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Applying For A Credit Card

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Credit > Credit Cards > Applying >

Important Disclaimers

In order to bridge the gap between theory and reality, this page references several real world companies.
This website has no association of any kind with any of those companies.
In no way whatsoever does this website speak on behalf of the companies listed on this page.

This page will present the general case and some of the known exceptions to the general case regarding what happens when you apply for a personal or small business credit card.
If you are old enough, you may remember filling in a paper application, sending it in the mail, then days or weeks later receiving either your new card or a rejection letter.
Today the application and appproval may happen online in less than a minute.

The headings and some of the text have mouse-over effects to liven up the page.
Those effects are independent of your browser's copy-paste functionality.
If you intended to send an excerpt from this page to your wife but mistakenly sent her a prior text intended for your mistress, that is on you not me.
I have not decided whether this page will contain advertising.
The core content of this page takes up even most desktop screens, but one or more advertisements created by skilled graphic artists might enhance the existing text only layout.
Even without advertising and with some simplifying assumptions, it is difficult to present this much information even on a laptop or desktop screen.
On a cellphone screen it is that much more challenging.
To mitigate that, there are some navigation buttons below with which you can jump to sections within this page.

Credit Pull

The financial institution offering the charge or credit card will pull a credit report from any 1, any 2, or all 3 of the personal credit bureaus:

This will usually be what is called a hard inquiry or hard pull.
Any hard inquiry will remain on the specific credit bureau that it was pulled from for 2 years.
A hard inquiry will only impact your FICO credit scores for the 1st of those 2 years.

Crowd Sourced Credit Pull Patterns

If you research credit related websites on your own, you will eventually come across the patterns below:

The patterns above have been reported widely enough that it would be arbitrary to choose any one particular source to cite.

Credit Decision

The potential creditor will make a decision based using the following information:

Account Begins Reporting To Personal Credit Bureaus

After your card has been approved, at some point it will begin reporting to personal credit bureaus.

Form 4506-C

Form 4506-C is authorization to pull one or more year's tax transcripts from the Internal Revenue Service.
Ideally you would prefer requests such as for a 4506-C to happen before a credit decision is made.
Unfortunately for a revolving credit account such as a charge or credit card, a 4506-C request can happen before or at any point after an account has been created.
In contrast to a credit card application, for a mortgage application, a 4506-C form will almost certainly be a part of your application instead of something that is requested later.

Charge Card and Credit Card Billing Cycles


it is important that you understand credit card billing cycles.
While the button below may be labeled Charge versus Credit, the intended message of the page it will bring up is that you should ideally treat charge cards and credit cards the same way, except when you have made an informed decision to carry a balance.