What happens if you lie on credit card applications to obtain credit?

  • John Baird -
  • 6th July 2017 -
  • 3 minutes to read

When credit card companies make a decision about you as a potential customer, they use the information on the application form to assess your credit-worthiness, and establish the most appropriate level of credit to offer.

This type of information includes your employment position, incomings and outgoings, and your previous history of debt repayment. They will view your credit file and other information to assess the risk you pose to them, and make a decision about whether to grant your application.

Why would you lie on the application?

The banks’ lending criteria has tightened in recent years, making it more difficult for consumers to borrow. If you have previously struggled to obtain a loan, or suspect that your current income level is not high enough to be granted a credit card, you may be tempted to lie on the application, but this is bad idea.

Lying on a credit card application is illegal, and you could face prosecution for fraud if it comes to light at a later date, or you find yourself unable to keep up repayments. You are providing false information about your personal and financial situation, facts on which credit card providers rely on to make decisions that protect themselves from risk.

The application for a credit card

A credit card application requires you to provide various forms of financial and personal information, including salary, employment status, and details of your monthly outgoings. So how can deliberately providing false information affect you?

Existing debts

One of the main parts of a credit card company’s due diligence process when assessing your suitability is to check your credit file. All your current and outstanding debts are listed in this credit report, so if you lie, it will be obvious to the provider.

Employment status

Being unemployed means you are not eligible for a ‘standard’ credit card, so you might be tempted to lie about your employment status on an application form. The problem is that if your application is successful, you are likely to face unmanageable debt very quickly, even if you are in receipt of state benefits.


Credit card companies do not offer cards to anyone under the age of 18, and some are reluctant to offer credit to people over 65. As your date of birth is included in your credit file, providers can quickly check this information.

Identity theft

Using someone else’s details on your credit card application is identity theft, carrying with it hefty financial penalties and potential prosecution for fraud. Even if it is done with the other person’s knowledge, it is a serious issue that will affect other areas of your life.

Fraud prevention issues to consider

  • Prevention of fraud is high on the list of priorities for any lender, and the use of fraud databases is commonplace. Data sharing between financial services companies also means that lying on an application could result in a Cifas (Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System) ‘application fraud’ marker being placed on your credit file.
  • It is not easy to identify which credit card providers are part of the same group. This means that if you make more than one application, your information could be compared to a previous application within that group.
  • You will damage beyond repair any future chances of obtaining credit, regardless of the level of your income in years to come. Lenders share the information you provide on application forms, and with advances in technology, can quickly obtain an outline of your financial capabilities.

Scotland Debt Solutions can provide more detailed advice that is tailored to your situation. We have been helping Scottish residents to escape debt since 1989, and offer an initial meeting free-of-charge.

John Baird
John Baird

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