However, to make up for the relaxed lending criteria, charges and fees have risen, increasing the risk of credit card debt problems being created.
The study carried out by confused.com, compared the credit cards available to unemployed people with the cards available the previous year and found that the acceptance rate had increased by 26%. Would-be cardholders now have the choice of applying to 23 different cards, compared to just 17 in July 2011.
And it isn’t just those who aren’t working who have benefitted. The minimum threshold for eligibility has also decreased, dropping from £9,718 in 2011 to just £9,035 on average this year.
Those with a less than perfect credit record, or a low score due to a lack of financial history, could also find things much easier. With 11 cards now aimed at the substandard credit history market compared to just 5 in 2011, lenders appear to be recognising that only accepting applicants with a perfect record is unrealistic.
But despite cards being more widely available to the whole of the population, the amount it costs to borrow has increased. Transfer fees have risen from an average of 2.27 to 2.81%, whilst interest rates have been hiked to 20.5%, up around 2%.
However, experts have warned that just because credit may now be more widely available, it should not be used without serious consideration. The head of credit cards at website confused.com, Nerys Lewis, urged individuals to use any borrowing facility ‘responsibly,’ in order to avoid creating an inescapable debt spiral.
A spokeswoman from the Consumer Credit Counselling Service concurred, adding that providing finance to those who could not afford the repayments, would create ‘serious debt problems’ in the UK.