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

"If you’re thinking of applying for a credit card, you need to get your financial house in order first."

top

Get your house in order

If you’re thinking of applying for a credit card, you need to get your financial house in order first. By this we mean you should take a few precautions to give yourself the best chance possible of being accepted.

Try not to apply for other forms of credit in the months leading up to when you plan to apply for the credit card you want. A lender may see multiple applications to borrow as a sign of desperation and possible evidence that your finances aren’t in the best state.

Make sure you stay in control of your money during the lead-up too. If you start going over your agreed overdraft limit or missing Direct Debits, you could find yourself landed with a fine from your bank. This may also stand against you when you decide to apply for your credit card.

Check your credit report

Lenders are all looking for something different when it comes to who they will accept as a customer, but one thing nearly all of them look at is your credit score. While they all have different criteria they use to measure your score and determine how attractive this makes you as a customer, it’s worth taking the time to look at your report first so you know what they’ll see.

You can use one of the credit reference agencies like Equifax or Experian, or a third party like Ocean’s Credit Checker, to access your credit report. Often you’ll be offered a free trial (Ocean’s lasts 30 days) so you don’t have to worry about forking out to check your score.

A credit report details your credit history for the last six years and includes each line of credit you have taken out; the balances; where you are with repayments and any incidents where you have missed or defaulted on your repayments. It also includes details like your current address according to the electoral roll.

If you notice any mistakes on your report, it’s best to get them corrected before you apply for credit, as an error could hold up the application process.

If the address listed is not your current one, update your details on the electoral roll here. It’s also worth taking the time to close any credit accounts you no longer use.

Should there be any missed payments on your credit report, these could influence whether or not you’re accepted for a credit card as well as what type of card you’re eligible for, so keep this in mind when you’re shopping around.

There may be no point in applying for a card with a high spending limit, one of the best interest rates on the market and a host of rewards if your credit history means you’re unlikely to be accepted.

top

What credit card do you want?

To get the one that works best for you, it’s important you think carefully about exactly what your needs are.

Now you can ask yourself what type of credit card you want. There are many different types to choose from, including those that offer cashback, loyalty points or rewards like air miles; those that have a long-term low interest rate; others that are designed to be used abroad; some that you can use to consolidate your debts, and those that can help you build a credit history if yours is limited.

It pays to be honest with yourself about what you need from your credit card so that you give yourself the best chance possible of using it responsibly. If you take on a card with a high spending limit and then spend more than you can afford, you could find you’re making repayments for a very long time.

Or, you might take out a card with lots of rewards but a higher interest rate, and then find that your repayments are more than you can manage. Similarly, there may be little point in taking out a credit card that rewards you with air miles if you rarely travel, or a credit-builder card if your credit rating is already pretty positive.

top

What can you afford?

As well as asking yourself what type of credit card you want, you should also work out what you can afford. If you know you can only afford to borrow a small amount each month and plan to keep your card for emergencies, there’s no point applying for one with a high spending limit.

If your credit history is poor, you may be limited in the number of lenders who will accept you, which may mean you miss out on some of the more competitive deals on the market. However, you should still take the time to find a card you can afford; perhaps one with a lower spending limit so you know you won’t stretch yourself too far.

The most economical way to use a credit card is to pay off the balance of what you spend in full every month. This means you shouldn’t be charged any interest for your purchases. However, if you think you’ll be unable to do this and would prefer to pay off the debt in monthly sums you can manage, you could set up a Standing Order for the amount you know you can afford each month.

This will see you making a steady in-road into clearing your balance. Only making the minimum repayment means it could take you a very long time to clear your debt and you’ll probably pay a lot of interest as a result, so anything you can afford over this sum is a bonus.

top
 

Who will accept you?

Every lender has its own criteria it uses to assess whether or not to accept a particular customer for a particular product, which can make it hard to determine whether your application will be successful.

However, your credit report – which you should check before you apply – can provide vital clues. There are also tools, like the one offered by confused.com, that will give you an idea of who might accept you before you apply – and using these won’t leave a mark on your credit report.

If you have a poor credit rating or a very limited credit history because you’ve not borrowed before, lenders have less proof that you are a responsible borrower. An important point to keep in mind is that the applications you make for credit also show up on your credit report, and lots of these grouped close together can act as a warning sign to lenders that you may not be in the best position to borrow. To avoid this, it pays to limit your applications to the ones you’re most likely to be accepted for.

There are credit cards for bad credit, such as the Ocean credit card where you may be charged more interest or have a lack of rewards, but on the flip-side you may have a greater chance of being accepted.

top

Shop around

We keep mentioning it but it’s true: there are loads of credit cards on the market and they come in all shapes and sizes.

Even if you know exactly what you’re looking for, you may find there are several credit cards that fall into this category.

With that in mind, it’s worth using a price comparison site to shop around and find the best deals available. And remember that these offers often change as lenders try to stay ahead of their competitors, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for now you could halt your search for a month or so and apply again at a later date.

top

"Be certain that you check out all the small print."

top

Make your application

Now you’ve chosen the card that’s right for you; the one you can afford and the one you’re most likely to be accepted for, and shopped around to find the best deal, you can make your application.

Be certain that you check out all the small print, such as how long the current interest rate will last for, so you’re not caught out further down the line. Once you’ve finished your application, you simply have to sit back and see what decision your lender makes.

Be responsible

If you’re successful in your application you can start to enjoy the benefits of your new card. However, be certain that you use it responsibly. It’s not your money you’re spending after all, and if you get into difficulties with your borrowing it could have serious consequences for your finances.

Paying less than the minimum charge or missing repayments completely will show up on your credit report, which could make borrowing difficult in the future. It could also result in your lender imposing a penalty on you, like increasing the interest you have to pay, charging you for each late payment or issuing other fees.

top

Don't give up

If you weren’t successful with your application, don’t give up. There are other credit cards out there and just because you were turned down this time it doesn’t mean you will be again.

top

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

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