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Over 25 Million People Across the UK Trapped in the Credit Gap

LONDON, December 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

  • One in two* UK adults (57%) are at risk of being declined credit by mainstream lenders
  • Seven in ten women (69%) and eight in ten (82%) 18-24 year olds are at risk of failing a typical credit check
  • Three quarters of people (79%) do not know what their credit score is
  • Of those who have been refused credit, 85% didn't bother to find out why

One in two UK adults (57%) are currently at risk of being declined credit by mainstream lenders, according to 'Mind the Credit Gap' - a report which aims to better understand the creditworthiness of the UK population, commissioned by aqua credit cards.

The research, which was based on consumers answering a typical industry credit check questionnaire, reveals that in general women and young people have less access to credit, with seven in ten (69%) women and eight in ten (82%) 18-24yr olds failing to meet the criteria lenders typically look for.  Mind the Credit Gap notes that people from all walks of life can find themselves at risk of being declined.  Most obvious are those who don't have a credit history.  This includes those who have recently moved to the UK or those who have never entered into a credit agreement before and therefore have no repayment records.  But the research also shows that a third (34%) of people in full time jobs, and 32% who earn in excess of £50,000, could also struggle to get credit.

Having a strong credit score isn't just essential when applying for credit cards, loans, overdrafts or mortgages, it's also important when using other lifestyle services and products.  Those taking out contracts with utility providers, mobile phone companies and broadband services, or even those trying to get the best rates and deals from these services, will often need to pass a credit check.  Yet aqua's findings show that three quarters of people (79%) have no idea what their credit score is, and half (53%) don't know how to improve it.  

Commenting on the findings, Sarah Willingham, founder of letssavesomemoney said: "Finding out that a massive 25 million people are at risk of being declined credit due to a poor credit score is extremely alarming. The Mind the Credit Gap report from aqua demonstrates the importance of understanding your credit score and how it affects your ability to access financial products, but also how to access the best deals and rates on other products and services.  If you have a damaged credit record and don't enquire why, you could end up paying more or at worst, having limited access to credit.  

aqua's report interrogates some of the unsuspecting actions that can have a detrimental effect on a credit score. The following graph shows some of the reasons why people can be at risk of being declined:

     (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121219/582963 )

Sarah added: "Taking some simple steps to improve your score can have a huge impact on your life. Things like making sure you're on the electoral roll, that your credit record has the most up to date address, that you pay your bills on time, and that you only apply for credit when needed, all make a difference. And if you are struggling, there are specialist lenders out there who can help access credit and rebuild your credit profile.

James Corcoran, CEO, added: "At aqua we believe in the importance of helping creditworthy individuals who are left un-served by the mainstream credit industry.  The Mind the Credit Gap report shows that this un-served audience is significant and growing.  Surprisingly one in two adults are at risk of being declined credit by mainstream lenders - that's over 25 million people whose lives are being affected. The irony is that the people who need their money to go further are the ones who end up paying more - paying for utilities and mobile phones on a pay-and-go basis for instance can cost up to 27% more than paying via direct debit. 

He added: "We created the report as we believe it's paramount that people understand the significance of their credit score as well as how to build or repair it.  We are thrilled to have the support of Sarah Willingham, founder of letssavesomemoney, and we hope that our report is a step in the right direction to solve the problem and help narrow the credit gap".

The aqua credit card was launched in 2002 to help the large number of creditworthy individuals in the UK who are left un-served by the mainstream credit industry.  aqua creates innovative credit building credit cards with rewards when customers look after their account - designed for people looking to improve or establish their credit rating.  For more information, visit: aquacard

Top tips on how to improve your credit score:

  • Make sure you're on the electoral role
  • Pay all your bills on time, even a couple of days can make a difference
  • Ensure there's no incorrect details on your credit record - check it regularly and if the details are wrong, correct them
  • Try not to use more than 75% of your available credit limit
  • Look into specialist credit card providers which help people to build and improve their credit record
  • Only apply for products when you really need them- applying for more than four forms of credit in a year can lower your credit score  
  • Do not apply for more than one product at a time as each application can have a negative impact on a credit record
  • Close old credit card accounts and cancel old direct debits
  • End financial associations with ex-partners. Whilst their own credit rating won't impact yours, taking out a product jointly with them will
  • Do not take out more than two forms of credit within a six month period

Notes to editors:

* All figures unless otherwise stated are taken from research carried out between August and September 2012 with Research Plus Ltd.  This involved the development of a typical credit check survey which was completed by a UK representative sample of 2,023 adults.  

About SAV Credit

Founded in 2000, SAV Credit is the UK's leading specialist credit card lender with circa 500,000 accounts and £500 million in credit card assets under management. It is the only company to exclusively provide credit cards to those customers who are not served by the High Street Banks. Fundamental to its success is the provision of affordable lending with fair and transparent pricing. SAV Credit is based in Kent and employs around 70 professionals who are supported by more than 300 people at its servicing partners.

For further information, please contact:
Liz Willder
Teamspirit Public Relations
[email protected]

Adam Smith
Teamspirit Public Relations
[email protected]

Kelly Hollidge
Teamspirit Public Relations
[email protected]

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