When you've been turned down

Second Chance at a Credit Card

by Bill Hardekopf


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Reconsideration is an unpublished "secret" in the credit card industry. If your credit card application has been rejected, there is a number you can call to explain your side of the story to a real person and appeal for approval.

When your credit card application has been declined, the bank or issuer has to tell you why. If you have an explanation or solution to their objection, this reconsideration process could be a good option for you.

Most applications are processed through computers, which can instantly reject certain applicants based on specific criteria. For instance, if your credit score is too low (even by just 10 points), the computer may decline your application without hesitation. Calling a reconsideration line gives you a chance to talk to a real person about this and allows you the opportunity to explain your situation. This could result in your application getting a second look.

Here are some tips before you begin the reconsideration process:

  1. Be prepared for your call. Know your credit score, your annual income, and your current debt.
  2. Get copies of your credit report from the reporting agencies. You are allowed one free report each year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies and you can access these at AnnualCreditReport.com. Look for errors on your credit report and fix anything that may have caused the rejection. Know what your reports say and that it matches your actual activity.
  3. Don't wait. Call the credit card reconsideration number within 30 days of your application. If you wait longer, you will need to apply again and this will create another hard credit pull.
  4. Keep existing credit cards open. You may need the flexibility to move credit from a current card to the new card to make adjustments for your credit limit. Credit card issuers are cautious about the risk of too much available credit.
  5. Give good reasons for applying for the card. Be specific about why you want the card such as there is no foreign transaction fee, you do a lot of international traveling, you need a business card to keep these expenses separate from your personal expenses, etc.
  6. Be considerate. Remain friendly and calm, even if you are again denied the card. Call back in a few days and see if a different representative will approve you.

Are you heading for debt trouble? This simple checklist can help you.

Here are the numbers to call for some of the major credit card issuers. Some have an automated menu and others immediately have a live agent:

American Express - (800) 314-0237
Bank of America - (866) 458-8805
Capital One - (800) 625-7866
Citi - (800) 695-5171
US Bank - (800) 947-1444
Chase - (888) 254-0625


Bill Hardekopf is CEO of LowCards.com, a site that simplifies the confusion of shopping for credit cards. It is a free, independent website that helps consumers easily compare credit cards in a variety of categories such as lowest rates, rewards, rebates, balance transfers and lowest introductory rates. It also gives an unbiased ranking and review for each card.

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