There are seemingly endless good credit card options on the market today and they all have similar eligibility requirements. There are, of course, small differences for each application, but at a minimum, credit card issuers typically approve credit card applicants based on their income, credit score, and debt.
How you stand financially should influence which credit cards you apply for. For example, if you have a poor or bad credit rating, applying for cards that require good to excellent rating is likely a mistake.
Sourcing the right credit card is just one way to boost your chances of approval but there are several additional ways to help improve your chances.
Check Your Credit
Credit cards are a form of debt; essentially a revolving loan. So, credit card companies want to confirm your creditworthiness before approving you. Do you have a record of paying bills on time? How much credit card debt do you already have? Statistics like these are included in your credit report.
Keeping up to date on your credit score through the three leading credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Each agency is required to provide consumers with a free copy of their credit report at least once a year if requested.
Before leaping into a credit card application with high credit score standards, do your research in advance to confirm which credit cards you may qualify for based on your credit score.
Clean Up Your Credit
Scrutinize your credit report. Are there any errors, inaccuracies, or inconsistencies? You have 30 days after you receive your report to request corrections.
First, ensure that all the personal identification details are correct, including Social Security Number and name. Second, confirm all line items are right. A common issue is having another person’s information wrongly reported on your file. Third, verify the details listed under each account.
Your credit score is an amalgamation of five critical elements of your financial history. You can boost your credit score – and therefore your credit card approval odds – by improving each of these areas:
Full and timely payments on your accounts make up the most significant portion of your credit score, so they are a good place to start looking for improvements. The more on-time payments you have in your history, the more impact on your credit score.
Using 100 percent of your available credit reflects poorly on your credit report. For example, if you are using all $10,000 of your $10,000 line of credit, your overall credit score will take a hit. Improve your score by paying down your debts.
Length of Credit History
The more experience you have managing debt, the better for your credit report. Credit history plays a smaller role than on-time payments and overall debt, but it does impact your score. If you’ve just gotten started managing credit, stick with it.
Diversifying your credit portfolio is a good idea, but only up to a certain extent. Having a mix of credit options in your financial portfolio has some minimal influence. However, don’t apply for credit that you have no use for.
Creditors are wary of clients who have a series of new debts in their financial portfolios. You’ll need to plan strategically about submitting your next credit application if you have a newly issued credit card in your recent past.
Apply for the Right Card
Not all credit cards were credited equal. That’s why getting to know the minimum requirements of the card is essential before applying. This will help you understand your approval odds. Rewards credit cards generally require good to excellent credit while secured credit cards usually have a lower barrier to entry.
If you want to compare the many credit card options for your specific credit score, consider using comparison features on our best credit cards page.
Follow Up With the Card Issuer
Even if you check your application and it is pending, consider contacting your credit card issuer to explain the circumstances behind a negative mark on your credit score.
Have your current credit report handy, so you can see exactly what the credit card company is looking at while determining creditworthiness. There may also be some benefit for describing why you are interested in this card above others, and any long-term relationship you have with the company (if it exists).
Credit card issuers’ reconsideration numbers frequently change, but here is the latest contact information for the larger credit card companies.
No dedicated Amex reconsideration line, instead ask to speak with their general application line for more information
Bank of America: 1-866-458-8805
Call the general inquiry line and ask to be redirected to an agent who manages reconsideration agent.
Request to speak with a reconsideration customer service representative through the general inquiry line.
Capital One: 1-877-277-5901
Call to confirm the status of your application. This line should also connect you to an accounts representative who can assist with reconsideration.
Check on the status of your application at Citibank. They will be able to assist with your request to reconsider.
Call to confirm the status of your application, and to work on reconsideration.
U.S. Bank: 1-877-625-5249
Call U.S. Bank’s general support inquiry line anytime to speak with a representative who can direct your call to the reconsideration department.