By: Spencer Howard
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You find a great credit card. You fill out the application with hopes of a new adventure. You know exactly what you’re going to do with those points.
You hit the submit button on your application and… Pending?!?! Denied?!?!
This is not what you planned. This was not supposed to happen.
Now, take a breath. It’s not over yet.
We are not at the end of this particular dance yet. It is only the beginning. Now is the time to prepare for a reconsideration call.
Let’s get into the details of how to handle this (annoying) situation.
When to call
Your best bet to turn an instant denial into approval is to call a bank’s reconsideration line. Since you’ve already been denied, there’s no need to hesitate on this one. Go ahead and call.
But what if you get a pending notification? This situation isn’t cut and dry. You will find some who prefer to call immediately and many others who prefer to wait.
Personally, I don’t see the need to call until you are denied. I prefer to let my application work its way through the system and wait for an approval or denial. It’s easy enough to check the status of applications online or via automated phone systems while you wait.
Sometimes you will receive a letter to verify information and sometimes you will receive a phone call asking the same thing. Other times, you will be approved without doing anything else.
If you wait and are denied, you can still call reconsideration to have an analyst review your application.
Keep in mind, once you have applied, you have 30 days* to take care of this process. If you receive a pending notification and are later denied, don’t put off making the reconsideration call. Get it done right away.
*If you wait more than 30 days, you will have to re-apply. This will result in another hard pull of your credit report.
Reasons for a Reconsideration Call
Let’s just go ahead and address what is NOT an acceptable reason for wanting the card.
“I really want the sign-up bonus.”
Riiiiight… If you’re thinking about saying that, just turn around right now. Banks aren’t looking for people just hunting for a sign-up bonus, so be ready to bring something better to the table.
Perhaps, you have applied for a co-branded card that provides benefits for an airline, such as a free checked bag or priority boarding. If you fly a specific airline regularly, this might be important to you.
Some cards have bonus categories that match your spending habits and some have loyalty programs that are flexible, like Chase Ultimate Rewards. These are reasons to discuss on a reconsideration call.
Hopefully, you are starting to think about what to do the next time you need to make a reconsideration call. Consider the call an opportunity to paint a picture for the customer service representative about why you want the card and why you would be a good customer.
“What if my reason isn’t good enough?”
Even when you have solid reasons for wanting a card, that’s not always enough. Sometimes a bank will tell you that you have too many cards with them or that they have extended you as much credit as makes them comfortable.
This gives you the opportunity to show what a great customer you are and express how much you enjoy using their products. If you have a banking relationship with a card issuer, you can also mention that.
If you are told you have too many cards, consider which cards are most important to you. I’d recommend doing this before you call.
If the card you are hoping to open is worth more to you than one of your current cards with that bank, it might be worth offering to close a card so you can open the new one.
Sometimes, there will be concerns about how much credit the bank has already extended to you. At this point, you can offer to move credit from another card to the new card. Shifting credit won’t increase the amount of credit the bank has extended to you, rather it will simply reallocate it.
Ideally, you won’t have to close a card or reallocate credit and there’s no need to offer to do so, initially. Let the customer service representative make the suggestion. If they don’t, this is a good time to thank them for their time, hang up, and call again.
Sometimes it takes a few calls to get a friendly representative. Only after a few calls, if you can’t get a representative to budge, should you consider offering to close a card or reallocate credit. At this point, you know you have done what you can.
As you can probably tell by now, it’s important to prepare for these calls so you feel confident in your approach.
So, let’s talk about how to prepare for success on these calls.
Preparing for Reconsideration
Perhaps more important than anything else is having a plan. As the adage goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Here’s what you need to know before you call.
Know your credit score and what shows on your credit report. If any questions are asked about your credit report, you want to be ready. Additionally, it helps to know that you have a strong credit score so you can mention what a good customer you are.
Prior to applying, know what cards you have with the bank and how much credit you have with them. As we discussed above, you might have to use this information to negotiate. You’ll want to have this information readily available during the call.
Write down notes about the details of your application so you can ensure you provide accurate info if you are asked to verify information. Additionally, prepare notes on the reasons you want the card.
Remember, the representative who answers your call might not be helpful. Be prepared to hang up and call again.
No matter how unfriendly any given customer service rep might be, it is your job to remain friendly and positive at all times. When I call, I always try to remember that a customer service representative has probably had someone yell at them already.
I make it a mission to be one of the nicest callers of the day. Sure, I could do it because it might help my chances. More importantly, they deserve to be treated with respect. Besides, you are asking them to help you.
While reconsideration calls are not necessarily the fun part of getting a new card, they can be necessary.
Fortunately, they’re nothing to fear. With a little preparation, you will be confident on your calls and soon be on your way to enjoying some new credit card perks.
See you in the sky,