How to ask for a credit card reconsideration

Array of credit cards

If your credit card application is denied, you don’t have to take no for an answer -- at least not right away.

The company has to tell you why it denied your application.

If the reason is "too many requests for credit or opened accounts with us," consider this initial rejection a starting point for a possible negotiation.

Credit card companies have limits on how much credit they will extend to a consumer based on that consumer’s risk profile.

They determine the risk of extending credit to you based on your credit score, your income (as stated in your application) and how much credit you already have with the company.

You can’t change your credit score or your income in the very short term, but you can change how much credit you already have with the company by requesting a lower credit limit on an existing card or closing an existing account.

By talking to an experienced customer service rep, you should be able to find out which of these actions, if any, could turn your recent rejection into an approval. This process is called "credit reconsideration."

If you already have one or more accounts with a given creditor, what do you need another one for?

There might be a new card that offers better perks than your existing cards. Those perks might be a generous account opening bonus, superior rewards or a 0% APR balance transfer offer.

If you simply want more available credit, all you need to do is ask for a credit line increase on an existing card -- it isn’t necessary to apply for a new account.

Before you call to ask for reconsideration, make sure you have your denial letter in front of you because it contains a reference number for your case.

Also, think of reasons why you’re a valuable customer that you can present to strengthen your case for a new account.

Are you a longtime customer? Do you always make your payments on time? Is your credit score above 720?

If you have a negative history with the creditor or a lower credit score, they may not be willing to reconsider. You’re a higher-risk customer if you have late payments, charge-offs or other negative items in your past.

Be ready to justify your history of account openings and closings with that creditor if they ask about your activity (and don’t mention sign-up bonuses). Also, pull up your existing accounts and decide what account you’d be willing to close or where you’re willing to reduce a credit line and by how much in order to qualify for a new account.

Credit card companies don’t make it easy for consumers to learn about the reconsideration process. It won’t be mentioned in your denial of credit letter, and they won’t give you a special phone number to call. You also won’t find information about this option on creditors’ websites.

Extensive anecdotal evidence from around the Web indicates that numerous consumers have had success with this process.

Some sites even provide unpublished credit reconsideration phone numbers. Unless you can verify that these phone numbers are legitimate, however, it may be risky to call them.

A safer method would be to call the creditor’s official customer service number and ask to speak to a credit reconsideration analyst. You don’t want to talk to just any customer service representative; you want to talk to an experienced rep who understands what you’re asking for and who won’t merely pull up your record and repeat your denial for the same reason.

If the first call doesn’t work, try again -- you may have better luck with a different rep. If phone calls aren’t your thing, try sending a letter to the address on your credit denial letter. Include the same information you would have presented in a phone call.

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