If you’re declined for a credit card you really want, don’t give up. Call the card issuer’s reconsideration line.
Since my family flies for nearly free on points, we are old pros at this. We’ve had to call a credit card reconsideration line at least three times!
In each case, we provided some extra documents and answered a few additional questions, and that was the key that unlocked the credit cards and their big sign-up bonuses.
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Here are my tips for what to do – and what to expect – when you get that dreaded denial.
Why you may be denied
A lot of reasons beyond your credit score can lead to a denial, I have learned. Often, it’s just nitpicky stuff and well worth a call to the bank to sort it out.
For example, when I applied for my first business travel credit card, the Southwest Chase Business Premier card, in 2015 to earn points to get our first Southwest Companion Pass, I got that big fat denial.
I was crushed. How was I going to earn the Southwest Companion Pass without the Southwest business card’s sign-up bonus? After some online research, I found a phone number to call to be reconsidered and to get more information about the denial.
When I called, I learned that all Chase needed was more paperwork to verify I owned my business.
It was a pain to dig up the extra papers, including my company’s articles of incorporation, but once I faxed them, Chase approved me and I was on my way to earning my Companion Pass!
Another common reason leading Chase to deny credit? Applying for another Chase card within a short time frame, usually 30 days.
For example, my husband applied for the Chase Slate card, which typically has 0 percent interest for several months and no balance transfer fee, to help us pay down a card balance with a high interest rate. Then, within 30 days, he also applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card before last year’s 100,000-point sign-up bonus was halved.
He was initially denied for Chase Sapphire Reserve due to “too many requests for credit or opened accounts” with Chase. How did we clear this roadblock? We simply waited 30 days from the time he was approved for Chase Slate, called the Chase reconsideration line, and he was approved for the Sapphire Reserve.
Another trigger for a bank denial of your application is that the issuer is not willing to extend you any additional credit. In that case, when you call the second-chance line, ask your issuer to reduce the credit extended to you on another card. Or, if you’re willing, you could close another card in order to open a new one.
What to expect when you call a reconsideration line
As you can see, being declined for credit is not the end of the world, especially if the reason cited is not your credit score. There is hope, so try calling the reconsideration line!
When we’ve called a reconsideration line we have found the card issuer usually wants lots of detailed information, so you’ll want to have a variety of paperwork and figures handy, so you can answer the customer service rep’s questions.
Note: Plan to spend at least 30 minutes on the phone.
Information the card issuer may want includes:
- Monthly rent or mortgage payment.
- Reasons for any credit inquiries within the last year or two (like “We refinanced our home” or “We applied for an equity line for home repairs” or “We bought a new car”).
- Total household income for the current or past year.
- For a business card, readers of my posts on my “Go To Travel Girl” website have told me lately that having an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, issued from the government helped them get approved for a business card.
- Proof of your role in the business (usually a government document with your name and the name of the business, such as your articles of incorporation).
- Business sales and profit figures.
- Tax returns (business and personal) for the past year.
Also, be prepared to explain why you want the particular credit card. Do you need it to track business expenses, to keep travel expenses separate from other expenses, etc.? If you applied for another card within 30 days, have an explanation ready.
Because I largely handle our family’s finances, my husband had to “approve” of me speaking on his behalf about our finances, so make sure both spouses are on hand when you call the reconsideration line.
It might take extra time both to gather the paperwork and supporting documentation, as well as to talk with the customer service rep, but it will be worth it if a credit card’s signup bonus miles or points – or other credit card benefits – are on the line!
Make the call: The third example
Applying for two credit cards from the same issuer in one day also can trip a wire, I’ve discovered. The remedy? You guessed it – the reconsideration line.
Here’s what happened: After applying for both the consumer Starwood Preferred Guest credit card and the Starwood Preferred Guest business credit card within 24 hours, American Express, the issuer of both cards, asked me to call.
While I initially thought I’d been denied, American Express just wanted to verify that I indeed had applied for both cards since the applications were filed in such a short timespan.
When I said I did apply for both SPG cards, I was quickly approved and on to earning the sign-up bonus Starpoints on both SPG cards!
See related: 8 creative ways to meet a rewards card’s minimum spend, Rejected for credit: When to take no for an answer