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Credit cards

Credit card eligibility checker

Find out if you could be eligible for a credit card before you apply with our credit card eligibility checker. Find out how likely you are to be accepted without affecting your credit score. Simply enter a few details and see if you qualify. 

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know before doing a check:

What is our credit card eligibility checker?

Our credit card eligibility checker works out how likely you are to be accepted for a Sainsbury’s Bank Credit Card. We do this by doing a soft search of your financial history which won’t affect your credit score.

All you need to do is:

  • Add in your personal details
  • Include information about your current address
  • Complete your income and employment details
  • Decide if you’re transferring a balance with a card
  • State if you’re a current Nectar member
  • Provide a contact email address​​​​

We’ll then work out how likely you are to be accepted. It’s that simple.

Why should I do a credit card eligibility check?

Checking your eligibility for a credit card can help you find out how likely you are to be accepted without affecting your credit score, before you enter the application process.


This is important, because if you choose to complete a full application for a credit card, we’ll carry out a ‘hard’ credit card check. If this is done too many times, it could negatively impact your credit score.

This may make it harder for you to borrow money in the future or increase the cost of doing so.

Seeing if you’re eligible using a ‘soft’ search, rather than diving straight into an application, doesn’t affect your credit score. This means it can give you a clearer picture of your likelihood of being accepted before you apply – and help protect your credit score.

How does our credit card eligibility check work?

Our credit card eligibility checker is simple, fast and efficient. Once we get your details, your credit file is matched against the lending criteria – this is called a ‘soft’ credit card check, or a ‘soft search’.

The steps you’ll need to take to check your eligibility with us are as follows:

  1. Enter your details, such as your personal information, employment status and your address.
  2. We’ll run a ‘soft’ search of your credit file to determine how likely you are to be accepted for a card.

What do I need to apply for a credit card?

Sounds simple so far, right? There are just a few more things to consider if you’re eligible for a card, before you start applying.

There are minimum requirements that you will need to meet when applying for a Sainsbury’s Bank Credit Card. You must be:

  • Aged 18 or over on the date of your application
  • A UK resident with full rights to live in the UK, or alternatively have a British Forces Postal Office (BFPO) address with a permanent residence in the UK.
  • Able to show at least three years of UK address history
  • Have a regular income or salary

Other criteria may apply. For example, you may also need to be free of:

  • County Court Judgements (CCJs) – a county or high court judgement if someone takes legal action against you could impact your credit card application.
  • Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) or Trust Deeds – having formal agreements between you and your creditors to pay debts back over a set period of time may affect you when you apply.
  • Bankruptcies

Remember that meeting all these requirements doesn’t automatically mean you will be accepted for a credit card. It’s best to run an eligibility check beforehand, so you have a better understanding how likely you are to be accepted.

What happens if you fail the eligibility checker?

If our eligibility checker finds you aren’t likely to be accepted for a credit card, you can contact us directly. See our dedicated customer support page to find out how.

From there, our helpful team can discuss your potential next steps. We also have a range of helpful resources to help you understand more about our credit cards, how they work and what you need to consider when applying.


How can I improve my likelihood of being accepted for a credit card?

If you’re worried you might not be accepted for a credit card, there are some steps you can take that may improve your likelihood of being accepted.

Use an eligibility checker

If the card you're applying for offers a soft search on an eligibility checker, like ours, use this to check how likely you are to be accepted without affecting your credit score before making a full application. Each full credit card application can leave a mark on your credit report, which could be a warning sign to lenders.

Review your credit score regularly

Regularly checking your credit report can help to identify any potential problems or suspicious activity before you make a credit application. Credit reference agencies (CRAs) like Experian, Equifax and TransUnion all let you check your report for free and express any issues.

Make repayments on time

If you already have a credit card, repaying the minimum payment on your card on time, is a useful way to build your credit score. Late or missed payments can be used by lenders to discern your likelihood of making future payments and can also be reported to credit reference agencies.

Keep personal information and admin up to date

Make sure all your personal information is up to date so that we can more accurately tell you how likely you are to be accepted. Things like enrolling on the electoral register can help make it quicker for us to verify your identity and details.

Settle any outstanding CCJs

Outstanding CCJs or credit agreement defaults can harm your credit score if they’re not moving in the right direction. Settling outstanding CCJs or defaults as far as is affordable can help to prevent further harm to your credit score.

Stay within your credit limit

It’s crucial to try and stay below your credit limit. This could make you look more reliable to lenders and avoid any over limit fee. Keep on top of your account balance, and make sure to contact your lender if you wish to increase your limit.

Reduce frequent cash withdrawals

Withdrawing cash with your credit card can be seen as a sign of cash flow problems by your lender, which can negatively impact your credit rating. To keep your credit rating intact, consider using a debit card instead.

Helpful credit card guides

Guide to credit scores

Guide to credit scores

Find out more about credit scores and how they work.

How to apply for a credit card

How to apply for a credit card

Discover how the credit card application process works.

Using your credit card abroad

Helpful credit card guides

Learn how to use a credit card with our guides.

Frequently asked questions

What is a credit search?

A credit search is when a lender looks at your credit history to assess your current circumstances, past finances, and how you’ve managed your money.

The types of credit search fall into two categories:

  • Soft
  • Hard

A soft credit search is when a lender will take an initial look at credit worthiness, to decide the likelihood of being accepted. It’s only visible to you, so won’t be reflected in your credit score and can’t be seen by lenders.

A hard credit search is a much more in-depth check and is done when you actually apply for a credit card. The lender will look at things like your repayment history, any due payments you haven’t met, debts you hold, and more. A hard credit search will be reflected on your credit score.

Will the eligibility tool affect my credit file?

No, using our credit card eligibility tool won’t affect your credit rating. The purpose of doing a credit eligibility check is to know whether you are likely to be accepted, without affecting your credit score.

What is a ‘soft’ credit search?

A ‘soft’ search is a credit check that lets you check what credit you’re most likely to be eligible for, without affecting your credit score.  This will be visible to the applicant rather than the lender.

How are the credit card eligibility checker results shown?

Once you’ve finished the credit card check, your results will be shown as a percentage between 0-100, although in some cases you will see a message advising you are not eligible. The higher the score, the more likely you’ll be accepted for that particular credit card.

Are the results of my credit card eligibility check permanent?

No, the results of your credit card eligibility check aren’t permanent. A soft search, such as this, will not appear on your credit file and therefore won’t be seen by the lender offering a credit card.

That means if your situation changes in the future, you can re-run an eligibility check, without the outcome being influenced by a previous check.

Find out more about checking your eligibility for a credit card by visiting our support and FAQs page.