Credit Card FAQs
General Credit Card Questions
What do I need to apply for a credit card?
To apply for a credit card at UW Credit Union, you’ll need to have some personal and financial information ready. For starters, you’ll need to provide your name, home address, date of birth and Social Security number. You’ll also need to provide your gross annual income.
If it’s your first credit card, you may need a co-signer on the account, or a cash deposit. If you’re a student, you’ll need information about the school you’re attending, and possibly some proof of enrollment.
What’s the difference between a hard credit inquiry and a soft credit inquiry?
When you apply for credit, legitimate lenders will check your credit history by running a “hard credit inquiry,” also known as a hard credit check. When a credit inquiry is “soft” it means your credit isn’t being reviewed by an actual lender; like when you check your own credit score online. Keep in mind that while soft inquiries have no effect on your credit status, too many hard inquiries within a two-year time period can hurt your overall score. As long as you keep those hard inquiries to a minimum (3-5 or less) within that two-year window, your score should not be negatively impacted.
Can I get a credit card if I have bad credit, or no credit at all?
If you have bad credit or no credit history at all, don’t worry, there are still many ways for you to build credit. One option is to find a parent, guardian or relative who has a good credit score and is willing to co-sign on your account. Working full-time and earning a higher-than-average wage is another way to improve your chances of qualifying, regardless of your score or history.
If you’re in school, our Visa Credit Card is a great option to help you responsibly build credit.
How can a credit card raise my credit score?
Simply having a credit card for awhile works towards the goal of raising your credit score, because your credit’s age is one of the measurements that the credit bureau uses to calculate your score.
But there are other ways that you can use a credit card to raise your score, including:
- Paying off your entire balance every month.
- Using less than 30% of your total credit.
- Keeping all your existing credit accounts open.
- Having more than $2,500 total available credit.
What’s the average credit limit for your first credit card?
For someone with no credit history and a low credit score, the average credit limit is around $1,500. Generally, the better your credit score is, the more likely you are to receive a higher credit limit. Learn more about your credit score.
Is it bad to close a credit card account?
It’s usually a good idea to keep your credit card accounts open, because the age of your credit is one of the factors that determines your credit score. The older your account is, the better off your score will be. However, if the account in question isn’t your oldest account and it doesn’t have a high limit, closing it probably won’t harm your score. In fact, if the account in question has higher interest rates or you are having trouble paying off your balance, transferring your balance may be a better solution.
What is APR and why is it important for a credit card?
APR stands for “annual percentage rate,” and it reflects the costs associated with borrowing money. A credit card’s purchase APR is the same as the card’s “interest rate,” and it’s a great way to compare cards between lenders. But, it’s important to note that APR doesn’t reflect other costs like annual fees or balance transfer fees. Make sure to consider all these factors when choosing a credit card provider.