What documents do you need to apply for a credit card?

Find out what credit card providers require to verify your information.

Documents needed to verify your identity and address

When you apply for a credit card online most providers now electronically verify your ID and address through a credit reference agency (CRA) like Experian or Equifax. In this case, you may need to answer some questions that only you would know the answer to, but you won’t have the hassle of having to dig out any ID. This identity search will not affect your credit rating.

Sometimes the CRA will not have enough information about you on file (or in the databases that it has access to) to be able to verify your ID with a satisfactory level of certainty.

When this happens you may be asked to provide a photo of yourself, plus a photo of the identification page of your passport. Again, the provider will use technology provided by a CRA to verify your ID using the photos you’ve provided. If the provider doesn’t offer this facility then you may be asked to take ID to a branch or to post a certified copy (a copy that is certified as authentic by a member of the bank’s staff or by a solicitor, accountant, GP etc.).

You should be wary of sending off originals of particularly important forms of ID, such as your passport or driver’s licence.

When you apply for a credit card in a branch, the old fashioned rules apply – you’ll normally need to bring two forms of identification – one to prove your ID and one to prove your address (you can’t use the same document to prove both). Normally it’ll be your passport or driver’s licence, plus a utility bill or bank statement.

To prove your ID

Each provider will list the specific documents it will accept, but you’ll normally be able to use one of the following:

  • Driver’s licence
  • Passport
  • Blue disabled driver’s pass
  • UK armed forces ID card
  • Biometric residence permit

To prove your address

Each provider will list the specific documents it will accept, but you’ll normally be able to use one of the following:

  • Driver’s licence
  • Benefits entitlement letter
  • HMRC tax notification
  • Local authority tax bill for the current year
  • A recent utility bill
  • A recent bank, building society or UK credit union statement
  • A recent tenancy agreement issued by a solicitor, housing association or local council

How banks or providers can verify your income

Again, those all-seeing credit reference agencies can now verify your income, through something called your current account turnover. However, in rare cases you may still be asked to supply:

  • Pay slips
  • Bank statements
  • If you’re self-employed, tax returns from the previous two years or other documents proving income

Many providers will ask for your employer’s name and contact details in the full application. Your employer won’t necessarily be contacted by the lender though. Your pay slips coupled with your current account turnover are usually enough to satisfy a lender’s employment verification.

If needed, the provider can get in touch with your employer to verify details.

Credit card application tips

What you’ll need for an online credit card application

  • Your current UK address. If you have moved in the past three years, the provider will also require your previous address.
  • Your phone number and your email address.
  • You annual income (before tax).
  • The account number and sort code of your main bank account.
  • Optional. Details of any existing store or credit card if you want to make a balance transfer as part of your application

What other financial information will be required?

A provider may occasionally require further information regarding your income and outgoings, such as:

  • Any documents that can prove additional sources of income
  • An estimate of your current expenses

In most cases you’ll get an instant decision, at which point you can look carefully at what deal the card issuer has offered you (it’ll be tailored to your individual circumstances).

If you’re applying to a bank or provider that you don’t currently have an account with, you may need to jump through a few more hoops than if you were an existing customer. This is primarily due to anti-money laundering requirements.

