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Can I get a credit card?

How to increase your chances of being accepted for a credit card

published: 06 July 2022
Read time: 5 minutes

The type of credit card you can get will depend on your personal circumstances. Here’s how to find the right card for you

Credit cards can play a useful role in helping you manage your spending, whether that’s spreading the cost of a large purchase, clearing debt at little or no interest, or earning rewards every time you spend.  

But whether you can get a credit card and the type of deal you’ll receive also depends on your financial situation – not least, your credit score

Can I get a credit card? 

Whether or not you can qualify for a credit card will depend on your personal circumstances. Factors that will affect the decision include:  

Age: You’ll need to be over 18 to qualify for a credit card in almost all cases, although some cards only accept applicants aged 21 and over. 

Income: Most credit card providers will require you to be in employment and earning a minimum amount (which can range from £7,500 a year to £30,000 or more). 

Financial history: If you have gone bankrupt or have a County Court Judgment (CCJ), you may not be able to get a credit card. 

Credit score: Lenders use your credit score to gauge how likely you are to meet your repayments, so a low score – or a non-existent credit history – can work against you. 

credit builder card 18-24

Data collected by MoneySuperMarket between April 2021 and April 2022, accurate as of April 2022. 

Where can I check my eligibility for a credit card? 

When you compare credit cards with MoneySuperMarket you’ll automatically use our free Eligibility Checker tool. This will tell you your chances of being approved for different card deals. 

Simply give us a few details about yourself and we’ll build a profile of what credit cards are available to you – and how likely you are to get them with a personalised eligibility score out of 10 for each card. 

Our scores are based on data. So, if you see an 8/10, that means 80% of people with similar finances have been approved. It’s also a soft search that won’t harm your credit rating. 

A 10/10 rating means you’ve been pre-approved and are guaranteed to get the card, with the exact interest rate shown, provided the details you’ve supplied are correct. The only part that isn’t confirmed is your credit limit. 

How can I improve my chances of being accepted? 

There are a number of ways to increase your chances of being accepted when you apply for a credit card. These include: 

  • Check your eligibility before applying: Rejected credit card applications can damage your credit score, and therefore your chances of getting a credit card. So it’s important to check how likely you are to be accepted for a deal before applying. You can do this using our handy Eligibility Checker 

  • Look at your credit report: Your application for a credit card – or a loan – could be rejected due to errors on your credit report, so it’s also a good idea to check your report and your credit score before applying 

  • Pay off outstanding debts: The more outstanding debt you have, the larger your credit utilisation ratio (the ratio between the debt you have and your total credit limit). And the higher that ratio, the less likely you are to be approved for more credit. Reducing your debts can therefore increase your chances of getting a credit card 

  • Close unused accounts: On the flipside, if you have a lot of available credit that you’re not using, it can also be sensible to close down these unused accounts 

  • Build a credit history: If you’ve never had a credit card or a loan before, lenders have no way of knowing how responsible you will be. However, you can start to build up a positive picture by paying your bills on time and signing up for the electoral register. Another option is to take out one of the many credit builder credit cards available and use it to build up a credit history by always making your repayments on time and in full 

  • Get your application right: Take care to fill in your application accurately, as mistakes could result in an unnecessary rejection 


Why should I check my eligibility? 

When you apply for credit, the application leaves a “footprint” on your credit file – which is the record lenders check before deciding whether to approve you. Too many applications in a short period have a detrimental effect on your credit score.  

When you search for a credit card on MoneySuperMarket, we do a soft search that doesn’t appear on your credit report, and filter the results so you only see the credit cards you’re likely to get.  

You can also check your eligibility for a particular type of card using our free Eligibility Checker

Credit card type by income data

Data collected by MoneySuperMarket between April 2021 and April 2022 accurate as of April 2022. 

How does the eligibility checker work?

 To get an understanding of your eligibility for different credit cards, you’ll need to give us a few details about yourself, including: 

  • Your name 

  • Your address 

  • Your annual income   

  • Your bank 

  • Your residential status 

  • Your marital status 

 If you know which type of card you want to compare, you can then select this in the Eligibility Checker process. Alternatively, just view all the cards you’re most likely to be offered.  

We can’t guarantee you’ll be accepted for all the deals shown, but we can give you a good idea of the sort of offers you’re likely to get from the providers who have signed up to the service, which includes lots of big names, such as Capital One, Virgin Money and Barclaycard.  

Other useful guides

We have a range of helpful guides with information that could help you with your credit card decision:

How many credit cards can you have?

How to transfer a credit card balance

How to improve your credit score

Compare credit cards with MoneySuperMarket 

It’s quick and easy to compare credit cards with MoneySuperMarket. All you have to do is provide a few details about yourself and your financial situation, and you’ll be given a list of credit cards that are tailored to your needs.  

Then you can choose the right one by comparing these offers by interest rate, rewards, and how likely you are to be accepted. It means you can apply for a new card with greater confidence. 

MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker – this means we’ll show you products offered by lenders. We never take a fee from customers for this service. Instead we are usually paid a fee by the lenders, but the size of that payment doesn’t affect how we show products to customers. 

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