Don't let a credit card application affect your credit score

Advice from the experts at MoneySuperMarket

stethoscope by  Credit cards payment

Reduction of interest rates and ever increasing interest-free balance transfers offers mean that there has never been a better time to apply for a credit card.

There is a downside though, lenders are selective about who they want to lend to, which means that most of the time you're going to need a near-perfect credit score to qualify for the best deals.

If you're thinking about applying for a new credit card, it is important to know: If your application is rejected because of your credit rating, the process can damage your existing credit score further.

Because of this, credit card providers tend to be picky, and many people either don't get the deal they were expecting, or worse, get rejected completely.

The great news is that MoneySuperMarket has a handy, free to use tool which give you an idea of the likelihood of being accepted for a credit card without the risk of hurting your credit score.

Here's how to use it...

Using Smart Search for credit cards

Head to the MoneySuperMarket credit card homepage and click on the 'Find a Card', enter the type of card you're after along the details requested.

You'll then be provided with a list of credit cards scored from one to 10, which provides an indication of how likely you are to be accepted for each one.

Card results are ordered by eligibility, meaning those you're most likely to be approved for are at the top, but you can always sort them by APR or longest interest-free period.

If you're looking for a purchase credit card

If you're looking at borrowing between £1,000 and £2,000 to buy something, it's worth considering putting it on a 0% purchase card instead. By going down this route, you won't be charged any interest on the amount borrowed given you pay the entire amount back within the interest fee period.

Sainsbury's Purchase Card* is one of the leading purchase credit cards around at the moment, offering 0% on spending for 28 months. Also, you'll nectar points on your purchases with this card. If you're accepted for the card, you'll be guaranteed the advertised interest free period. If you don't clear the balances within the 28 months, you will be charge at 18.95% APR.

If you're looking for a balance transfer credit card

If you currently have a balance on a credit card, you could take advantage of an interest-free balance transfer offer. This means you can move your balance from one card to another, such as the Halifax Balance Transfer Card*. This card will give you a huge 41 months – yes, almost 3 and half years – to pay off the debt before you're charged interest.

This card comes with a 3.5% balance transfer fee, if you transfer a balance within the first 90 days, Halifax will refund you 0.32% so overall fee is 3.18%.

If you don't clear the balance within the 41 months, any remaining debt will be subject to a representative APR of 18.95% (variable).

About Smart Search

Although a useful tool to help you choose a credit card, Smart Search only provides you with an indication and not a guarantee of acceptance.

Keeping in mind that not all providers have agreed to take part in the scheme, so the results won't show whole of market.

Bear this in mind when you search and Smart Search could help you find the right credit card without impacting your credit score.

* Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 18.95% p.a. (variable) your representative rate will be 18.9% APR (variable).

Rates were correct at time of writing