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If you can't get any credit card

How else can I improve my chances?

Applied for a credit card and been rejected? FREEZE! Assess why you've been knocked back, then either find cards that fit your profile or try to rebuild your credit rating using the top 'bad credit' credit card, and always pay it off in full.

In this guide

Why am I being rejected?

The financial crisis and recession that followed saw banks radically change the way they decide to lend money. Essentially, they now want to take fewer risks with their cash. This means if you used to get credit cards fairly easily, you may now struggle.

Yet whether you get given new credit isn't a simple calculation based on how much you earn.

Nor is it about some mythical 'universal credit rating' or blacklist. Lenders 'score' you to predict your likely behaviour, but these scoring systems are never published and differ from lender to lender, and product to product.

The whole game of credit scoring is a convoluted one. To understand how it works, and what the banks judge you on, read the full Credit Rating guide. Importantly, always check the information held about you with the three credit reference agencies is correct, as this plays a big part in lenders' decisions (you can do it for free ).

If you've been rejected by all and sundry, then it's likely you've got a poor credit score or a problem with your credit history. Conversely, if you've always been accepted in the past and just been rejected once, then it's possible you simply don't fit one particular card

company's customer profile.

If you've had the interest rate you pay on an existing credit card increased, read the Rate Jacking guide to rejecting these hikes.

What to do when I'm rejected?


If you're rejected - STOP applying. First, check your file's correct. If it is, consider getting a special 'poor credit' card.

Freeze! Apply for too many cards and receive multiple rejection letters in a short period and you could shoot your credit rating in the foot for years. This is the dreaded rejection spiral!

Here's how it works.

  • You apply for a new credit card and get rejected This could be for a number of reasons: a bank error, incorrect info on your credit file, or you've applied for a card intended for those with an 'excellent' score when you only have a 'good' score. Sadly, many lenders don't publish their criteria before you apply.
  • You apply elsewhere, and get rejected again As well as the reason you were rejected in the first instance, you now have an extra search on your credit file, which counts further against you when banks make their decision. You'll now have TWO recent searches on your file, and NO new cards. If you were unable to get credit before, it'll now be even more difficult. It may be impossible for a while.

Multiple rejected applications can mess up your score for an age as more applications mean more searches, which compounds the problem.

If you haven't applied for a while, or have applied once and been knocked back, you should first check your file for free. Or you could use our Eligibility Calculator .

Category: Bank

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