Are Online Applications Safe to Use?

Online applications have become a powerful method for gaining new customers. Banks are more aggressive in advertising today than ever before.

In part, this is due to the popularity and profit of credit card accounts but also reflects increased competition between lenders to corner the best qualified customers.

Today, credit cards are available from a variety of sources - local banks, department stores, gas and oil companies, airlines, and hotels to name just a few.

Easy to Apply

You don't have to drive anywhere or fill out an application (where the lines are often not long enough for your information to fit) or talk to anyone.

The process is fully computerized; applications are often processed in minutes. Overall, this is an efficient and user friendly method of getting credit.

Identity Theft Risk

Identity theft can be a problem though lenders do all they can to provide a secure and safe site for customers. How do you check whether a site is secure or not and is it hard to do?

Even if you are a computer novice, this will be a piece of cake. To control the security of the site you are currently browsing, simply follow these two steps:

1. Look for https: in the address of the website

2. Look for the lock symbol at the lower right corner of your browser

Remember that site security will also depend on your computer remaining free of viruses and spyware when you transmit personal information.

Are There Additional Benefits?

Not really. The offers and extras are the same as offered to offline new accounts through the mail.

These may include airline miles, cash back, retail discounts at certain stores or for certain brand name items, hotel discounts, car rental discounts, extended warranty protection for purchases and other rewards meant to lure you to their specific credit card.

Applying for a credit account online is easy and quick. In fact, it's so easy that it's smart to consider a few points before you start searching for an application site.

1. What will you use the new credit card for? Do you want it for daily purchases, for emergency use only or to build rewards?

2. Do you have the income to make monthly payment and the ability to use the card wisely?

3. Look for a card that suits your needs by visiting several lenders' sites and comparing what they have to offer.

4. Consider and compare the terms offered for each credit card. Is there an application fee or an annual fee charged? What is the interest rate and how is it computed? If there is a bonus or reward program is this something you will use to your advantage?

5. Check the fine print for disclaimers and hidden fees. A good rule of thumb on any financial disclosure is the smaller the print the more the lender hopes you won't read that section.

Online credit card applications are safe, quick and efficient. Choose carefully before filling out an application form.

Once you have narrowed your choices to a handful, compare those card offers with each other to decide which suits your purposes best and which will cost you the least in fees and interest. With careful comparison you'll find the best credit card for you.