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Understanding Credit

MBNA is a responsible lender. Which means we want you to understand what’s involved before you start and know what’s important when you take out credit.

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What is credit?

Put simply, credit is borrowing money and paying it back at a later date, usually monthly. It can take many forms, including a credit card, loan or a bank overdraft.


The details you give on the application, such as your income and how long you’ve lived at your address, together with information on your credit file – such as how you’ve paid credit back before - helps lenders decide whether or not to lend you credit.

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What is a representative example?

When you apply for credit, you’ll see something called a representative example.


The rate shown is what a minimum of 51% of customers will pay on the credit card or loan and also shows what fees are payable (not default fees). It needs to state if an APR or interest rate is fixed or variable and give you a good idea of how much the credit card will cost you.  A representative example helps you compare credit and come to a decision about whether a particular credit facility is right for you.

When you come to MBNA, you’ll see the representative example for every one of our credit cards for you to compare. We understand how important your decision is so we make it as easy as we can. You’ll also find a wealth of information on how credit works, how to make your credit file better and a choice of credit cards with different features and benefits perfect for you.

How to build your credit file

The better your credit file is, the easier it’ll be to get credit. The simplest way to build your credit file is to pay your credit cards, loans and mortgage on time, keep within agreed credit limits and pay at least the minimum payment.


How you make your payments and how much you pay is reported every month on your credit file.

Lenders look at all these factors when you apply to borrow from them. They’ll also take into account how much credit you owe compared to your income to form an overall picture of your creditworthiness.

Your credit file also shows where you’ve been registered on the voters’ roll, your address history and if you’ve ever had any county court judgements or bankruptcies held against you. If you believe any of the information held about you might be wrong, get in touch with the lender who’s reported it and ask them to investigate so it can be updated if needs be.

To get a copy of your credit file, go to:

Managing credit

Once you’ve been given credit, it’s really important you manage it properly. That means making your payments on time and not borrowing more than you can handle. Don’t go over your credit limit either and only take out credit when you really need it.

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If borrowing gets out of hand

Sometimes borrowing can get out of hand. Debt can become a problem when you can’t afford the monthly payments, are constantly paying them late or you have to juggle finances to pay your credit.


At MBNA, we understand how being in financial difficulty can affect you. We’ll work with you to help you get back on your feet financially and manage your credit properly again.

If you think you might be having financial difficulties, contact us so we can work together to find a repayment plan that works for you and us.  Whatever happens, we’ll help you cope with the situation and deal with things in a caring and confidential way.

You can download our Income and Expenditure form here.

Once completed, please return to:

Customer Assistance


All MBNA credit cards feature the contactless symbol, which means you’re all set to make fast and secure payments of up to £20 . Because you don't need to insert your credit card and enter your PIN, it's quicker to pay for everyday items.

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Getting the help you need

There's a number of organisations you can ask for help with paying your credit and you can download a free copy of our Dealing with Debt leaflet

Please note: The contents of these pages are not intended to be taken as financial advice or recommendation made by MBNA. You should seek independent financial advice if unsure about your financial needs.