Why can't I get credit?

Nov 22, 2017

Forget everything you think you know: lenders couldn’t give a monkey’s about your credit score. So how DO they decide whether to give you credit? Get ready for some surprisingly straightforward answers – from the experts at Loqbox.

If a lender decides they won’t let you borrow, it’s down to one of three reasons:

  1. They don’t see you as creditworthy because of something you’ve done in the past.
  2. They don’t see you as creditworthy because they don’t know enough about your ability to manage credit.
  3. They just don’t want to lend to you.

Pretty simple really: it’s either poor credit history, no credit history at all, or you just don’t fit what they’re after. But how do you know which one?

You can ask the lender. They might tell you. If not, there’s some detective work you can do to work it out for yourself.

First, get hold of your three credit reports. (Yes, three. We explain all this and how to get them for free in our helpful guide – see below.)

Rule one: ignore your credit score. Lenders’ score cards are a closely guarded secret, but one thing we can say for sure is not one of them uses your credit score to make their decision. Instead, delve into the nitty gritty of each report…


You can probably guess which of our three reasons applies to you. We’d recommend asking yourself whether you really need more credit. If you think you need financial help, Citizens Advice offer great advice for free, and can help you take control of any problems early rather than let them snowball.


You probably come under reason two. Ask yourself whether you’d be happy lending to someone if this was all you knew about them. You should begin to see where the lender is coming from.

You’re what we call ‘thin or no file’. You may be a brilliant lender, but the lack of information makes it impossible to tell. The answer is to start filling your file with positive data. Look out for our future blogs on building your credit history and taking your first step to credit to see how.


Rather unhelpfully, you fall into reason three. It’s nothing personal. Credit is a privilege, not a right. And lenders don’t have to lend if they don’t want to. Lending patterns, criteria, risk profiles and scoring models change all the time. Some days you might be what a lender wants, while others you may not be.

The answer is to shop around. If you have a good credit history, chances are you’ll be just what another lender is looking for. Look out for our future blog on using soft searches to make sure your applications don’t negatively affect your credit history.

Loqbox itself is completely free too. If you’re struggling to get accepted by lenders, you can sign up to Loqbox and rebuild your credit history just by saving as little as £20 a month.

This post was written and compiled by the credit experts behind Loqbox. To sign up for free or read more about the clever way Loqbox works, head to Loqbox.co.uk.

This is part of our Two-minute Money blog series – unlocking the secrets of the financial system, two minutes at a time.

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