5 min read

Turned down for credit? Don’t panic — here are 5 easy steps to get back on track

Lucy Burgess
6 February 2017

Take a look at our 5 step plan for how to build your credit score and increase your credit options.

1. Try not to make any more applications, as this can damage your credit score further

If you've been rejected to credit, try and resist the temptation to immediately make another application.

Whenever you apply for credit, a credit check (also known as a ‘hard’ search) is carried out on your credit report. Each time this happens, a mark will be left on your report which can be seen the next time a lender carries out a credit check. If you make several applications for credit in a short space of time, this could harm your credit score. This is because lenders might think you are desperate for credit, and may be less likely to want to lend to you.

Checking your ClearScore account won't affect your credit score
Don’t worry about checking your score and report through ClearScore — you can check as many times as you like without damaging your score. We use ‘personal’ (or ‘soft’) searches to pull your information, and these don’t leave a footprint on your report. Find out more about hard and soft searches here.

2. Ask your lender why you were rejected, and check your credit report for the reasons given

If you've been rejected, you can ask the lender why. You might not get a full answer, but they should tell you whether it was because of something on your credit report.

Your credit report contains your borrowing history for the last 6 years, and negative factors such as defaults or incorrect information can affect your chances of being accepted for credit.

On your ClearScore account we list your 'negative factors' (they appear on the report section of your account). These factors are a little general (because we don't know exactly what the lenders are thinking) but they show you areas you could change to improve your credit worthiness. For example, whether or not you are on the electoral roll. If you're not on the electoral roll, you can register fairly easily, and this should help boost your credit worthiness.

Check your credit report and score for free with ClearScore

3. Start making small changes to improve your credit score — they can make all the difference

If you were rejected due to something on your credit report, it's worth working to improve your score before you apply again.

Simple things like fixing any mistakes, and keeping your credit utilisation within an optimum range (under 50%) could help boost your score. You can also start to use any credit you currently have to help build your credit score. For example, using a credit card regularly, making small payments and paying them back on time and in full can prove to lenders you can manage credit responsibly.

4. Check your eligibility before applying again

An eligibility check (also known as a 'soft search') shows you the products you're most likely to be accepted for without having to make a full credit application. Eligibility checks won't leave a mark on your credit report (though you can see them on the 'searches' section of your ClearScore account) so they don't affect your credit score.

Your ClearScore account shows you an eligibility score (e.g. 90% ) alongside credit cards and loans on the 'Offers' section of your account.

Eligibility checks are based on some basic information about your credit report. If this information isn’t accurate, your eligibility score won’t be either so make sure you double check your report before you start looking at eligibility scores.

5. You might want to make a notice of correction on your account

If you have a negative factor on your report, such as a defaulted debt, but there are extenuating circumstances (such as being made redundant) you can add a notice of correction to your account.

A lender will see this when considering your application, and it could help boost your chances of being accepted. You can read more about this in our FAQ

by Lucy Burgess

Lucy has a background in law. Having spent a considerable amount of time researching personal finance, she's one of our in-house experts. 

ClearScore exists to make your finances simple.
We offer a free service where you can handle everything to do with credit in one place. In your ClearScore account, you can see your credit score and the full details of your credit report. Your credit cards, mortgages, mobile phone contracts, loans, overdrafts and utilities all on the record. Our goal is to make ClearScore as simple, calm and straightforward as possible. Money is stressful enough.