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Bottom Line Up Front

  • Most lenders set minimum income and credit score requirements for credit card approval, depending on the card.
  • Your length of employment lets lenders know you have a stable flow of income.
  • Filling out the credit card application thoroughly and accurately is key to getting approved. 

Time to Read

2 minutes

May 15, 2022

Here are 4 key factors that could affect the success (or failure) of your credit card application:  

Your Credit Score

Lenders typically set a minimum credit score for approval, but it doesn’t guarantee a credit card will be approved. A low credit score may result in a much higher interest rate. 

Why approved: Your score meets or exceeds the minimum. (However, if it’s on the low side of the minimum, you may pay a higher annual percentage rate than someone with a higher credit score.)

Why denied: Your score is below the minimum, or you have no credit history. 

What you can do about it: Work at improving your credit score. If you have no credit history or poor credit history, consider applying for a secured credit card.

Your Income

Lenders may also set a minimum level of income, which varies depending on the type of credit card, credit limit, interest rate and debt-to-income ratio.

Why approved: You meet or exceed the income requirements for the card and your level of debt.

Why denied: Your income is too low, or you have too many other debt obligations.

What you can do about it: Consider re-applying when you earn more or pay off significant debts. If you wish to reveal other income and have it considered for repaying the obligation, such as alimony or child support, you may include it on the original application. 

Your Length of Employment

Lenders consider how long you’ve been employed as an indicator of stability of income. The more stable your income, the more likely you’ll be able to pay your bills.

Why approved: You meet the employment requirements set by the lender.

Why denied: You’re unemployed or only recently employed.

What you can do about it: Re-apply after you’ve landed a new job or been at your current job longer. If you’re a discharged servicemember who has only recently begun civilian employment, be sure the credit card issuer is aware of your situation.

Your Application

Lenders review and verify all the information on your application.

Why approved: Your application is thorough and accurate, and all required information is confirmed as correct by the card issuer.

Why denied: You left out important information or misstated your income or housing costs. 

What you can do about it: If you made an honest error on the application, contact the credit card issuer to see if the correct and complete information can be taken into consideration before the lender makes a final decision.

Key Takeaways Key Takeaways


This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.