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Earning big travel-card bonuses is the best way to get the miles or points you need to book that next dream trip. But, in order to get that travel credit card (or cash-back card) bonus, you’ll need to be approved for the card and then meet the card’s minimum spending requirement.
If you need help with laying out a plan to meet a minimum spending requirement, check out this guide. But what can you do if you are not approved for a credit card? Try to avoid being turned down in the first place. Be sure you’re following these card application approval tips before you submit you application.
Even if you have a pristine credit score and meet all of the bank application guidelines, your application still can be rejected. However, that doesn’t have to be the end of the road. In the past, I’ve have successfully reached out to banks for reconsideration on many card applications that were initially marked as pending or denied.
How to make your reconsideration call a success
The right time for making a reconsideration call is a matter of debate. If your application goes to pending, you might wait for the bank to make a decision because you still could be approved. I’ve had success waiting and I’ve had success calling right away to chat with the bank about a pending application. So there’s no hard-and-fast rule.
However, when an application is flat-out denied, I generally call the bank right away. Some people wait to get a rejection letter. This allows you to know why you were rejected so you can be better prepared for the call. That can be a good move — just don’t wait too long to call because you’ll have only about 30 days from when you applied to have your application reviewed.
Before you pick up the phone, you should know if there is anything on your credit report that may give the card issuer pause. Review a copy of your credit report before you apply and, if possible, take the time you need to build your credit score. It’s also helpful to dig around online to know which credit report the bank uses. Each report can be slightly different.
Also, if you have a lot of recent inquiries on your report or existing cards with that issuer, be prepared to explain why. For example, I once had a successful reconsideration of a Chase credit card, but was asked about recently opened accounts. It’s helpful to know those answers ahead of time.
Lead the call
It is better for you to lead the credit card reconsideration call than to let the representative lead the call. Tell the representative that you love your existing relationship with the bank (if you have one) and that you want to know if there is any way to be approved for a new rewards credit card. If you already know or suspect the reason why you were denied, then bring solutions to the table.
If you have existing cards with that bank, offer to reduce a credit line on the existing cards and move it to the new account. In some situations, you may be able to close an existing account to open a new one. Although that’s not always ideal, it can be a useful strategy. If you understand what’s on your credit report, you’ll be able to lead with solutions or answer any potential questions.
Know why you’re applying for a specific card
Emphasize the reasons why you want a new card. For example, if you’re applying for a small-business credit card, you may need it to keep your business and personal expenses separate. Or you may want a card for its valuable ongoing perks, such as a bonus-spending category or cellphone insurance.
Highlighting what you love about the card and how you plan to use it is a good idea. Perhaps you’re looking for a credit card without an annual fee or need a credit card with no foreign transaction fee. If it’s a cobranded airline card or hotel card is there a reason you’re loyal to that brand or switching to it? I live in a hub city for United Airlines and American Airlines, so those are the airline cards I carry. But if I ended up moving to Atlanta, I’d be switching to Delta.
Leverage your existing relationship with the bank
You are more likely to be approved on your credit card reconsideration call if the representative knows that you are a loyal and profitable customer for the bank. If you have a checking account, savings account or credit card with the bank, be sure to bring that up. And if you’ve never missed a payment, let them know.
If you have a card with the bank it’s a good idea to spend on the card well before your application. I had an application denied for not using existing cards, and six months later, was approved for the same card after regularly using cards I already had with the issuer.
Be polite with the telephone representative
This goes without saying, but you get more when you are calm, positive and well prepared. Yelling at the phone representative during the call will only hurt your chances for approval.
If your credit card application is denied, it might not be the final answer. I’ve had lots of card applications approved even after they were initially listed as pending or denied. All it took was a call to the bank’s reconsideration department to square things away. But, I’ve also been denied even after pleading my case. So nothing is foolproof.
It’s also important to know whether or not you qualify for a card before you apply. There are certain bank application restrictions that you can’t get around.
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