How it works
If you’re applying for a credit card, you’ll need to start by telling us what kind of card you’re looking for.
For example, do you want a balance transfer card, a reward card, a purchase card or another type of credit card?
Then, you’ll need to enter some personal details so we can find your credit file.
We’ll ask for your name and date of birth, and then your employment status - whether you’re self-employed, full time, part time, unemployed, a homemaker, student or retired. Next, we’ll ask about your residential status, and how long you’ve lived at your current address.
After that, you’ll need to tell us who your current account is with, and give us an idea of what your income will be over the next 12 months.
Finally, we’ll ask for your e-mail address, so we can send you your top cards so you can refer to them quickly and easily.
We only use your personal details to help us find the right credit file. We won’t get in touch with you afterwards if you don’t want us to.
Applying for a loan
If you’re applying for a loan, Smart Search will ask you for slightly different information.
You’ll need to say what you need the money for, how much you want to borrow and how long you want to borrow it for.
You’ll then be asked if you’re a homeowner, and whether you’re employed. Then, you’ll need to let us know your annual income, e-mail address, name and date of birth.
What happens next
Once you’ve entered all your details, the credit reference agency Experian will run a ‘soft search’ of your credit file. Lenders won’t be able to see this on your record.
You’ll then see a list of loans or credit cards, depending on what you’re looking for, and it will show you how likely you are to be accepted for each one.
For loans, the likelihood of you being accepted with be shown as a percentage, with those closest to 100% highlighted in green. Those you are least likely to be accepted for, with the lowest percentages, will be showing in red, while those you might be accepted for will be shown in amber.
It’s up to you to decide which loan to apply for, but you’ll have a much better idea of which deals you’re likely to be accepted for.
Applying for a credit card
Smart Search works in much the same way if you’re applying for a credit card. The only difference is that rather than your chance of being accepted being shown as a percentage, it’s shown as a score out of 10.
The same colour-coding applies, so those closest to 10 will be shown highlighted in green, while those you are least likely to be accepted for will be showing as red, and those around the five mark will be shown as amber.
You can choose to order your credit card deals by your eligibility, or by the best deal. For example, if you want the longest possible 0% balance transfer deal, you can show these first instead.
Why use Smart Search?
One of the biggest problems many people face when looking for a credit card or personal loan is that each application they make leaves an imprint on their credit file.
That’s fine if you’re confident you’ve got a tip-top credit score and you think you’ll definitely be accepted for the card or loan you want. But, if you aren’t 100% sure, and your application is refused, this could damage your credit score and leave you in an even worse position.
Using Smart Search can stop this from happening, by helping steer you towards the deals you’re likely to be accepted for.
Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.