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Should I Be Concerned About a Credit Card Denial?

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TPG reader Nate sent me a message on Facebook to ask about credit card applications:

“My credit score is excellent, though I do have a number of hard credit inquires on my report from previous card applications. I got denied for the first time recently (by Capital One). Should I be worried about my ability to open new accounts moving forward?”

Rewards credit cards are a great way to boost your loyalty account balances. To make sure you can get in on the top sign-up bonus offers, it’s important to manage your credit score and have a good application strategy. However, no matter how careful you are, your applications may still be denied from time to time, and it’s usually nothing to worry about.

While card issuers process applications differently, there’s generally a limit to how many accounts you can have and how much total credit they’re willing to extend you. Capital One may have decided Nate was too much of a risk due to his other recent credit inquiries. While getting denied for any reason is disappointing, having too many inquiries now shouldn’t affect your ability to get other cards down the line. You might just need to wait a while before opening any new accounts. Once the older inquiries drop from your credit report, your future applications should go through.

If your credit card application is denied (or even if it’s just not approved instantly), it’s worth calling for reconsideration. Many applications are fielded by automated systems that are likely to turn you down for having a high number of recent inquiries. However, a live agent will have more latitude to approve you by shifting credit lines or closing unused accounts to make room for the new one.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Customer service may be able to approve your card application even when it’s denied initially. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

It’s hard to say why Nate was denied without knowing the full details of his finances, but it’s probably no cause for concern in the long run. Card issuers should send a letter explaining the factors that led to your application being denied, so keep an eye out for that. If your denial is truly out of left field, it’s worth checking your credit report thoroughly to make sure everything is in order, as an accidental missed payment or high balance could throw up a red flag.

For more info on managing your credit score and getting approved for card applications, check out these posts:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at
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