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Can I get a credit card?

When you move to the UK from another country, it can seem like there’s an endless list of things to sort out. Getting your visa, registering with a doctor, getting a National Insurance number – not to mention actually finding somewhere to live! But what about if you need some extra money to help with buying furniture or making improvements to your home?

If you’re looking to get a credit card, you might not be sure whether your recent move will affect you. Will you be able to get credit when you’ve just arrived in the UK? Let’s look at what can happen and how you can get a credit card.

“You may also be able to use official correspondence from government departments...”

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Verifying your identity

To take out a financial services product in the UK – including a credit card – any provider will need to make sure you are who you say you are. Typically that means they will need two pieces of ID from you – something that confirms who you are (a passport or national identity card, for example) and another piece that verifies your UK address – this is usually a recent council tax or utility bill in your name and at your address. You may also be able to use official correspondence from government departments.

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Changing address

One of the first things that a lender looks at is where you live now and where you’ve been living for the last three years. Lenders like to see consistency as they assume this means you’re more reliable so you’ll be more likely to repay what you’ve borrowed.

If you’ve moved around a lot recently, or don’t have an address history in the UK, this can make it seem like you’re not that settled, and some lenders might not be willing to let you borrow as a result. If you don’t need credit right away, it might be best to wait until you’ve been at one address for a while, as this will make it easier to get a credit card. However, if you need a credit card ASAP, you may still be able to get one – it may just be more difficult.

“Your credit history only includes credit that you’ve used in the UK, so if you’ve only recently moved into the country, this might be a bit of a problem...”

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Getting credit

Lenders use your credit history when deciding whether or not to accept you for a credit card. This is a record of any credit cards or store cards, loans or mortgages that you’ve taken out in the past few years and how you’ve managed them. Some other things show on there too, like whether you’ve had a mobile phone contract or a car on finance. They’ll look at how you’ve paid these off – if you’ve made all of your repayments on time or if some were late – to try and build up a picture of you as a borrower.

Your credit history only includes credit that you’ve used in the UK, so if you’ve only recently moved into the country, this might be a bit of a problem. Without a credit history, lenders won’t have the evidence they need to determine whether you’ll be a good borrower or an unreliable one, so you might find that some won’t lend to you.

Want to read more? Check out part 2 of our guide here.

Know if you're accepted before you apply with QuickCheck

  • Get credit - up to £1,500
  • QuickCheck won’t affect your credit rating
  • Get a fast response in 60 seconds

34.9% APR Representative (variable)
Intelligent Lending Ltd (Credit Broker). Capital One is the exclusive lender

Check Now