Reasons you may be invisible to lenders
If you are looking to establish credit for the first time, lenders can’t look at your Credit Score or check your credit file with the main Credit Reference Agencies because you don’t have one! You could be a student (although you may be repaying a student loan that will give some visibility to the Credit Reference Agencies) or you may be someone who has never ever bought anything on credit terms before. You could be starting out in your first job and need a credit card to help with transport costs or work clothes.
How to build up your credit history↗
Establishing a good credit history takes time. There are no shortcuts or tricks that can take you from no credit at all to a high score in a matter of months or even a few years. Your credit score is based on a number of factors such as payment history, length of time you've had credit and affordability. It is important to establish a credit history and even more important to take the time to do the right things to maintain good credit.
Ways of building up a good Credit Score include paying your bills on time. That’s certainly the case for credit card bills, but you should do the same for all the other monthly bills like gas, electric, store cards, mobile phone contracts you receive. Try to pay more than the minimum amount requested on your credit card statement. It needn’t be a huge difference, but if you only ever pay the minimum it will take a very long time to pay off what you owe and cost you more as interest will continue to be added on a daily basis. Don’t exceed your credit limit as you may be charged an “over limit fee” (usually around £12) that will be added to your total, costing more in interest charges and creating an even larger minimum payment required for the following month. If you persistently exceed the credit limit then that too will be noted on your Credit File and will damage your Credit Score.
Further tips to help you out
If you have had a long relationship with your bank, approach them first to see if they can help. Your employment history is also significant as lenders want to see if you are able to hold down a job or if there are periods of unemployment. Lenders will also look to see how often you move and whether you rent or own. Having an electric or gas bill, telephone, cable, or water service account in your name also helps. Just having your name on these accounts won’t establish a Credit Score, but it can be helpful for first-time borrowers, especially if you pay by monthly direct debit, in establishing a track record of regular payment.
Options for those with no credit history
Sometimes none of these routes proves successful. You may have only recently moved to the area or the country and may have changed banks several times. In that case, there are providers that can offer a “Non Status” credit card that takes account of the fact that you don’t have a credit history.
Since there's no way you can avoid a credit check, if you want a credit card and you know you have no credit history at all, it might seem to be a waste of time applying for any credit card. However, there are non status credit card providers that will consider people with no credit history. These cards can help you to establish and build your credit rating over time by demonstrating that you can manage credit successfully. In due course, you’ll then be able to apply for more competitive “regular” credit card deals. Although acceptance can never be 100% certain you do stand a much better chance of success with these “no credit history” credit cards.
What’s the catch?
They do charge higher than usual interest rates and the credit limit may be quite low at least to begin with. However, a higher APR and slightly lower credit limit is probably worth it for a credit card that will help you establish a sound credit history and allow you to get much easier access to credit in the future.