Credit Card Not Approved? Ask for a Reconsideration
When you submit an application for a new credit card, there are three possible outcomes: you’ll be approved on the spot, your application will be placed under further review, or you’ll be denied outright. If you find yourself with a “we’ll get back to you” answer, or even a denial, you might be concerned. But what can you actually do about it?
Well, with most credit card issuers, you can call and speak to someone about an application reconsideration. This manual second look at your new account request could be the boost you need to get moved over to an approval. So, what does a reconsideration do, and how do you go about requesting one?
Why You Didn’t Get Approved
Few of us would apply for credit cards if we didn’t think we had a pretty good chance at being approved. If our credit isn’t in a fairly good place, it simply isn’t worth the hard inquiry to apply for a card that we aren’t qualified to carry.
Even still, you can be denied for a new credit card account, even if your credit score and history is technically good enough for approval. This can happen for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, your credit score could be too low for the issuer’s cutoff, or you could have too many negative reports on your credit. If your score and report are stellar, it could be that your credit history is just too new for the company to extend a line of credit to you just yet.
Some issuers will deny applicants because of too-high credit utilizations, or a high debt-to-income ratio. And some (like Chase in particular) will deny you if you’ve opened a certain number of new accounts in a specific period of time.
Even if you think your credit is great, you can still be denied (or wind up with an application under review). This is why an account reconsideration might wind up on your radar.
What a Reconsideration Does
Depending on why the issuer denied – or didn’t yet approve – your account application, a reconsideration offers you the opportunity to change their mind. All you have to do is call and ask. After all, the worst they can do is say no (again).
When you speak to an account representative, you have the opportunity to clarify certain things like income or monthly expenses. For example, things like child support aren’t required when you calculate your income; adding these funds in when you speak to a representative could be the boost your application needs to flip to Approved.
Your denial/pending application could also be due to too much recent activity. If you have been applying for a number of new accounts recently, you could try explaining your reasoning to the card representative. Offer the right explanation, and you could assuage their fears… and land yourself a new credit card.
If the issue has more to do with high balances or credit utilizations, you could try polishing up your financial situation before calling for reconsideration. This might be as simple as transferring a maxed out card’s balance to a higher-limit card to lower its utilization, or paying off a balance altogether. By showing the representative that your credit is actually better than when you applied, you might be able to get that approval you desire.
In some cases, your pending application could simply be due to credit verification. When I applied for the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express last year, I got the dreaded “we will send you an answer in 7-10 days” response. I immediately picked up the phone to call the reconsideration line.
On that call, I was told that my Equifax report was blank and they couldn’t pull my credit. After a call to Equifax, I learned that my report with them had somehow been deleted entirely (a story for another day). The bureau was able to get to the bottom of the problem, Amex was able to pull my TransUnion report instead while I waited, and I had a new account opened by the end of the call. Had I not called, I would have likely gotten a denial letter in two short weeks.
How to Request a Reconsideration
If you feel that you have a strong case for reconsideration following a denied or pending credit card application, give the issuer a call. The worst they can do is tell you no, but it might be the push your application needs to get approved.
There are dedicated phone numbers for each of the card issuers, which you can call to make your case. They are:
-- American Express: (866) 314-0237 -- Bank of America: (866) 458-8805 -- Barclays: (866) 408-4064 -- Capital One: (800) 625-7866 -- Chase: (888) 245-0625 -- Citi: (800) 695-5171 -- Discover: (888) 676-3695 -- US Bank: (800) 947-1444
It definitely helps to have some additional information to provide or a reason for them to reconsider your application before you call. But if you’re bound and determined to carry a specific credit card product, and you get anything other than an immediate approval notice, give the company a call. You have nothing to lose.