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The Art of Overturning a Credit Card Rejection

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It makes sense that people who are in the process of rebuilding their credit history might have their credit card application declined. But in fact, even those who have a good credit history and little debt can still have their credit card applications rejected. Neither applicant should give up, as there is a little known process through which consumers can get another chance. This process is called reconsideration, and everyone who applies for a credit card should be aware of it.

How Credit Card Issuers Consider New Applicants

There is very little that is publicly disclosed about the credit card application process. What we do know is that a bank will request a copy of the consumer’s credit report, research his or her history with that bank, and come to a decision. Presumably, most decisions are automated, but an actual person may be part of the process as well. One thing is certain; both the banks and consumers know that this process is not perfect.

The Reconsideration Process

When a credit card issuer declines to grant an applicant a new account, it is required by law to provide a reason. And thankfully, most card issuers are willing to hear an appeal. Applicants can simply contact their bank’s reconsideration line and speak with a representative about their application. At that time, the representative may quickly override the earlier decision, or at least give the applicant the chance to provide more information with which to reconsider the application.

Who to Call

Here are the numbers to call for reconsideration for several of the major banks:

American Express: 866-314-0237

Bank Of America: 866-458-8805

Barclay’s Bank: 866-408-4064

Capital One: 800-625-7866

Chase: Personal – 888-245-0625, Business – 800-453-9719

Citi: 800-695-5171 or 800-763-9795

Discover: 888-676-3695

US Bank: 800-947-1444 or 800-685-7680

When to Call

When you submit an application online, the bank will either offer instant approval or will let you know that a decision is pending. With most banks, you can call the reconsideration number immediately if your application is listed as pending. In this way, you will at least get a quick answer. The exception is Capital One, which will not take reconsideration calls until it has issued an initial decision.

What to Say

Applicants can contact their bank and simply inquire about the status of their application. If denied, cardholders can ask for the reason and offer to supply new or clarifying information in support of their application. You may wish to provide other sources of income, or correct mistakes in the application.

In other instances, a cardholder can volunteer to close an existing account or to have a portion of their available credit transferred to a new account. And finally, if you are unsuccessful in your attempt to be reconsidered, don’t hesitate to call back and try again. This is a subjective process and the results will vary based on the representative you speak with.


Banks spend a tremendous amount of money to attract new customers, and they are eager to approve your application. By utilizing the reconsideration process, you can work with your bank to find a solution that meets their needs as well as your own.

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Image: Anne-Lise Heinrichs, via Flickr

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  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    It doesn’t hurt to ask. But asking doesn’t guarantee a positive response.

  • Albert Wesker

    So I stumbled on this today and figured I would try it out. 2AM. Got denied for the Luxury Black Card. Called again to reconsider and they approved me. Probably the worst idea of my life, but at least the article inspired me to try again. …however, as previously stated, it was probably a horrible idea and I’ll regret everything.

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