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The Art of Requesting Financial References: Best Practices for a Successful Application


May 12, 2023

Getting approved for a loan or credit card can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to the process. One critical component of the application process is requesting financial references. These references serve as a way for the lender to assess your creditworthiness and determine whether you’re a reliable borrowing candidate.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the art of requesting financial references. We’ll discuss best practices, including who to ask, what to ask, and how to follow up. By the end of this article, you’ll feel more confident in your financial reference requests and be one step closer to securing that loan or credit card.

Who to Ask for Financial References

When it comes to requesting financial references, there are a few potential individuals or organizations you may want to consider:

  1. Trusted Friends and Family Members: If you’re just starting to build credit, chances are you don’t have a lengthy credit history. In this case, asking a trusted friend or family member to vouch for your reliability can help strengthen your application.
  2. Financial Institutions: You may also consider asking your bank or credit union for a financial reference. They can provide information on your payment history, creditworthiness, and overall financial standing.
  3. Professional Contacts: If you have a business, you can ask any suppliers, vendors, or other professionals you have a relationship with, to provide a financial reference to authenticate your business creditworthiness.

No matter who you choose, always make sure the individual or organization is reputable and has a history of providing reliable references. Also, ensure that the reference provided follows the guidelines set out by the lender or institution you are applying to.

What to Ask for in a Financial Reference

When requesting a financial reference, it is important to ask for specific information that will help the lender determine your creditworthiness. Here are some key elements to include in your request:

  1. Credit History: Ask for information about your credit history, including your credit score, any past delinquencies, and the total amount of your outstanding debt.
  2. Payment History: Request information about your payment history, including whether you have ever missed a payment or been late with a payment.
  3. Current Financial Standing: Ask for an assessment of your current financial standing, including your income and expenses, to ensure you can afford the requested loan or credit limit.
  4. Personal Qualities: Request references from people who can attest to your good character, honesty, and reliability. This can include your employer, landlord, or community leader.

When structuring your request, be sure to provide clear, concise instructions for the reference provider and ask them to provide specific examples or details to support their assessment of your creditworthiness. This will help ensure a more thorough and accurate reference.

How to Follow Up on a Financial Reference Request

Following up on a financial reference request is crucial since it demonstrates your commitment to securing the loan or credit card. Below are some tips on how to follow up effectively:

  1. Send a Thank You Message: Once you receive the financial reference, it’s important to send a thank you message. Express your gratitude for the person’s time and effort in offering the reference.
  2. Reciprocate: If you have any business relationship with the referee, it’s important to find a way to reciprocate the favor. This can include referring customers to them or providing them with references for future opportunities.
  3. Maintain the Relationship: It’s important to keep in touch with the person who provided the reference. Send occasional updates or establish a professional relationship with the person. When building good business relationships, trust and cooperation goes a long way.

By adopting these practices, you’ll not only increase your chances of securing the loan or credit but you’ll also establish healthy relationships that may prove useful in the future.


Applying for a loan or credit card can be a stressful experience, but by following these best practices for requesting financial references, you can make the process smoother and increase your chances of success. Start by identifying trusted individuals or organizations to ask for references and providing clear instructions on what information to include. Remember to follow up with a thank you message and find ways to reciprocate their assistance. Most importantly, maintain a positive relationship with the person who provided the reference. By establishing relationships built on trust and professionalism, you’ll increase your chances of securing financing not just for current needs, but for any future opportunities that may arise.

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