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Turned Down for a Credit Card? The Master Guide to Credit Card Reconsideration

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In the world of points and miles, few things get your adrenaline pumping than getting approved for a new travel rewards credit card to earn a big points bonus. But sometimes things don't go as planned…

For one reason or another, a bank may not approve your credit card application. Maybe your credit score isn't up to snuff? Maybe the bank doesn't like your credit history – or you're over the dreaded Chase 5/24 rule. Sometimes, the bank simply needs to review your application more – while other times, you can get denied outright.

Whatever the reason, don't panic. You have options.

If your credit card application is not approved (or even if it is pending further review), banks give you a chance to appeal the denial and essentially reverse their decision. Every bank has a credit card reconsideration department dedicated to that task.

So let's take a deeper dive into the basics of credit card reconsideration and what you need to know to change a bank's mind about your card application – including each bank's phone number.



The Basics of Credit Card Reconsideration

No matter the bank, when you apply for a new credit card, the majority of the approval decisions are handled automatically by formulas at the bank. And that's a good thing: It means applications are handled quickly.

But mistakes can happen – from both the card issuer and you, the card applicant.

Perhaps you punched in the wrong number for your income on your application. Or maybe the bank's formula flagged a certain piece of data to get declined, or put in a queue for further review.
credit card reconsideration

Here's where the credit card reconsideration department at each bank comes in. Most banks (including all the major credit card-issuing banks) have a reconsideration department dedicated to reversing denied applications (and ultimately approving them) if there is a valid reason to do so.

Ultimately, bank formulas err on the side of caution to make sure they're not approving card applicants that aren't creditworthy. But it's not perfect. And that means that bank reconsideration lines are regularly reversing and approving applications from individuals who are, in fact, creditworthy.

If that's you, keep reading.


Why Was My Credit Card Application Not Approved?

Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), consumers have a legal right to know why their credit card application was not approved. This typically comes as a formal notice in the mail in a few weeks after getting denied for a credit card.
credit card reconsideration

The list of reasons you might get turned down (or sent for further review) for a credit card is long – ultimately it varies from bank to bank. While not exhaustive, here are a few common reasons:

  • Little to no credit history
  • Your credit card application is incomplete or has incorrect information
  • Your credit score is below the threshold needed for approval
  • You do not have income, or it is an insufficient amount for card approval
  • You have too much credit already extended to you
  • Too many recent credit applications
  • History of bankruptcy or other delinquency
  • Bank specific rules like Chase's 5/24 Rule.

Some of these reasons are likely non-negotiable with the credit card company. Others are certainly worth investigating further.

For example, if you have too much credit already extended to you from a bank, they may be willing to move your existing credit lines around in order to get you approved for the card you want and reverse a denial during reconsideration. That way, the bank isn't actually giving you more credit – it's shuffling the credit you already have around.

These kinds of issues became more and more prevalent in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, as banks tried to limit their risk with the economy teetering and unemployment claims skyrocketing. And an easy way to mitigate risk is to make it harder to get approved for certain lines of credit.

What does that mean for you? You may need an even higher credit score to get approved for a credit card than just a year ago. That makes it more important than ever to have a good idea of generally what credit score is needed for a card before you apply for it.

Curious what kind of credit score it takes to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

If you think your score is high enough for approval on a certain card, it's always worth a call to the credit card reconsideration department if you don't get immediate approval.


What To Do If Your Credit Card Application is Not Approved

If your application for a new credit card is declined, your first step should be to immediately call the bank's credit card reconsideration department. And the same is true if your application is pending further review.

When this happens, it may be that the bank just needs to verify some of the information on your application. Without making a call, that process can take up to 30 days to receive an official decision by mail. If you don't want to wait, give them a call.

We've listed the credit card reconsideration phone numbers for many of the card-issuing banks below. You can also typically find these numbers on a rejection letter from the bank.


Credit Card Reconsideration Bank Phone Numbers

If you need to call the credit card issuing bank to speak with somebody in the reconsideration department, call one of the corresponding phone numbers below.

While you eventually may need to mail supporting documents, it's always best to first start with a phone call to understand why your application was not immediately approved.


Credit Card IssuerReconsideration Line Phone Number
American Express1-800-567-1083
Bank of America1-866-422-8089
Capital One1-800-625-7866
U.S. Bank1-800-947-1444
Wells Fargo1-800-869-3557


When Calling Credit Card Reconsideration Just Won't Work

Sometimes, even calling up the bank and asking them to reconsider just won't help.

For example, if you are above and beyond the Chase 5/24 rule – meaning you have been approved for five or more credit cards from any bank (not just Chase) in a 24-month period – a phone agent likely won't be able to reverse a denial. Other banks have different rules surrounding how many credit cards you can have open at one time, too.

Take American Express, for example. They allow you to hold four credit cards and up to 10 charge cards. So if you already hold four American Express credit cards, you likely won't be approved for a fifth – even after trying through reconsideration.

With Citi, you must wait at least eight days between applying for two different Citi personal cards, and the bank will not approve you for more than two Citi credit cards in a 65 day period.

In violation of one of these rules? It's unlikely a reconsideration line will be able to overturn a decision. These rules are hard-coded into their approval formulas. And the same is true if your credit score is far below their approval thresholds, among other factors.

Even so, it's always worth a phone call to see if anything can be done.


Tips for Contacting the Reconsideration Line

Here are a few tips to keep in mind before you give your bank's credit card reconsideration department a call.


Don't Wait, Call ASAP

If you don't receive immediate approval for your credit card application, your best bet is to call right away – or at least within a few days of being rejected or going pending. Calling may expedite the process and get you a decision quickly.

By waiting too long, a final decision can sometimes take up to 30 days. Plus, you run the risk of your application getting thrown out and having to apply again – requiring another hard credit pull on your credit score.

If you don't want to wait, pick up the phone and call the reconsideration line for your bank sooner rather than later.


Be Polite to the Customer Service Agent

This may sound obvious, but remember you are talking to a human on the other end of the line. Make it clear that you are being proactive without being rude or pushy. This person will likely be the one deciding the fate of your application.

Being rude will not get you anywhere.


Understand Why You Were Rejected (or Not Instantly Approved)

Banks are required to let you know why you were rejected or not instantly approved. Make sure you understand what that reason is, as you may need to negotiate and problem solve based on the bank's rationale.

Some things might be flexible and negotiable. But understanding your credit score and any derogatory marks on your credit report, as well as any other feedback from the bank, will help you move forward or come to terms with a rejected application.


Explain Why You Want the Card

Have some talking points in mind as to why you want the credit card you're calling about. And stay away from saying you just want the big welcome bonus.

Let's say you just applied for a co-branded hotel credit card. Mention that you'll be staying with that hotel chain a lot due to work travel, or whatever the case may be. Or maybe you want the card because it waives foreign transaction fees, as you plan to travel internationally more over the next few years.

It creates more valid reasoning as to why you want the credit card and shows that you're an engaged customer.


Bottom Line

If you don't get immediate approval for a credit card, you are not always out of luck. Call the bank's credit card reconsideration line and talk through your options with a customer service representative.

Getting turned down or placed into a queue for further review isn't always the final answer. But the power is in your hands.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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