If you have applied for credit before, you may have noticed that the interest rate you are offered does not always match the advertised rate. While the financial watchdogs have now warned lenders that they need to advertise their typical APR instead of their best rate, you may still find that you get offered a different interest rate to the one you expected.

The reason that rates may vary from what you see advertised to what you are offered is due the creditors’ lending criteria. Once they have looked at your credit file and therefore your personal financial circumstances, they will offer you a rate they think is suitable based on your financial history. They do sometimes also charge a higher interest rate if you are borrowing a smaller amount of money.

You certainly do not want to have lots of activity on your credit file because you have contacted many different lenders to find out what you will be charged, so how do you get loan quotes without applying?

First of all, once you have shopped around for the best three or four deals, then contact the lenders and ask for a ‘quote’ also asking what type of checks they will make.

There are two types of check – one which shows on your credit file, one which doesn’t. The former is called a ‘credit enquiry’.

If you are purely asking for a quote, then your credit file should show the term ‘credit enquiry’. This is visible only to you on the file and not to any potential lenders in the future.

When an application is made for credit, there will be the term ‘full credit check’. This will show on your account and be visible to any future lenders.

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