Applying for credit cards


If you’re thinking of making a change with credit cards you already have, or if you’re new to credit cards and don’t know where to begin, your first step is to know where you currently stand with your overall credit. Sending for your free annual credit report from the Big Three reporting agencies will give you an idea of what retailers and lenders might think of extending credit to you. Review your three credit reports for errors – theirs and yours. The Federal Trade commission suggests using, or calling 1-877-322-8228.

For a good source of credit-card information, go online to CardHub (, click Credit Cards and fill in the selections on the left side of the screen. If you don’t know your credit standing, click the Help Me Choose button under My Credit. Your answers to the questions will get you an idea of your rating, and the offers you get will be based on that. The “I Want” is another important category. You’ll have to decide whether you prefer credit cards that offer a 0 percent interest rate on purchases, 0 percent on balance transfers (if you want to clear the balance on another card) or a low regular rate for general use.

After answering all the questions, you’ll be shown a selection of cards you might qualify for, with an option to apply online.
Three cautions:

  1. Look closely at the interest rates each card offers, especially for balance transfers with an initial 0 percent interest rate. When will that rate end? What will the rate go up to? Will you have your balance paid off by the time the interest kicks in?
  2. It’s bad for your credit score to apply for too many sources of credit at the same time. Read the starred reviews for each card you consider. See what others have to say about your choices before you apply.
  3. Read the rewards information carefully. Do you get cash back or points? If you get points, how many? And for what categories of purchases? If you get points only for miles or hotels but you don’t travel, this benefit won’t do you any good.

Before you make any decisions about applying for a card, look around the CardHub site and read, especially the questions and answers from other consumers. Their real-life experiences might tell you more than the financial details from the credit-card companies.

David Uffington regrets he cannot personally answer reader questions, but he will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Send email to

(c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.


Comments are closed.