Applying for credit
Applying for any kind of credit will leave a mark on your credit file. This is regardless of whether you apply for a personal loan, credit card, store card, car insurance or even a phone contract. Providers of credit have access to your credit file, and its status will play a vital role in their decision on whether or not to grant you credit. It's, therefore, vital that you know and understand the status of your credit file before applying.
A common misconception is that applying to as many lenders as possible is your greatest chance of acceptance. Wrong. Making multiple applications in a short space of time gives the impression that you're desperate. Being desperate, much like if you were out looking for a partner, isn't overly attractive. As a result, your chances of a lender accepting your application after multiple applications are greatly diminished.
Furthermore, if your previous applications were declined you pose an even greater risk to lenders/providers. If you have been declined, don't panic! Although you should now tread carefully, you still have options.
What is the maximum amount of times I should be applying?
As the minimum criteria set out by lenders differs from lender to lender it's hard to put a figure on how many times applying is considered too many. If you have never borrowed before then a lender has no basis for trust and, is therefore, likely to be sceptical when considering your application. Similarly, if you have multiple declines on your file it doesn't look great. By having a history of well-managed credit you're in a prime position to apply for credit. This can be further increased by living at a stable address and making sure you’re registered on the electoral role. The key point to remember when searching for finance is that each provider will have a set of minimum criteria. By making sure you match these criteria before you apply you'll vastly improve your chances of acceptance.
How long do things stay on your credit file?
Any credit searches carried out as part of you obtaining finance, as well as any CCJ's (County Court Judgements) or late repayments will stay on your file for 6 years, after which they'll be removed. On the whole, lenders will generally take into account the last couple of years when deciding whether or not to lend to you, so don't feel you have to wait 6 years before applying again.
If you're struggling to keep up with your basic outgoings then borrowing more is not the answer. There are a number of steps you can take to regain control, however talking and sharing about your concerns should be the first step. If things are getting too hard to manage, all information as well as where to seek assistance can be found in the article below.
Mark joined Choose Wisely in 2015. He continues to work in close contact with the providers, brokers and journalists operating in the world of consumer credit.