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Making Sense of the Credit Card Reconsideration Process

Making Sense of the Credit Card Reconsideration Process

When you apply for a credit card, you usually get an immediate response: you’re either approved or (gulp) denied. If you have your heart set on a certain card because of its valuable rewards or benefits, getting a denial can be frustrating. However, there is a way to qualify for the card despite being denied: credit card reconsideration.

What is credit card reconsideration?

When you submit your application for a credit card, the company looks at certain variables, such as your credit score and the amount of credit lines you have open. However, the application may not tell the full story. There may be extenuating circumstances or details that could change a card company’s mind.

For that reason, credit card companies set up dedicated phone lines for credit decision appeals. If you receive a denial, you can call and explain your situation. You could potentially turn a “no” into a “yes”.

When to call the reconsideration line

When a company denies your application, they will send you an official letter in the mail detailing the reason. For example, if you had a credit freeze in place, they may not have been able to access your credit report. Or, if your income is too low, they’ll note that in the letter.

If you think that more information would affect their decision — for example, if you have removed the credit freeze or you have additional income from a side hustle — it’s a good idea to call the reconsideration line.

How to prepare for the call

Before dialing the phone, make sure you prepare for the call:

  • Know your credit score: Knowing your credit score will empower you. You’ll have a more persuasive argument if you can say confidently that you have good credit. Luckily, you can get your credit score for free from CreditSoup.com.

  • Look up your credit report: Besides your credit score, you should know what’s on your credit report. For example, if there is a missed payment, make sure you know what it was and the reason why you missed it.

  • Make a compelling argument: Think about things that would make you a good customer. For example, if you had other cards with the company, or have a checking or savings account, the credit card company will be more likely to issue you a card than if you had no relationship with them.

  • Negotiate the credit limit: In some cases, you can qualify for a card if you’re willing to accept the lowest possible credit limit. While that may sound less than ideal, it gives you a foot in the door. After making a few months of on-time payments, you can request a credit limit increase.

Once you’re prepared, go ahead and call the reconsideration line. Explain that you recently applied and were denied, but think that they should reconsider based on your credit score or loyalty to the company.

Even if you’re frustrated, make sure you stay calm and polite. Your success is dependent on your connection with the representative on the line, so it pays to be nice. If it doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to call again. A more sympathetic representative may be able to help you.

What to do if the reconsideration process doesn’t work

In some cases, the representatives will just not be able to budge on their decision. If that happens, don’t give up hope! Instead, wait 90 days. Spend that time improving your credit by making all of your bill payments on time and paying down existing debt. After 90 days, re-apply for the credit card. You may be able to qualify with a little time.

If you still don’t qualify, look for an alternative card. It may be that the card you’re applying for is simply out of reach because of your income or credit score; another card with a less-stringent criteria may be a better choice. There are lots of great credit cards for those with only fair credit.

Applying for a credit card

When it comes to applying for credit cards, the answer you receive isn’t always cut and dry. There’s always some wiggle room for negotiation. If you’re determined to secure a certain credit card, do your homework ahead of time, then contact the credit card reconsideration line. With some hard work and some luck, you can get the card you want.

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