Here’s our 9-point action plan to help you get back on track if you’ve been rejected for credit.
Ditto getting the thumbs up on a personal loan with regular fixed payments.
But what if your credit score isn’t up to scratch? You might find it difficult to access these types of products.
There are steps you can take to make improvements, and work towards getting better deals on credit.
What’s the problem?
When it comes to credit-based products such as credit cards and loans, banks will simply reject your application if you fail to meet their lending criteria.
And if you rack up a raft of applications, it could further damage your chances of being accepted elsewhere.
Improve your chance of success with this 10-point action plan to increasing your chances of being accepted for credit.
1. Check your score with Credit Monitor
It’s easy to say you should only apply for deals you’re likely to get. But how do you know which ones they are?
One way to get a gauge is to use Credit Monitor.
Credit Monitor shows you your credit score and gives you personalised hints and tips to help improve it, all for free. Knowing your credit score will give you a clearer idea of where you stand, and improving it could give you a better chance of accessing a wider range of offers.
We’ll let you know why your score may have changed, and suggest things you can do to help improve it. We’ll also keep an eye on your credit file and let you know about any activity that could be suspicious, so you can act on it quickly.
2. Go easy on those applications
Making several applications in a short space of time is likely to have a negative impact on your credit file.
It makes you look a bit desperate – even if you’re not – and lenders don’t want customers in desperate situations.
If you know the likelihood of your being accepted for different credit cards, you can be more selective about which applications you make.
3. Register to vote
Most companies use the electoral roll to combat identity fraud.
If you’re not on it at your current address, you risk being rejected due to fraud concerns.
It’s easy to register: just contact your local authority or sign up online.
4. Close unused accounts
You know those old credit cards hanging around in your wallet? They could be the reason your application for a new card is turned down.
Lenders look at the total amount of credit available to you, and they start to fret if you’ve got a lot of unused credit lying around – there’s always the chance you could suddenly use it and subsequently struggle to pay off all your debts, including what you owe them.
You may want to close any old accounts you no longer use, unless that card comes with benefits you don’t want to lose.
Closing an account may cause your credit score to drop temporarily – this is normal.
5. Pay on time
Missing a payment date is one of the best ways to scupper your chances of being accepted for credit.
Setting up a direct debit or standing order to cover your bills is a good way to avoid mistakes.
If you are struggling to pay, contact the company involved before the payment date so it’s not a shock to their system.
6. Don’t over-extend yourself
Maxing out your credit card can indicate to lenders that you are in trouble financially.
It also makes it much more likely that you will exceed your limit – and be charged accordingly.
To be safe, it is therefore sensible to only borrow up to 30% of your total credit limit at any one time. You can see how much credit you have utilised within your Credit Monitor report.
7. Be open and accurate
Always complete applications for credit honestly, and double-check that everything is accurate before you submit.
Giving incorrect information can lead to your application being declined.
8. Build a credit history
Borrowing too much is not a wise move if you want to be accepted for the best credit cards and loans.
But not borrowing enough could also work against you.
Lenders use your credit file to check you are capable of meeting payment terms. So having no or little credit history can prove a problem.
Ways to build one could include opening a bank account, taking out a normal credit card that you pay off in full every month, and using a contract mobile phone – again paying your bills on time and by direct debit if possible.
9. Show stability
Banks feel safer lending to people who have a history of responsible lending.
So if you have stayed at the same address, stuck with the same job and used the same bank for a long period, it could all work in your favour.
In other words, if you switch banks just before asking for a loan, or apply for a credit card just after moving house you might find getting credit more difficult.
MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker not a lender. You must be 18 or over and a UK resident.