You wouldn’t pop the question if you’d only been on one date – because it’d be pretty unlikely you’d hear a ‘yes’…
Well, it’s sort of the same thing when it comes to credit. If you’re after a credit card, it’s good to make sure you’re applying when the time is right.
While all banks are different and will lend to a range of circumstances, there are a few common signs which might indicate when it’s a good time for you to apply for credit.
Let’s take a look at how you could time it just right…
When you sign up to vote
If you sign yourself up to vote, you’ll be checking off one of the first things lenders look for when you apply for credit. Not only does this confirm your identity, but it’ll prove you’ve got a steady address (typically for more than 3 years) – which is always a big tick as far as lenders are concerned.
You’re also proving that you’re 18 or older, which is generally the minimum age you’re able to borrow money. Another tick!
Before you move
As we mentioned before, lenders like it if you have a steady address. Moving around a lot might make you seem less stable in the eyes of some lenders, as the information on your credit report will be changing.
If you’re planning a big move, it could be better to apply before rather than afterwards, as your credit report might appear more stable.
When you’re financially comfortable
If you’re struggling to make ends meet, it’s probably not the best time to apply for credit. It’s understandable that you may like the extra money to make life easier – but taking out credit could make your situation worse if you’re unable to make the repayments, as the interest payments on a credit card could be an extra burden.
Plus, lenders may ask you how much you earn and they could decline your application if they think you can’t afford it.
When you’ve got a steady job
Lenders are all about stability, so having a steady pay-check could put you in a better position to apply for a credit card. Plus, you may feel more confident in the knowledge you’ll be able to meet your repayments down the line, which is always a good thing!
6 years after financial mistakes
Six is a magic number when it comes to credit reports. If you’ve had trouble with debt and have been served with a default or a CCJ, these mistakes could linger on your report for up to 6 years.
While some credit lenders may consider lending to you with these on your report, you’ll likely be offered higher interest rates and/or a lower credit limit that you expected. You could have an easier time of getting accepted (and with better rates) once they’re cleared.
Months after other applications
It’s never nice to hear a ‘no’ after you’ve applied for credit. It can be tempting to apply again to see if another lender will accept you… but this might not be the best idea.
It’s a good idea to space out your applications, as too many in a short space of time could be seen by lenders (if they conduct a hard search on your report) and might make you seem a tad desperate for credit.
So, if you’ve recently been rejected for credit, it could be worth biding your time before you try again. Or keep an eye out for eligibility checkers, as these let you know if you’re likely to be approved before applying and - best of all - won’t affect your credit rating!
After closing unused accounts
Having lots of unused credit accounts could count against you when you apply for credit. While it’s good to keep open those accounts you’re using often – and paying off on time and in full every month – having lots of credit accounts could be seen as a bad thing.
Why? Because lenders might worry you’ll spend all of it at once and struggle to pay it back. Take a good look at your credit report to see if you could close any unused accounts and you could boost your chances of getting accepted.
You could have outdated information on your report – or even accounts you don’t recognize – so it’s definitely worth checking before you think about applying for a card. Mistakes like these could be the reason you get rejected, so it’s really important to check yours.
Checking what shape your credit score is in will also let you know how likely you are to be accepted for certain cards. If your credit report isn’t accurate, this handy blog explains how you can fix mistakes.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.