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Credit cards: What to do if you have a CCJ or IVA

For individuals who have a county court judgement (CCJ) or individual voluntary arrangement (IVA), obtaining a credit card could prove challenging. They may find there are restrictions on how much they are able to borrow, while some credit card companies may be unwilling to offer their best interest rates.

With that in mind, here’s how individuals with a CCJ or IVA may want to approach the idea of obtaining a credit card.

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An IVA is an agreement between an individual and their creditors to repay an affordable amount each month for a period of five years. Interest on existing debt is frozen, and a portion of the total amount outstanding is likely to be written off.

An IVA imposes limitations on an individual’s access to credit. If an individual wants to borrow more than £500, they must obtain permission from the insolvency practitioner who is handling their case. Should permission be declined, the terms of the IVA will be breached and, ultimately, this could lead to its failure. In such a scenario, an individual would still be liable for all of their debts, and their creditors can take recovery action against them.

For individuals who have been granted permission to obtain credit, even so it may prove difficult to access appealing credit card offers. Lenders may increase the amount of interest charged on debt, or could even refuse to offer credit.

A record of an IVA will remain on an individual’s credit file for six years after its start date. As such, it may be worth waiting for a certificate of completion before seeking to obtain a credit card, since it may be easier to find better deals once the IVA is no longer on record. For individuals who want to obtain a credit card while their IVA is still on record, a card that is specifically aimed at consumers with a poor credit history could increase their chances of obtaining credit and improving their credit score.


A CCJ is a court order that can be registered against an individual by a creditor for failing to repay debts. An individual may receive a CCJ for a variety of reasons, from unpaid parking tickets to unpaid credit card bills.

If a CCJ is not paid within a month of being recorded, it stays on an individual’s credit record for six years. This will make it more difficult to obtain credit, since some lenders will refuse to give credit to an individual with a CCJ. Other lenders may be unwilling to provide their best rates, so someone with a CCJ may end up paying more in interest relative to someone with a good credit history. Lenders may even require security for any loan, such as a car or property. If the individual fails to make repayments, the lender could take the assets.

As with an IVA, individuals with a CCJ may want to try non-mainstream lenders who specifically offer credit cards for people with poor credit histories. Non-mainstream lenders are unlikely to offer particularly competitive rates of interest but could be a means of accessing credit.


A CCJ or IVA will make the task of obtaining a credit card more challenging. However, the availability of credit cards for individuals with poor credit histories has increased in recent years, so obtaining a card may be possible. In the long run, having a credit card and making payments on time is a good means of rebuilding a credit score; as such, doing so could be worth considering, depending on an individual’s personal circumstances.

It’s tough, but not impossible, to get a credit card if you have bad credit. Click here for our list of top credit cards for bad credit.

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