The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

Credit Score Concerns? Which Credit Cards Offer an Eligibility Check

If your credit history is not strong, applying for a credit card without a pre-application eligibility check can have a dire effect on your credit score. Not all credit cards offer eligibility checks, however, so it's important to be aware of which cards offer this feature.

The Importance of a Credit Card Eligibility Check

Being declined for a credit card can have a negative impact on your credit score. To avoid this, go through a pre-application eligibility check before you apply. Eligibility checks are "soft searches" so they won't leave a mark for other lenders to see or harm your credit score.

Here is a list of credit cards that currently offer an eligibility check. This is not a complete list of all credit cards in the market, but most credit cards now offer an eligibility check to potential applicants. Issuers are listed in alphabetical order.

Credit Card Issuers with Eligibility Checks

  • American Express
  • Asda Money
  • Aqua
  • Barclaycard
  • Capital One
  • Halifax
  • Lloyds
  • Marbles
  • Ocean
  • Sainsbury's Bank
  • Santander
  • Vanquis
  • Virgin Money

Credit Cards without Eligibility Checks

  • Tesco Bank

How Credit Card Applications Work

To decide upon any new credit credit card application, lenders perform a hard search in order to learn about an applicant's credit history—for instance, how good they are at paying back borrowed money. This is a "hard search" that leaves a "mark" on your credit record, whether you are accepted or declined.

This information gathered from this hard search is used to determine if credit should be extended and, if so, at what interest rate. The credit history is also used to determine the credit limit.

Is a Hard Credit Search

If you've been accepted for your credit card, that hard mark may not be a detriment, as you probably won't be making more credit applications in the near future.

The problem arises when you are declined—assuming you still have a need for a credit card and will make another application. When you try again for another card, future lenders will see this recent search. They may assume you were declined by another issuer or that you are desperate for credit and need additional cards. Either way, the hard search from one credit card application can mean you're more likely to be rejected or, if you are accepted, pay a higher interest rate on subsequent applications.

An eligibility check is useful to avoid applying for a card for which you'll be turned down. Not only do eligibility checks give you an indication of your odds of success before you apply, but they don't leave a mark for other lenders to see. Do keep in mind that eligibility checks are not 100%—during the hard search a lender may find more information, or lack thereof, that leads them to change their decision.

FAQs

A hard credit search typically occurs when a lender checks your credit when you apply for a personal loan, mortgage, credit card, etc. The lender uses the information when deciding whether or not to extend you credit, and if so, the amount of credit to extend and the interest rate you'll pay.
Multiple hard credit searches are a potential sign that either you can't find a lender willing to extend you credit or you need more credit than one lender is willing to provide you, or both—neither of these situations are good sign for lenders so your credit score is adversely affected.
Most hard credit searches such as credit card applications stay on your file for 1 year, but some hard searches such as debt collection can stay on your record for up to 2 years or more.
No, you can't remove a hard search from your credit report. To have a hard search removed from your credit file you have to wait until it comes off naturally in time.

Comments

The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.