Key takeaways

  • If you’re applying for a new card, you can expect to encounter common credit card application questions intended to verify your identity and creditworthiness.
  • Understanding how to answer credit card application questions ahead of time helps make the application process as quick and easy as possible.
  • Regardless of what you may be asked, be aware that issuers are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of protected characteristics such as your age, sex and religion when making credit decisions.

Applying for a credit card is a lot easier than many people realize, especially since you can submit an application and get approved entirely online, from the comfort of your home. Some credit cards even let you get pre-approved before you fill out an application, helping you gauge your approval odds without adding a hard inquiry to your credit reports. All that’s typically required for pre-approval is your contact information, household income and the last four digits of your Social Security number (SSN).

When you’re ready to fill out a full-fledged credit card application, however, you can streamline the process by ensuring you have all the necessary information to apply at hand. Here’s a quick rundown of common questions you’ll need to answer when you find the right credit card for your needs and hit Apply Now.

Questions you’ll answer when applying for a card

The specific questions credit card issuers ask during the application process are influenced, in part, by the information they’re allowed to consider in their approval processes. For instance, issuers can ask for your immigration status as part of your application, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), but they can’t use it to discriminate against you based on protected characteristics such as your race or nation of origin.

As a result, although the specific questions you’ll be asked may vary by issuer, you can expect to see all of the following — regardless of the card you’re applying for.

What is your Social Security number?

Your Social Security number — or SSN — is a nine-digit number that identifies you for financial and governmental purposes. This number is tied to both your personal financial history and your credit history, and it’s required when you fill out a credit card application.

Before you share your SSN online, make sure you’re on a secure wifi network by ensuring the website’s address begins with https — and not http. This will ensure your SSN is encrypted throughout the application process.

What is your household income?

Credit card applications will also ask for your household income — or the total gross income of all people who live in your home. If you’re over the age of 21, you can include the income of your spouse or partner in addition to yours. If you’re a stay-at-home spouse and your partner earns an income, you can even list their income on your application if you don’t have any income of your own.

If you’re under the age of 21, however, the CFPB notes that you can only include the following income sources on your application:

  • Your own personal income, even if you have a spouse or partner who’s over 21.
  • Income or assets you earned from a company or property that you own independently or jointly with someone else.
  • Income or assets someone else regularly deposits into an account on which you are an account holder.

What is your date of birth?

You’ll also need to list your date of birth on your credit card application, as this is another piece of information credit card issuers use to confirm your identity.

What is your contact information?

Additional contact information you’ll need to supply may include your address, your email address and your phone number. Note that a P.O. box typically isn’t sufficient for a credit card — you’ll need to list the physical address where you live. If you haven’t lived at your current address long, you may also be asked to provide former addresses to support the verification process.

What is your monthly housing payment?

Most credit card applications also ask for your monthly housing payment amount, which can be what you pay in rent or your monthly mortgage payment. Applications will likely ask you to confirm whether you rent or own your home.

Do you have an existing loyalty number, if applicable?

If you’re applying for a travel credit card that’s co-branded with an airline or hotel brand, you’ll want to supply the loyalty number associated with your existing account so that any rewards you earn accrue automatically.

If you don’t already have an account, create one before applying or have the issuer open one for you as part of the application process.

What is your Employer Identification Number (EIN)?

If you’re applying for a business credit card, you’ll need to either supply your Employer Identification Number (EIN) or apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietorship with your SSN.

Do you want to add any authorized users?

Most credit card applications will ask if you want to authorize other cardholders to your account. If you’re applying for a business credit card, these cards will be employee cards.

In either scenario, you can request additional user cards now or wait until after you’re approved to request them.

Do you agree with the card’s terms and conditions?

Before submitting your application, you must confirm that you agree with the card’s terms and conditions. Take the time to read the fine print, as these terms include such important card details as rates and fees. Make sure card details match up with your expectations before you hit the Submit.

Questions you won’t be asked

While you should expect to answer common questions when completing your card application, there are other questions you’ll never be asked.

What other debts do you owe?

Beyond questions about your monthly mortgage payment and whether you own your home, credit card applications never ask about other debts you might have, including car loan payments, student loans and debts held on other credit cards or lines of credit.

What demographic categories do you fall into?

It’s illegal for card issuers to ask for your age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, race, color, religion or national origin to avoid even the appearance of discriminating against you based on protected characteristics.

Card issuers may ask for some of these details for identification purposes, but you won’t be asked many — and your answers shouldn’t be used to qualify or disqualify your application.

The bottom line

Most credit card application questions are ones you already know the answer to, but there are others you may want to look up ahead of time. For example, you may not know your business EIN off-hand if you’re applying for a business credit card, and you may need to check in with your spouse or partner to find out the exact household income you can list on your credit card application.

That said, the fact you can apply for the credit card you want online means you don’t have to stress about not knowing this information off the top of your head. Simply find the card you want, select Apply Now and look over the application to find out exactly what your card issuer wants and needs. From there, you can gather all the information you need before completing your application.