Understanding when personal loan providers check your credit file will help you adapt your behaviour when shopping around for personal loans, as well as other types of credit products.
Let’s take a look at when personal loan providers check your credit file, and what you can do to protect your credit score.
Personal Loan Providers Check Your Credit File When You Apply
When you apply for a personal loan, the lender will check your credit file, logging a credit search and thus potentially impacting your credit score.
This means that the lender has looked at your credit file and potentially impacted your credit score before they tell you what interest rate they are going to offer you, should they approve your personal loan application.
As a consumer, this is not an ideal situation, as you might get offered an interest rate that is higher than what you expected or saw advertised. The interest rate could also take the loan out of your range of affordability.
While you don’t want this particular loan and want to keep looking for better options, you might be worried that having multiple inquiries on your credit report can lower your credit score leading to a higher interest rate offered by another lender.
What Can You Do About This?
The best thing to do is to ask lenders about your interest rate before applying. If you have been targeted with direct marketing, such as an email or a text message that mentions a specific interest rate, ask them if you’re guaranteed to get that rate, or if it is likely to increase.
When you are unable to get a fixed interest rate – after all, we know that many lenders will say they’re unable to tell you anything until you apply and they check your credit file – you should at least be able to get the range of interest rates that you may be offered.
When you ask for the range of interest rates, either of the following should be a red flag:
- When you’re not given a range of interest rates, but are told your interest rate will be “From” a low number.
- When the range of interest rates being offered is wide. For example, 7.95% – 47.95% is a wide range of interest rates, whereas 7.95% to 17.95% is a narrow range.
Another option you have is to check your credit file and get your credit score yourself. Once you are armed with this information you can always try to find out what your interest rate will be by asking lenders, although again you may be limited with what you are able to find out.
Getting Your Interest Before You Apply
As we’ve already discussed, you may struggle to get an idea of your interest rate before you apply for a loan. Many lenders will simply say “You need to apply” and leave it there.
With NOW FINANCE, you can check your guaranteed rate upfront before submitting an application, without impacting your credit score or leaving an enquiry on your credit file.
This happens by conducting what is called an “Access Seeker” check, which allows us to get your credit score and give you a personalised interest rate based on your financial behaviour. You then know exactly what your loan will cost, and can make a decision on whether it is affordable for you. This interest rate won’t change throughout your personal loan application. If you apply for a loan and are accepted, that is the rate you will get. If you decide that the interest rate isn’t for you, you are under no obligation to apply for the loan and can walk away, with no impact to your credit score or search logged on your credit file.
We believe that it’s best for you as a consumer to know what you’re applying for before you decide to go ahead.
What You Need to Consider
When applying for a personal loan, it pays to do your homework before you apply. If you ultimately decide not to apply for a NOW FINANCE personal loan after you have got your interest rate, follow the guidance we’ve provided throughout this article and elsewhere across our blog to ensure you are offered a loan that is best suited to your circumstances.
Disclaimer: This article contains general comments and recommendations only. This article has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before taking any action you should consider the appropriateness of the comments made in the article, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If this article relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular credit product you should obtain and consider the relevant disclosure documents before applying for the product.