But it can be doubly irksome if the financial institution concerned then refuses to give any indication of what facet of the applicant's personal situation has led to the refusal.
Graham Douglas, a teacher from Brighton, ran into this problem last year when he applied for a new holographic Visa card from National & Provincial Building Society.
He was turned down because he did not reach the required number of points on the society's credit scoring system. He said: 'I received a computer printout explaining that I had not met the requirements, but I was welcome to reapply when my circumstances had changed. I did so this year, and received the same letter, so I telephoned and asked for more information.'
He said that when he contacted the building society, pointing out that he had an Access and a Visa card and therefore had a good reference from the society's credit reference agency, he was told that no single factor was responsible for the rejection of his application.
'I asked them to be more precise about which of my circumstances had to change, and again got the standard response that it is not their policy to be specific. Oftel has told me that they are within their rights to do this. My grouse is why all the secrecy?'
N&P said that it ran a credit scoring system where applicants were given a number of points according to criteria such as occupation, income and accommodation.
It said it understood why people wanted to know why they were turned down, but it refused to give details in order to prevent people falsifying new applications.
Other lenders also refuse to give rejected applicants an exact explanation of why they failed the credit test.