The right credit rating steps before getting a credit card

Hi everyone,
First of all, thank you for all your insights. I have read the thread about how credit ratings are just marketing services, I had no idea. 
I want to explain the situation I am in:
  • I want to improve my credit history by taking out a 0% credit card, which I plan to turn into a card to use for monthly groceries (£200 - £300 a month) 
  • I do not have any credit cards or other loans since last summer when I closed a 0% credit card with Halifax I had and used for ~3 years. I closed it before I knew anything about how your credit history looks better if you have and use a credit card instead of not having any credit cards at all. 
It sounds easy enough: just use the MSE tool, apply for the card I have the best match for. However, I have run into issues before:
  • Both my first and last names are double-barrelled, which I believe trips credit checkers. In the past, I have applied for the Halifax credit card I mention above online and got denied, but then I walked into a branch and applied in person and everything went through smoothly. I have recently (3-4 months ago) tried applying online for a 0% spending credit card with Lloyds and got denied again. I can't go into a branch because they don't accept opening a credit card, rightly so, as being an essential service. 
  • The credit score that appears in the MSE tool, that's Experian, reports at 958, just 2 points away from "Excellent", however I only get a 70% estimated acceptance rate for a Barclays' card, and 50% for a Sainsbury's one (this is the one I would prefer)
I am afraid of applying online and getting rejected, because short-term it would tank my credit score. 
In addition, I also have the problem of not really knowing how credit card repayment terms work. Are all types of credit cards considered as being 0% if you always repay the full balance at the end of the month, and the current 0% spending ones just allow you to repay a minimum every month?
I don't really know what my next step should be, and would appreciate your thoughts. As I said, I want to get a credit card sothat by repaying it on time, I can improve my credit history, since all the other steps recommended by both Credit Club and CreditKarma are "live at the same address for 5+ years" (been living in my current place for close to 1 year and in the previous place for 18 months) and "own a house", which is not something I can do at the moment.


  • edited 26 February 2021 at 11:40PM
    zx81zx81 Forumite
    35.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    edited 26 February 2021 at 11:40PM
    Rather than immediately plan for debt with a 0% card, just get any card.

    Use it and clear in full each month.

    Hey presto, you're building a decent credit history.

    Although a search may 'tank' your credit score, no one will care.
  • cymruchriscymruchris Forumite
    3.1K Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    You've previously had a credit card with the Halifax for three years - if the account was kept in good order - then they'd likely welcome you back as a customer. That might be a good place to start by actually having an account open that you could use a little and pay back every month. Once that's been open and running smoothly for 6-9 months - you could then move on to another card, using the eligibility checkers directly on credit card providers websites (not the comparison sites). 
    An ex-bankrupt on a journey of recovery. Feel free to send me a DM reference credit building credit cards from the usual suspects :) Happy to help others going through what I've been through!
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