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

Photo (cc) by Joelk75

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.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
5 Ways Retirees Can Lower Their Income Taxes
5 Ways Retirees Can Lower Their Income Taxes

Here’s how to keep Uncle Sam’s mitts away from your nest egg.

7 Mistakes Guaranteed to Ruin Your Retirement
7 Mistakes Guaranteed to Ruin Your Retirement

Make even one of these money mistakes, and you’ll probably end up eating ramen noodles in your golden years.

5 Countries Where You Can Retire on $2,000 a Month or Less
5 Countries Where You Can Retire on $2,000 a Month or Less

These tips on retiring overseas come from someone who’s been helping American expats for decades.

10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable
10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable

There are lots of things Uncle Sam can’t touch — so long as you play by the rules.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.