Denied For a Credit Card? 5 Steps to Get Your Bank to Change Its Mind

Sometimes, banks can get it wrong. Like when you have a high credit score and a strong payment history, but your application for a new credit card is still declined. Perhaps the card has a great sign-up bonus, or maybe it has an outstanding balance transfer offer. So being rejected really hurts.

That’s what happened to me recently when my application for the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card was declined. The most important thing I did was not to lose hope. I kept at it because I know that you can actually call your bank, plead your case, and ask them to take another look.

This process is called reconsideration, and if you have a good credit score, it can actually work. Here’s what to do…

1. Speak to the right department

Before you can make your case, you have to speak to someone with the power to approve your application. So you want to call the bank’s number for new applications and ask to speak with someone about reconsideration.

Here are reconsideration numbers for four of the largest credit card issuers:

  • American Express: 800-962-7227
  • Bank of America: 800-718-6072
  • Chase: 888-245-0625
  • Citi: 800-763-9795

2. Politely ask why you were denied

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), banks are required to offer an explanation when they deny your application based on information from your credit report. In fact, you probably found out about your denial through a letter called an adverse action notice.

Nevertheless, casually ask the representative to explain the reasons for your denial. Don’t challenge him or her, just express your surprise at being denied and inquire out of curiosity.

3. Present your case

After you understand the reason the bank (actually, its computers) denied your application, you have the opportunity to present some information they may not have considered. Start by informing them of your high credit score and excellent payment record, then remind them of any other accounts you hold and how long they’ve been in good standing.

4. Explain why you want the card

I wanted the Chase Sapphire Preferred because it offers one of the 5 Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses, but I wasn’t going to mention that fact – because banks don’t want customers who use a card just for its initial bonus.

Instead, I said how excited I was to try some of the unique features of the card. You can mention a card’s extended warranty coverage, its lack of foreign transaction fees, or its excellent rewards program.

5. Offer suggestions to satisfy their concerns

If you were rejected because you had too many open credit card accounts – which is what happened to me, since I’m always scoping out the best deals – you can suggest that the bank close one that you don’t use and transfer the credit line to the new account. If you were denied for having too much available credit, you can offer to have the bank reduce your credit line on another account. If you currently have a high balance on an existing account, offer to pay it down immediately.

In my case, I let the representative at Chase know that I was willing to close the account of my little-used Southwest Airlines credit card – and I was immediately approved for their excellent Sapphire Preferred card. If it worked for me, it can work for you.

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