How to Apply for a Credit Card Online

Back in the old days, you had to go to a bank in person to apply for credit cards. Later, mail-in card applications made it easier, and it's much easier now. You can apply online for a credit card anywhere you have internet service and anytime you want. You could be reviewed, credit checked, and approved — often within minutes.

Let's take an in-depth look at how to apply for a credit card online.

How to apply for a credit card online

Before you apply for a credit card, take a few steps to gather important information. Credit card issuers may pull a credit report when you apply, so check your credit report and credit score in advance. Free reports from the major credit bureaus are available. A variety of websites, apps, and financial institutions offer free credit scores. It's important to make sure you don't have any correctable problems before you apply for a credit card online. If you do find inaccuracies during your credit check, contact the credit bureau or bureaus, and file a dispute. You want your credit history to be as good as possible.

Now, decide on what type of card is best for you. You might place a high value on a rewards card. It could give you cash back on eligible purchases or let you earn rewards like points. Or choose a card with low-interest balance transfers and consolidate your high-interest debt. Other perks you might find include extended warranties and other purchase protection, a sign-up bonus and cards with no annual fee.

Open an account

To proceed with opening an account, you'll usually need your basic personal information. That might include:

  • Your full legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Current address and whether you rent or own and if you've recently moved
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your gross annual income
  • Your employer's address and phone number
  • Your bank account information

Important factors to consider

If you can, obtain preapproval or prequalification for a card you're interested in. It doesn't necessarily guarantee you'll be formally approved, but you can receive details on your potential rates, terms and card benefits. This can help you decide which card to pursue, and there is no effect on your credit score.

If perks are important to you, check to see whether the perks of a credit card outweigh the costs. If you're sure that you will use the perks, it could make an annual fee worthwhile. But some premium cards have annual fees of $395 or more. Great perks also might be offset by high APRs (Annual Percentage Rates) if balances are carried for more than one month.

Be aware of any high fees or APRs if you plan to use the card regularly for cash advances. A high balance transfer fee might make a low APR less desirable. The same goes for foreign transaction fees or over-limit penalty fees. Always check in advance what fees or interest rates you'll be dealing with.

It’s also a good idea to think about the customer service that will be available. Not all credit card companies provide the same level of care and options. Consider whether, for example, you will have online services and an app to manage your credit card. You might also enjoy capabilities like: setting up recurring payments, easy viewing and redeeming of awards, setting up alerts, adding an authorized user, ordering a replacement card and checking on special offers.

How credit card applications can impact credit

Expect a "hard inquiry" credit check when you apply for most credit cards. A hard inquiry means a credit card issuer will pull your full credit report. This inquiry typically affects credit scores — but it's a short-term effect.

If your application is rejected, you might want to wait a few months before applying for another card. One hard inquiry may not be a big deal in the long run. But multiple inquiries in a short period of time could cause concern for potential lenders. 

Have a payment plan in mind

Before you start using your new card, have a repayment strategy in place. Make sure your budget has the surplus to cover your charges. Optimally, you should pay off your entire balance every month to avoid interest charges. Otherwise, balances grow and interest compounds. Know what your budget can handle, then allocate enough to stay ahead.


Don't click on random email or text links to get to financial institutions. When you are applying, verify that you're at the official website for a credit card issuer. Type the homepage address directly into your browser if you want to be sure of your destination. 

Check if you're prequalified

See if you're prequalified for a credit card offer – with no impact to your credit score

Tips for choosing the best credit card for you

Considering a card that offers a low introductory balance transfer APR? Do the math and verify the long-term savings will be good for you. High balance transfer fees could eat into your savings from the lower interest rate.

Depending on your spending habits and other purchases, you might find co-branded cards useful. These link rewards programs with major brands, and often offer greater rewards and discounts on combined purchases within that brand. For instance, a co-branded travel rewards card might offer big discounts on flights or hotels from a specific chain. Or reward points might be multiplied on purchases redeemed through the card's co-brand.

If you have poor credit, consider applying for a secured credit card. These cards let you deposit a cash amount as collateral, and your credit limit is typically the amount you deposit. Secured cards have more relaxed application requirements because low credit—even no credit—is less of an issue. They may provide a way to build credit if you're starting out, or if your credit health needs improvement.

TD Bank credit card options

TD Bank has some great choices for credit cards, and you can apply for any of them online. Whether you're looking for a rewards card, business credit card, or secured credit card, you may want to explore the options available.

By clicking on this link you are leaving TD Bank's website and entering a third-party website over which TD Bank has no control.

This article is based on information available in March 2023. It is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide specific financial, investment, tax, legal, accounting, or other advice and should not be acted or relied upon without the advice of a professional advisor. A professional advisor will recommend action based on your personal circumstances and the most recent information available. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

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