Waiting on a credit card application approval? Here’s how I speed up the process

Apr 3, 2020

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If you’re in the market for a new credit card, nothing feels more gratifying than seeing the instant approval confirmation screen at the end of the application process. But have you ever seen the dreaded “decision-pending” notice following a Chase credit card application? I have, a couple of times, and it usually takes a week or two to discover and resolve the issue.

Image courtesy of Clint Henderson for The Points Guy.


Fortunately, I’ve discovered a way to expedite the process.

Hopeful card holders usually see this screen whenever they are over the infamous 5/24 limit, where Chase doesn’t approve card applications from people who have applied for more than five total credit cards over the past 24 months. However, this notification can appear for a number of other reasons as well, such as a low credit score or having the wrong address on file, for starters.

Whatever the reason behind Chase’s hesitation, you won’t be able to tell from the website; you’ll have to wait for up to 10 business days to receive a formal notice in the mail, which will include a brief summary of the issue. You can then contact Chase for more clarification or to offer any supplemental information needed. Sometimes you can appeal the decision; other times, it will be a no-go.

If you’re as impatient as I am, however, there’s another way to resolve the issue more quickly. Walk into any Chase bank branch and ask to speak with a personal banker. Instead of getting in line for teller services, just look for the clipboard near the entrance and put down your name. Once someone is available, they will bring you back to their cubicle and contact the appropriate department for you. Letting someone else wait on hold on my behalf? Heck yes.

I discovered this loophole by accident a couple of years ago, soon after I filed the official paperwork for setting up a small business. I had applied for a new business credit card for my fledgling company, but promptly found myself confronted by the “decision pending” screen. At this time, I knew I was well under 5/24, and I hadn’t had any major credit hits in recent months, so I didn’t know why my application had been denied.

I, like most millennials, prefer to do everything online instead of in person or by phone, if possible. But Since I was headed to the bank the next day to set up a business checking account, I decided to mention the issue to my personal banker, Ericka. To my surprise, she immediately got on the phone with the appropriate department to inquire about the issue for me. After a few minutes on hold, Ericka told me that the home address I had on file with Chase wasn’t the same office address that was listed on my business corporation paperwork. This was a quick fix that she was also able to complete for me within a minute or two.

Thanks to Ericka, I was approved for my card that same day and had it in hand within a week, just in time to pay for all my new business expenses. She also let me know that this in-person method of resolution is one of the most effective ways of expediting any issues, whether it’s for my business or for my personal accounts with Chase.

Since then, I’ve been back to visit Ericka or her colleagues at least twice in the last 18 months. I’ve also recommended this “hack” to more than a dozen friends, most of whom have also met with success.

Here are a few other tips we’ve discovered:

  • You’ll need to give Chase a day or two to process your application before customer service can find it in the bank system. The sweet spot appears to be around Day 4 or 5 from when you first submitted your application and got the “decision pending” notification.
  • Either bring all supporting documents you might need, or have the information readily available to pull up if and when asked.
  • As always, be very, very courteous. This isn’t just a good rule of thumb for life; it could be the difference between getting someone who merely gives you the information you need, versus establishing a relationship with a banker who proactively goes the extra mile to push your application through the system.

An appointment with a personal banker won’t eliminate the 5/24 requirement or push an application past a low credit score. But they can help you reach the right department more quickly, or break down certain requirements that FAQ guides won’t explain. And of course, they can quickly resolve simple issues like the address mix-up that held up my credit card application.

And in case you were wondering, I applied for the Chase Ink Business Preferred, of course. It’s one of my all-time favorite credit cards, and I personally believe it’s seriously underrated for freelancers and small business owners.

Featured photo by Shutterstock.

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