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Derin Clark

Derin Clark

Online Reporter
Published: 07/01/2021

Sometimes, applying for a credit card can be easier said than done. Applicants need to make sure they’ve got a stellar credit rating to even be considered, and unfortunately, this means that millions of people could face being locked out of credit – and many aren't even aware of the reasons why.

The current economic uncertainty could make it even more difficult for consumers to get approved for credit. When the pandemic first began impacting the UK economy, the majority of mortgage lenders began withdrawing mortgage deals for those with a 10% deposit or less from the market – making it harder for many first-time buyers to get a deal – and, although many credit card and personal loan deals remained available, borrowers may have found it harder to get applications accepted. One of the biggest factors to getting approved for credit is the applicant’s credit score and having a poor credit score could result in the credit application being rejected.

Credit history conundrums

However, some may not necessarily have a poor history of borrowing – they simply may not have a borrowing history at all. This puts these wannabe borrowers being in a catch-22 situation – because they've never borrowed anything before, they're not able to secure credit now.

This often isn't a reason for rejection that many people are aware of, though it can actually make perfect sense. If the applicant has no history of borrowing, a lender has no way of knowing whether or not they’re a credit risk, so will be reluctant to take a chance and find out.

Another reason for refusal that may come as a surprise is the actions of a former partner. Credit applicants could find they are turned down because their credit history is still linked with that of an ex, which highlights the importance of severing financial ties when a relationship ends, as well as emotional ones.

"Having a poor credit history is not an automatic indicator that you can't afford to borrow money, so it's disheartening to see that so many are being point-blank refused, often when they are most in need of a leg-up to get their finances back on track," commented Guy Mackenzie, director of Buddy Loans.

"While the industry has a responsibility to ensure people don't take on debt that they can't afford, it's also important that those who can afford credit are able to make home improvements, buy a car or consolidate their existing lending.

"The research also shows the importance of understanding, and checking, your credit score, as it can have a big impact on your ability to borrow and the rates at which you can borrow."

Don't be locked out – know your credit score

There's nothing worse than needing to borrow money and being unable to do so, which is why it’s important to take some proactive measures to reduce the chances of that happening. The first thing applicants should do is check their credit report – this can be achieved by heading to any number of credit reference agencies, many of which offer free trials.

They may also offer completely free access to the credit score for life, but to get a better understanding of the credit history, it's worth signing up to get access to a full report. That way, the credit score can be check for any discrepancies and see where improvements can be made – most reports will highlight areas where there may be issues to being accepted – and as long as the subscription is cancelled before the free trial ends, it needn’t cost a penny.

What next?

Knowing where you stand can be the first step to being accepted, and can make all the difference the next time you're thinking of applying for credit. If you're already at that stage and your credit score is good enough, make sure you find the right deals – check out the top credit cards to keep your interest liability to a minimum, or use our personal loan calculator to see how low your repayments could be.

If you’ve checked your credit score and found it isn't up to scratch read our guide on how to improve it.


Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time. Links to third parties on this page are paid for by the third party. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting their site. will receive a small payment if you use their services after you click through to their site. All information is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions. This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

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