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Since 14 April 2020, you’re no longer able to use a credit card to gamble in the UK. However, gambling can still have an impact on your credit score and ability to get a credit card.
Will gambling be visible on my credit file?
The act of gambling in itself isn’t enough to affect your credit report.
Your credit report is an assessment of your ability to comfortably pay back a loan. It doesn’t exist to make judgements about how you spend the money you have.
Provided you’re not borrowing money to finance your gambling, your credit report won’t be affected by it.
Will gambling affect my chances of getting a personal loan?
Although gambling doesn’t affect your credit report, there are many side-effects of irresponsible gambling that definitely will.
If gambling causes you to fall into your overdraft, this could affect your chances of being approved for a personal loan, particularly if it’s an unauthorised overdraft.
If you’ve previously used a credit card to gamble, going into credit could have an impact, too. The simple act of applying for a credit card affects your credit record, so you don’t want to be doing this more often than you need to. Lenders will also consider how much credit you already have access to before approving your new loan.
The reality is that many compulsive gamblers would open multiple credit card accounts to fund their habit, and this affects their ability to access further credit.
The problem worsens if you’re unable to pay off your balance before the end of the month.
At this point, the debt cycle becomes hard to break and your credit score becomes worse and worse, especially if the gambling habit continues.
However, if you gamble responsibly using your own money and otherwise have a decent credit score, there is no reason why gambling should affect your chances of getting a personal loan.
Will gambling affect my chances of getting a mortgage?
Mortgage lenders screen an applicant’s spending habits with far more detail than any other type of lenders.
When applying for a mortgage, it is common for the lender to request between three and six months of bank statements, and assess your creditworthiness based on your payments. The lender will also conduct an interview about your spending habits.
If a lender sees outgoing payments to gambling companies, this could put off lenders from approving you as an individual responsible enough to make mortgage repayments. If you are found to have borrowed money to finance gambling payments, that is likely to be seen as an even bigger red flag.
This communicates that you’re an individual who prioritises gambling over responsibly paying back your debts, and that you’re likely to gamble a lender’s money away in the future. Even if you’re found to have regularly transferred winnings back into your account, this might not be enough to sway their decision.
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- Gamble responsibly.
- Gamble using cash where possible.
- Seek professional help if you suffer from gambling addiction.
- Borrow money to gamble.
- Apply for credit jointly with an irresponsible gambler
- Apply for a mortgage until your bank statements show responsible spending.
John's loan application and his credit scoreJohn used to really enjoy online poker. Although he didn’t consider himself an addict, he had used one of his two credit cards to fund this habit within the last three months. He pays interest on outstanding debt from both of these cards.
Before he and his girlfriend made a joint mortgage application, they decided it would be beneficial to clear up John’s debts. Together, they helped clear John’s credit card debts and closed both accounts.
In the months leading up to their mortgage application, John stopped gambling online, so there was no proof of it on his most recent bank statements.
The couple believed that this would improve their chances of being approved for a good mortgage deal – and it did.
The bottom line
Gambling doesn’t affect your credit report, unless you borrow money to fund it.
However, mortgage lenders now consider more than your credit report while assessing your creditworthiness, so (if you have to gamble at all) it’s worth only gambling with cash in the months leading up to a mortgage application.
Read about how different factors can affect your score
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