If you apply for enough credit cards, chances are that at some point or another you’re going to be given a “pending” decision. Generally what this looks like is that after you’ve gone through all of the application steps, you’ll be greeted with a message that says something along the lines of “Thank you for your application, we need some more time and we will notify you by mail within 30 days.”. I recently applied for a new card and was given such a message, I also received this in an email.
This is not the first time i’ve received such a message, and while I’d love for it to be the last time, I know thats not how this game works. No need to panic however, these messages are normal and in my experience the more cards you have / sign up for, the more likely you are to see something like this.
Deciding What to Do
When you’re greeted with a message like this you’ve basically got two options. The first option is that you can wait, you can follow the on-screen prompt, sit back, check your mail, and hope that at some point within the next 30 days you’re greeted with a brand new credit card. This is not a bad option by any means, in fact, many people advocate for doing just this. That being said, I have never waited. Maybe I do not have enough patience, maybe I am a bad listener, but when I see this message I always go with option two which is to call the reconsideration line.
Reconsideration Line Phone Numbers
A reconsideration line is a customer support line (phone number) that is dedicated to looking over requests for credit that were either denied, or marked as pending. When you sign up for a credit card online, a computer is making the decision, not a human. The reconsideration line is an opportunity for a living individual to take a second look at your application and take action on it. If you decide that you’re going to call the reconsideration line, you first need to figure out which number to call. Head over to our friend over at Doctor of Credit and find the bank you’re trying to call on that page.
8 Tips for Navigating the Reconsideration Process
- Be Nice – Hopefully this goes without saying, but when you’re speaking on the phone with someone in customer support just remember to be nice. They’re just trying to do their job, and the nicer you are to them the nicer they will be to you (at least in my experience).
- Make a Simple Request – When I call a reconsideration line I almost always say the same thing; “Hello, I recently applied for a credit card online and was given a pending decision. I wanted to call and see if any further information was needed from me in order to get a decision.” These folks handle phone calls like this all the time, be succinct, polite, and let them know why you’re calling so they can start looking into it.
- Have a good reason for wanting the card – I haven’t been asked “why do you want this card” in my last few reconsideration calls, but it can happen. If they ask you that be prepared to give an answer other than “The signup bonus”. Tell them that you regularly spend money on X and are looking to maximize those expenditures on this card. Tell them that you love to travel and value X, Y, and Z benefits of the card. Make it about how the card fits into your life over the long term, not about the short term signup bonus.
- Ask if you can move lines of credit around – With most banks there is a set limit on the amount of money that they will make available to any one individual as part of their overall credit limit. Moreover, some cards have a minimum credit limit that you must be able to qualify for in order to be approved. For example say you’re applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. As a Visa Signature card anyone who is approved for it will receive a minimum credit line of $5,000. But lets say you’ve got multiple other chase products (Freedom and Freedom Unlimited each with $10k limits) and the sum of all your credit lines is at $20,000 already. If Chase determines that it does not want to make more than $20,000 available to you that could spell rejection. In this instance however you can always ask to see if they will take part of the credit limit from one card, and apply it to this new one. So in our example above we could ask to take $2.5k from both the Freedom, and Freedom Unlimited. The net result is a new card in our wallet, but the same overall credit available to us.
- Understand your Credit Report – Know your report backwards and forwards before you apply. The main reason I suggest this is so that you can avoid applying for a card where you’ve got low odds of approval. You don’t want to waste a hard inquiry and/or a reconsideration call for a card that you never were in the running for in the first place. As an example, if your credit score is currently in the 500’s, I would not recommend applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Start with something simpler, and work your way up. The second reason is to arm yourself with the knowledge necessary to discuss items of your credit report with the reconsideration specialist. They will have your report in front of them, and they may ask you about it. Be prepared to answer these questions.
- Be Patient – This goes hand in hand with being polite. You will be placed on hold, you may be transferred to another department. Whatever happens just smile (they can tell, even over the phone!) and go with the flow. Hard inquires are valuable, and once you make a decision on a card you’ll want to do everything in your power to ensure it ends up in your wallet. Don’t allow impatience to ruin it for you.
- Pay off Balances if Possible – Before you apply for a card with a bank, its a good idea to try and pay off your existing balances on any cards you may also have with that bank. Banks are very risk averse, and they do not want to award lines of credit to those who may not be able to pay it off (contrary to popular belief). Paying off your balances before applying shows the bank that you’re not desperate for credit, and can help improve your chance.
- Call within 30 days – Some people say you should wait a day, others 2 days, others of course say you should never call reconsideration. Ill leave the timing decision up to you, but I personally always cal the same day, immediately after receiving my pending decision. I do not believe that waiting a day or 2 is going to dramatically improve my chances, and id rather just get it over with. If you are going to wait however, be sure to call within 30 days. After that you’ll have to submit a new application (assuming they haven’t already notified you by mail).
Thats that! Is there anything you do differently when calling reconsideration? What did I miss? Please let me know in the comment section below.