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Credit Cards - Ask your own bank first!

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  • Credit Cards - Ask your own bank first!

    If you're thinking of applying for a new credit card, be it your first ever application or your first for a few years since the darker days when you may have had a default registered against you (with the Credit Reference Agencies (CRA's), then it's always best to consider asking your main bank first. Unlike applying with a sub-prime lender, such as Capital One, Vanquis, Barclaycard etc, by applying to your bank you may be surprised to learn that they may well accept you.

    Of course there are no guarantees and your bank may just say no, however most banks operate a system of internal scoring against all account holders (excluding basic accounts) so regardless that you may still have live defaults or a less than perfect credit file, they may actually accept you for a credit card, even if it comes with a slightly higher APR and / or smallish credit limit it is still the first step back onto the credit ladder and so long as you maintain payments on time and do not exceed your limit, you'll find that your bank will usually increase your limit to something more manageable after around 6 months.

    It is always useful to visit your bank or call them and ask them outright if there are any credit card offers for you. The main banks such as HBOS, TSB, Santander, HSBC, Natwest & RBS will all give you an indication of how likely you are to be accepted whether that be from a product related offer or from your account conduct, at least you'll get an indication of likely success before actually wasting a search against your credit profile. Alternatively, you can visit some of the bigger card suppliers and check whether you're likely to be accepted whilst performing a 'soft search', which doesn't actually show up as a credit search and only you can see it on your credit report - lenders cannot.

    Your bank will generally look at the following points before considering whether to offer you a credit card facility with them:
    • Your internal details - account conduct and the banks internal information;
    • Your credit file - although it will likely be checked, negative content may not be a barrier;
    • Your affordability - they'll check you meet their minimum criteria for eligibility including affordability so getting your salary paid into your account will always help you to get pre-approved a card with your own bank.
    How do I find out if I will be accepted?

    It is difficult to know which cards you'll be eligible for, particularly as acceptance criteria differs from provider to provider, even card to card. However, there are things you can do to gauge whether or not you are likely to meet the requirements. The information held on your credit file is of utmost importance because providers will run a check when considering your application to assess the risk of lending money to you.

    Your file includes details such as whether you are on the electoral register, public record information - including County Court Judgements, bankruptcy and individual voluntary arrangements - as well as information about any other lines of credit you have and how you manage them. If you have other credit cards, loans or a mortgage, it will be logged on your credit report, as will details of any missed or late payments.

    It's worth checking your credit profile if you haven't done so recently to ensure that the information on there is correct and to get a better idea of how your history will appear to potential lenders. So before just deciding to apply for various cards at differing lenders, consider asking your own bank first because you may well be pleasantly surprised! Read our free resources guide - Your Money Matters for additional details and highlighting some of the main credit card providers who provide credit to consumers who don't have the best credit profile.

    READ MORE - YOUR MONEY MATTERS

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