18 and not eligible for any credit card

just turned 18 a few days ago and i tried to apply for a credit card and the eligbility checker said no on all of them. Tried to see my credit report and experian wasnt able to confirm my identity and neither was any other credit agency. I am on the electoral roll (have been since i was 16) and have a few bank accounts. ive done some reseach and its maybe down to the fact that banks only start reporting to credit agencies after your turn 18 so it can take a few weeks. Would i be better off applying for a credit card with a bank im already a customer with (e.g barclaycard, barclays) or will i still get rejected.

Only they would know the answer to that, but there’s no guarantee of being accepted for a credit card even if you’ve been a customer for a decade and have a clean credit history. If you have no credit history at all it wouldn’t matter who you applied with, but I’d recommend not rushing into things straight away and at least give a chance for your credit reports to update and settle. It’s probably not a good idea to immediately have hard searches and new accounts on a fresh report anyway.


Sometimes a cheap sim only phone contract can help that gets reported to your credit file. If you have multiple bank accounts, try requesting a £100 overdraft limit that will also trigger reporting even if you never use it.

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Yes. No guarantee you will be accepted but the above is often the best way to get your first credit card.

Perhaps try for Credit building credit cards | Barclaycard given your limited credit history.

I would probably hold off and wait 6-12 months to allow some history to be reported to the CRAs.
If you’ve literally turned 18, then the banks won’t have started to report to the CRAs - from what I see it is not real time, and there is some lag from the report to it showing on your file.
The type of bank account might also have an effect - are they standard current accounts, or are they U18s / savings accounts? The latter won’t report anything to the CRAs, not sure on the U18s products.
Banks won’t want to take a risk if they don’t see any history, and it takes time to build a history.

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When I was young, the entry to the credit was pretty straight forward. You’d build up a relationship with a bank in your teens, and shortly after turning 18 they would pre-approve you and invite you take out their credit card with a small limit if you have a good history with them which demonstrated healthy financial habits.

And even if they don’t, you’ll always have better odds with an institution you already have a relationship with (assuming it’s a positive one). So I’d go to my main bank for my first credit card.

Not sure how it’s like nowadays. It all feels a little bit like the chicken or the egg, and is a much more hostile and exclusionary market nowadays of no good credit history > no credit > no good credit history.

I think what I’d suggest these days to begin with, have a stable bank account, pay all contracted bills on time and in full (never be late, underpay, or miss a payment), take out a 12 month sim only contract in your own name, and make sure you’re on the electoral register. After a year, that should start opening some doors for you. Small ones mind, like being able to then take out a handset contract with that same network, but it’s a start.

Nationwide had accepted me for a credit card the minute I turned 18 so it definitely depends on some banks and your relationship with your bank.

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Barclaycard forward worked for me on my 18th, they required copies of my payslips for 3 months though!