection.
- Credit card issuers often have stringent security measures designed to protect applicants’ personal information.
- You can help keep your financial details secure by only using your personal phone or computer to access your data, avoiding public Wi-Fi networks, establishing a secure connection, and steering clear of spoof websites.
Is it safe to apply for a credit card online?
Generally speaking, it’s safe to apply for a credit card online. Credit card issuers often use security features like encryption, multifactor authentication, fraud monitoring for unauthorized purchases and firewalls to protect your personal information.
That said, there are steps you can take for additional peace of mind.
4 safety tips for online credit card applications
Here are a few safety tips if you’re applying for a credit card online:
1. Use your own device
One way to help protect your data when filling out a credit card application is to use your personal computer or phone.
If you use someone else’s device, even if it’s a friend’s or a family member’s, you won’t know how good their security measures are. Even if they think their device is secure, it could have spyware installed on it that records what’s being entered. And if you apply on a public computer, you don’t know who accessed the computer before you.
2. Update your devices and use antivirus apps
You can boost your safety by making the recommended updates on your devices’ operating systems and apps. New updates may include security patches that help keep you protected from the latest threats. These can be important even when you’re not applying for a credit card.
Some devices have an option to automatically download and install updates. These can help you detect and stop potential malicious programs—known as malware—that can infect your devices and steal your information.
3. Make sure the connection is secure
When you submit your credit card application, you’ll send your personal information over the internet. So it’s important to use a secure connection. If you’re using a public Wi-Fi connection, someone else might be able to see your personal information. Even a public Wi-Fi network that requires a password, like an airport’s or a coffee shop’s network, could be vulnerable.
A virtual private network (VPN) creates a secure connection between your computer and the internet. If you’re not at home, a service that provides VPNs can help keep your information private. And if you’re at home, the Federal Trade Commission offers some tips on how to secure your network to help keep your internet activity safe from others.
4. Check that you’re on the right website
Credit card issuers use strong encryption to keep your information safe. But you could run into trouble if you unknowingly apply on a look-alike site, also known as a spoof site.
Here’s how that could work: A scammer could create a website that looks like a bank website and use it to collect your personal information.
Some banks, like Capital One, have programs designed to detect spoofs when possible. And there are precautions you can take to make sure you’re at the correct website. That way, you can be more confident your application is going to the right place.
How does Capital One help protect your online credit card application information?
When you apply for a credit card online with Capital One, you’ll provide personal information including your full name, date of birth, Social Security number, physical address (not a P.O. box) and estimated gross annual income.
To protect this information from unauthorized access and use, Capital One has an information security program that includes administrative, technical and physical measures. You can read more about Capital One’s commitment to security and how Capital One helps keep your identity safe.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org if:
- You suspect a website or mobile app is pretending to be from Capital One
- You receive an email that claims to be from Capital One, but you’re not sure or you think it is suspicious
- You have reason to believe that your interaction with Capital One is no longer secure
Applying safely for a credit card online in a nutshell
When applying for a credit card online, it’s a good idea to wait until you’re on your own device and using a secure network before submitting any personal information. And you should make sure you’re using the real credit card issuer’s website.
You can check out this guide on protecting your identity and financial information online for even more tips.