Compare credit cards by type

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Name Product Balance transfers Balance transfer fee Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Link
Santander Everyday Credit Card
0% for 18 months reverting to 20.9%
0% for 18 months reverting to 3% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 20.9%
£0
20.9% (variable)
Earn up to 15% cashback with your selected Retailer Offers at selected major retailers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
The NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
0% for 18 months reverting to 21.9%
0%, transfers must be made within the first 3 months of account opening
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
21.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable), your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Transfer Plus Mastercard
0% for 29 months reverting to 21.9%
2.75% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
0% for 18 months reverting to 21.9%
0%, transfers must be made within the first 3 months of account opening
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
21.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable), your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC Balance Transfer Credit Card
0% for 29 months reverting to 21.9%
2.85% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9% (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Credit Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 21.9%
2.9% (min. £5)
0% for 20 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
2.9% (min. £5) for transfers in first 60 days
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
£0
22.9% (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Santander All in One Credit Card
0% for 26 months reverting to 17.9%
0% for 26 months reverting to 3% (min. £5)
0% for 20 months reverting to 17.9%
£3 per month
23.7% (variable)
0.5% cashback after £1 of monthly spend. Cashback paid monthly into card account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 23.7% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership Mastercard
0% for 18 months reverting to 18.9%
2.9% (min. £5) at anytime reverting to 3% (min. £5)
0% for 9 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9% (variable)
Earn 5 points for every £4 spent in store or online at John Lewis, Waitrose and John Lewis Insurance. Earn 1 Point for every £4 spent elsewhere. Vouchers issued once customer reaches 500 points in Feb, Jun or Oct when vouchers are automatically issued to customers. Every 500 points is worth £5.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
first direct Credit Card
0% for 27 months reverting to 18.9%
2.29% (min. £5) for 3 months reverting to 2.9% (min. £5)
18.9%
£0
18.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Purchases Balance transfers Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Incentive Link
Santander All in One Credit Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 17.9%
0% for 26 months
(0% fee)
£3 per month
23.7% (variable)
0.5% cashback after £1 of monthly spend. Cashback paid monthly into card account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 23.7% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Credit Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 21.9%
0% for 20 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
21.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
0% for 18 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
22.9% (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Reward Plus Mastercard
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for 6 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
19.9% (variable)
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Tesco Bank Clubcard Plus Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 24 months reverting to 19.944%
21.814%
(3.99% fee)
£7.99 per month
37.7% (variable)
1 point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco, must have available credit to earn points. Card can also be used as a Clubcard to collect standard points at 1 point per £1 spent on shopping and 1 point per £2 spent on fuel. Points are converted to Tesco vouchers which can be used towards shopping or exchanged for Partner Rewards.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.944% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £7.99 per month, your representative rate is 37.7% APR (variable).
Sainsbury's Bank Nectar Dual Offer Credit Card Mastercard
Sainsbury's Bank Nectar Dual Offer Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 21 months reverting to 20.95%
0% for 21 months
(3% fee)
£0
20.9% (variable)
Earn 750 bonus Nectar points each time £35 or more spent on Sainsbury's shopping, up to ten times in your first 2 months, up to a total of 7,500 points, offer available for new customers. Earn 3 Nectar points per £1 spent in Sainsbury's and Argos. Earn 1 Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
Lloyds Bank Platinum 0% Purchase and Balance Transfer Mastercard
0% for 21 months reverting to 21.94%
0% for 18 months
(2.99% fee)
£0
21.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
MBNA 0% Transfer and Purchase Credit Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 20.93%
0% for 20 months
(2.99% fee)
£0
20.9% (variable)
Earn up to 15% cashback on purchases through Smart Rewards at popular retailers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.93% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
Barclaycard Platinum All-Rounder Visa
0% for 20 months reverting to 21.9%
0% for 18 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
21.9% (variable)
Buy tickets for up to 3500 selected live events through Barclaycard entertainment and get 5% off tickets per year and exclusive presale tickets on selected festivals with 10% off ticket prices.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Virgin Money 19 Month All Round Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 19 months reverting to 21.9%
0% for 19 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
21.9% (variable)
Enjoy exclusive offers and rewards on the Virgin Red app.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Purchases Annual/monthly fees Initial credit limits Rep. APR Incentive Link
M&S Bank Reward Plus Mastercard
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
19.9% (variable)
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Transfer Plus Mastercard
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
21.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Credit Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
21.9% (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card
22.2%
£0
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
22.2% (variable)
New Cardmember offer: Get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £100) for the first 3 months of Cardmembership. Cashback earn rates will change from the 4 August.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
American Express Rewards Credit Card
22.2%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
22.2% (variable)
As a new Cardmember, earn 5,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend £2,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
British Airways American Express Card
22.2%
£0
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
22.2% (variable)
New Cardmember offer: Earn 5,000 bonus Avios when you spend £1,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Santander All in One Credit Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 17.9%
£3 per month
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
23.7% (variable)
