No one likes having a credit card application denied. In a best case scenario, it leaves you unable to take advantage of a rewards program you’ve been eyeing. In a worst case scenario, it leaves you cash-strapped when you need that extra credit line to cover a financial emergency.

Lady on phone

You might be surprised to hear that hearing an initial “no” on your application isn’t necessarily the final word on your eligibility for a credit card. Major credit card companies have what is known as a reconsideration line. Read on to find out what it is and how you can use it actually get approved for a credit card.

What is a credit card reconsideration line?

Much like it sounds, a credit card reconsideration line is a phone number you can use to call the credit card company and ask them to reconsider your application. It gives you the chance to offer fresh context beyond the application form as to why you are indeed worthy of a credit card.

When you first applied for the card, you probably went through either an online form or maybe even a paper version. These forms are sent through an automated approval process, done entirely by a computer — not by a human being.

So the success of your original application primarily depends on an automatic pull and analysis of your credit report and score. It also considers your stated income and compares that to other outstanding debts listed on your credit report.

Since all of this is performed by a computer, however, there’s no personal (and sometimes logical) thought behind it. Instead, your chances of being approved are pretty much determined by an algorithm, whether it’s deserved or not.

When you choose to follow up through a credit card reconsideration line, however, you get the chance to discuss your situation with an actual person. While you don’t want to overwhelm them with a sob story, you can be successful by giving them concrete reasons as to why you are credit-worthy.

It’s best to do some planning in advance, so check out the next section for some strategic tactics. When you’re informed and prepared, you can help make the customer service rep’s job much easier for them. Even if you don’t, you still have options available to get an approval.

How can you contact your specific credit card company’s reconsideration line?

Most major credit cards have a variety of customer service phone numbers to help you with your questions and concerns. Here are some of the most common reconsideration lines to help you move your credit card application forward. They may change frequently, so be prepared to do some digging if needed. Also, be prepared to have your zip code and social security number on hand.

American Express Reconsideration Line

(866) 314-0237

Bank of America Reconsideration Line

(866) 224-8555

Barclaycard Reconsideration Line

(888) 232-0780

Capital One Reconsideration Line

(800) 625-7866

CitiBank Reconsideration Line

(800) 695-5171 for personal credit cards
(800) 288-4653 for business credit cards

Chase Reconsideration Line

(888) 270-2127

Discover Reconsideration Line

(888) 676-3695

Wells Fargo Reconsideration Line

(866) 412-5956

What should you do before calling the credit card reconsideration line?

Before you pick up the phone, gather your thoughts and do a little bit of research. Start off by finding out why you were denied a credit card in the first place. If you’re not sure of what might be lurking on your credit report, request a copy to review.

Once you’ve got your report in hand, look at it closely for anything that would be a red flag to a credit card company. Do you have a lot of outstanding debt? Are there multiple late payments from other accounts?

It might be hard to plead your case on the reconsideration line if any of these situations are applicable to you. However, you might be able to explain late payments if you had a period of temporary financial hardship that has now been resolved. And there are a few other situations that may warrant a change of heart from creditors.

Some automated approval systems, for example, tend to deny applications that have too many inquiries already listed on their credit report. But if you were shopping for a mortgage or car loan, or simply wanted to compare rates on other credit cards, you may be able to explain that roadblock away.

Another reason for initial denial is if you already hold several cards from a particular issuer. In these cases, a fresh set of human eyes may be all it takes to change that denial to an approval. Prepare some talking points about your situation before picking up the phone.

What are some tips when you call the credit card reconsideration line?

First things first when asking something of any customer service representative: always be polite and respectful. This holds true even if you don’t agree with what the person is saying. When you start your conversation, begin with examples of your loyalty and responsibility. You can do so in one of two ways.

If you’re already a customer of the company, talk about how long you’ve been with them and all the timely payments you’ve made. If you’ve been a long term customer elsewhere, tempt them with the opportunity to take business away from a competitor.

Next, use some negotiating tactics. There are a few different things you can offer in exchange for the credit card approval so that both you and the creditor benefit. One option is to transfer an outstanding balance from a different account. This limits your open lines of credit and keeps your overall available line of credit the same amount.

It also gives the creditor automatic business from the interest charged on your transferred balance. This tactic is a great way to get a card with better rewards or different rates and terms from your existing cards.

Another option is to offer closing an existing account, especially if you have multiple cards with the same company. Make this suggestion and see how your customer service rep responds. They may have a clearer idea of the winning combination of accounts and credit lines. Don’t be afraid to make this a conversation, rather than listing out your demands.

Explain rationally why you want the credit card and ask what you can do to make that happen. The creditor should want your business if they believe you’re going to pay your bills on time.

What to do when you still get a “no”

After all your explanations and negotiations, you may still find yourself hearing a “no” from the customer service representative. Fear not, you still have options to try out directly through the reconsideration line!

First, try to escalate the call to a manager or senior representative. Just as before, you don’t need to be rude to make this happen. Politely ask to speak to someone with more authority and thank the original person for their time. Review your talking points while you’re on hold, then try it again with the next level up.

If you’re not gaining any traction with the person you’re speaking with, you can always hang up and call the reconsideration line again. Call centers are large and you’ll almost certainly talk to another representative by dialing once more. Know that most places keep notes on each call received, so it won’t be a completely fresh slate. But you may have a more sympathetic ear this time around.

Try your luck again because there’s really no downside. At worst, you’ll still get another no. At best, you’ll hang up with a new credit card on its way in the mail.

When you’re on the phone with either the first representative or their superior, ask someone why exactly you were denied credit. This helps you negotiate because you know what the better bargaining chip may be. Even if you don’t get approved immediately for that specific credit card, knowledge is power.

You can take the information and start making changes to address them. Then, you can start applying for the credit cards you want once you’ve resolved those issues, whether it’s improving your credit score or paying down existing debt.

What other options do you have after your credit card application is denied?

Whether calling the reconsideration line didn’t work, or you simply want other ideas on how to turn that denial into an approval, you still have options. After your initial application has been denied, the credit card company has to mail you a letter explaining why. Review that letter and then send an actual response using the address provided.

You can then respond directly to their concerns and again, get your side of the story in front of a fresh face. It’s not guaranteed to work, but it certainly can’t hurt. Follow the same rules of being polite with this method.

You can also contact the credit card company using their online tools. If you’re already a customer with an online account, send a note through their messaging portal. Oftentimes, these messages are read by more senior customer service representatives. Explain your predicament in just a few lines.

It’s also good to mention that you’d like your message forward to someone who can help if need be. In this situation, you may very likely receive a phone call directly from a bank employee.

Another option is to utilize the company’s online chat feature, especially if you don’t have an existing account. This is probably the least likely case to result in a successful credit card application, simply because of the hierarchy of customer service reps.

Online chat reps are usually at the bottom of the ladder. But again, for just a few minutes of your time (and likely while you’re doing something else), it’s worth trying this avenue. If nothing else, the employee you’re chatting with might be able to put you in touch with the right person to get your request approved.

Bottom Line

A credit card company’s reconsideration line is one of many tools in your belt to push your application forward, even after an initial denial. Always remain polite, but don’t be afraid to ask for someone with more authority if you don’t receive the answer you want.

As with most things in life, persistence is key. And if calling the reconsideration line doesn’t work for you, there are still even more options. Know what they are, how to prepare for them, and get the credit card that works best for you.