The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

How to Sign Up For a Credit Card — 2020’s Complete Guide

Sign Up For A Credit Card

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: September 16, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

If you’re looking for information about how to sign up for a credit card, you’ve come to the right place. Below is our complete guide to signing up for credit cards, including an array of options for various reward types and credit ranges.

When Bank of America launched the first mainstream consumer credit card, the BankAmericard in 1958, they did so in a mass “drop,” mailing out 60,000 active credit cards to the unsuspecting residents of Fresno, California. Although the idea was not without its problems — sending live credit cards through the mail, unsolicited, what could go wrong? — it did serve as a proof of concept that the universal credit card had a place in America’s wallets.

Since the Great Fresno Drop of ’58, the Truth in Lending Act (1968) made it illegal to send unsolicited credit cards through the mail. While you’ll still likely receive pre-screened offers in your mailbox from time to time, you’ll need to fill out a formal application to receive a credit card these days. Luckily, modern technology has made the process easier — and faster — than ever.

How to Sign Up: By Rewards Type | By Issuer | By Credit Range

Signing Up for a Credit Card by Rewards Type

When you get right down to it, signing up for a rewards credit card is simple — it’s choosing one from among the dozens of options that can be difficult. The first thing you’ll need to determine is the type of rewards you’re most likely to use; rewards of any type do you little good if you never redeem them. When you know what type of rewards you want to earn, you can start comparing options to find the right card.

You’ll want to choose a card that offers the highest earnings rate on the purchases you make more frequently. For instance, if your family tends to spend a lot at the grocery store, look for a card that offers bonus rewards in that category. If your spending is more varied, an unlimited flat-rate rewards card may prove the most valuable.

Once you’ve found your perfect rewards card, signing up is as easy as heading online to the issuer’s website and filling out an application. If you’ve received an offer in the mail, you can input your offer code online or respond by mail. In most cases, you’ll receive a response to your online application in just a few minutes.

Cash Back | Travel Rewards | Points | Signup Bonuses

How to Sign Up for a Cash Back Credit Card

Signing up for a cash back credit card starts with picking the card that will maximize your cash back rewards. This means figuring out where you spend the most and choosing a card that will provide cash back on those purchases. Many cash back cards offer bonus rewards for purchases in common everyday categories, including restaurant and gas station purchases.

CASH BACK RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Blue Cash Preferred® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • Earn 3% cash back on transit, including gas, taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
  • Earn $300 back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of Card Membership
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from the date of account opening
  • $95 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
13.99% - 23.99%
$95
Good/Excellent

+See More Cash Back Cards

How to Sign Up for a Travel Rewards Credit Card

Travel rewards credit cards are perfect for the frequent traveler — or anyone else who wants to earn free airfare and hotel stays as they shop. As with other rewards cards, those offering travel rewards provide only unlimited flat-rate rewards for all purchases or additional bonus rewards for purchases in predetermined categories.

You can sign up for a travel rewards card using the same process as other rewards cards, which involves completing the online application (or responding to a mailed offer). The only difference will be if you select a card co-branded with a specific hotel or airline, in which case you may need to provide your existing loyalty program number during application.

AIR MILES RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Redeem on travel—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good
AIR MILES RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent
AIR MILES RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+See More Travel Rewards Cards

How to Sign Up for a Points Credit Card

Generally considered to be the most flexible type of rewards, points tend to provide the largest variety of redemption options, often including cash back, travel, and merchandise. To maximize your points potential, be sure to apply for the card that offers you the best earnings rate for the purchases you make most frequently. With the perfect points card in your sights, you can head online and sign up in minutes.

POINTS & GIFTS RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

POINTS & GIFTS RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn 3X points on eating out and ordering in; gas stations, rideshares, and transit; flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals; and popular streaming services - all other purchases earn 1X points
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from account opening
  • No limit to points you can earn, and points don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Cell phone protection helps protect your cell phone from damage or theft
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
14.49% - 24.99%
$0
Good/Excellent
American Express® Gold Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

POINTS & GIFTS RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn 4X Points at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants, 3X points on flights, 1X points on everything else
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership
  • Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees, like checked bags and in-flight refreshments, are charged by the airline to your Gold Card account
  • $250 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99%
$250
Excellent

+See More Points Cards

How to Sign Up for Credit Card Signup Bonuses

The pinnacle of credit card rewards for many cardholders, credit card signup bonuses provide a one-time bonus lump sum of cash back, points, or miles. Most signup bonuses require you to meet a minimum spending requirement within a set period of time, typically within the first 90 days of opening your account.

