Our personal credit records are in a dire state, according to recent research that shows 7 million credit applications were refused in the UK during the last 12 months.
A further 7 million applications for other accounts and agreements were also turned down because of poor credit rating, according to the Debt Advisory Centre. So why are our credit records so bad?
Credit is an important part of everyday life and the record of your past behaviour towards it can affect everything from being approved for a mortgage to your chances at a job or suitability for a tenancy agreement.
The state of our credit records is a very real concern; in fact the research found that 9 million people avoid applying for things because they're worried about failing a credit check.
Rejected for credit
Personal loans report the highest number of rejected applications in the past year (1.6million), followed by credit cards (1.2million), overdrafts (0.9million) and payday loans (0.7million) and first mortgages (0.6million).
But credit applications aren't the only place where a poor credit rating can be a problem. In an estimated 7.3 million cases, people's credit reports held them back in other ways.
How to improve
"Credit ratings are a major part of modern life," said Ian Williams of Debt Advisory Centre. "These figures show just how much a poor rating can get in the way, and not just when you're applying for credit.
"So while it's good that people are wary of damaging their credit rating even further, what's even more important is taking steps to improve it: for example, avoiding further borrowing, trying to clear the debts that you can, and setting up Direct Debits to make sure the payments go out on time."
It is also crucial to regular monitor your record to ensure that it is update to date; that no mistakes have been made and you've not fallen victim to fraud. Read our guide on how to decipher your credit record and rectify any mistakes.