If your credit card application is declined

It’s disappointing to be turned down, but in this guide we explain why this happens, and how to improve your eligibility in future.

What are lending decisions based on?

To be accepted for a Halifax credit card, you must:

  • Be a UK resident, aged 18 or over, with a regular income.
  • Be free from County Court Judgements (CCJs), Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs) and bankruptcy.
  • Not be a student or unemployed.
  • Not have been declined for a Halifax credit card in the last 30 days.

Your credit score

Credit reference agencies hold information about you and your financial past, issuing you with a credit score. Lenders access this information, which helps them to make decisions on credit applications.

Affordability

Lenders also consider what you can reasonably afford to repay for the foreseeable future, based on things like your income and the total amount of credit that’s already available to you.

Current and past accounts

Lenders usually keep records about accounts you’ve held with them in the past, including information about how well they’ve been managed.

Assessing your circumstances

At Halifax, the interest rates and any credit offered is based on an assessment of…
 

Financial information:

  • Your existing borrowing and financial commitments.
  • Whether you’ve kept up with loan or credit card payments.
  • The length of time you’ve held a current account.

Personal information:

  • Your employment status and how long you’ve been employed.
  • Your residential status, including how long you’ve lived in one place.
  • Whether you’re on the electoral register.

Lenders always check your credit score

As well as details provided in your application, lenders get information about you from independent credit reference agencies, helping them to assess the risk of offering you credit.


Your credit score can be negatively affected by things like:

  • Declined applications for credit – particularly if you’ve had a few in a short period.
  • The amount of credit already available to you, even if you’re not using it.
  • The total of existing debt balances, relative to your income.
  • Missed payments or going over agreed credit limits.
  • A short credit and/or repayment history.
  • A history of bankruptcy, CCJs or IVAs.

Do you know your credit score?

It’s a good idea, especially if you’re planning to apply for credit, to check the information held by each credit reference agency. If it’s not accurate, you could apply to have the information corrected.

Although there are a number of agencies in the UK, Halifax mainly use TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.


More on credit scores

If you’ve just been declined
 

  • Of course it’s disappointing to be told you’re not eligible, but there is some good news here.

    To make an eligibility decision, a 'quotation' or 'soft search' is completed. Although this will be recorded with the credit reference agencies, it won’t affect your credit score or your chances of being offered credit in future.

  • A full or ‘hard’ credit search is completed if you submit a full credit application, rather than just an eligibility check. This will be recorded with the credit reference and it will affect your credit score.

    It’s important to know that this could make it more difficult to get credit in future, especially if you make a number of full credit applications in a short period of time.

    If you’re declined, you may want to wait at least six months before applying again. In the meantime, you could work on your credit score and eligibility.

Boost your eligibility

It’ll take time, but doing these things could help to boost your credit score:

  • Reduce existing debts – if you can repay what you’ve already borrowed a little faster, it’ll help to reduce any interest costs and the risk associated with issuing further credit.
  • Close credit accounts – if you’ve got accounts you don’t use, and which no longer meet your needs, by closing them you could unlock other borrowing options.
  • Manage accounts well – by keeping up with payments and staying within your credit limits, over time this helps to show you can manage your financial commitments wisely.
  • Register to vote – being on the electoral register is one way your home address can be confirmed. This could help to boost your credit score and eligibility.
  • Deal with defaults/CCJs – although these might still show on your credit record, they might not be viewed so negatively if they’re listed as ‘settled’.
  • Wait to apply again – if you’ve been declined, it’s a good idea to work on your credit score for at least six months before you apply again.

Help with money worries


Support for Halifax customers

If you’re ever having financial difficulties, please get in touch so we can find a way to help.
 

Help with money worries


If you’re not a Halifax customer

You can speak to your lenders, but there are also independent organisations who can help.
 

Find independent support

Other things to consider

  • Lenders have access to a lot of information to help them to make fair and considered decisions, but you can ask for more information or appeal a decision, especially if you’ve got extra information to support your application.

    To appeal a credit card, loan, bank account or overdraft decision made by Halifax, please write to:

    Personal Lending Decisions
    Three City Park
    The Droveway
    Hove East Sussex
    BN3 7AU

    Please include copies of supporting information, along with your full name, address and any other contact details we can use to can get back to you.

    You need to know that we might complete a credit search to review your application, which would be recorded on your credit file:

    For credit cards, we’ll review recent eligibility check results. If a hard credit search wasn’t completed when you originally applied, then we’ll do that when you appeal.

    For loans and overdrafts, we’ll review any recent credit searches first. If a hard credit search wasn’t completed when you originally applied, then we’ll do that when you appeal.

  • If you’ve just been declined, it’s unlikely you’ll receive a different result if you apply with the same lender within a six-month period, unless there’s been a significant change in your personal circumstances. Especially if it was a full credit application you submitted, by applying again you risk further damage to your credit score.

    All credit providers have different lending criteria, so being declined by one doesn’t mean you’ll be declined by all, but making a number of applications in a short period will affect your credit score and your chances of being accepted.

    If you’ve been declined in the past and you’ve put effort into improving your credit score, you don’t want to damage it again.

    Many lenders, including Halifax, now offer an eligibility checker to help you to find and compare cards you’re likely to be accepted for, without impacting your credit score.

  • If you’ve never had credit, or have limited experience, lenders might find it difficult to measure how well you’ll manage it. You’re also less likely to get the lowest and longest lasting interest rates, or to be accepted for credit at all.

    In this situation, there are additional things you can do to improve your credit profile and eligibility:

    Apply for a ‘credit builder’ card – starting small and building towards the credit card you really want could be a sensible step. Although they usually offer lower credit limits and higher interest rates, by using a credit builder card and making payments on time, your credit score will slowly increase.

    Use a bank account – setting up Direct Debits to make regular payments for things like utility bills and subscriptions, can help to boost your credit score over time. Just make sure there’s money in your account to cover any payments, or your credit score could be negatively affected instead.

    If your account has an overdraft, managing that effectively will help too.

    Manage commitments carefully – keeping up with payments on store cards, things like your mobile phone contract or TV subscription, and any other household bills, could all help to improve your credit score.

    To generate a credit score you can build on, you’ll need at least one account offering credit in one form or another, for at least six months.

  • Joint commitments, like bank accounts, mortgages and utility bills, create a link between you and your partner. Even if the joint accounts are managed well, if your partner’s credit score is low, that could impact yours too, making it harder for you to get credit.

    You might need to work on improving both of your credit scores, or trying to keep your finances separate, to increase your overall chances of being approved for credit.

A summary on declined credit applications

Lenders consider a number of factors when making decisions on applications for credit.

  • You must be a UK resident aged 18 or over to apply. Other criteria apply. 
  • Lenders assess information you provide, your credit score and any records they hold.
  • If you’ve only completed an eligibility check, this won’t affect your credit score.
  • If you’ve submitted a full credit application, this will affect your credit score.

Halifax is a division of Bank of Scotland plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC327000. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Bank of Scotland plc is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 169628.