In general, you won’t need to complete a separate application form to become eligible for a signup bonus, as you will automatically become eligible when you are approved for the credit card. Similarly, you should automatically receive your signup bonus within two to six weeks after completing the signup bonus requirements.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
BEST OVERALL RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Redeem on travel—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good
BEST OVERALL RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

+See More Signup Bonus Cards

Signing Up for a Credit Card by Issuer

Whether you are looking for a card from your favorite bank, want a credit card issuer with high scores for customer satisfaction, or simply love that great television commercial, sometimes the perfect credit card is as much about the name it sports as the features it offers.

Thankfully, no matter which issuer you choose, signing up for a credit card will follow the same simple steps, particularly if you apply online. While some of the specific questions you’re asked may vary, the only thing that really changes in the signup process for different issuers is the website where you apply.

Discover | Chase | Citi | Amex | Wells Fargo

How to Sign Up for a Discover Credit Card

Similar to Amex, Discover is a credit card processing network that also issues its own credit cards, which seems to provide a better experience for consumers, as Amex and Discover are the top-rated card companies for customer satisfaction. Discover offers two main credit cards, the Discover it® card, which exists in several offer variations, and the Discover it® chrome, also called the Gas & Restaurant Card.

Signing up for a Discover card is as easy as clicking “Apply Now” and filling out the online application. In addition to the typical personal and financial information, you’ll also get to select your initial card design during application. To respond to a mailed offer, you can input your Invitation Number on the response page.

+See More Discover Cards

How to Sign Up for a Chase Credit Card

Between its wide variety of consumer and business credit card options and its popular Ultimate Rewards points program, Chase is a top choice for many prospective cardholders. You can get to a Chase credit card application by clicking the “Apply Now” button on the individual page for the card you’ve chosen.

One thing to keep in mind when signing up for a Chase credit card is the infamous 5/24 Rule, which will automatically reject applicants who have opened five or more new credit accounts in the last 24 months. If you have too many recent accounts, you may need to wait a few months before applying for a Chase card.

EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

+See More Chase Cards

How to Sign Up for a Citi Credit Card

Citi’s range of credit card offerings includes more than 15 options for consumers and small business. The bank provides both its own branded card options, such as the breakthrough Citi Double Cash Card, as well as a host of co-branded cards, including the much-lauded American Airlines co-branded AAdvantage cards.

You can sign up for a new Citi credit card by clicking the “Apply Now” button for any individual card and completing the online application. You’ll need to select a security word during the application process that will be used to set up online banking if you’re approved. If you’ve received a pre-screened Citi credit card offer in the mail, you can respond to the offer online by entering your Invitation Number on the response page.

Citi Prestige® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CITI® RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn 5X Points at restaurants and on air travel
  • Earn 3X Points on hotels and cruise lines, all other purchases earn 1X Points
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points ($500 value) after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
  • Complimentary 4thfourth Night at a hotel of your choice after a minimum 4 consecutive night booking through ThankYou.com (benefit can be used 2X per calendar year)
  • Up to a $250 travel credit every calendar year, no need to enroll
  • Enjoy complimentary access to hundreds of VIP lounges through Priority Pass™ Select
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.99% - 23.99%
$495
Excellent
CITI® RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 23.99% (variable)
$0
Excellent/Good
Citi Premier® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CITI® RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • Earn 3X Points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and on air travel and hotel purchases — all other purchases earn 1X Points
  • Earn 60,000 Bonus Points after making $4,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, through thankyou.com, once per calendar year
  • Transfer ThankYou® Points to participating airline loyalty programs including TrueBlue®, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, to get flights faster. There is no fee, and the minimum transfer is only 1,000 points.
  • $95 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 23.99%
$95
Good/Excellent

+See More Citibank Cards

How to Sign Up for an American Express Credit Card

American Express is both a credit card processing network and a card issuer, offering a range of consumer and business credit products, including both charge cards and revolving credit cards. Signing up for an American Express credit card is as simple as selecting the Amex card you want, clicking the “Apply Now” button, and filling out the short application form.

If you’ve received a pre-screened Amex offer in the mail, you can go to the Check for Offers screen and enter your 14-digit RSVP code under “Respond to Your Mail Offer.” Once you’ve completed the online application, you can receive a decision in as few as 30 seconds.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express provides a hard-to-beat rewards package, including 6% cash back on grocery purchases.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6k a year) & on select U.S. streaming services
  • Earn 3% cash back on U.S. gas station and transit purchases
  • Pay a $95 annual fee

Just $35 a week in grocery purchases made with your Blue Cash Preferred® card will let you break even on the $95 annual fee. And that’s before you include bonus rewards from gas station and department store purchases.

