Credit Card Eligibility
Have you wondered how credit card eligibility is determined?
Curious whether you’re eligible for a credit card?
It all has to do with your credit rating and credit score. Here we go with a quick tutorial on what constitutes credit-worthiness and how you can make sure that you are eligible for a credit card when you want one.
Credit Reports and Credit Scores
When you buy something on credit or have a credit card, the credit card company or store makes periodic reports to one or more credit reporting agencies. Those agencies keep records of your credit history – how good you are at paying your bills on time.
Among the things that go into your credit history are:
1. How many credit cards you have
2. How much you owe on each one
3. How many loans you’ve taken out
4. How much you still owe on them
5. Any payments that you’ve made late
6. Any payments that you’ve missed
7. If you’ve ever defaulted on a loan
8. If you’ve ever filed for bankruptcy
9. If you own a house
10. If there has ever been a judgment against you for unpaid debts
Credit reporting agencies assign a ‘weight’ to each of those facts, and assign points to you based on each of those points. The total of those points is called your ‘credit score’. The higher your credit score is, the better your credit is.
Some of the things that you lose points on your credit score for are:
1. Having too many credit cards
2. Carrying too much debt on your credit cards
3. Carrying too many loans
4. Making late payments or missing payments
5. Defaulting on a loan
6. Applying for a lot of credit cards in a short time
The credit card and credit score give a ‘snapshot’ of your credit history.
Getting a Credit Card
When you apply for a credit card, the company that issues the card checks with a credit reporting agency to get your credit report and find out your credit score. Since they’re basically lending you money whenever you use your credit card, they want to make sure that you’re the kind of person who pays your debts on time. They have an ideal ‘snapshot’ that they compare your credit report and score with. The closer your credit score is to their ideal, the better your chances of getting a credit card with a great interest rate and good terms.
The lower your credit score is, the more a risk you are for the credit card company. Because they take a bigger risk when they lend you money, they charge you more by giving you a higher interest rate. If your credit score is too low, they won’t give you a credit card at all. If you have no credit history at all, they also may decide not to give you a credit card, depending on other factors in your credit history.
If you’re turned down for a credit card..
The credit card company has to tell you the reasons that you were turned down. They also have to tell you which credit reporting agency they got your credit history from. There are three major credit reporting agencies in the country – Equifax, Experian and Transunion. The report that the credit card company used to make their decision will be one of those.
You have the right to request a copy of the credit report that they used to make your decision. The company that provided the report to the credit agency has to give you a copy free. The credit reporting agency also has to give you a copy of your credit report once every 12 months if you request it. Get your credit report to find out what it says about you – and to see how you can improve your credit score so that you won’t be turned down next time.
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