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How will I know if I’ll get the advertised offer on a credit card or loan?

If you’ve applied for a credit card or loan in the past and didn’t receive the offer you were expecting – here’s why…

By Laura Swire

Published: 09 January 2020

Hand checking bills

If you’ve applied for a card or loan in the past and were expecting to receive the offer you applied for and didn’t, it may have left you asking why. We explain how we can help you make sure you know what you’re getting before you apply, so you can relax knowing you’re getting a deal that’s right for you.

What is a representative APR?

APR stands for annual percentage rate which is the rate of interest you’d need to pay per year. It also includes any upfront changes and is a truer representation of what you’ll pay for the total cost of the money borrowed rather than just the interest rate of the card or loan.

Lenders are required to show representative examples when advertising credit cards, loans and other types of credit. And, regulatory requirements mean that these representative offers advertised by lenders have to be given to at least 51% of the applicants they accept.

If you fall into the 49% of successful applicants who fail to qualify for the representative offer, you will be given the chance to borrow, but it will be a less favourable offer than you initially applied for.

The rate you receive is dependent on your personal circumstances including your credit score, with the best rates often saved for customers with an excellent score. Other factors including how much you earn and your affordability of the money you want to borrow are also considered.

How we can help show your guaranteed offer

When you search for a card or loan with us, we’ll show you how likely you are to be accepted by the lender, as well as showing what your guaranteed rate of interest will be.

Here’s how it works when applying for a credit card or loan.

Credit cards

Eligibility Checker

If you don’t know the shape your credit score is in and your application is rejected, you can damage it even further.

However, when you use our Eligibility Checker to search for a card with us, it’s considered a ‘soft search,’ and won’t be visible to lenders, meaning it won’t leave a mark on your credit file. You can see soft searches on your own credit report, but lenders won’t be able to view these.

We’ll show you cards that may be suitable based on the information you’ve given us, such as your name and annual income.

We’ll then show you the likelihood of being accepted for each card as a score out of 10, with one being the least likely. The numbers are also colour-coded red, amber and green to give you an indication of whether you’ll be accepted.

Your results will be ordered by eligibility, so those cards with your highest eligibility scores will be at the top. But, if you prefer, you can change this to sort by other factors, such as the longest interest-free deal.


Once you’ve used the Eligibility Checker if you see a score of 10/10, then subject to the lender’s final checks you’ll be pre-approved for the advertised 0% duration, as well as any advertised fees and the advertised APR – so what you see is what you’ll get – and it won’t be changed by the lender once you’ve applied for your card.

The only thing that’s not guaranteed is your credit limit, which is subject to status.

It’s then over to you to decide which card to choose. You might want to use the information you have to assess the benefits of each card, versus your chances of getting it.


Eligibility Checker

Like when applying for a credit card, when you use our Eligibility Checker to search for a loan, your credit score will be protected when you compare. As it’s a ‘soft search’, it won’t leave a mark on your credit file.

When you enter a few details including how much you want to borrow and how long you want to borrow for, you’ll see a list of loans in your results.

You’ll see the likelihood that you’ll be accepted displayed as a percentage on dial. Your results will be sorted by eligibility, so those closest to 100% will be at the top. You can re-order them however, from the lowest to highest APR, for example.


If you see that your eligibility for a loan is at 100% and you see the lock symbol, it means you’re guaranteed to get the loan and the rate that you see, and it won’t change if you apply. Being pre-approved means you’re an ideal customer for the lender if you pass their final checks, which will include fraud and money laundering.

Guaranteed rates

You can be offered a guaranteed rate with less than 100% eligibility, so if you are accepted after submitting an application, you can relax knowing you are guaranteed to get the loan amount, term and APR you saw advertised.

Once you have considered all the information, you can decide which loan is right for you.

All credit cards and loans are subject to status and terms and conditions. Over 18s, UK residents only. Terms and conditions apply. See for further information.

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