999 credit score but refused a loan?

Find out what you can do if you've been refused a loan despite having a top-notch credit score.

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If you have a 999 credit score, you might assume you’ll have no problem getting accepted for a loan. After all, if your credit score is perfect, how could you possibly be turned away?

However, being rejected for a loan if you have a high credit score is still possible. It’s important to understand exactly how your credit score works and what you can do to increase your chances of acceptance.

What does a 999 credit score mean?

A 999 credit score is the highest score you can achieve with Experian, the largest credit reference agency in the UK. You can check your credit score and report for free with Finder.

Having a credit score this high generally means that you have managed credit responsibly in the past, never missed payments and always repaid debt on time. It also means lenders are likely to be more willing to let you borrow again – and at the best interest rates too.

However, no one has 1 single credit score. As well as Experian, the other major credit reference agencies (Equifax and TransUnion) produce credit scores of their own and use a slightly different formula to work this out. Some lenders also calculate their own credit scores.

Each company considers different factors when working out your credit score. Your credit report held with the main credit reference agencies could also contain different information.

When you apply for credit, a lender will look at the data held on you to determine whether it is happy to lend to you. This data includes existing levels of debt, unused credit limits, missed payments, your employment status and your income. Each lender has its own set of lending criteria. That means you could be rejected by a lender but accepted by another.

Experian score bands explained

Experian’s credit score bands are broken down as follows:

Score bandRatingWhat it means
961–999ExcellentYou could be in line for the best loan interest rates.
881–960GoodYou could get most, though not all, of the best deals.
721–880FairYou should have access to loans with reasonable rates of interest.
561–720PoorYou may get accepted for a loan, but with higher interest rates.
0–560Very poorYou may be rejected for a loan or find it hard to get one without very high interest rates.

How to get a 999 credit score

To get a 999 credit score, you ideally need to have a credit history that spans several years. During this time, you should have never missed a credit repayment and have always paid your debt back on time.

Your credit utilisation ratio also needs to be low. This is how much you currently owe compared to how much credit you have available to you. For example, if you had an overall credit limit of £5,000 and you were using £2,500 of it, your credit utilisation ratio is 50%.

Your credit utilisation is worked out per credit account. The lower it is, the higher your credit score is likely to be. Try to keep your credit utilisation at 25% or below.

Having a low level of debt also works to your advantage.

Why have I been turned down for a loan?

As mentioned earlier, each lender has its own set of criteria when considering your application, and there’s a whole list of reasons why you could be turned down. Common examples include the following:

  • Not being registered to vote.
  • Missed repayments on existing debt.
  • Making too many credit applications in a short time.
  • Having too much debt.
  • Not earning enough.
  • Having a history of County Court judgements or bankruptcy.

If you’ve been rejected for a loan, it’s worth contacting the lender to ask why. The lender does not have to give you a specific reason, but it should tell you which credit reference agency it used to assess your situation.

Once you’ve found this out, you can contact the relevant agency to get a copy of your credit report. Take a thorough look and if you spot a mistake, write to the credit reference agency to ask for the error to be corrected. You can add a 200-word Notice of Correction to explain a missed payment if needed.

If you have been turned down for a loan, it’s important that you don’t simply apply again. Each time you make a full credit application, a “hard” credit check is carried out, which leaves a mark on your credit file for other lenders to see. Too many hard credit searches in a short time can make you look desperate for credit. This can deter lenders from letting you borrow and damage your credit score further.

Instead, try to wait for 3 to 6 months before applying again.

How can I increase my chances of being accepted for credit?

To increase your chances of being accepted for credit, take a look at the steps below:

  • Check you’re registered on the electoral roll. Lenders use this to verify your name and address.
  • Pay down existing debt to reduce your available credit.
  • Check your credit report and get any errors corrected.
  • Avoid changing jobs before you apply. Lenders like stability, so it works to your advantage if you have been in the same job for a number of years.
  • Stay at the same address. For the same reason, lenders prefer it if they can see you’ve lived at 1 address for a long time.
  • Use an eligibility checker. This shows you the loans you’re most likely to get accepted for without damaging your credit score further as it only runs a “soft” credit check.

Credit score ranges explained

Credit reference agencies use different score ranges to determine how creditworthy you are. That means both Equifax and TransUnion have different ranges compared to Experian’s, as you can see in the tables below:

Equifax

Score bandRatingWhat it means
811–1,000ExcellentYou’re very likely to be approved for competitive credit offers.
671–810Very goodYou’re likely to be approved for credit, but won’t necessarily be offered the very best interest rates.
531–670GoodYou should be offered credit at reasonable interest rates, but may have a low initial credit limit.
439–530FairYou have a chance of being approved for credit, but are likely to be charged a high interest rate and have a low limit.
0–438PoorIt’s likely your credit application will be rejected.

TransUnion

Score bandRatingWhat it means
628–710ExcellentYou’re very likely to be approved for competitive credit offers.
604–627GoodYou’re likely to be approved for credit, but won’t necessarily have the best interest rates.
566–603FairYou should be offered reasonable interest rates, but are likely to have a low credit limit.
561–565PoorYou have a chance of being approved for credit, but are likely to be charged a high interest rate and have a low limit.
0–550Very poorIt’s highly likely your credit application will be rejected.

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