Lenders tighten minimum income rules for new applicants

Nia Williams

November 18, 2008

The analysis from the independent financial comparison website reveals a major shift towards stricter income requirements compared to six months ago when only a third of credit cards (31%) asked for minimum incomes.

And the trend is mirrored in the loan market where 75% of personal loans now require a minimum income compared with 68% six months ago.

With unemployment figures rising rapidly and experts warning of the numbers out of work hitting three million in the next year, the price comparison website is warning of a severe drought in available credit for those in difficult circumstances.

Sean Gardner, Director of MoneyExpert.com, said: “Lenders are putting more and more barriers in the way of borrowers as they attempt to keep bad debts under control.

“Providers of loans and credit cards now not only require good credit histories but increasingly are looking for evidence of a steady income stream and borrowers need to prove they are in work.

“While it’s certainly a good thing that those in financial difficulty avoid digging themselves deeper into debt, the recent rise in unemployment figures, represents a worrying possibility of many being unable to get access to credit when they need it most.”

In the credit card market minimum income requirements range from £3,000 with Barclaycard’s Initial Credit Card, to £100,000 from the likes of Citibank and Coutts. Around 41 credit cards require a minimum income of at least £20,000.

The overall market for personal loans has been considerably shifted by the introduction of over 200 products from Oakham Bonus Loans. These products only require a negligible minimum income of £400. Excluding these products, which charge huge APRs of up to 94%, the average minimum income requirement on personal loans that make such a demand is just over £23,000.

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