5 min read

Turned down for credit? 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 post-rejection.

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

If you've been rejected for credit, try to 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, making lenders 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 which can't be seen by lenders and therefore won't affect your credit score.

2. Ask your lender why you were rejected, and then check your credit report to see if it all matches up

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. If it was, there may be a chance you can do something about it.

It's definitely worth checking all of the information on your report to make sure that it's accurate, especially if you're unsure about the reasoning behind a lender's decision. Make sure you check all the pages of your credit report and not just your score. For example, check that debts you've paid are listed as paid, and that all your credit accounts are showing in your report. (For more tips, check out our handy checklist.)

What you can't do, unfortunately, is change the facts of what's on your report. For example, you can't remove the fact you've defaulted on a debt if this is true.

Check your credit report and score for free with ClearScore

3. 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

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

As well as making sure your report is in the best shape it can be, you can also take steps to improve your score. These actions may take a little time to have an impact on your score, but they're worth doing in the long run, especially if you're planning on applying for credit again in the future.

For example, your credit score is affected by how much of your total credit limit you're using. If you're maxing out all of your credit accounts, it may damage your score and put lenders off wanting to lend to you. So if you can, try to start keeping your total credit usage below 50% of your total limit or even lower if you can.

If you have credit accounts that you're not actively using, starting to use them could help boost 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.

5. Check your eligibility before applying again

An eligibility check (also known as a 'soft search') shows you how likely you are to be accepted for that particular product before you make a full credit application. The crucial thing here is that eligibility checks can't be seen by lenders and they don't affect your credit score.

So before you apply for credit, you can see what products are more worthwhile applying for. It can also help give you an indication of whether it's worth waiting and building up your score before applying. We have a article all about avoiding rejection and eligibility checks for more information.

Your ClearScore account automatically shows you an eligibility score (e.g. 90% ) alongside the products you can see on the 'Offers' section of your account.

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.