Credit Card Reconsideration Lines for 2024

Imagine applying for your ideal credit card, one that ticks all the boxes for rewards and benefits. You fill out the application with a sense of optimism, only to be greeted by a rejection letter. This disappointment is more common than you might think.

Recent statistics reveal that about 20% of credit card applications are initially denied. But there’s a twist many aren’t aware of – a denied credit card application doesn’t always mean the end of your journey.

Lady on phone

You can take advantage of credit card reconsideration lines, a concept that is unknown to many applicants. Whether you’re aiming for a card with great travel perks or needing a financial buffer during tough times, understanding how to use these reconsideration lines can potentially reverse that initial rejection.

Below, we’ll uncover what exactly a credit card reconsideration line is, the best ways to approach it, and tactics to increase your chances of turning that ‘no’ into a ‘yes’. This is your guide to transforming a closed door into a gateway of opportunities in the world of credit card applications.

What is a credit card reconsideration line?

A credit card reconsideration line is a direct phone line to your credit card issuer, providing a second chance to argue your case for a credit card application that was initially denied. This line connects you to a customer service representative, allowing you to present additional information and context that might not have been evident in your application.

The Automated Approval Process

Initially, when you apply for a credit card, whether online or via paper application, your application undergoes an automated review process. This process involves a computer algorithm evaluating your credit history, credit score, and stated income without human intervention. It’s a straightforward but impersonal approach that might overlook the nuances of your financial situation.

The Advantage of Human Interaction

By using a reconsideration line, you break away from the limitations of automated processing. Speaking directly to a representative allows for a more nuanced discussion of your financial circumstances. It’s an opportunity to explain any complexities in your credit report or to highlight aspects of your financial health that a computer algorithm might miss.

Major Credit Card Issuers

Most major credit card companies have various customer service phone numbers to help you with your questions and concerns.

Here are some of the most common credit card reconsideration lines to help you move your credit card application forward. Of course, they may change frequently, so be prepared to do some digging if needed. Furthermore, be prepared to have your zip code and Social Security number on hand.

Credit Card IssuerReconsideration LineNotes / Additional Numbers
American ExpressPersonal: 800-528-4800, 877-399-3083, 866-314-0237; Business: 800-492-3344Application status for business cards: 800-567-1085. Online application status available.
Bank of America866-224-8555 or 877-721-9405 (Choose option 3, then SSN)Online application status available.
Barclaycard888-232-0780 (Choose option 3)Customer service: 866-928-8598.
Online application status available.
Capital OneNo dedicated reconsideration numberCustomer service: 800-625-7866.
ChasePersonal credit cards: 888-270-2127; Business credit cards: 800-453-9719Customer service (personal): 800-432-3117; Customer service (business): 888-269-8690; Check application status (personal): 800-436-7927; Check application status (business): 800-453-9719.
CitibankNo dedicated reconsideration numberPersonal credit card line: 800-695-5171; Business credit card line: 800-288-4653.
DiscoverNo dedicated reconsideration number888-676-3695 or 1-800-DISCOVER.
U.S. BankCard Services: 800-685-7680Application status: 800-947-1444.
Wells Fargo866-412-5956General customer service: 800-642-4720; Application status: 800-967-9521; Application status for Wells Fargo American Express: 877-514-3717.

Timing Your Reconsideration Request: When to Call

Understanding the best time to contact the reconsideration line is key to potentially reversing a credit card application denial. The timing of your call can depend on the initial response you received. Here are some pointers to help you decide when to make your move:

  • Immediate response after denial: Should your application be denied, time is of the essence. Reach out to the reconsideration line as soon as you can. Most credit card issuers keep applications on file for about 30 days post-submission, so you need to act quickly.
  • Handling a ‘pending’ status: If your application is marked as ‘pending’, a different approach is recommended. Here, it’s wise to wait for the bank to reach its final decision. If the outcome is a denial, that is your signal to call the reconsideration line. Waiting until you receive a definitive answer allows you to address specific reasons for the initial non-approval in your reconsideration request.

Pre-Call Preparation: How to Boost Your Approval Odds

Before initiating your reconsideration call, be well-prepared with all relevant information at hand. This preparation increases your chances of successfully reversing the decision on your credit card application. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Understand the reason for denial: Start by identifying why your application was denied. You can often find this information in the denial letter sent by the credit card issuer. If the reason is unclear, especially if it relates to your credit report, request a copy of your credit report for review.
  • Review your credit report: Examine your credit report meticulously for any potential issues that might have led to the denial. Look for red flags like high levels of outstanding debt or a history of late payments. During your call, it is important to understand these issues so that you can address them effectively.

