Credit cards

How to apply for a credit card

How to apply for a credit card in 5 steps

Applying for a credit card is a quick and easy process. You need to keep a few things in mind.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get a credit card in the UK:

1. Find the right credit card

Not all cards are the same. So, you’ll need to apply for the credit card that’s right for your spending needs.

If you’re looking for a card you can use abroad, you should look for a travel credit card with no foreign transaction fees. If you're looking for manageable monthly payments, you could look for a low rate credit card. You can even find cards that reward you for shopping. If you want to clear some debt, you could find a card that offers 0% on balance transfers. Learn more about interest free credit cards.

Visit our credit card comparison hub to find the right card for you.

Eligibility applies. Over 18s only.

2. Organise a credit score check

Your credit score lets providers know if you are suitable for a specific card. The better your score is, the greater choice you have when it comes to applying for credit cards and larger credit limits.

Companies, such as Experian, keep files that show how financially reliable you are. Your score is based on your history of making payments (bills), paying back credit products (mortgages, loans, etc.) and even how often you apply for credit.

Remember, unsuccessful credit card applications could affect your score, so make sure you know your credit score before starting the application process.

You can visit Experian to request your free credit score file.

Take a look at our guide to credit scoring for information on credit scores.

3. Make sure you understand credit card offers

You need to understand what your credit limits and APR mean before accepting an offer. Credit limits and APR are based on your personal circumstances and your credit score, and if you don’t know how much you can spend and the rate you have to pay it back, you risk going over your credit limit.

If you have any questions or are unsure about the terms of the offer, ask us for a little more clarification and we can help.

4. Check your eligibility

Rejected applications for credit have a negative effect on your credit score. Each time you apply for a credit card and are rejected, it can be harder to get future applications accepted.

If you decide that a NatWest credit card best suits your needs, you can check your eligibility before you choose to apply. This happens at the start of your application and lets you know your indicative credit limit and whether you'll be accepted, before a full credit check is completed.

5. Complete the application

The easiest way to apply for a credit card is to apply online. It's safe, secure and usually doesn’t take long.

Take a look below at what you will need with you when applying.


What do you need to apply for a credit card online?

To apply for a credit card online, you’ll usually need:

  • Your address details for the last three years
  • Your income, outgoings and employment details
  • Your bank account details
  • Details of the card you’d like to transfer a balance – move any debt – from. 

Applying for a credit card – FAQs

Other ways we can help

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Our range of credit cards

Take a look at our range of credit cards and compare costs, benefits and features. It's all here in one place. Eligibility applies. Over 18s only.

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Range of credit cards Range of credit cards

Credit card, overdraft or loan?

If you're looking to find out whether a credit card, loan or overdraft is right for you, then our borrowing needs tool is a good place to get started.

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How do credit cards work?

If you're completely new to credit cards, or just want to brush up on your knowledge, our handy page answers lots of frequently asked questions.

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