What is it that you think makes Brits worry when it comes to their cash? Is it concerns over the rise and fall of sterling? Issues about house prices and the availability of mortgages? Or is it that they will run up a huge phone bill voting for Ed Balls to go all the way in Strictly?
Whilst these all may be true (Ed's Charleston was a must see), it is credit that causes consumers to break out in a sweat. Recent Noddle research found that Brits ranked applying for a credit card as the third most nerve-inducing lifestyle commitment they could make. They put credit card applications behind committing to a new job or applying for a mortgage, but above making a relationship official, making a new friend or joining a dating site.
When we dug a bit deeper into these statistics we found that it's fear of rejection that gives people the heebie-jeebies. Nobody wants to feel rebuffed, and it's no wonder that people are concerned that being turned down for a credit card could have a negative impact on their credit score. This could be why we found that more than a quarter of people aged 18 to 34 don't have any credit.
The problem is there are many urban myths about credit scores, but as a consumer you have a lot to gain from taking an interest in your credit record. Finding out this information can then help you to go on and access financial products and services that are right for you - and take away some of the anxiety. Whilst we can't help Ed as he faces up to the American smooth foxtrot this week, here are some top tips to help you conquer your fears:
1. When you apply for any type of credit or loan, providers will check your credit score to assess your likelihood of paying back what you've borrowed. The higher your score, the less risky you're considered to be. The best deals are usually only available to those with a good credit history and score so to get a good interest rate ensure you've done everything you can to improve your credit score.
2. If your score and history aren't perfect but you need to apply for a loan or credit, then make sure you're only applying for those that you will qualify for. Someone with a low score is unlikely to be accepted for the best credit card deal on the market and applying might hurt their score further. Noddle has a cards and loans matcher tool that can help you identify which deals you're most likely to qualify for.
3. Once you've seen the different deals on offer that are available to you, consider all the terms and conditions before you commit. Ideally the lower the APR the better the deal, but don't forgot the other fees and charges that are not included in the APR when comparing your options.
4. It's also worth remembering that not having any form of credit can be a hindrance rather than a help. Having little or no credit history can result in a surprise rejection for a phone contract or a tenancy agreement, or that credit card.
5. Credit cards should only be used with a budget plan in place. Uncontrolled spending on your card is bad in every way and if repayments aren't well managed it could harm your chances of being accepted for credit in the future. However, if you use your card sensibly and spend within your means you can easily reap the rewards credit cards offer.
NB. All data is taken from a Censuswide survey of 2,097 respondents, run between 27th July and 1st August 2016.
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