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Rejection is a part of life. This certainly applies to credit cards. Sometimes, even when you have a stellar credit score, a bank doesn't approve you for a new card. The reasons for denial can vary, but the good news is that you have a second shot by calling the credit card reconsideration department.
Many people don't know that the initial rejection isn't necessarily the end of the road for a credit card application. Even if originally denied, you may be able to convince a bank to approve you for a new card. A call to the credit card reconsideration line at least gives you a shot. Approval is not guaranteed, but, in some cases, you'll be able to overturn the original decision. We'll walk through how credit card reconsideration works, how to prepare for a reconsideration call, and provide some tips to hopefully get your application approved.
Credit Card Reconsideration: A Second Chance
Rather than have a human review your information, many credit card applications are first processed by complicated computer algorithms. Banks consider many factors when evaluating a new card application. Your credit score, credit history, income, and amount of existing credit — just to name a few — all play into the decision. A bank has to decide whether extending credit to you is a risk it's willing to take. Sometimes, this automated process makes a mistake, denying an otherwise creditworthy applicant. If this is you, this is where credit card reconsideration comes in.
Most banks have a dedicated credit card reconsideration line that you can call and talk to someone about your denied card application. This provides you the chance to discuss the application.
Yes, I get that many people don't like talking on the phone — especially to a bank representative who may scrutinize your application. But given the value of many new card sign-up bonus offers, calling the credit card reconsideration line could be well worth the time and hassle. You've already been told “no” once. The worst the bank can do is stick by its original decision. Calling the reconsideration line has essentially no downside.
Related: Tips for Managing Your Credit Score
How To Get Your Credit Card Application Reconsidered
When you apply for a new card, you typically get one of three responses:
- Immediate approval
- Immediate denial
- A version of “we'll review further and get back to you”
Whether you're immediately denied or denied after additional review by the bank, this is when you should call the credit card reconsideration line. But you should prepare prior to calling in. This gives you the best shot you can at pleading your case.
We strongly recommend that you do not call the reconsideration line immediately after a denial. Wait for a letter to come in the mail so you can understand the reasons the bank didn't approve you. But you shouldn't delay too long. You typically only have a 30-day window where an issuer will review your application without performing another “hard” credit pull.
Understand the reason(s) for denial
Whether you were denied immediately or the bank took some time to come to that decision, it will send you a letter. The CARD Act of 2009 requires issuers to explain the reasons they didn't approve you for a new card. These can include:
- Recently opening too many new accounts
- Limited credit history
- Low credit score
- Insufficient income
- The bank has already extended too much credit to you (in its determination)
Once you receive the letter, review the reasons for denial to understand why the bank didn't approve you. Some are more difficult to overcome than others. If your credit score is on the low side of the range generally needed for a specific card, it may be difficult to convince the bank to approve you. But there are other situations where reconsideration may be relatively straightforward.
As an example, I once was unexpectedly denied for a new Chase card. Chase reasoned that it had already extended enough credit to me. However, I easily worked around this. After receiving the letter and realizing this was the only issue, I called in and asked that Chase reduce the available credit on my other card accounts. Voila. Chase approved my new card without extending any new credit to me.
Another situation where you may need to argue your case is when you've been added as an authorized user on someone else's card. Sometimes, the automated application review algorithm will treat this as having opened your own account. This can be an issue due to rules like Chase 5/24 where total recent new accounts play into the decision. You may need to call in and prove that this is not your account.
Preparing for your credit card reconsideration call
The purpose of calling the credit card reconsideration department is to argue your case to an actual human. You should prepare what you're going to say. Sometimes, the call is easy. There have been cases where all the bank needed to do is confirm that you personally submitted the application, but expect it to be more involved than this.
If you don't handle phone conversations well, you'll want to rehearse what you're going to say. Here's an example opening script:
“Hi, my name is [state your full name] and I recently applied for the [name of credit card] on [application date]. However, I received a letter on [date you got the letter] saying that I wasn't approved. Could I speak with someone to discuss the reason(s) my application was denied?”
You may be asked various questions about your application. Be polite, but be ready to argue your case well. This is one reason we recommend waiting for the letter and understanding the denial reasons.
Once you're ready for the conversation, give the credit card reconsideration line a call.
Reconsideration lines for major card issuers
Sometimes, a phone number is provided on the letter or email you received explaining the reasons for denial. But if it's not, or you don't have that immediately available, there are direct lines to most banks' credit card reconsideration departments. Note that they typically have daytime business hours and are not available 24/7 like some other bank services.
|Issuer||Card Type||Phone Number|
|Bank of America||Personal||866-224-8555|
|Bank of America||Business||866-695-6598|
Tips for getting your application reconsidered
Here are several tips for calling the credit card reconsideration line:
- First and foremost, be polite. No one wants to talk to an upset person. While it may be frustrating to not be approved for a new card, it is ultimately up to the bank and its representatives. You need to convince them to approve this application. The agent you speak to is another human, not a computer algorithm. Be polite and kind.
- Answer questions honestly. This should go without saying. Whether you're questioned about your income, new card accounts, or why you want a new card, tell the phone rep the truth. If you've made an honest mistake on your card application (e.g., stating your annual income as $6,000 instead of $60,000), this may reveal itself during the conversation.
- Review your credit report before the call. Once you understand the reasons for denial, make sure they stack up against your credit report. If the bank says your debt utilization ratio is too high, maybe a recent large payment hasn't yet hit your credit report. This gives you something concrete to discuss with the representative. If there are errors on your credit report, you should fix those before calling (ex: an account saying it was paid late, but it wasn't).
- Know how you want to plead your case. This ties into preparing for your reconsideration call. If you were denied for having too many new accounts, but two of them are authorized user accounts, be ready to explain this clearly.
- Be creative with solutions. Whether it's reducing existing credit lines, closing a different card, or something else, be willing to work with the bank.
What If Credit Card Reconsideration Doesn't Work?
Keep in mind that calling credit card reconsideration doesn't guarantee approval. This is especially true in cases where issuers have their own rules for new card approvals, such as Chase's 5/24 rule or Bank of America's 2/3/4 rule. Issuers typically do not budge on these.
If you really want a specific card and the bank won't budge, there may be other avenues to getting it. This may be less desirable, especially when you want a card with a lucrative sign-up bonus, but it is still an option. For example, I'd like to eventually get the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. In the event Chase doesn't approve me, I could upgrade my Chase Freedom® card to the Sapphire Preferred.
If you were denied for having too many new accounts, the only realistic solution may be to wait. Yes, you will miss the opportunity to get a new card now, but you may be approved on the next try.
It's always disappointing to be rejected for a new credit card, but know that you have the option to call the credit card reconsideration line. Read your denial letter, see if you have a good case to make, and give it a shot. Approval isn't guaranteed, but at least you can get a second chance.
Even if the bank doesn't change its mind, don't be discouraged. I've been rejected many times for new cards. It's part of the process. Maybe you didn't get the card you really wanted, but it's possible there is another great credit card that will meet your needs.
Did you know that reconsideration lines exist? How successful have you been with these calls?
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