How to get your credit card application approved

Improve your chances of getting a new credit card with these handy tips.

Whether it’s your first or fiftieth time applying for a credit card, the application process can be unpredictable and overwhelming. If you’re considering getting a new card, it’s useful to get guidance on how to apply and the information you’ll need to provide. If it’s been a long time since you submitted an application, or if your last application was declined, going over the foundations again can help improve your chances of success.

Whatever the case, this guide will provide you with steps to help get your application approved. We will also go through some common reasons your application might be declined and what to do after you have been declined so that you have a higher chance of success when you next apply.

Steps to help get your credit card application approved

While there is no guarantee that your credit card application will be approved, these steps are designed to help you get a positive outcome:

  1. Compare cards. Before applying, always research, analyse and compare available cards on the market. This will help you find a card that’s compatible with your personal circumstances. Credit card comparisons can also reduce the risk of making too many credit card applications, which can hurt your credit score.
  2. Check the eligibility criteria. While researching your options, it’s important to consider the eligibility requirements for each credit card. These criteria vary but typically include a minimum age of 18, residency requirements and minimum income or employment. Make sure that you meet all the requirements for a card before applying, since failing to do so will naturally result in rejection.
  3. Gather supporting documentation. Doing this prior to your application helps speed up the process, since you’ll then be ready to submit all the necessary documents along with your application. Such documentation can include payslips, bank statements, tax receipts and proof of assets.
  4. Provide as much detail as possible on the application. When filling out your application, try not to leave any blank fields. Instead, provide as much relevant information as you can, including contact information and exact figures where applicable.
  5. Choose a responsible credit limit. In general, your chances of approval will be higher when you request a modest credit limit. Asking for a high credit limit that’s beyond your financial ability wouldn’t be looked upon favourably by the credit card issuer. Alternatively, you could opt to have the issuer assign a limit for you, which they will do based on the details you provide. You can also increase your credit limit later on, after using the card for a time and establishing a responsible repayment history.
  6. Review your application. Double-check your application before submitting it and avoid making errors, as it will delay the application and verification process.
  7. Upload or submit any requested documents. You will find the document upload function particularly easy with online applications. In any case, most card providers will request that you submit the relevant documents after your initial application. The sooner you provide these documents, the sooner your application can be approved.

If you apply for a credit card online, most issuers will provide you with an “instant response”. This notification comes moments after you complete and submit the application form, so you should know then if you’ve been approved. In some cases, the issuer will require more information (such as your supporting documentation) before the application process can be completed and full approval is granted. By following these steps, you can ensure all aspects of your application are covered, which will also improve your chances of approval.

Declined stamp on monitor

Why might my credit card application be rejected?

If you’re worried that your application may be declined, here are some of the most common situations that lead to rejection and the possible ways to address them:

  • Lack of income. Most credit cards stipulate a minimum income requirement, with even low income credit cards requiring that you earn at least $15,000 annually. If you’re currently unemployed, it might be wise to put off applying for a new card until you’ve settled into a stable job, so as to avoid likely rejection. Otherwise, you could also consider loans for the unemployed.
  • A new job or job instability. If you’re transitioning between jobs or entering a new career, it can be hard to provide the payslips that credit card providers may require as supporting documentation for your application. In this case, you could call the provider to discuss your personal circumstances, or wait a few months until you have the necessary documentation to prove a stable income.
  • Default accounts. Having default listings on your credit file can be damaging to your credit card application. Unfortunately, there is no quick way around this. You may wish to start working on removing the black marks and defaults from your credit file, or consider other credit options if necessary.
    Compare other credit options if you have a bad credit rating
  • Too many credit enquiries. Every time you apply for a credit card (or any other form of credit), a credit enquiry is recorded on your credit file and remains there for five years. Too many of these enquiries in a short amount of time can have a negative impact on your credit rating. While there’s no way to remove credit enquiries from your file, these listings tend to hold less weight the longer they are there. For example, credit issuers are more likely to be forgiving about credit enquiries made a few years ago than ones made a month ago.
  • Limited credit history. This can be a problem if you’re just starting out at work, or if you’ve just moved countries. Fortunately, you can do something about this by actively building good credit. Begin by establishing small credit accounts such as phone or utility accounts. Make sure you pay these in full and on time to help establish yourself as a reliable borrower.
  • Residency status. Unfortunately some credit cards require that card applicants be Australian citizens or permanent residents. There are also a limited number of cards that cater to visa-holders. You should seek out the right credit card for your residential status before applying.
    Compare credit cards for temporary residents

When it comes to applying for a new credit card, the most important work lies in research and comparison. Make sure you choose the most suitable card for your personal needs and that you meet the relevant eligibility requirements. Be sure to prepare all necessary documentation to submit alongside your detailed application, as this will ensure you are approved as quickly as possible.

Pictures: Shutterstock

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8 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    LukeDecember 10, 2018

    Hi. I am just wondering what are the documents/requirements for self-employed in applying for a credit card?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynDecember 14, 2018Staff

      Hello Luke,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The requirements vary per credit card issuer. Generally, you’ll need to provide 2 of your most recent income tax returns or 2 of your most recent Notices of Assessment and two of the most recent business/company tax returns or the 2 most recent business/company profit and loss statements. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements and provide the supporting documents, you should have no trouble applying.

      You may refer to this page to get tips on how to go about applying for a credit card if you’re self-employed. We also have listed the credit cards that may consider people on self-employed and its corresponding needed documents.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.


  2. Default Gravatar
    KimOctober 26, 2015

    Too many credit file queries
    On my file

    • finder Customer Care
      SallyOctober 27, 2015Staff

      Hi Kim,

      If you have too many credit file queries on your credit file, you may find that you’re unable to apply for a credit card and you may need to consider credit repair.

      Please see our credit repair guide for further tips and information.

      I hope this has helped.



  3. Default Gravatar
    BarryJanuary 29, 2015

    I am a discharged bankruptcy from oct 2014, my wife and I earn a fairly good wage per month.We would like to get a personal loan to pay a couple of credit cards , is there any chance?

    • finder Customer Care
      JonathanJanuary 30, 2015Staff

      Hi Barry,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Please see this page for more information on the types of personal loans available and their application criteria.

      I hope this helps!



  4. Default Gravatar
    JulesApril 10, 2013

    I’ve had problems paying back credit cards in the past (around 10 years ago). Have finally paid back the last one a few years ago. I now have a car loan which I got a year ago and I haven’t defaulted on at all. I would like to try a credit card again but am a bit worried. What do you think my chances are?

    • finder Customer Care
      JacobApril 10, 2013Staff

      Hi Jules. Good question. Check your credit file first to see what it contains. A credit card is a product for people with good credit only, so if you still have a mark on your credit file from a previous account that was in arrears, it may affect your chances of a successful application. If you’re worried about your chances of successfully applying for a credit card, best to apply in person. Jacob.

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