Tips to Enhance Your Approval Chances

When you’re ready to make the call, consider these tips to improve your chances of approval:

  • Be polite, not combative: Always maintain politeness and respect when interacting with customer service representatives, even if you disagree with them.
  • Express your loyalty and responsibility: Start the conversation by highlighting your loyalty and responsible credit behavior. If you are an existing customer, mention your history with the company and your record of timely payments. If you’re a new customer, discuss your positive history with other issuers.
  • Negotiate: Use negotiation tactics, such as offering to transfer a balance from another account or close an existing account, especially if you have multiple cards with the same issuer.
  • Make it a friendly conversation: Engage in a discussion rather than making demands. Explain your reasons for wanting the credit card and ask for suggestions on what you can do to improve your chances of approval.
  • Explain your situation: If your credit history has particular issues, be prepared to provide context. Whether it’s a period of financial hardship that’s been resolved or numerous credit inquiries due to rate shopping, these explanations can provide valuable context.
  • Prepare talking points about your financial situation: If you hold several cards from the same issuer, be prepared to explain why another card would be beneficial to you.

By following these steps and tips, you enhance your chances of turning a denial into an approval. Remember, the key is to provide a well-rounded view of your financial situation, demonstrating both responsibility and a clear understanding of your credit history.

Facing Rejection: Next Steps After a ‘No’

After all your explanations and negotiations, you may still find yourself hearing a “no” from the customer service representative. But, fear not; you still have options to try out directly through the credit card reconsideration line!

Ask to Speak to the Manager

First, try to escalate the call to a manager or senior representative. Just as before, you don’t need to be rude to make this happen. Instead, politely ask to speak to someone with more authority, and thank them for their time. Review your talking points while you’re on hold, then try it again with the next level up.

Hang Up and Try Again

If you’re not gaining any traction with the representative you’re speaking with, you can always hang up and call the reconsideration line again.

Call centers are large, and you’ll almost certainly talk to another representative by dialing once more. Know that most places keep notes on each call received, so it won’t be a completely fresh slate. But you may have a more sympathetic ear this time around.

Try your luck again because there’s really no downside. At worst, you’ll still get another no. At best, you’ll hang up with a new card on its way in the mail.

Gather Information

When you’re on the phone with either the first representative or a superior, ask someone why exactly you were denied credit. This helps you negotiate because you know what the better bargaining chip may be. Even if you don’t get approved immediately for that specific credit card, knowledge is power.

You can take the information and start making changes to address them. Perhaps you need to improve your credit score or pay off some debt. After you resolve these issues, you can start applying for the credit cards you want.

Common Reasons for Credit Card Rejections

When applying for a credit card, it’s helpful to know the typical reasons applications are declined. This knowledge can assist you in identifying any potential issues in your own financial profile and addressing them proactively. Common reasons for credit card rejections include:

  • Poor credit history
  • Lack of credit history
  • Insufficient income
  • Too much existing debt
  • Too many credit cards
  • Not meeting the minimum age requirement
  • Not having a valid government-issued ID
  • Not having a valid SSN
  • Too many recent credit applications
  • Bankruptcy
  • Frozen credit report

Other Options if Your Credit Card Application Is Denied

If your credit card application was denied, it’s your legal right to know why. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) state that credit card companies must mail you a letter explaining why. Review that denial letter and then send an actual response using the address provided.

You can then respond directly to their concerns and, again, get your side of the story in front of a fresh face. It’s not guaranteed to work, but it certainly can’t hurt. Follow the same rules of being polite with this method.

Messaging Portal

You can also contact them using their online tools. If you’re already a customer with an online account, send a note through their messaging portal. Oftentimes, these messages are read by more senior customer service representatives. Explain your predicament in just a few lines.

It’s also good to mention that you’d like your message forward to someone who can help if need be. In this situation, you may very likely receive a phone call directly from a bank employee.

Online Chat

Another option is to utilize the credit card company’s online chat feature, especially if you don’t have an existing account. However, there is little chance of a successful credit card application simply because of the hierarchy of customer service reps.

Online chat reps are usually at the bottom of the ladder. But again, for just a few minutes of your time (and likely while you’re doing something else), it’s worth trying this avenue. If nothing else, the employee you’re chatting with may be able to connect you with the right person to approve your request.

Bottom Line

A credit card issuer’s reconsideration line allows you to push your application forward, even after an initial denial. Always remain polite, but don’t hesitate to ask for someone with more authority if you’re not satisfied with the response.

As with most things in life, persistence is key. If calling the reconsideration line doesn’t work for you, there are still even more options. Know what they are, how to prepare for them, and get the credit card that works best for you.

Lauren Ward
Meet the author

Lauren is a personal finance writer who strives to equip readers with the knowledge to achieve their financial objectives. She has over a decade of experience and a Bachelor's degree in Japanese from Georgetown University.