Reconsideration Line Advice
We are about to give you some advice that some of us are reluctant to take ourselves…
If you get denied for a credit card, you should call the reconsideration line and see if you can’t convince the credit company to give you the card anyway.
The reason that this is good advice is that it often works. Sometimes there was just a mistake on the application form, sometimes you can address a concern by cancelling another card or lowering its credit limit, sometimes you’ll get a different decision just because you called and asked. You obviously wanted the card and you already took the credit score hit from the application inquiry—you might as well take the extra step to see if you can get it.
The reasons that some of us tend to put off calling is that the potential of being told "no" feels a little awkward, asking can feel a little bit pushy, and the possibility of getting “grilled” by the customer service representative feels intimidating.
However, it is the responsible thing to do and the call should go relatively smoothly. That said, if you’ve been rapidly collecting signup bonuses, it can be a little bit more uncomfortable to explain why you’ve gotten a dozen new cards this year.
If there is no number on your denial letter or you want to call before you receive one, Doctor of Credit provides a convenient list of relatively up-to-date reconsideration phone numbers. You can also check the MyFico.com list of backdoor phone numbers.
Either way, if you follow our advice, there is nothing to fear and there is a decent change you'll get the card that you wanted.
- Avoid calling while your application is still pending. First off, there is a good chance that you will wind up getting approved anyway, so why make a call when you don’t have to. Secondly, you might say something that causes them to decide to decline your application. If you wind up getting denied, there will be plenty of time for reconsideration. In the meantime, stay cheerful, as you’ll probably still get approved for the card.
- Read your “adverse action notice” and make a plan. If you get rejected, you’ll receive an “adverse action notice” that will explain the reasons that you didn’t initially get the card. Reading over this notice will help you prepare for the concerns you may hear when you call in and develop your likely responses. When you call, you don’t need to start immediately giving them your arguments. After greeting them nicely, ask them why you didn’t get the card—maybe something like “I was really looking forward to getting credit card X, can you tell me why I was declined? Perhaps I can clear up any concerns that you might have.”
- Once you’ve been denied, don’t wait too long to call in. If you wait too long, they’ll make you apply again and you’ll take another hit to your credit report.
- Be prepared to answer basic questions about your application. The call will probably start off with having you re-confirm much of the information from your initial application. Be prepared to give them the same information that you provided via the form. It is also helpful to have any reference numbers that they gave you to help the representative look up the relevant information.
- Be friendly and polite. The person on the other end of the line probably participates in these calls all day long. Even worse, many of the people who call in are jerks. You should try to be friendly and polite. It might improve your chances of getting approved, it will certainly make the call far more pleasant, and it is the right way to treat the other person.
- Don’t tell them that the reason you want the card is to get the signup bonus, but feel free to tell them you are excited about the other benefits. Even if you just want the card for the signup bonus, do your research about the benefits of the card and come up with some reasons why you would want to use it. For example, if there is a bonus on the card for a specific type of spending, you can mention that, even if you’ve already decided that there is a better option that you will usually take advantage of. The customer service representative probably knows that you are just trying to get the signup bonus, but you should make a credible argument for other reasons why you want the card. (Of course, this is easy if there ARE other reasons why you want the card).
- Address any issues as best as you can. For example, if they say that they are worried that your income isn’t high enough to get the card, point out that you’ve had no problem paying off your other cards with your current level of income.
- If things don’t seem to be going well, you can always call back and try again with someone else. Politely excuse yourself and then call back to try with a different representative. In the hobby, this is called “HUCA”, short for "hang-up and call again".
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