Refused? Find out why
The first step is to try to find out why you were turned down. Assuming you do not have any County Court Judgments (CCJs) against you or have not been declared Bankrupt, there are still many reasons why a lender could refuse you credit.
How do lenders make their decision?
Every lender has their own system for identifying who they will and will not accept for a credit card. You might have been turned down because you are unable to prove a regular or high enough salary which suggests to the lender that you can’t afford the credit you’re applying for. If you have been late in making payments or missed them altogether on existing credit agreements, the lenders involved will report this information back to Credit Reference Agencies such as Experian, Equifax and Call Credit. This information will be stored on your record and used by lenders when deciding whether or not to lend you money. You may have been turned down by many lenders for having that adverse information on your credit record which affects your Credit Score.
Check your Credit Report, online or by post
You can check your own Credit Report yourself for just £2 by using Internet-based services like Credit Expert. This will show you the information about you that lenders see and will also help to detect the early warning signs of identity fraud. You may find that your adverse credit rating or low Credit Score is a result of someone stealing your personal details to obtain credit cards using your name. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can write to the Credit Reference Agency which must reply to you in seven working days. If the information is wrong you can demand that it is changed or removed (see How to Check Credit Score: A Guide for more details).
More reasons why you may have been refused
If you’ve moved home recently or changed addresses frequently, the lender may not be able to verify the address details you’ve given them. Similarly if you have not registered to appear on the electoral roll, this could cause you problems. You may also have made multiple applications when you were turned down by one lender and decided to apply to other lenders. That too can affect your credit score. Every time you make an application for credit, a credit search is conducted by the potential lender and this search is recorded as part of your credit report. You can check your own credit file as often as you like, but any third party doing the same will leave a record of that search and rejection if they have turned your application down. If you have applied for a number of cards recently and been repeatedly rejected, your credit history will be affected. So stop applying for cards in the short term and leave it for about 3 - 6 months before applying again to give you time to repair your credit file. In the meantime, if you continue paying off bills, maintain direct debits, and make any membership payments promptly your history should start to recover.
Cards for those with poor Credit Reports
So what credit cards can you get if you’ve been refused elsewhere? If you ignore “pre-paid” credit cards (which aren’t really credit cards at all – you have to pre-load them with cash) and assuming your credit file is accurate, but your credit record is far from perfect, it may still be possible to obtain a credit card. There are providers who specialise in credit cards for people with bad credit scores. You are not guaranteed to get one of these, but if you are accepted they offer a line of credit so you can make large purchases and spread the cost of repayment. They do charge higher than usual interest rates and the credit limit may be quite low to begin with.