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Card Approvals

It's a consumer jungle out there! Card companies are actively trying to get you to sign up to their products and are offering several incentives to do so. Some highlight an "instant decision", others will claim that over a creatin percentage of applications are accepted. So this is good, right?

The Right Credit for You . . .

Although it might be handy that a lender can give you a quick decision, or has provided credit to millions of others, the right question to ask yourself is "will this be the right kind of card for me"? If a card decision hinges on a turnaround of a few minutes, then perhaps getting a card in a hurry isn't the best course of action for your finances. Most lenders will, in any case, refer your application to underwriters for assessment if there is any question or issues over your credit record . . . so promises to give you a card "instantly" are usually conditional on you having a spotless credit history or being a well-established existing customer on another card product.

What if my application is referred?
Remember, that even if a card application goes to referral stage, it doesn't mean rejection. One of the usual things that happens is that there is some discrepancy between matching your application details and a credit file. This is largeky down to addresses being slightly different (such as 12 A, as opposed to 12 or 12 B).

Something as simple as this usually takes a few minutes to sort out over the phone with a customer service representative and usually ends up with an approval decision. Yet a surprising amount of people get the "referral" message and assume their application has failed, or don't then bother to contact the card company to resolve any issues about the application.

Multiple Applications
Talking through an application referral with a card agency won't harm your rating, unless you are subsequently rejected. However, some card companies may be able to offer alternatives whilst you are on the line - you are, after all, an active "lead". Simply refusing to call and making another application will definitely add up to hurt your rating though - and may be entirely unecessary if all that's required are a few sinple answers.

No-one likes discussing their financial situations, especially to strangers over the phone, but sometimes the anonymous web can't compare to actually talking to an individual who can help or provide advice.

Accepted! What Next?
You should receive written confirmation of your acceptance and your accoutn details. Often the cards are sent immediately, but your user PIN should arrive separately and allow you to activat your card. If there's any activation details with youyr card, it's important to follow these so the company knows it has been received . . . otherwise it will be cancelled and you may have to re-apply.

If you need to record your financial details such as PINs, keep these away from statements and where the card itself is kept - this will make it harder for someone to misuse your account should you get a break-in or robbery.

Take the time to read over the terms and conditions of the offer, ensure that you are aware of any penalties or clauses and know when repayments are due. It can often help to go through a calendar and mark these in, factoring in Bank Holidays and weekends so you know when cleared payment funds should be with your lender.

What if I've Changed my Mind?
Most financial arrangements have a "cooling off" period where, if you have a change of mind, you can write in or complete a cancellation form within a couple of weeks. Provided that you are not taking any credit in advance, simply not using your credit card should ensure that you are not liable for repayments, although check that there is no monhtly or regular fee for the card. If you are not using it, there is no point in paying a fee and you may as well cancel.