Applying for a credit card is a quick and painless process. After you compare credit card types and decide on which one is the best fit for you, the next step is to go to that credit card’s website or mobile app and start filling out the application.

While the credit card company doesn’t require a lot of information, they will ask for a few key pieces of data to determine your eligibility. Here’s what you can expect during the process.

Information you’ll need when applying for a credit card

It’s smart to have the following information on hand when getting ready to fill out a credit card application:

Personal information

As with most accounts, the card issuer will need to know your identity and how they can get a hold of you. Therefore, they’ll ask for your:

  • Legal name
  • Birth date
  • Permanent address
  • Phone number
  • Email

Gross annual income

The credit card issuer will want to ensure you can afford to pay off the funds you owe each billing cycle. To determine this, they’ll need to know how much money you make so that they can calculate your monthly credit limit. Note that the figure you report should be your gross income. The application may also require you to provide your employer’s name and address for verification.


To qualify for a credit card in Canada, you’ll need to be a resident or citizen. If you’re relatively new or in the process of becoming a citizen, then you may have to provide some additional information.

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

The card issuer may ask you to provide your Social Insurance Number (SIN) as another means of validating your identity. However, in Canada, your SIN is considered confidential. For this reason, you don’t have to disclose it.

What to expect when applying for a credit card

Now that you know how you can apply for a credit card and which pieces of information to have ready, here’s what you can expect after hitting the submit button:

Get instant approval or denial

Many credit card issuers use computer software to process applications, so they often provide an answer almost immediately. Additionally, you can expect to receive a letter in the mail confirming the decision. If you get approved instantly, you’ll have immediate access to credit. This means you can start making purchases right away.

If you marginally meet the requirements or there was an issue, the card issuer may take more time to review your application and determine your eligibility manually. Again, you’ll receive an official response by mail.

Create an account

Assuming you get approved, the next step will be to create an online account with the credit card company. This will serve as your personal dashboard where you can connect to your bank, pay your bills, and review transactions. Creating an account generally involves selecting a unique username and password and then validating it.

Receive your card

Upon approval, your physical credit card should arrive in the mail. Once you receive your card, you’ll have to activate it. This is typically a quick process that you can complete online, via mobile app, or over the phone.

Review the terms

While receiving your new credit card can be exciting, you’ll also want to use it responsibly. Review the terms of your new account by taking note of the interest rate (APR) and any fees that may apply.

The bottom line

Applying for a credit card is an easy process and requires a few basic inputs such as your personal information, income level, and residency status. Once you get approved, you should receive an answer immediately and can expect your card to arrive shortly after. However, if your application requires a manual review, then this may take additional time to process.

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