The majority of catalogue companies today would prefer you to apply for a personal account online, but many can also take an application over the phone or even by post. When your application is received they will use the information you have provided to get a report from a credit reference agency and they will use this report, in conjunction with the information you have supplied, to establish a credit score.
The higher the credit score, the more chance you have of being accepted and the higher the potential credit limit you could be offered. It is possible to apply online and have your account application accepted with no further action required on your behalf, however, this depends on the credit search providing sufficient information to verify your identify and address, if you have recently moved, or are not on the electoral roll for some other reason, the catalogue company may contact you and ask for written proof of address, identity, or both, prior to allowing any purchases on your account.
If your account application is approved, the catalogue company will offer an initial credit limit, usually in the region of £200-500. Over time, with a good record of payments, this limit can easily be raised to allow the purchase of more expensive items. However, if you miss payments or are often late making payments, the credit limit will not be raised and may in fact be reduced! For those who use catalogue accounts in a sensible way and increase credit limits gradually over time, eventually limits of £1000-2000 are possible which means you can use catalogue shopping to source the most expensive household items.
Catalogue accounts with no credit checks are something of a misnomer, all companies offering home delivery on credit terms will do some sort of credit check, but some companies are “choosier” than others. In addition, the companies which will accept applicants with the most credit problems will invariably be the dearest catalogues to purchase from.