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Denied for a credit card? Get reconsidered!

Call them even if they said they'll get back to you.

For me, one of the best things about starting a new business is getting a shiny new credit card to go along with it. I do love the smell of a huge sign-up bonus in the morning. Mmmmmm. However, when you first apply for a credit card, their robot makes a decision about whether or not to give you one. Sometimes the robot automatically approves or denies you. Sometimes, the robot can't make a decision and hands your application off to a human. That's when you get the "We'll get back to you in X days" message. A'int nobody got time for that, especially if they end up denying you after you wait all that time! The solution is to call them and get reconsidered -- ASAP.

Issuers are actually required to reconsider applications upon request. Regulation 1002.6 in the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, states that creditors shall consider โ€œany information the applicant may present that tends to indicate the credit history being considered by the creditor does not accurately reflect the applicantโ€™s creditworthiness.โ€ In other words, you can get in touch with an actual human and ask them what needs to happen for you to be approved. Most of them will work with you to get you approved.

There are only a few things that will 100% stop you from getting the credit card you want:
  1. American Express - There are three unbreakable rules here:
    • 4/10 - If you already have four personal AMEX CREDIT cards, they'll auto deny you. If you already have ten AMEX CHARGE cards, they'll auto deny you.
    • 2 in 90 - You only get two AMEX approvals within any ninety day period.
    • 1 in 5 - If you've already been approved for a new CC somewhere else within the past five days, AMEX will auto deny you.
  2. Capital One - You only get one application every six months. If they deny you, you still need to wait six months. Yeah, it's crazy. They'll also cap you at a maximum of five Capital One credit cards.
  3. Chase - If you've opened five or more personal credit cards in the last two years, Chase will auto deny you for almost all their cards. There's no way around this.
  4. Citibank - Four rules to keep in mind here:
    • 8 days - You can't apply for more than one card within any eight day period. Just applied for AMEX 7 days ago? You've still got at least another day to wait before your Citi application isn't auto-denied.
    • 65 days - You only get two chances to apply for Citi cards within any sixty day period. To be safe though, everyone waits an extra five days between applications. Not approvals... applications.
    • 95 days - If you're applying for a Citi business card, the wait time bumps from sixty to ninety days plus an extra five days for safety.
    • 6 in 6 - If you've had six or more hard pulls on your credit report in the past six months, Citi will likely auto deny you. This is the only rule on this entire list that can possibly be bent. All others are unbreakable.
If you haven't run afoul of any of the unbreakable rules above, then here are the exact steps for you to follow:
  1. Be prepared to tell the human you eventually speak with, why you want the card.
    • Business card? Tell them how you want to consolidate all your business spending in one place. (Examples: Chase Ink, American Express Business)
    • Travel card? Tell them how much you value not having a foreign transaction fee and the protections it gives you when you're away from home. (Examples: Southwest Rapid Rewards, IHG Premier)
    • Great card benefits? Tell them how much you'll value those benefits. (Examples: Chase Sapphire, American Express Platinum)
    Know everything about the card you're applying for, and why you want it. Don't lie, but do be knowledgeable and flattering. Also -- NEVER mention that you want the sign-up bonus, and NEVER mention the unbreakable rules from above. The first makes you sound greedy, and the second makes you sound like a know-it-all.
  2. Use the chart below to find the phone number for the bank's reconsideration line.
  3. Call and follow the prompts. They're different for each bank. You'll eventually get to a human.
  4. When you get a human on the phone, they'll review your application. Either they'll approve you on the spot, or tell you why you weren't approved.
  5. If you weren't approved, ask them what you need to do to get approved. The answer may be as easy as moving some credit from one of your other credit cards over to this new one.
  6. Above all -- don't be a Karen. You get MUCH further by being nice and polite.
  7. If they deny you, you can always hang up and call again. Talking to a different human may get you different results.
Unless your credit report is a complete garbage fire, you've usually got a good chance of turning things around and getting approved. Ok, happy recon calling and good luck!

Issuer Phone Number
Chase 1-800-945-2006 (Press 0)
American Express 1-877-399-3083
Bank of America 1-866-422-8089
Capital One 1-800-625-7866
Citi Bank 1-888-201-4523
Discover 1-800-347-2683
Barclays 1-888-232-0780
First National 1-888-530-3626
HSBC 1-888-385-8916
PNC 1-800-762-5684
USAA 1-800-531-8722
U.S Bank 1- 800-947-1444
Wells Fargo 1-800-869-3557

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