In the olden days, about 10 years ago, before the internet, consumers would have to fill in applications for credit cards, loans, mortgages and so on by hand. It's hard to believe now, but this lengthy process was the norm, with requests for extra documentation and references going backwards and forwards, until finally the application was accepted or rejected. These days with the advent of the Internet an application can validated, accepted and a credit card or loan offered with minutes.
The availability of credit card comparison engines has revolutionised the way people look for the credit cards. It means that when comparing credit cards a consumer can make very quick and meaningful comparisons very quickly. Consequently, they can compare the credit cards pertinent to their needs and identify the best card for them. It means that for things like balance transfers, the best available product can be found with relative ease.
Credit cards can be compared accurately using the typical APR or Annual Percentage Rate. Credit card companies are required to produce a typical APR figure under new regulations. It is an attempt to standardise the way a card can be promoted and to reduce the scope for misleading headline rates of interest. Credit card companies are required to include things like interest charges, penalties, annual fees and so on, in their calculation. It is the first thing to look for when comparing cards as it is the rate that balances will revert to when offers like 0% on purchases and 0% balance transfers expire.
A credit card can be applied for online with great ease, particularly if the appropriate information is to hand. You will need details of your address for the last three years and any existing borrowing commitments. Also, details of your employee and current salary are usually required. Once, all the relevant details have been entered the bank will usually give an indication of their decision with minutes. The decision will either be an acceptance, referral or rejection.
However, do not get carried away making multiple online applications as this can have an adverse effect on your credit rating. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that if you make many applications at least one will be accepted. All you will be doing is making it more difficult to get an application successfully processed.
All in all, there can be little doubt that the process of choosing a credit card and having an application accepted has been greatly improved with the advent of the Internet. Make use of the many comparison engines to identify the best credit card offer for you. Then use the online application process to complete the application.
Neil Brown has contributed to many sites including articles on 0% credit cards and balance transfer credit cards.