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How to get accepted for a credit card

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Written by Dom James, Financial Content Writer

3 January 2019

Here is how to improve your chances of getting accepted for a credit card.

A picture of a man holding a credit card next to a laptop and phone

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, or you're a homeowner.

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, your card provider will check your credit record for:

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

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

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

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

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

  6. 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.

If you want to apply for a credit card now

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.

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

If you can wait to apply for a credit card

If you can afford to wait a few months or longer, 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 voteGetting 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.

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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