One problem with applying for a new credit card, is that the application can affect a consumers credit score. There are three main credit rating agencies -- in the UK -- that credit card issuers use to 'vet' applicants, and its generally believed that a application for new credit (debt) can affect a credit score by up to 10%. Many new applications can signal to credit card issuers that the consumer has alot of potential new debt and may be in financial trouble. It should be noted, however, that payment history is the biggest factor when it comes to a credit score -- according to Experian, one of the three big credit rating agencies in the UK. Therefore, its better to check your eligibility for new credit before a new application: as there is no point 'muddying up' a credit score for a credit card you have no chance of being accepted for.
Most banks and credit card issuers provide an Internet based eligibility checker on their website, and they usually promise that it will not leave a trace on the users credit score. So, what information do you need to provide to run an eligibility test:
The results of the eligibility check should be instant, but they will only provide a result that will show how likely the applicant is for being accepted for new credit. A high score on the eligibility check will not guarantee the applicant will be accepted. To be accepted for new credit typically requires the lender to conduct a 'hard inquiry', where the lender will check the consumer's credit report -- according to Experian hard inquiries can remain on a consumers credit report for just over two years.
At present, the following banks, building societies and credit card providers provide an Internet credit card eligibility checker: Lloyds, Halifax, Barclays, Vanquis, MBNA, Capital One, NatWest, Virgin Money, Post Office, RBS, American Express UK, Barclaycard, Marbles, Bank of Scotland, Creation, theAA, and Opus. Each eligibility checker differs, but the differences are minor, and typically will only request the information listed above.