What is Required on a Credit Card Application?

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  • Written By: Phil Shepley
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 August 2019
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The information required on a credit card application is dependent upon several factors, one of which is the credit history of the person that is applying for the card. If you have little or no credit history, for example, you will probably have to have a good deal of information ready before applying. At the other end of the spectrum, you may have a large and detailed credit history. If it is good, an application for a new card may be “pre-approved” and require little or no additional information in order to open up a new account. For the average person with a typical credit history, however, you will generally need to provide some common pieces of information about yourself when applying for a credit card.


Typically, a credit card application will already have some information about you that the company already knows, such as your address, through which you were mailed the application in the first place. This is common, but is not always the case, as in a situation where you use the Internet and apply for a credit card online and must fill in all the data from scratch. It is of utmost priority for you to be sure that you are giving your private information to a legitimate business and to take the necessary precautions to be sure that you are doing so, no matter how you are applying. If you feel that there is even a remote chance that you are being scammed, be sure not to give out any personal information until you have verified the authenticity of the business through which you are applying.

The first items that are usually required on a credit card application are basic pieces of information about you, including your name, telephone number, physical address and email address. Next, many applications will require your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is one of the most sensitive pieces of information about you; you should therefore take precautions against sharing it with a fraudulent source. Still, you'll need to provide your Social Security number on legitimate credit card applications because federal law requires that credit card companies take steps to verify identifying information about each account holder. Your Social Security number is a good way to do this, and is therefore used by credit card companies for identification purposes. If you are new to credit cards or have bad credit, the credit card application may also require that you have a cosigner as well as his or her personal information.

The next line of questioning on a credit card application is also rather personal, and is used to determine the some of the terms of service of the credit card for which you are applying. These can include the annual percentage rate, late fees, annual fees, and credit limit, to name a few. Some of these questions you will be required to answer include your monthly rent or mortgage payment, annual household income, job description, balances you may hold on other credit cards, total value of your investment accounts, outstanding debts, alimony payments and more. Another very important note about these items is that you answer them honestly, since the company can penalize you in the future if they find out that you gave them false information, or simply decline your application when the information doesn’t match your credit history.


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Post 4

Is a social security number required when a business is first applying for a credit card and do additional users need to have their SS numbers provided as well?

Post 3

I received a letter from Sears refusing my credit application because I already had a card. Strange thing: I never applied for credit. Sears told me where and when the application was submitted and suggested I contact Experian to have a credit fraud alert started.

My question: why would someone attempt the application and use my home address? Wouldn't the card just be sent to me, not them?

Post 2

A signature is often required, but not always. A paper application will usually require a signature, while an online app will often only require personal information and a "digital" signature. Many times this is simply clicking a box to confirm that you are who you claim to be. Other times, after applying online you will receive paperwork in the mail that must be physically signed and returned before you receive your card.

Post 1

Is a signature required in order to apply for a credit card?

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