The Fixer: Credit card rejection
It can seem impossible to get a fair result when you are battling a financial issue alone. But never fear! The AOL Money Fixer is here to help.
My current 0% balance transfer deal is coming to an end soon and I need to take out a new credit card to transfer the balance to before I start getting charged interest on it.
I need to transfer a balance of about £3,000, but my applications for cards from NatWest and Halifax have both been turned down.
I am very worried as I can't afford to pay off £3,000 that I owe at the moment and I know the interest rate on my current card jumps to about 20% as soon as the deal period ends.
I don't know why the card companies are turning me down. Can you help?
M Parker, Macclesfield
Dear Miss Parker,
You need a good credit score to qualify for the best credit card deals. But making repeated applications will only damage your score, so my first advice would be to stop applying for cards until you understand what is going on.
Instead, you should be contacting the credit reference agencies Experian, Equifax and CallCredit to get a copy of your credit file, which contains the information lenders use when deciding whether or not to accept you as a customer.
You may find, for example, that you are not registered to vote at your current address - making you an identity fraud risk - or that you have forgotten about an unpaid bill.
Simple steps that you can take to improve your credit score once you have this information include registering yourself on the electoral roll at your local council, closing any old accounts that may worry lenders due to the amount of credit they offer and setting up direct debits to ensure that you do not miss any regular payments in the future.
And if it remains less than perfect, a "credit builder" card such as the Barclaycard Platinum Balance Transfer, which offers 18 months at 0% on balance transfers (subject to a transfer fee of 2.9%) rather than the 27 months offered on the NatWest and Halifax cards, may well prove your best bet.
Whatever your financial problem, write to email@example.com and The AOL Money Fixer will get on the case.