Can I get a credit card with a CCJ?

A CCJ (County Court Judgement) can have a big impact on your ability to get credit. But every lender uses their own criteria, and some specialise in credit cards for bad credit. You may still be eligible for a credit card with a CCJ, but your options will be more limited.

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How do I apply for a credit card with a CCJ? 

1. Make your payments

Unless you clear a CCJ in full within 30 days of the judgment, it will stay on your credit file for 6 years and seriously affect your ability to get credit.  

Stick to the terms of the CCJ and avoid missing payments.  

Not doing so can lead to legal action. This could include having bailiffs sent to collect your debt or deducting your payments from your wages. 

The older the CCJ is, the less it will affect your eligibility. After 6 years, the CCJ should be removed completely. 

2. Avoid ‘hard searches’

A hard search is carried out when you make a formal application for credit. Too many hard searches made within a short space of time will appear on your credit report and affect your ability to obtain credit. This applies whether your application is accepted or not. 

Eligibility checkers use soft searches to see if you’re eligible for a credit card without impacting your score. There won’t be any notes on your credit file visible to lenders until you make a full application. 

3. Only borrow what you can afford

Make sure you don’t take on more credit than you can handle. Otherwise, your credit history could be further damaged if you can’t meet your future payments.  

This is particularly important if you are still in the process of repaying your CCJ. Further legal action could be taken against you if you miss payments towards it. 

4. Satisfy your CCJ

Once you’ve paid off your debt, send proof to the court and ask them for a Certificate of Satisfaction (this costs £14). Make sure you ask them to update your CCJ status from ‘unsatisfied’ to ‘satisfied’ on your credit report. 

Check your credit report to make sure it's up to date. If not, you’ll need to ask the credit reference agencies to update it for you. Any mistakes could lead to the CCJ impacting your credit file for longer than it should. 

Can I still get a credit card while a CCJ is on my report?

A CCJ will stay on your credit file for six years from the date of judgement and will limit your options. But there’s nothing stopping you from checking if you are eligible for a credit card in the meantime.  

Whether you are accepted mostly depends on the lender’s criteria and your financial circumstances. 

Generally, lenders want as much reassurance as possible that you can afford to repay them. They will use your credit history to see if you meet their criteria. 

If you have a CCJ on your credit report, lenders may see it as risky to lend to you, in case you can’t repay them. But there are some brokers who specialise in bad credit credit cards, and consider all circumstances when deciding eligibility. 

How long after satisfying a CCJ can I get credit?

If you can, wait at least six months after you’ve satisfied your CCJ before you apply for credit. This gives you time to start rebuilding your credit history by maintaining your payments (on time, every time).  

Applying straight after your CCJ could give lenders the impression that you are struggling financially, which could reduce your chances of being accepted. 

There’s no guarantee that your application will be accepted after six months have passed. Every lender uses their own criteria, and it also depends on your individual circumstances.  

It can take a while to improve your credit score and your chances of acceptance. There is no magic number in terms of the number of months or years it can take. 

If you’re struggling with debt, you can access free financial advice and support from a professional debt specialist. Visit Money Wellness, StepChange, Citizens Advice, National Debtline, or Money Helper to find out more. 

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