A happy African American woman uses her credit card to make an online purchase after learning how to apply for a credit card and get approved.

There are a few key things that you need to know when applying for a credit card. Your credit score, financial history, and spending habits all play a part in the application process. So how do you apply for a credit card and get approved? And, even more importantly, how do you manage your credit responsibly after approval?

Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of applying for a credit card.

Know Your Credit Score

Lenders utilize various factors when evaluating your overall creditworthiness, including your credit score, income, employment history and debt-to-income ratio.

It is important to know your credit score before you apply and be willing to work to improve your score if it is not at your desired level. In some cases, you may be able to score a better credit card rate if you wait for your credit score to increase.

Since your interest rate is largely determined by your credit score, it is important to regularly check your credit reports at least once a year to ensure all of your personal and financial information is correct and accurately reflects your creditworthiness.

If needed, you can take steps to improve your credit score by paying down your credit card balances, requesting a limit increase and asking lenders for the courtesy removal of old derogatory marks.

Credit Builder Program

At APGFCU®, we know how important credit can be in achieving your short and long-term goals. We also understand building or re-building credit can be challenging. That’s why we offer members our Credit Builder program.

Our Credit Builder program is a way to help you achieve financial success after a life event, such as divorce or employment change, impacts your chances of securing financing. With Credit Builder, you have access to secured and unsecured loans to help build back your credit. We will work with you every step of the way so you can get back on track and even lower your interest rate if you pay as agreed for one year!

Shop Around

Once you know your credit score, you can review the available options from various lenders to determine which type of credit card will best fit your needs, as well as an appropriate credit limit.

To find the right credit card, start by reviewing each card’s interest rate, fees, credit limit and application requirements, as well as the availability of rewards programs and other perks.

You may also want to check out the available credit cards from your existing bank or credit union before looking elsewhere. In some cases, existing members and account holders get access to better deals.

APGFCU offers various credit cards, including a secured credit card option for those looking to improve their credit, on top of local, personalized service and competitive rates. Check out our website to learn how we can help you improve your credit and achieve financial success.


Most lenders now allow you to apply for a credit card online without visiting a branch.

To complete the online application, you will typically need to submit documentation as proof of identity, income and employment. Lenders may also use your Social Security number to check your credit report.

Most institutions follow up on credit card applications within 7 to 10 business days, while other approvals may be instant.

Responsible Credit Management Tips

After you have received your first credit card, there are some important financial management tips to keep in mind to ensure you are handling your new credit line wisely.

Responsible credit management includes making your monthly payments on time, staying on budget, making extra payments, keeping your credit utilization low and regularly monitoring your credit reports.

Keep in mind, all of your account activities are reported to the three major credit bureaus and any missed or late payments could negatively impact your credit score for years to come. It is always beneficial to pay off your credit card balances in full as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary interest charges and build your credit.

Ready To Apply For A Credit Card?

At APGFCU, we have the right credit card to meet your financial needs. Our selection of Visa® credit cards includes cards with balance transfer offers, low interest rates, cash back or rewards programs, and other special programs. Plus, our specialty starter or student cards are designed to help you build credit if you have a limited financial history.*

Visit the link below to learn more about our credit card offerings and apply today!

See Our Credit Cards

*Terms and conditions apply.

This article has been provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a loan representative or financial advisor. The examples provided within the article are for example only and may not apply to your situation. Since every situation is different, we recommend speaking to a loan representative or financial advisor regarding your specific needs. You may also want to contact your tax advisor for additional tax information.