How to Fill Out a Credit Application

Filling out a credit application accurately can often be the difference between getting approved for a loan or purchase and not. The key is to provide as much information as possible to allow the most thorough check of your credit history. Here are some tips on how to properly fill out a credit application and ensure that the next time you are using credit to purchase an item or to secure a loan, the process won't be delayed because of your application.

Be thorough when providing personal information. Don't skip any of the steps or questions. Even the most seemingly trivial information can be vital to a potential lender or creditor. It is actually better to provide too much information than too little---so err on the side of caution and answer every question as thoroughly as possible.

Double check to make sure all of the information you provide is accurate. One of the most common reasons that a credit application is denied, other than credit history, is inaccurate information that doesn't match up with what is found on the person's official credit report. Because of this, it is extremely important to answer all questions on the credit application as truthfully as possible. Ensure that the information you are providing is the most up-to-date available, including phone numbers, addresses, and places of employment.

Ask questions if there are items on the application you don't understand. It is much better to clarify questions versus providing the wrong types of answers. When answering questions about work history, you may wonder how much history to provide, whether or not to disclose starting or ending salary or both, number of addresses you have had over the last five years. If you are unsure about how much to disclose, ask the creditor giving you the application to clarify exactly how much---and how extensive---the information you provide should be.

If you aren't sure about something, ask to take the credit application with you. Sometimes, it can be difficult to clearly think about what you are writing down on a credit application. After all, you are usually working with the lender or retailer and it the situation may be wrought with pressure as they watch you fill out your application. In this situation, you may be more likely to write down incorrect or incomplete information. You can ask to take the application with you so you can take your time in the comfort of your own home. You can look over all of the information you provide and make any necessary additions/corrections. Ask to return the credit application the following day so you are sure you filled it out properly.