No one likes having a credit card application denied. In a best-case scenario, it leaves you unable to take advantage of a rewards program or sign-up bonus you’ve been eyeing.
In a worst-case scenario, it leaves you cash-strapped when you need that extra credit line to cover a financial emergency.
It may surprise you to know that hearing an initial “no” on your application isn’t necessarily the final word on your eligibility for a credit card.
Major credit card companies have what is known as a credit card reconsideration line. Read on to find out what it is and how to use it to get approved for a credit card.
What is a credit card reconsideration line?
Much like it sounds, it’s a phone number you can use to call the credit card issuer and ask them to reconsider your application. It gives you the chance to offer fresh context beyond the application form as to why you are indeed worthy of a credit card.
When you first applied for the card, perhaps you filled out an online form or a paper application. These forms are sent through an automated approval process. Your credit history is checked by a computer — not a human being.
So, the success of your original application primarily depends on an automatic pull and analysis of your credit report and credit score. It also considers your stated income.
Talk to a Real Person
However, since all of this is performed by a computer, there’s no personal (and sometimes logical) thought behind it. Instead, your chances of being approved are determined by an algorithm, whether it’s deserved or not.
But, when you choose to follow up by phone, you get the chance to discuss your situation with an actual person.
It’s best to plan in advance, so check out the next section for some strategic tactics. When you’re informed and prepared, you can help make the customer service rep’s job much easier for them. Even if you don’t, you still have options available to get an approval.
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.
American Express Reconsideration Line
For personal cards: 800-528-4800, 877-399-3083, or 866-314-0237
For business cards: 800-492-3344
Application status for business cards: 800-567-1085
You can also view your pending application status online.
Bank of America Reconsideration Line
866-224-8555 or 877-721-9405 (Choose option 3, followed by your SSN.)
You can also check your application status online.
Barclaycard Reconsideration Line
888-232-0780 (Choose option 3.)
You can also check your application status online.
Customer service: 866-928-8598
Capital One Reconsideration Line
Capital One doesn’t have a dedicated reconsideration number, but you can call customer service.
Customer service: 800-625-7866
Chase Reconsideration Line
To speak to a representative about reconsidering your Chase credit card application:
Personal credit card line: 888-270-2127
Call this line for all personal credit cards: Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Freedom, Southwest Premier Card, IHG Rewards Club Premier Card, Marriott Rewards Premier card, United Explorer Card, World of Hyatt Card, etc.
Business credit card line: 800-453-9719
Call this line for all business credit cards: Chase Ink Business Preferred, Ink Business Unlimited, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card, United Explorer Business Card, etc.
For other inquiries about your Chase card, call customer service.
Customer service (personal): 800-432-3117
Customer service (business): 888-269-8690
To check on your Chase credit card status, call application status numbers.
Check application status (personal): 800-436-7927
Check application status (business): 800-453-9719
Citibank Reconsideration Line
Citibank doesn’t have a dedicated reconsideration number. Instead, you’ll have to call customer service.
Personal credit card line: 800-695-5171
Business credit card line: 800-288-4653
Discover Reconsideration Line
Discover doesn’t have a dedicated reconsideration number. Call customer service.
888-676-3695 or 1-800-DISCOVER
U.S. Bank Reconsideration Line
Card Services: 800-685-7680
Application status: 800-947-1444
Wells Fargo Reconsideration Line
General customer service: 800-642-4720
Application status: 800-967-9521
Application status for Wells Fargo American Express: 877-514-3717
When should you request reconsideration?
It’s best to call reconsideration as soon as possible after your application is denied. Most applications expire 30 days after submission, so it’s best to call before that time.
If you don’t get an immediate decision and your application goes into “pending”, it’s best to wait until the bank notifies you of the denial.
What should you do before calling?
Before you pick up the phone, gather your thoughts and do a bit of research. Start by finding out why you were denied a credit card in the first place. If you’re not sure of what might be lurking on your credit report, request a copy to review.
Once you’ve got your credit report, look at it closely for anything that would be a red flag to a credit card issuer. For example, do you have a lot of outstanding debt? Are there multiple late payments from other accounts?
Explain Your Situation
It might be hard to plead your case on the reconsideration line if any of these situations apply to you. However, you might be able to explain delinquent accounts if you had a period of temporary financial hardship that has now been resolved. And there are a few other situations that may warrant a change of heart from credit card issuers.
Some automated approval systems, for example, tend to deny applications that have too many credit card inquiries. But if you were shopping for a mortgage or car loan or simply wanted to compare rates on other credit cards, you may be able to explain that roadblock away.
Another reason for initial denial is if you already hold several cards from a particular issuer. In these cases, a fresh set of human eyes may be all it takes to change that credit denial to an approval. Prepare some talking points about your situation before picking up the phone.
Tips for Approval
Here are some tips that might help you get approved.
1. Be Polite, Not Combative
When asking any customer service representative about something, always be polite and respectful. This holds true even if you disagree with what the representative is saying.
2. Express Your Loyalty and Responsibility
When you start your conversation, begin with examples of your loyalty and responsibility. You can do so in one of two ways.
- If you’re already a customer of the company, talk about how long you’ve been with them and all the timely payments you’ve made.
- If you’ve been a long term customer elsewhere, tempt them with the opportunity to take business away from a competitor.
Next, use some negotiating tactics. For example, you can offer a few different things in exchange for credit card approval to benefit both you and the credit card issuer.
One option is to transfer an outstanding balance from a different account. This limits your open lines of credit and keeps your overall available line of credit the same amount.
It also gives the credit card company automatic business from the interest charged on your transferred balance. This tactic is a great way to get a card with better rewards or different rates and terms from your existing cards.
Another option is to offer closing an existing account, especially if you have multiple cards with the same credit card company. Offer this suggestion and see how your customer service rep responds.
4. Make It a Friendly Conversation
They may have a clearer idea of the winning combination of accounts and credit lines. Don’t be afraid to make this a conversation, rather than listing out your demands.
Explain why you want the credit card and ask what you can do to make that happen. Credit card issuers want your business if they believe you will pay your bills on time.
What to do when you still get 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.
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.
What are the most common reasons for being denied a credit card?
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.