What Happens After You Apply for a Credit CardDecember 21, 2010 - 8:32 am
If you’ve never applied for a credit card before, you may not know what to expect from the credit card process. Read on to learn what will happen after you apply for a credit card.
Approved or Denied?
If you’re approved for the credit card, you’ll typically find out on the spot. Whether you’re making a live application with a person or you’re making one online, this approval notification often includes the amount of your credit limit. With store credit cards, you may be able to use your credit card account that day to make purchases.
However, if you hear a message that you’ll receive something in the mail about your credit card application within 7 to 10 business days. Chances are that your credit card application was denied. That’s not always the case; sometimes you’re approved for a different credit card than what you applied for.
More often than not, though, the letter you’ll get in the mail is an adverse action notification letting you know that your application was turned down. This notification will tell you why you were turned down and invite you to order a free copy of your credit report if it was used to make the credit decision.
Getting Your Credit Card in the Mail
After your credit card application is approved, you’ll receive your physical credit card in the mail within 7-10 days. There will be a sticker on the front that tells you to call a 1-800 number to activate your credit card. When you call to activate your credit card, you may have to enter your zip code or give the last four digits of your social security number to verify your identity.
Once you activate your credit card, you’re ready to begin swiping it to make charges.
Using Your Credit Card
You can use your credit card to make purchases up to your credit limit. Purchases above your credit limit will usually be declined unless you’ve told your credit card issuer that you want these above-the-limit transactions processed. In the latter case, you’ll typically pay a fee for going over your credit limit.
It’s best to keep your purchases well under your credit limit to give yourself some breathing room, keep your balance at an affordable level, and to help build a good credit score.
Getting a Credit Card Statement
Each month that you have a balance, you’ll receive a credit card statement in the mail. This credit card statement will detail all the transactions that have been posted against your account since your last billing statement. These transactions can include charges, payments, refunds, credit, fees, and finance charges.
Perhaps the most important information on your credit card is your minimum payment and the due date. This is the lowest payment you can make on your credit card to be considered on time. Your payment must be received by 5 pm on the due date to prevent a late fee.
If you find any type of error on your billing statement, you should write to your credit card company using the address for correspondence. You have 60 days to dispute these errors so get them taken care of sooner rather than letter to protect your rights.