A credit card can be a smart way to make purchases online or when you just don’t happen to have the cash to hand.

But if you've decided the time is right to take out a credit card, what are the steps involved?

What about a debit card?

These days, many debit cards can be used for a lot of the same things that credit cards are used for, such as online shopping.

The primary difference between debit and credit is that when you spend money on a debit card you’re spending what you already have in a transaction account (for example, your savings account). By contrast, anything you spend on a credit card it is money you’re borrowing and you’ll have to pay back in the future, possibly along with some interest too.

So before applying for a credit card, it may be worth considering whether you could get by with just a debit card.

Build up your credit history

Having a good credit score can be crucial to your credit card application. Making sure you pay your bills – such as phone and electricity – on time is a great start to building a positive credit report. It can also help to have some experience with another credit card but keep in mind that having a lot of credit applications against your name can work against your score.

Choose your type of card

Credit cards are typically one of three different types – low feelow rate and awards. It’s worth thinking about what it is you really want from your credit card before applying for one; you can use our credit card comparison page to get some idea of which one may best suit you.

Read the fine print

Once you’ve chosen the credit card you think will best suit you, read up on the fees and charges as well as the terms and conditions.

Apply when you’re ready

You can apply for a credit card online at any time with CommBank. If you’re not currently a customer or don’t have NetBank, you can apply online. We'll just need some of your personal details, photo ID and proof of income.

If you’re already a CommBank customer and registered for NetBank you can save time by confirming your personal details before providing your proof of income.

You can also choose to apply for a credit card at your nearest branch. Just make sure you remember to bring your ID and proof of income.

Find the credit card that's right for you

Discover credit cards

Things you should know

Applications for credit cards are subject to approval. Full terms and conditions will be in our Letter of Offer. Fees and charges apply. This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.