If you are new to the game, let me introduce you to one of the greatest tools in the miles addict’s tool belt.
The reconsideration phone call can really play out in two scenarios. They are:
Expediting a decision on a rewards credit card application that is processing
You are in the process of a little credit card app party, just salivating over the miles you are going to be earning from the 3 cards you have just applied for. Your mind is already running wild with destination locations. Everything is going smoothly with two instant approvals on your first two apps and then suddenly you see the dreaded “further processing needed” on the screen. This doesn’t mean you were denied, but it does mean you weren’t instantly approved. Panic sets in; fear of wasting a hard hit on your credit report surfaces. These are depressing moments, dark times. I used to go straight to the wine. Now I go straight to the phone with a game plan.
There are a number of reasons why you might not have been approved instantly. Some banks may just want you to verify some information, move some credit around, or ask why you want the card. Ok, so lets talk ourselves off the ledge and pick up the phone ( I will lay out a reconsideration game plan at the end of the post).
I usually call the same or next day, but I’m obsessive. I should probably work on my patience.
I have been able to get a decision 85% of the time when calling the same day or next day. When calling the reconsideration line to expedite a decision, you are essentially asking the credit analyst to manually take a look at your application and approve it. But there are times when the application will need to run through the computers fully and the credit analysts don’t have the authority to reconsider the application, YET. The normal time for a credit card to process is 10-14 days.
Reconsidering a denial
This is for the people who were patient and let the application run through the process or called in previously and were told that the decision on the application couldn’t be expedited. You probably then received an email or letter stating that you were denied for your credit card. Oh, the agony.
GOOD NEWS: Just because you got denied for a credit card doesn’t mean the bank won’t reconsider.
I have been able to call and get the denial reversed into an approval on all applications where I have received a denial letter or email. All except for one, really. Not long ago, Citi couldn’t verify my business address, so by the time I got approved for the Citi AA Business card, the deal had already expired. I’m still not over that. But that’s another post.
TIP: I also had to call numerous times on one card. If you don’t get a rep that is willing to work with you, hang up and try again later. Chase actually empowers their employees to made decisions.
When you do call the bank (and I will give you some secret special numbers below), you must have a game plan.
When you get the rep, ask politely for a reconsideration. I also try to make a little chit chat before I do. It may not help, but it can’t hurt and reps talk to enough a-holes everyday.
Be prepared to answer questions about why you want the specific card or why you have applied for so many credit card accounts recently. Explain that you are trying to separate spending, that the airlines hub is better for you, you just started traveling for work, and talk about the special benefits of the card (i.e. 0% foreign trans. fee, 2x points on dining etc.). NEVER talk about the initial miles sign-up bonus for the card. This will let them know that you are only after the miles and that you won’t be using the card long term.
If these explanations don’t work, then we shift gears. If you have other credit card accounts with the bank that you are applying, explain to the rep that you have been a great customer and paid all your bills on time and ask them if they could reconsider your application. They will always put you hold for 1 or 2 minutes. Don’t bite your nails, its fine. What we are hoping for is that they are thinking about moving over credit from one of your other accounts to the new account. This is just a shifting of the credit limit you already have with them. Isn’t it great? If they don’t offer this, then ask them if it is an option.
If they say it just isn’t possible, then the last case scenario would be to ask them to close one of your current accounts so you can open the new one. Make sure this is something that you want to do before you agree to it. Never close accounts prematurely so you can use them as a bargaining chip during the reconsideration phone call. Read my post here about canceling credit cards.
I have also gotten some reps who weren’t so friendly and wouldn’t budge on the denial. I simply said “have a nice day” and called backed in a couple days. I was approved, no problem on my next call. The rep does matter and this is a great example of try, try, again.
Here is an example of how the reconsideration phone call may go:
Rep: This is a bank… blah blah
Me: Hello, How are you doing this evening?
Rep: Good. How may I help you?
Me: This is Michael Scott and I’m calling about my recent c.c. application.
Rep: Ok, do you have a reference #?
Me: No, but can I give you my s.s.?
Rep: Yes, that would be fine.
Me: My social is XXXXXXXX
Rep: Yes, I see you applied for the Sapphire. But I see that you also applied for the Explorer a month ago.
Me: Yes, I did. I applied for the xxxx and love it. I just started traveling more for work and xxxx airline is the most convenient airline at my airport. I’m applying for the xxxxx because of it’s 0% foreign transaction fee. That will be great when I’m traveling internationally. Plus, I really love that I will be earning 2x points on all dining. I eat out a lot.
Rep: Yes, it’s a great card. Well, let me take a look here at the application. Can I put you on hold?
(after 1-4 minutes)
Rep: SCENARIO 1- Sir. I was able to go ahead and approve you for the Sapphire.
Rep: SCENARIO 2- Sir. I see you hold another card with us. Would you be willing to move over some credit from your pre-existing account? If so, I can approve you for the Sapphire.
Me: Yes, I would.
SCENARIO 3- Sir. I can approve you for the xxxx if you are willing to close your xxxx account.
Me: I was hoping to not have to do that. But if I can’t move over some pre-existing credit, then I guess I will.
SCENARIO 4: Sir. We hate you and can’t approve you.
Me: Ok (I’ll just hang up and call back in a couple days).
So if you have recently been denied or are waiting on an application to process- Pick up the Phone. There’s hope.
Overall, I am batting 100% on reconsiderations. They are the most willing to work with you and figure out a solution. I have found Citibanks reconsideration line to be pitiful. I have had to write to their Executive Department a few times. Such a hassle. Here are some numbers below for reference. I have them in my contacts and you should too.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Citibank Credit Card
800-763-9795 (Credit Dept.)
888-201-4523 (? Business New App Approval Status)
800-645-7240, 800-288-4653, 800-750-7453 (App Status)
800-444-2568 (Retention Dept BEST#)
866-713-5028 (Credit Bureau Dispute Fax)
866-606-2961 (? Business Apps)
Citi: 866-606-2787 (Account Analyst)
Citi: 800-763-9795 (Credit Dept.)
American Express Credit Card
877-399-3083 – new accounts
800 230 1284 – credit services
866-314-0237 (Application reconsideration BEST)
Membership Rewards: 800-297-3276
Bank Of America Credit Card
866-458-8805 – connects directly to a credit analyst
877-721-9405 – application status press 3
— Geoff Whitmore