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You had it all planned out. The trip to Europe in the spring. Which friends you’d ask to go with you. How you’d ask your boss for the time off work. And which credit card would help get you there. So you apply for the card… and get a “pending” or “denied” message. And you start to cry. Because your dreams are crushed.
No wait, don’t get too upset yet! Maybe get on the Googles and search “What to do when I get denied for a credit card” and end up here. And from here, you start to get that little glimmer of hope back.
Let me first start off by saying that I have gotten that “denied” and “pending” message before. And it’s no fun, because what would be really nice to see on the screen is “approved”. BUT all is not lost, even if you are denied. 3/4 times I’ve gotten that message, I’ve been able to call the reconsideration hotline (it’s a real thing folks) and talk them into giving me the card.
And by talk them into it, I literally mean talk them into it. Sometimes it takes a couple different calls and different reps. But if there is a great reason to get that credit card and it will be used – stick to your story.
What to do, what to do
First off, push down that rising feeling of disappointment. Tell it to come back later. It may or may not be welcome, but for now, there is some work to do.
Usually, when banks deny card applications, it can be for any number of reasons. Credit score, a high number of credit lines, payment history, etc. There is any number of reasons. And for pending responses, it means the bank needs to take a closer look at the application and will send out a letter when a verdict is reached.
The first thing to do is to review and recap why this card is important and why it is wanted. Now, what I don’t mean by that is “Well, I get some great bonus points, so I want this card”. What I do mean could look like any of these:
- “I’ve got some upcoming international travel and this card has no foreign transaction fees”
- “I’m renovating my house, and I’d like a card to keep my house renovation expenses separate from my general expenses”
- “I fly a lot and really like this airline, so I wanted to get their credit card to get better rewards for my flights”
- “The car insurance/baggage insurance/flight insurance etc. on this card is important to me because of all my upcoming travel”
- “I eat out a lot, and this card rewards that with 3 points per dollar on dining”
“This card gets 50,000 bonus points so I want it so I can get that and then I’ll probably cancel it”
Those are some simple, but great reasons for getting a credit card. And they are some of many valid reasons that could apply for an applicant. They all should be true. They all speak to a clear personal need for a particular card that has nothing to do with the bonus. And they all hint at a relationship with the bank.
And that last bit is important. Because banks don’t make money on giving you a large sign-up bonus. They make money when you like their card products and keep using them even past the sign-up bonus. For that reason, I like to test cards out for the full 12 months before I decide on canceling or not (usually because of the annual fee).
Reconsideration lines (listed below) are a great resource that give people a chance to explain or fight for a card that they want. A reconsideration call will probably look something like this:
Me: Hi, I just applied for a credit card and got a pending/denied message. I have a credit score of XXX and have never missed a payment, so I was just wondering if there was any more information I could provide to maybe get this card. I have some upcoming international travel and this card’s no foreign transaction fee benefit would be very useful. (I like to just get it all out there in my opening statement – that way they know where I’m coming from and some additional details (credit score, payment history, etc.)
Analyst: Sure, let me just pull up your account to have a look… So it looks like you already have a
Me: Hmmm, I understand. Is there anything I can do to try and get this through? I’d be happy to decrease the credit line on some other cards – or would be fine with a low credit limit on this card if that helps. This card has the foreign transaction fee benefit that I mentioned earlier, and none of my other cards with you have that. I’d really like to use it for my upcoming international travel. (Decreasing or moving around credit is one of the options I’ve used the most).
Analyst: Let me see what I can do.
Voila! That is a relatively accurate sample conversation that’s happened to me a number of times. Worst case scenario, they say no. Thank them for their time, hang up and call again. Chances are, another analyst will push it through.
- Always be super polite
- Know your why and express it multiple times throughout the convo
- Gather some credit facts on yourself and drop them in your opening statement, such as credit score, no missed payments, etc. (Credit Karma is helpful for this).
- Be optimistic. If the first call doesn’t go your way, try try again.
Chase has a rule, informally called the 5/24 rule, that applies to personal cards. The gist is this: if you’ve opened 5 new credit cards with any bank in the past 24 months, Chase will automatically decline you and there is nothing you can do. Reconsideration won’t help you out here! If you are unsure if this applies to you, head to Credit Karma, pull up your accounts and go through them – open date will be listed on there.
Now that you’ve brushed up on what to do, here is the info for how to do it. These are the consideration lines for the top 4 banks out there as of November 2018. Sometimes these numbers change, so if one of the below doesn’t work, Google should help you find an updated number.
- Chase’s reconsideration line: 1-888-270-2127
- Citi’s reconsideration line: 1-800-736-9795
- Barclay’s reconsideration line: 1-866-408-4064
- Amex’s reconsideration line: 1-877-399-3083
The Simple Summary
So there ya go; some of my tips for getting an application pushed through. The most important things to remember are