0.5% cashback after £1 of monthly spend. Cashback paid monthly into card account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 23.7% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
The American Express Nectar Credit Card
22.2%
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £25 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
27.3% (variable)
As a new Cardmember, earn 20,000 bonus Nectar points when you spend £2,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £25 per annum, your representative rate is 27.3% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
American Express Platinum Cashback Card
22.2%
£25 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
27.3% (variable)
As a new Cardmember, get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £125) for the first 3 months of Cardmembership. Cashback earn rates will change from the 4 August.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £25 per annum, your representative rate is 27.3% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
22.2%
£75 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
38.8% (variable)
As a new Cardmember earn 20,000 points bonus when you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £75 per annum, your representative rate is 38.8% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Annual/monthly fees Initial credit limits Minimum income Rep. APR Incentive Link
TSB Classic Credit Card Mastercard
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
26.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 26.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 26.9% APR (variable).
Tesco Bank Foundation Card
£0
Min. limit £100, max. limit not specified.
£5000
27.5%
Collect 1 Tesco Clubcard point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 Clubcard point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco in each purchase transaction.  Must have available credit to collect Clubcard points. Clubcard points are turned into Clubcard vouchers every 3 months or sooner using Faster Vouchers. Clubcard vouchers can be used in Tesco or with Clubcard Reward Partners to get even more value on dining out, hotel stays and travel.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 27.542% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 27.5% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,500.
Not specified
29.5%
Representative example: When you spend £250 at a purchase rate of 29.5% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.5% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Aquis Visa
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,000.
Not specified
29.8%
You could get a credit limit increase after your 5th statement and further increases every 5 months, up to £4,000.
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 29.84% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
Amazon Classic Mastercard
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
29.9%
Be upgraded to the Amazon Platinum Mastercard if you make at least one transaction a month, make repayments on time and stay within credit limit in the first 12 months..
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.9% APR (variable).
HSBC Classic Credit Card Visa
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,000.
£6800
29.9%
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.9% APR (variable).
Barclaycard Forward Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £50, max. limit £1,200.
£3000
33.9%
Buy tickets for up to 3500 selected live events through Barclaycard entertainment and get 5% off tickets per year and exclusive pre-sale tickets on selected festivals with 10% off ticket prices.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 33.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 33.9% APR (variable).
118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£8400
34%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34% APR (variable).
Aqua Advance credit card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
34.9%
Reduce your rate over three years if you stay within your credit limit and pay on time. No extra fees on what you spend abroad.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
Post Office Money® Classic Credit Card Mastercard
£0
Min. limit £200, max. limit £8,000.
Not specified
34.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Purchases Annual/monthly fees Initial credit limits Rep. APR Incentive Link
British Airways American Express Card
22.2%
£0
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
22.2% (variable)
New Cardmember offer: Earn 5,000 bonus Avios when you spend £1,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
22.2%
£195 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
74.7% (variable)
As a new Cardmember, earn 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend £3,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £195 per annum, your representative rate is 74.7% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Virgin Money Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card
22.9%
£0
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
22.9% (variable)
Earn 0.75 Flying Club miles for every £1 spend and 1.5.miles for every £1 spend with Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Holidays. Spend £20K a year on your card and choose an extra benefit - an upgrade to Premium, or a Companion ticket.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
Virgin Money Virgin Atlantic Reward Plus Credit Card
22.9%
£160 per annum
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
63.9% (variable)
Earn 15,000 bonus miles with your first card purchase made within 90 days of account opening. Earn 1.5 Flying Club miles for every £1 spend and 3 miles for every £1 spend with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays. Spend £10K a year on your card and choose an extra benefit - an upgrade to Premium, or a Companion ticket.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £160 per annum, your representative rate is 63.9% APR (variable).
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Four quick tips to speed up the application process

  • Use the soft search facility. Most providers offer you the chance to give a few details (your name, age and address details for the last three years) in order to find out if you would be likely to be offered a credit card and to see what rate you might get (not everybody gets the advertised “representative APR”). It’s often called an “eligibility checker”. This is a great idea, and it won’t affect your credit rating.
  • Know what’s needed before you start. To get everything organised, check the full list of required documents before you start your online application. When you click through to the bank or provider’s site it will usually be listed before you begin.
  • File your documents. It probably sounds obvious, but if you file your utility bills, pay slips, bank statements etc. somewhere sensible, then you’ll know where to find them. It’s sometimes a good idea to have an electronic copy of your important documents for other purposes as well. It provides easy access whenever you need to complete an online application and could serve as a backup in case you lose the original.
  • Start now, finish later. Take advantage of the “save and complete later” function offered on most online application forms if you don’t have everything on hand. You will be given login details to come back later.

By knowing what exactly what documents you’ll need, completing your credit card application can be fast and stress-free. Now you know what to expect, you can confidently compare a range of personal credit cards and apply today.

Frequently asked questions

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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