What is a credit card eligibility checker?
Our credit card eligibility checker gives you an indication of what credit cards you’re likely to be accepted for, based on your credit information and the provider’s lending criteria.
Why should I use a credit card eligibility checker?
Use our eligibility checker if you want to see how likely it is that you’ll qualify for a card before you apply for it. This can help you to avoid applying for any credit cards that you’re likely to be declined for.
Applying for multiple credit cards and having the applications denied will impact your credit score and this is likely to make it harder for you to borrow money in the future.
What information do I need to use the eligibility checker?
- Your personal details and your UK address history.
- Your annual salary, other income and expenditures.
What are the minimum requirements for applying for a credit card?
- You must be 18 years or over. For some credit cards, you might need to be 21 to apply.
- You need to be a UK resident with full rights to live in the UK, and have at least three years of UK address history.
Frequently asked questions
Who can use this service?
Anyone who is over 18 with a UK address can use our eligibility checker service.
If you can show that you’ve been at that same address for at least three years, there may be a wider choice of credit cards available to you.
How does the credit card eligibility checker work?
Our eligibility checker finds your credit file and matches it against a panel of credit card providers’ lending criteria. In order for us to retrieve your credit file, we ask you to give us some personal details, including your date of birth and your UK address history.
The eligibility check results only apply to a select panel of providers. Therefore, this may not reflect all the cards that you might be eligible for if you use our credit card comparison service.
Will using the checker impact my credit score?
No, the eligibility checker will not impact your credit score. It’s based on a soft credit search and is not connected to an actual credit card application. You can use the eligibility checker as many times as you like without it affecting your credit file. You’ll be able to see the eligibility check on your credit file, but the card provider won’t.
If you actually apply for a credit card, then the provider will perform a hard credit search. Each hard search remains on your credit file for two years.
It’s important to have an understanding of your credit score because multiple credit card applications can appear to show that you’re unable to manage your finances and borrow effectively.
How will my information be used?
The information that you provide, such as your personal details and address history, will be used to find your credit file. We need access to your credit file in order to check your eligibility for a credit card.
How are the results shown?
Your results will be shown once you’ve completed the eligibility check, using a scale of 0-100%. The scores are based on the assumption that the details you’ve given are correct and they may be subject to fraud checks by the provider.
If you receive a score of 100% for a card, then your application is likely to be accepted (subject to final checks by the provider) if you decide to apply. A higher % score indicates that you can be fairly confident you’ll be accepted for that particular card. Please note that this service is to give you an indication of your eligibility; it’s down to the provider to make the final decision on whether or not you’ll be accepted for a card.
If you have a low % score for a card, then it’s unlikely that your application will be accepted.
Your results will also show any cards you’re not eligible for and your application will be declined if you choose to apply. If you don’t receive a rating for any of the cards, then you may have entered information incorrectly.
How long are my results valid for?
The results should remain valid up until any changes are made to your credit file.
Any changes to your credit information are generally updated on a monthly basis, although this can vary.
I’m concerned about my credit history. Does the checker include cards for bad credit?
If you’re concerned about having a poor credit history, you can still use our eligibility checker as it includes cards for bad credit, also known as credit-building credit cards.
If the results page shows you’re likely to be accepted for one of these cards, you might want to consider applying as they can be a way to improve your credit rating – provided that you keep up with your monthly repayments.
How can I improve my chances of being accepted?
If you’re worried about your chances of being accepted for a credit card, a good place to start is using our credit card checker. With a few details, we’ll be able to let you know if you could be eligible for a credit card, before you go through the hard credit checks involved with a proper application.
If the results of your eligibility check aren’t what you were hoping for, here are five things you can do to improve your chances:
- Check your credit score and report – your credit score is one of the most important things that potential providers will look at when considering your application, so making sure your credit file is correct is critical. If there are any mistakes in your credit report history, correcting them may improve your score and the chances of you being accepted
- Prove you’re financially responsible – credit card providers need to feel reassured that you’ll be able to repay the balance on your card each month. If you have a bad credit score, or a history of financial struggle, you’ll need to prove that you’ll be able to meet your minimum repayments consistently. Reducing any outstanding debt is a great place to start, while even simple things like having direct debits set up and regularly paid proving that you can handle regular financial responsibilities.
- Reduce your debt – outstanding debt can be a fast way of negatively impacting your credit score, which may signal to credit card providers that you aren’t a suitable applicant. By reducing your debt, you’ll prove that you can responsibly borrow money, which will reassure lenders and providers that you can be trusted.
- Affordability improvements – credit providers will assess your general affordability, which is a calculation based on your combined incomings and outgoings. If you’re spending more than you earn, then you’re more likely to be refused credit.
- Start with a credit builder card – a credit builder card is a great place to start if you’re ineligible for a standard credit card. If you can prove to your provider that you can consistently borrow and repay credit against your credit builder card, you’ll improve your credit score and prove that you can handle the responsibility of a standard credit card, which may then come with a higher credit limit and lower interest rates.
What do I need to use the eligibility checker?
To use the eligibility checker, which won’t impact your credit score in any way, you’ll need to answer a few questions.
We’ll ask you about:
- your personal details
- your age
- your address and when you moved there
- any financial dependents
- employment status and income.
Once we have the details we need, we’ll let you know whether you could be eligible for a credit card before you apply.
Why use Compare the Market?
Check which credit cards you're eligible for in less than a minute**
93.8%*** of users would recommend Compare the Market to friends or family
Our credit card eligibility checker is provided by Runpath Regulated Services Limited, authorised and regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority
**On average it can take less than 1 minute to complete a credit card eligibility check through Compare the Market based on data in January 2021.
***For the period 1st September to 30th November 2020, 12,477 people responded to the recommend question. 11,706 responded with a score of 6 or above, therefore 93.8% are likely to recommend.
From the Money team
What our expert says...
"It’s a good idea to check your credit report every now and then, in case there are any errors or missed payments that you’ve overlooked.
You can check your credit report as often as you like. It won’t impact your credit score."