How to get accepted for a credit card

Fact Checked

Your chances of being accepted for a credit card will depend on a number of factors, including your personal information and credit history. Here is how to improve your chances of getting accepted for a credit card.

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Before you apply for a credit card

You should check the eligibility criteria, as some providers will specify that you earn over a set income.

If you don't think your application will be accepted based on the criteria, don't apply because it could harm your credit record.

When you apply, there are several factors that a lender will consider. Your card provider will check your credit record for:

  • Existing debt: This could cause your application to get rejected if your debts are more than a certain percentage of your income.

  • Unused overdraft or credit limits: This may put providers off because you could use this credit to get into more debt.

  • Several credit applications at once: This may cause providers to think you are desperate to borrow.

  • Poor financial history: This could be a missed credit card payment, using an unauthorised overdraft or taking out a payday loan.

  • No credit history: This shows a provider that you have had no experience in managing credit or debt, so it can reduce your chance of acceptance.

  • Joint bank account, mortgage or loan: This creates a financial link to another person, so if they have debt problems it can affect your credit record.

You should always check your credit record before you apply for a credit card. Here is how to check your credit record is up to date.

How to improve the likelihood of getting accepted

You can increase your chances of your credit card application being accepted by taking steps to prepare for the application ahead of time. You can:

  • Check your credit score and take any steps to boost your credit score. Improving your credit score takes time, so give yourself time to take action. Find out more about steps to improve your credit score.

  • Clear any outstanding debt to reduce your available credit, which lenders will take into account when deciding whether to accept your application

  • Ensure that you are listed on the electoral register and that your personal information is up to date, so that lenders can verify your identity

  • Review your credit history carefully and correct any mistakes or errors which might influence the decision making process for a lender.

If you want to apply for a credit card now

Before hitting the apply now button, check the likelihood of being accepted for a card. You can use our credit card eligibility calculator to see which cards are most likely to say yes when you apply. 

Our credit card eligibility calculator uses a soft credit check, meaning it won't affect your credit record and providers can't see it. This is important because hard credit checks leave a record on your credit history and if your application is declined or you submit too many applications in a short time frame, this can negatively impact the decision making process for future credit applications.

Although some credit card providers offer an eligibility tool for their own cards, ours can check several providers in one place.

How do I use the eligibility checker?

The eligibility checker uses your personal information to show the likelihood of getting accepted or rejected for a range of credit cards, so that you can direct your application towards the card you are most likely to be approved for.

In order to use the eligibility checker, you will need to:

  • Choose the type of credit card you want to apply for. Find out more about the different types of credit card.

  • Enter your personal details including your income, outgoings, residential status etc

  • Review the results which are displayed as a percentage representing your chance of acceptance.

You will also be able to see if any cards are pre-approved, which means that you are highly likely to be accepted for the card if you apply (based on the information you have provided).

If you can wait to apply for a credit card

If you don’t need to get a credit card right now or your application for credit gets rejected, it's a good idea to wait a few months or longer before applying for a credit card again. In the meantime, there are several things you can do to improve your chance of getting accepted for a credit card:

  • Use your credit report: Check for mistakes on your report to improve your credit record, like a wrong address or a loan you have paid off.

  • Show you can borrow responsibly: Keep up with your repayments on existing credit cards and other debts, and pay off as much as you can afford.

  • Ditch unused credit: Providers may worry you could use the credit later to slip into debt and struggle to meet their repayments.

  • Register to vote: Getting on the electoral register at your current address makes it easier for a provider to confirm your residence.

When you're ready to apply, check our credit card eligibility calculator to see the cards most likely to say yes and avoid damaging your credit score by applying for a card you are unlikely to be approved for. 

If you need help in deciding which credit card to apply for, find out more about how to choose a credit card for your needs.

Find the best credit card for you, whether you're looking for 0% card for balance transfers or purchases or day to day spending and rewards

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