Here's How to Get Reconsidered for a Credit Card

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  • If your credit card application is denied, you can call the card issuer for a reconsideration.
  • Before you call, find out why your application was denied so you can plan what you'll say.

You could still end up getting the card you want.

It's always a letdown when you've found a credit card you like, only for the card issuer to deny your application. However, what many people don't realize is that a denial can be overturned. All the major credit card companies have reconsideration lines you can call to potentially get your application approved.

I've done this myself a few times. Although there's no foolproof approach, you have a solid chance of success if you're qualified for the card and you know what to do.

Check the denial reason

When a credit card company denies your application, it's legally required to tell you why. You'll receive a letter in the mail with this information, but you can also find out sooner by calling customer service to ask.

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The first thing to do is check the reason, or reasons, why your application was unsuccessful. This information will help you figure out the best approach for your reconsideration call.

Before we get too far along here, this is also a good time to mention that certain denial reasons are going to be hard to work around. For example, if your credit score is much lower than the card issuer is looking for, a reconsideration will probably be out of the question. Or, if you didn't pay back a previous credit account with the card issuer, it most likely won't approve you for a new one.

Make a game plan

Once you know the denial reason, you can plan what you're going to say about it on your call. There are all kinds of possible reasons a card issuer could deny a credit card application. If you have a response ready, it gives you the best chance of success.

To give you a few examples, here are ways you could respond to some common denial reasons:

  • You had a late payment on your credit report. Explain how you've consistently paid on time since then. If you've paid on time for the last year with multiple credit cards, mention that to show you've improved your payment habits.
  • You have too many credit accounts open. Point out how you've shown you can handle credit with these accounts, because you haven't been overspending on your credit cards or paid any of them late.
  • Your income wasn't high enough. Ask if it's possible to get the card with a low starting credit limit.

There's also another common situation that can come up if you have multiple credit cards with the same company. That card issuer may not want to extend you any more credit. For example, if you have $30,000 in credit lines total across three credit cards, the card issuer could decide it's not comfortable giving you any more. In that case, it would deny you if you applied for another card.

A way around this is to request that the card issuer lowers the credit limits on your other cards to open up space for the new one. Continuing the example above, you could ask to have the credit limits on your current three cards lowered by $2,000 apiece. Then, that card issuer could approve you for the new card with a $6,000 limit.

Call the reconsideration line

At this point, you're ready to make the call. Get the number to the card issuer's reconsideration line, either online or by calling customer service first.

Start by introducing yourself and explaining the situation -- you applied for a card, your application was denied, and you'd like to see if the card issuer can reconsider. This is also a good time to mention why you want the card. If you get the chance, mention something you like about it, such as:

Don't bring up the sign-up bonus, if the card has one, because card issuers try to avoid approving people who are only looking to get a quick bonus. But any other features are fair game.

The representative will go over the denial reasons, and you can respond as you planned earlier. Then, the representative will either get your application approved or tell you they can't.

With any luck, you'll get the response you want when you call. If you don't, keep in mind that you can call back and try again with someone else. I've had one representative tell me there was absolutely nothing they could do, only to call back later and get my application approved. If you really want the card, it's worth giving it a couple of shots. After all, you only need to convince one representative for an approval.

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