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express offers flexible Membership Rewards® points, including bonus Membership Rewards® points for supermarket purchases.

Amex EveryDay Credit Card

  • Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points per $1 at US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • Earn 1X Membership Rewards® points per $1 on all other purchases
  • Pay no annual fee, ever

If you use your Amex EveryDay® Credit Card 20 or more times a month, you can receive 20% bonus points on those net purchases, helping you rack up rewards in no time.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is the lighter version of the Blue Cash Preferred® card, offering lower rewards earnings rates but without the annual fee.

Amex BlueCash Everyday

  • Earn 3% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • Earn 2% cash back at US gas stations and US department stores
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases

You can earn rewards and enjoy interest-free purchasing with the Blue Cash Everyday® card’s introductory offer for 0% APR.

+See More American Express Cards

How to Sign Up for a Wells Fargo Credit Card

Wells Fargo’s line of credit cards covers the gamut, with consumer offerings to meet nearly any need, including options for earning rewards, lowering your APR, and building credit. You can sign up for a Wells Fargo credit card online by clicking the “Apply Now” button for a particular card and filling out the application.

In some cases, you may have received an exclusive offer from Wells Fargo in the mail. To apply for a Wells Fargo credit card using a pre-screened offer code, simply head online to Respond to an Offer and enter the reservation number from your offer and the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn 3X points on eating out and ordering in; gas stations, rideshares, and transit; flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals; and popular streaming services - all other purchases earn 1X points
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from account opening
  • No limit to points you can earn, and points don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Cell phone protection helps protect your cell phone from damage or theft
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
14.49% - 24.99%
$0
Good/Excellent
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases
  • Earn a $150 cash rewards bonus when you spend $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from account opening
  • Account protections such as 24/7 Fraud Monitoring, Alerts, and Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
14.49% - 24.99%
$0
Good/Excellent
Wells Fargo Platinum Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • Introductory 0% APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers (3% balance transfer fee applies)
  • Account protection features such as Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions, alerts, and cell phone protection
  • My Money Map – tools to help you manage spending and create a budget with ease
  • Access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
16.49% - 24.49%
$0
Good

+See More Wells Fargo Cards

Signing Up for a Credit Card by Credit Range

With all the options available in the modern credit card market, it can be all too easy to get so wrapped up in the idea of picking the perfect card that you forget one key fact: just because you sign up, doesn’t mean you’ll be approved. Yes, no matter the card’s features or origins, nearly every credit card issuer will rely on your credit history and score to determine your creditworthiness before approving your application.

This means an important part of signing up for a new credit card is to check your credit reports and scores so you know where you stand. If you have good credit, congratulations — signing up for a credit card will likely be a matter of simply picking the card you want. For everyone else, however, signing up may first require looking for cards that cater to your particular credit profile.

Good Credit | Fair Credit | Bad Credit | No/Limited Credit

How to Sign Up for a Credit Card with Good Credit

As the ideal consumer for most of the prime credit card market, those with good to excellent credit scores (FICO scores above 680) often receive their pick of the available options. For these diligent and responsible consumers, the most difficult part of signing up for a credit card will often be choosing which card to go after first.

Of course, a vital part of maintaining your good credit throughout the signup process is to ensure you use any new cards as responsibly as your track record with your current and past credit products indicates. This means paying your bills on-time and as agreed, maintaining low credit card balances, and avoiding opening excessive credit accounts.

GOOD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
GOOD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Redeem on travel—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good
Blue Cash Preferred® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

GOOD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • Earn 3% cash back on transit, including gas, taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
  • Earn $300 back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of Card Membership
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from the date of account opening
  • $95 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
13.99% - 23.99%
$95
Good/Excellent

+See More Cards for Good Credit

How to Sign Up for a Credit Card with Fair Credit

In many ways, having fair credit (FICO scores between 580 and 669) is a bit like being in credit card limbo. You’re not the demographic for the subprime credit card issuers — but you’re not exactly the target audience for the latest and greatest prime cards, either. This can make signing up for a credit card with fair credit a little tricky.

While prime cards are almost always a better — and more affordable — option than subprime cards, you have to be careful to pick a card for which you’re likely to qualify. A good way to test the waters for a particular issuer is to check for pre-qualification offers. Pre-qualification uses a soft credit check to determine which cards you are most likely to qualify for, helping you avoid a rejection — and a wasted hard credit pull.

FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
3.8/5.0
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set.
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited
FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.5/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Earn cash rewards without signing up for rotating categories
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • No limit to how much cash back you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$39
Average, Fair, Limited
Blue from American Express® Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.5/5.0
  • Earn 1 Membership Rewards® point for every eligible dollar you spend
  • You can get double Membership Rewards® points on every dollar of eligible travel purchases—such as prepaid hotel stays, vacation packages, and cruises—when you use your card to book your trip through AmexTravel.com
  • Amex Offers rewards you at places you like to shop, dine, travel, and more. Simply log in to your account or use the American Express® App to add offers to your card. Then use that same card to pay and enjoy rewards directly on your statement.
  • Plan It® is a payment option that lets you split up purchases of $100 or more into clear and simple monthly payments with a fixed fee and no interest
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
23.99%
$0
Fair/Good

+See More Cards for Fair Credit

How to Sign Up for a Credit Card with Bad Credit

When you have bad credit (FICO scores below 580), traditional credit card issuers typically don’t want to take the risk of offering you a credit card. So, for bad-credit consumers, successfully signing up for a credit card is mostly a matter of selecting the right card in the first place.

By choosing a credit card designed for rebuilding credit, you can significantly improve your chances of being approved when you sign up. With poor credit, your options will generally be between subprime unsecured credit cards — which tend to have high rates and fees — or secured credit cards, which require an up-front deposit to open.

BAD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.0/5.0
  • No annual fee
  • Unlike a prepaid card, there is regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • Accepted at millions of locations worldwide
  • Make the minimum required security deposit and you'll get an initial credit line of $200. Plus, deposit more money before your account opens to get a higher credit line
  • Access to an authorized bank account is required to make your $49, $99 or $200 refundable security deposit
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad
Bank of America® Cash Back Secured Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.5/5.0
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
  • Earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • A minimum refundable security deposit of $300 (maximum of $4,900) is required to open this account
  • Access your FICO® Score updated monthly for free, within your Mobile Banking app or in Online Banking
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
23.99%
$0
Bad/Limited
Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.0/5.0
  • Better than Prepaid...Go with a Secured Card! Load One Time - Keep On Using
  • Absolutely No Credit Check or Minimum Credit Score Required
  • Automatic Reporting to All Three National Credit Bureaus
  • 9.99% Low Fixed APR - Your Rate Won’t Go Up Even if You Are Late
  • Activate Today with a $200 Minimum Deposit - Maximum $1,000. * Increase Your Credit Limit up to $5,000 by Adding Additional Deposits Anytime
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
9.99%
$48
Poor/Fair/Limited/Damaged

+See More Cards for Bad Credit

How to Sign Up for a Credit Card with No/Limited Credit

Although no news might be good news in some industries, that’s not the case in the world of finance. Indeed, the only good thing about having no credit history is that it isn’t a bad credit history. For applicants with no or limited credit histories, a critical part of signing up for a credit card will be carefully selecting a card that is designed for credit-builders or students.

If you have some credit history but are concerned it isn’t enough to qualify for a particular card, you can check for pre-qualification offers before officially applying. While pre-qualification doesn’t guarantee you’ll be approved if fill out a formal application, it can be a good indicator of your chances. Since pre-qualification uses a soft credit inquiry, rather than a hard inquiry, it won’t affect your credit score.

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
3.8/5.0
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set.
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited
NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
4.5/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Earn cash rewards without signing up for rotating categories
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • No limit to how much cash back you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$39
Average, Fair, Limited
Surge Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank'ssecure website

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
4.1/5.0
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
N/A
25.90% - 29.99%
See website for Details
Bad, Poor Credit

+See More Cards for No/Limited Credit

Always Use Credit Responsibly

Credit cards have certainly come a long way since the first mass-delivered batch of BankAmericard credit cards hit 60,000 mailboxes in Fresno, California. We now have literally hundreds of different credit card options on the market, with options for nearly any consumer’s credit card wants or needs.

The process of signing up for a new credit card has also evolved exponentially — especially considering the first cardholders didn’t even sign up at all. Long gone, too, are the cumbersome snail-mail applications that took days or months to get a response.

Today, most credit cards are obtained through simple online application forms that shorten the time it takes to sign up for a new card to a matter of minutes, with responses in as little as 30 seconds. The credit card future is now.

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