Likelihood of credit approval jumps ahead of pre-pandemic levels

Searches for credit cards and loans surge since April 12, when restrictions began to ease

UK, 26 May 2021: People’s likelihood of securing credit has overtaken pre-pandemic levels, according to Experian.

The number of people who have a strong chance of being approved for a credit card is currently 5% higher than in March 2020, while people’s chances of being approved for a loan is 6% higher.1

Consumers now have a far wider choice of financial products, as lenders bring more offers to the market. This is demonstrated by a 15% increase in the number of credit cards available on Experian’s price comparison service from January 2021 to May 2021. These offers include an increased number of 0% interest balance transfer cards for periods of up to 29 months, with four of these available compared to just one in January 2021.2

Further, enquiries for credit cards and loans have surged since lockdown restrictions began to ease on 12 April. Searches for credit cards rose 28% in the three weeks since outdoor pubs, shops and hairdressers reopened, while searches for loans increased 26%.3

Experian’s analysis also found that applications for loans have increased most among older age groups since the lockdown relaxations started. Data shows a 20% increase in loan applications from those in their 50s, and a 42% increase for those 60+.4 A potential driver for this growth is higher spending on home improvement.

Seb Worbs, Product MD at Experian Consumer Services, said:

“Our analysis demonstrates increased confidence from both lenders and consumers. Consumer eligibility for credit cards and loans is moving ahead of pre-pandemic levels, and it’s interesting to see the increase in older age groups applying for loans. They might be using credit to invest in home renovation projects, or perhaps spend more on their family post-lockdown.

“If you’re looking for a credit card or a loan, now is a great time to search. Lenders are bringing more products to market, and this is improving your chances of being approved for a product of your choice. Many brands are also improving their offers, whether it is an increase in 0% balance transfer products, or the lowering of their product’s APR.

“We want to help you to be in the best position to apply for credit when you need it. That’s why we’ve introduced new ways to increase your credit score like Experian Boost and give as much guidance as possible about what offers are right for you.”


Notes to editors

[1] This is based on an analysis of customers who were pre-approved for credit cards and loan products on Experian’s Marketplace - comparing the number of customers who were pre-approved in the second week of this year (w/c May 10 2021) compared to March last year (10 March - 30 March 2020). Seeing a product that you are pre-approved for means you should be accepted for it, subject to final application checks.  

[2] This is based on Experian Marketplace data.

[3] Analysis of searches made through Experian’s Marketplace. Data was compared week-on-week since the opening of retail and hospitality on April 12th to w/c May 3rd. These reference soft search comparisons.

[4] Analysis of Credit Applications Previous Searches (CAPS) made via the Experian bureau was compared to week-on-week since the opening of retail and hospitality on April 12th.

Media contact

Rajan Lakhani, Head of PR, Consumer, UK&I, Experian

Tel: (+44) 07976 634 484 | E:

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