Credit Card Reconsideration
Once you start applying for credit cards on a regular basis, chances are that the number of instant approvals you receive will go down. In some cases, you may not even get an instant approval on your very first travel card application. Whether you are on that first card application in the past 6 years or application number 20 for the current year, an application pending review or being flat out denied does not mean the end of the road. Instead, it means that you need to prepare yourself to make a reconsideration call.
When you are doing it for the first time, making a reconsideration call can be a scary thing. You don’t know what they are going to ask you, you may not know what you should say, and you will probably be pretty nervous because you really want to get approved for that card. In fact, no matter how many times you call a credit card reconsideration line, it can still be pretty nerve-racking. Luckily, using my own experience and that of many others, I have come up with the following guide to help you prepare for a reconsideration call. Once you feel like you are ready to make the call, reconsideration numbers for all of the major credit card issuers are listed towards the bottom of this page.
Be Polite. Be Friendly. Be Fun.
I don’t know how many of you have worked in a call center, but I have, and I can honestly say that a friendly voice calling in can really turn the day around. You would be amazed at how many cranky, mean, miserable people a phone representative talks to each day, and you want to be the exact opposite. Be sure to ask how the rep is doing. Make small talk. Try to throw in a joke of two. A happy, laughing credit analyst can be your best friend. You don’t just want to be polite, but you want to be the friendliest, nicest, happiest person that the representative talks to that day.
It is important to remember that although there are certain set rules that must be followed, when it comes down to it, the final decision is made by the rep on the other end of the phone call. They definitely have some leeway when moving credit lines around or submitting applications for approval, so you want to make absolutely sure that they are on your side. There is no better way to do this than creating a friendly rapport right from the start of the call.
Be Prepared. Do Your Homework. Know Everything the Representative Knows.
Before you make a reconsideration call, make sure you have seen a copy of your credit report. You should have an idea of how many inquiries are on your report, how many active accounts you have, and whether you have ever been late on a payment. These are all things that might come up when discussing your new card and you don’t want to be taken by surprise. If there is anything negative on your credit report, be sure that you are ready to explain why it is there and how you are making it better.
You should also take special note of what your current relationship is with the bank that you are planning to call. Do you have current credit cards, bank accounts, or a mortgage with them? How long have you been a customer? Have you ever missed a payment? All of these are things that you can use in your argument that they should approve you for this additional card. The better your relationship, the better your chances of it growing. Don’t be afraid to bring these things up to help get your approval.
Have a Plan. Decide How You Want the Call To Go.
When you are negotiating for another credit card, the credit analysts often like to either decrease the credit limit or cancel one or more of your other accounts with that bank. Doing this is a great way to get your approval, but you want to make sure you are giving up as little as possible. To that end, you never want to suggest this before the rep does, but once it is on the table, you definitely need to be prepared to talk about it.
Most banks have a set number for the amount of total credit that they are willing to extend to you. This is based on what I am sure is an overly complex formula, but if you make enough of these calls, you will almost surely have a representative tell you that you have reached your total credit limit. When this is the case, you have no choice but to move your credit around to get approved for the new card. You should know going in what cards you are willing to cancel or decrease the limit on so that you can tell the rep what to do. You do not want this to come as a surprise and have to make a last minute decision without thinking about it. Doing this will almost always result in second guessing or regretting your decision later on. If you only have one or two accounts with a bank, you probably haven’t reached this limit yet, so you should be less willing to give anything up to get your new card.
Know Your Cards. Know the Benefits. Know Why You Want To Keep Them.
This is especially important for the cards you have with the specific bank you are calling, but it is a good idea to be able to talk about any of the cards that appear on your credit report. When asked to cancel a card or reduce a credit limit, you should be able to explain to the rep why you don’t want to do that. This information can also be helpful when asked why you have applied for so many cards recently or why you have so many open accounts. If you can explain one or two key benefits of each card and what type of spending you like to put on them, it will show that you are knowledgeable and in control of your credit. You should also be able to explain what the card you are applying for will be used for and what benefits you are looking forward to having. It is best if you can differentiate the new card from your current cards and show why you need to add it to your portfolio.
Sign-Up Bonuses and Unfriendly Reps
Here are a couple of last minute tips that you might not have though of. Your goal in this call is to make the bank understand why you would be a good credit risk. You want to convince them that you will be a valuable long term customer and that they should make an investment in you. This may or may not be true since a lot of the cards we apply for are mainly for the sign-up bonus or specific benefits, but you don’t want them to know that. Do not ever mention the sign-up bonus on a reconsideration call. That will tell the bank that you are only interested in the bonus and you are not looking for a long term banking relationship. This will send up a red flag and they may label you as a bad investment. Bringing up the sign-up bonus is a great way to hurt your chances of approval.
Finally, as with any other phone call in the travel industry, don’t be afraid to hang up and call back. If a call is not going your way or you are uncomfortable with the situation, politely end the call, wait a few minutes, and call back. With a smaller credit department, you might get the same representative, but chances are that you will talk to someone different. Call center representatives can have bad days just like the rest of us, so if you get one that is clearly in a bad mood, do yourself a favor and find someone else to talk to. The attitude of the person you talk to and your ability to connect with them is a crucial part of any reconsideration call, so you want to make sure you have the right rep on the line.
Hopefully, the information I have given you above will help you to be better prepared and your reconsideration call with go smoothly and easily. Now that you are ready to make the call that could change your denial into an approval, here are the numbers that you will want to use.
American Express (AMEX) Reconsideration
- 800-962-7227 – Reconsideration
- 877-399-3083 – New Accounts (connects directly)
- 866-379-3643 – New Accounts (connects through prompts)
- 800-230-1284 – Account Services (need account number)
- 800-253-1709 – Account Services (need account number)
Bank of America Reconsideration
- 866-458-8805 – Credit Analyst (connects directly)
- 877-721-9405 – Application Status (press 3 for a representative)
- 888-877-6262 – Application Status
Barclays Bank Reconsideration
- 866-369-1283 – Credit Analyst (connects directly)
- 866-408-4064 – Credit Analyst
- 888-232-0780 – Customer Service
Capital One Reconsideration
- 800-625-7866 – Account Specialist
- 800-548-4593 – Application Status (automated)
- 800-951-6951 – Customer Service
Capital One will not take calls to discuss application status until you have received an initial decision through the mail.
- 888-245-0625 – Personal Card Credit Analyst (connects directly)
- 800-453-9719 – Business Card Credit Analyst (connects directly)
- 888-609-7805 – Application Status (connects directly)
- 800-436-7927 – Application Status (automated)
Citibank (Citi) Reconsideration
- 800-763-9795 – Reconsideration
- 866-606-2787 – Application Status
- 888-201-4523 – Application Status
Although I provide these numbers for Citibank, I do not personally know of anyone who has successfully been approved during a call to the Citibank reconsideration department. Instead, it is recommended that you send a letter to the following address for better results. UPDATE – It appears from the comments below that in some cases, Citi is now approving people through their reconsideration numbers. It may not work for all, but definitely worth a shot before writing a letter. I also found that when my wife had only one of her two applications instantly approved, the option for an online chat came up for the pending one. After a few quick messages and confirming some information, the person I chatted with was able to process the approval for the second card. Make sure to leave the browser window open for a few minutes after a pending decision to see if a chat option comes up for you.
- Citibank Executive Review
- P.O. Box 6000
- Sioux Falls, SD 57117
- 888-676-3695 – Reconsideration
- 866-551-0258 – Credit Analyst
- 866-574-4421 – Application Status