How to Qualify for the Best Credit Cards

Credit cards aren’t holding back when it comes to credit card rewards. They’re beefing up rewards, raising the signup bonus, and packing their cards with perks on top of perks. Rewards credit cards are more attractive than ever, giving a chance to earn cash back, points, and travel rewards for your everyday spending. The only drawback – you have to qualify to get the best rewards credit cards.

Have an Excellent Credit Score

Those with a history of responsible credit card use are more likely to qualify for the best rewards credit cards. If you have a credit score above 760, you can typically qualify for almost any rewards credit card. Credit card issuers check a few different factors, so having excellent credit doesn’t guarantee you’ll be approved.

Don’t Have a Bankruptcy on Your Credit Report

Bankruptcy can stand in the way of qualifying for the best rewards credit cards, even after you’ve been discharged. Some credit card issuers won’t approve your application at all as long as there’s a bankruptcy on your credit record. Other credit card issuers may approve you if a certain amount of time has passed since your bankruptcy was discharged. Read through the credit card issuer’s terms or call to find out their policy on previous bankruptcy.

Make a Good Income

Your income isn’t a factor in your credit score. However, credit card issuers are required to confirm your ability to repay your credit card balance before approving your application. If you’re spending a large amount of your income on housing expenses, the credit card issuer may deny your application.

Have Little to No Credit Card Debt

The lower your balances on any other credit cards, the better your chances of qualifying for a new credit card. Consumers who carry a high amount of credit card debt are riskier borrowers, particularly if those balances are held across multiple credit cards. Paying down most of your credit card balances puts you in a better position to be approved.

Have a Minimal Amount of Newly Opened Credit Cards

Credit card issuers have started cracking down on credit card churners – people who repeatedly sign up for credit cards to earn the signup bonus. Some credit card issuers deny your application if you’ve opened several credit cards in the past 24 months.

Apply for Cards That Haven’t Paid You a Bonus Recently

On top of making sure you haven’t opened too many credit cards recently, credit card issuers also ensure you haven’t earned signup bonus from more than one or two of their credit cards within the past 24 months. The credit card issuer from some airline- and hotel-branded credit cards isn’t always obvious. Check the back of your credit card or your billing statement to see which credit card issuer services your credit card.

Making Yourself a Better Credit Card Candidate

Those who are just starting out with credit or you have a troubled credit past may not qualify for the best rewards credit cards. That doesn’t mean you can’t earn any rewards. Instead, you may have to opt for a lower-tier rewards credit card until you build your credit score enough to qualify for a higher-paying rewards credit card.

Fortunately, many major credit card issuers have a tool that lets you see whether you pre-qualify for their credit cards. The pre-qualification doesn’t hurt your credit score and helps you see if you have a good chance of qualifying for the credit card you’re considering.

If your credit isn’t quite there yet, don’t get frustrated. Be patient and responsible with your credit going forward. You’ll be able to stick a better rewards card in your wallet soon enough.


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