Declined For a Credit Card? Call the Reconsideration Line

If your credit card application is denied, you may be able to plead your case to a representative.
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Written by Craig Joseph
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Edited by Erin Hurd
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Co-written by Stephen Vanderpool

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When you submit a credit card application, a complicated algorithm analyzes your credit report and determines whether you meet the issuer’s criteria for approval. It can sting if you don't qualify and the application is declined, but talking to a human through the reconsideration line can help.

The reconsideration process includes a manual review of your credit report by an analyst with the bank or card issuer. This is your opportunity to answer some questions and see if you can turn that denial into an approval. Sometimes it’s as simple as reallocating credit lines or submitting identity verification.

Here’s what you need to know about reconsideration of a declined credit card application.

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Find out why you were denied

If your credit card application is declined due to information on your credit report, you’ll receive an adverse action notice from the card issuer. This notice is legally required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and will detail the reason(s) the application was rejected. Some issuers provide the notice immediately, while others make you wait up to 10 days for a letter to arrive in the mail. Understanding the reason for denial can help you prepare for the conversation you'll have during the reconsideration process.

Common reasons for having a credit card application declined include, but are not limited to:

  • Too many recent hard inquiries: You receive a hard inquiry each time a creditor pulls your credit report. Too many hard inquiries over a short period can appear to creditors like you’re searching for a lot of credit fast. Have a reason for the inquiries when you call for reconsideration.

  • Too many recent new accounts: Each approved application for credit result in a new account that appears on your credit report. Multiple new accounts showing up quickly and over a short span can spook issuers. If you’ve received a lot of new credit fast, be prepared to provide the reason why during reconsideration.

  • Maximum amount of credit extended: If you have multiple credit cards with one issuer, you may have hit a cap on the maximum amount of credit they’re willing to provide. You can ask to reallocate or shift a portion of an existing credit line from a card you don’t use as frequently to try and get the new account approved.

  • Debt-to-income ratio is too high: Your debt-to-income ratio is the amount of debt you carry divided by your income. The higher this ratio, the riskier you look to a card issuer.

  • Delinquent payments: If you failed to pay another loan on time, that will show up on your credit report as a delinquent payment. If there is a specific reason you missed a payment, be prepared to discuss that during reconsideration. However, too many delinquent payments will be tough to explain away.

🤓Nerdy Tip

While you can discuss the contents of your credit file during reconsideration, the process generally won’t help you bypass the specific rules of individual issuers, such as Chase’s 5/24 rule or Citi’s 48-month rule.

Calling the reconsideration line

There’s a degree of social engineering that comes with the reconsideration process. Remember that they (the bank) have something you want, and you need to appear as a worthwhile credit risk. Have a plan before you call, and understand your credit file and why you were initially declined to help move the conversation.

Here are some things to keep in mind when calling the reconsideration line.

1. Sell yourself as loyal and responsible: Banks want to retain profitable customers. If you've established a solid repayment history, let them know. If you've been a long-time customer, remind them. Make it clear you would like to do, or continue doing, business with the company.

2. Negotiate when necessary: If the conversation isn't going as you'd hoped, you may have room to negotiate. This isn't always possible. If need be, ask if you can transfer credit from an older account to create the new one. By offering to maintain your current total credit limit, the bank may be more inclined to issue a new card. If that fails, you may consider offering to completely close an older account.

3. Be nice: Remember, the bank doesn't owe you anything. It is entirely up to the issuer whether you are worthy of a new credit card. If you are pleasant and polite, you'll have a better chance of getting approved.

The reconsideration line phone numbers for each of the major credit issuers are provided in the table below.


Reconsideration Line Phone Number

American Express




Capital One






Wells Fargo


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