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How do you get approved for a credit card?

By , CardRatings contributor
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Question: How do you get approved for a credit card?

Answer: The primary method of getting approved for a credit card or other type of credit is to make sure your credit report and credit score are as good as they can be and then applying for the credit.

Before applying for credit or a credit card, go to annualcreditreport.com. As a consumer you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year from each of the three credit bureaus, and this is the only source where you can obtain them. Be sure to print out the credit report before leaving the page, because you won't be able to pull up that credit bureau's report again for another full year.

Once you have your credit report, go through it with a fine tooth comb making note of any errors you find. Improving your credit report and ultimately your credit score demands that any errors be corrected immediately. Understand, however, that the most important factor in credit scoring is a history of on-time payment, which determines over 33 percent of your score.

If you are just starting out and have no credit history, then your best bet is to go to a major bank in your community and ask about their secured credit program. You will have to establish a savings account of $250 or more depending on the bank's requirements. With the savings account established, they can then issue a secured credit card in your name with a limit equal to your savings account balance.

One of the benefits of a secured credit card is it builds credit in the fastest way possible, because your payment history is reported regularly to one or all three credit bureaus. Never be late with a payment, and you'll be on your way to establishing a solid credit history. It is often possible that after a period of time, the bank may even convert your secured card to an unsecured card.

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