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Card checker FAQs

Did you know that applying for credit too many times can penalise you against some credit deals or increase the interest rate you might pay? Virgin Money has a solution – Virgin Money Card Checker. It gives applicants a quick decision without leaving anything negative on their credit score, whether they pass or not. Sound good? Find out how we do it.

Why have credit checks?

Responsible lenders make sure they know that borrowers will be able to pay back the money lent, whether it's a loan, a mortgage, a store card or a credit card. That’s why they run applicants through a credit check before they authorise credit.

A credit check is a snapshot of the way the applicant has dealt with money in the past. This should tell the borrower about the likelihood of repaying as the contract agrees.

Items that make up the check include:

  • Past late repayments to lenders, utility companies, tax authorities and other organisations
  • Whether the applicant is on the electoral register
  • Recent credit activity
  • The number of applications for credit.

It's that last one that worries people because every time you apply for credit, the lender performs a check and a record of that check goes onto your credit rating. Do too many over a short period of time and it becomes a negative factor.

Why seeking credit can affect your score

To many borrowers, the idea that asking for credit can lessen your chances of getting credit is crazy.

But if you look at it from the lender's perspective, it makes a bit more sense. Someone who is refused credit multiple times is probably a high risk applicant. And lots of applications over a short period can indicate an urgent need for credit, which is not always a positive sign as it can show a lack of financial planning (whether this is a fair assessment or not).

The biggest problem with the negative effect of multiple checks is that it discourages people from shopping around. Because the advertised interest rate can be raised by some lenders if the applicant has a poor credit score, people do apply to different providers to see who's really offering the best deal. It’s not always as simple as comparing them online.

There's a smarter way

To Virgin Money, penalising customers for shopping around feels pretty unfair and uncompetitive.

That's why we've introduced Virgin Money Card Checker, a 'soft' credit check that looks into some basic facts about an applicant's credit history but does not leave a footprint on their history.

After asking for some key facts about your credit history, like your income, Card Checker gives you one of three quick decisions:

  1. Yes, your application has been conditionally approved and Virgin Money can probably offer you a card (subject to a full credit check later). It's up to you whether you now apply.
  2. You are a medium-risk borrower which means that none of Virgin Money’s cards are available. However, we can refer you to partner card providers who might be able to help.
  3. No, your credit score is currently stopping you from getting a credit card from Virgin Money or any of its partners. You might be able to find credit elsewhere, but it could be expensive because of your score. If you can make moves to improve your score (e.g. make sure you're on the electoral register, improve the repayment of debts), your chances of credit can improve quicker than you think.

Think of Virgin Money Card Checker as a rough filter that gives you a good indication about your likelihood of getting one of our cards before you make a formal application. It relies on honest replies, but if you're a genuine applicant, that shouldn't be a problem. (It's actually quite rare for a customer to pass our Card Checker and then go on to fail the full credit check, so we’re quite confident that it’s robust.)

So once you've decided on the credit card deal that best suits your personal needs and circumstances, feel free to use the Virgin Money Card Checker with – no fee, no obligation and absolutely no chance of it affecting the very thing you're checking!

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