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How to apply for a credit card

You can apply for a credit card online within minutes and a bit of preparation can boost your chances of being approved.

If you’re planning to apply for a credit card, use our guide to help.

1. Compare different credit cards

Before applying, take some time to compare different credit cards to find the right one to suit your needs. Different credit cards can be useful for different things.

For example, if you have more than one credit card and you want to streamline your repayments, a credit card with a lower balance transfer fee or charges could help. Some banks may offer a 0% interest-free period if you transfer to one of their cards. This means you won’t pay interest on what you owe during this initial period.[@financing-arrears-warning]

Explore: How to make the most of a balance transfer credit card

Always check the APR, and any other fees and charges, when comparing credit cards. 

If you’re comparing credit cards to find the best one for you, make sure you only apply when you’ve found the right option. Submitting lots of applications for credit in a short amount of time could have a negative impact on your credit score.

2. Check your credit score

Calculated by the Al Etihad Credit Bureau (AECB), a credit score is a number between 300 and 900 – the higher your credit score, the better.

Lenders view your credit score when considering your application. It helps them predict how reliable you’ll be at making repayments.

Before making an application, it can be useful to check your credit score to make sure everything is accurate. A small mistake or error could make a big difference.

Explore: How to boost your credit score

3. Check you meet the eligibility requirements

There may be specific eligibility requirements you need to meet to be able to apply for a credit card. For example, you may need to be over a certain age, or earn over a certain amount each month.

4. Complete an application

When you’ve found the right credit card, you can apply by filling in an application form online, over the phone or in a branch. You’ll need to fit the eligibility criteria for the credit card, and provide proof of your identity, and income.

For proof of identity, you’ll need:

  • passport
  • Emirates ID
  • residency visa if you’re a non-GCC national

Additional cardholder applications will need to provide the passport and Emirates ID for the additional cardholder.

For proof you’re a UAE resident, you can choose 1 of the following:

  • a tenancy agreement or EJARI
  • title deeds if you’re a homeowner
  • a utility bill no more than 2 months old

For proof of income, you’ll need:

  • the last 2 bank statements from the account your salary is paid into, or 2 salary credits into your HSBC account
  • a salary certificate from your employer issued in the last month

Keep in mind, each bank may have its own specific requirements.

Always check the terms and conditions of the credit card before you start applying.

Once you’ve completed your application, thoroughly review it before you submit it. Declined lending applications could affect your credit score, so it’s important to check all the information is accurate and there’s no mistakes.

5. Review your credit card offer

If your application is approved, your lender may send you an offer to review. If so, check:

  • APR and any fees
  • payment due dates
  • offers, benefits and the terms of the credit card
  • what percentage you’ll need to pay to make the minimum monthly repayment (you should always try to pay off your credit card in full to avoid being charged interest)

If your application for a credit card is declined, check your credit score to see if there’s any reasons why this may have happened.

Explore more

Learn how credit card charges work and how you can avoid them.
Learn more about the different types of credit card to help find the one that’s right for you.
Learn about how to use a balance transfer credit card and what a 0% interest rate means.