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It's getting easier to be approved for credit cards

by Peter Andrew

If your finances got into a mess a while back, but are getting better now, you stand a better chance of seeing a credit card application approved than you have for some time. In the last quarter of 2013, 28.95 percent of all new cards issued went to "non-prime" consumers, in other words, people with less than impressive credit scores. That's up from 27.28 percent during the same period in 2012. As importantly, the overall number of new cards being issued is rising: 13.45 million of these accounts were opened between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013, while during the same period in 2012 that number was 11.56 million.

More cards, less credit card debt, fewer problems

Those data came from a May 14 report compiled by TransUnion, one of the Big 3 credit bureaus. It went on to explain why credit card companies are growing more relaxed about issuing plastic to non-prime borrowers:

  1. Nationwide, average credit card debt is down. In spite of the larger number of cards, balances per borrower averaged $5,164 in the first quarter of 2014, down from $5,201 during the same period in 2013.
  2. Delinquencies (when people fall 90 days or more behind with payments) were also down for these cards. They stood at just 1.37 percent during the first three months of this year, compared with 1.51 percent during the first quarter of 2013.

"It is … encouraging that delinquency levels have dropped on a year-over-year basis even though the share of non-prime consumers gaining access to card credit has increased," said TransUnion's Toni Guitart. "Together, these findings point to a healthy credit market."

Take care applying

Of course, this doesn't mean banks are handing out plastic to anyone who asks. And every time you apply for new credit, your credit score takes a small knock. So it's important you don't make applications when you stand little chance of being approved.

But, if your finances are getting healthier, it might be worth checking your credit score and then browsing through the IndexCreditCards.com credit card lists. You'll find an indication there of the sort of credit you're likely to need for each card shown.

Published 06/04/14 (Modified 06/24/14)

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