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Can I get a credit card?

How to be accepted for credit cards

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


By Jessica Bown

Published: 17 June 2021

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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

  • 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 

Image that states the most popular credit card by age is a credit builder card

Data collected by MoneySuperMarket between May 2020 and May 2021, accurate as of May 2021

At what age can I get a credit card?

You can only usually get a credit card if you are at least 18 years of age. Some providers will also only accept applications from those over 21. You’ll also generally have to live in the UK and be in employment (or a student at a UK university or college if you’re applying for a student credit card).

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. 
The most popular type of credit card by tenancy status

What is my credit score?

Your credit score is a three-digit number that represents the value of your credit report and is used by lenders to determine whether or not they accept your credit application. 

The maximum score you can have depends on which of the three credit reference agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) has set it, but the general rule is that the higher it is, the greater your chances of success. Read our guide to what affects your credit score to learn more.

The most popular type of credit card for unemployed people is credit builder

Data collected by MoneySuperMarket between May 2020 and May 2021, accurate as of May 2021

Why should I check my eligibility?

When you apply for credit, the application leaves a “footprint” on your credit file – which is t file. That’s why making a lot of applications 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

Most popular credit cards by annual income

Data collected by MoneySuperMarket between May 2020 and May 2021, accurate as of May 2021

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. 

Compare credit cards

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 just choose the right one by comparing these offers by interest rate, rewards, and how likely you are to be accepted.

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