Declined for credit in the past? Your eligibility might have changed

Declined for credit in the past? Your eligibility might have changed

author: Bryony Pearce

By Bryony Pearce


Don’t let a declined credit application put you off for life. It’s never too late to improve your eligibility, and in this blog we’ve covered a few simple solutions.

If you’ve unsuccessfully applied for credit in the past, it can be easy to assume that your chances of securing certain finances in the future are lost – but that certainly isn’t the case. Whether it’s a loan or credit card you’re after, if your eligibility has changed, there’s a good chance that dreaded ‘declined’ could soon be an all-important ‘accepted’.

Reasons you might have been declined

There are a number of reasons your application for credit may have been turned down in the past. Some of the most common causes include:

Missed payments: if you’re guilty of missing credit repayments  – this could be anything from a secured loan to your mobile phone bill – this will show up on your credit history, and it’s a red flag for future lenders. Why? Because it can make you look like an unreliable borrower and, naturally, they want to lend to people who they’re confident will repay them on time and in full.

Late payments: although you may have come through good in the end, late payments can also set off alarm bells when you’re applying for credit. Firstly, it’s perhaps a sign that you’re struggling financially and are unable to pull the cash together to meet your instalments. And secondly, it’s extra effort at their end if they’re having to chase you for your repayments.

Excessive applications: if you repeatedly apply for lines of credit, each application will show up on your credit report. In the eyes of future lenders, this can make you seem desperate to access cash and is associated with the applicant being less likely to repay the credit.

Exceeded limits: if, for whatever reason, you go over the credit limit you’ve been offered by your provider, this can leave a mark on your credit history. This mark may suggest to future lenders that you’re struggling for cash and/or aren’t the best budgeter – neither of which will fill them with confidence.

There are a number of other reasons your credit application may have been declined in the past too, like:

  • The provider couldn’t confirm your identity and address
  • You don’t have any credit history to demonstrate you’re a responsible borrower
  • You’re on a debt management plan
  • You have a County Court Judgement (CCJ) or Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA) against your name
  • There was a mistake on your credit application
  • You had access to too much credit
  • Although your finances and credit history are in check, you’re linked to someone whose isn’t.

Improving your eligibility

To improve your chances of being accepted for credit, it’s useful to know why you were declined in the first place. If you’re not sure why this is, the best way to find out is to ask the company who turned you down for the reason behind their decision.

Once you know what’s holding you back, you can then work on rebuilding that area of your credit history – however, some will be easier and quicker than others.

Missed or late payments

If missed or late payments are what caused your application to be declined in the first instance, then it’s critical (as it always is) to stick to your repayments moving forward.

Although this won’t remove the previous defaults from your credit record (it takes six years for these to disappear), it will prove to prospective lenders that you can be a reliable borrower. So, providing you’ve built up a meaningful backlog of payments on time and in full, this will likely improve your eligibility and chances of being accepted.

Non-existent credit history

If you have a thin or non-existent credit history for lenders to go off, a fairly quick win is to take out a credit builder card or loan, or even just a mobile phone contract, to begin demonstrating that you’re a responsible borrower.

But remember, this will only work in your favour if you stick to your repayments by making them in full and on time each and every month. Failure to do so will have an adverse effect and could harm your credit eligibility even further.


If it was your excessive application history that was holding you back, simply having a cool off period may help your case. Taking a few months out will show lenders that you’re not actually desperate for cash, which will make you look less credit hungry.

Lots of lines of credit

As we briefly touched on earlier, having lots of lines of credit available to you can be seen as a negative. So, if you’ve closed off some of those lines – whether it be credit or store cards, for example – since you last applied for credit, your eligibility odds could increase.

Linked finances

If, since your last credit application, you’ve detached your finances from the person whose credit history was holding you back, this will be another big tick in the eligibility process – providing your credit history is still in check, of course.

Regardless of what caused your credit application to be declined in the first place, generally speaking, negative information tends to affect you less and less as time goes on. So, as well as actively taking steps to enhance your credit eligibility, the gift of time could also work in your favour and improve your chances of being accepted in the future.

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Bryony Pearce

By Bryony Pearce

Declined for credit in the past? Your eligibility might have changed Declined for credit in the past? Your eligibility might have changed