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Which American Express credit card did you have your eye on when you applied? Maybe it was the The Platinum Card® from American Express that offers over $1,400 in annual perks. Or the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express that gives you up to 6% cash back at U.S. grocery stores. Or one of many prestigious business cards.
You applied–but you got denied.
What a lot of people don’t know is that you can actually call for reconsideration if you are denied an Amex credit card that you feel you should have been eligible for. This process requires you to make a phone call to a dedicated line and doesn’t guarantee approval, but it might be worth it for you.
Here are some strategies for success if you’re thinking about calling American Express for reconsideration. Use this article to prepare what you’re going to say and find out who you need to call to get the job done.
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Find Out Why You Were Denied
American Express will let you know why they didn’t accept your application in your rejection letter. This is required of all credit card issuers by law and is going to be one of the first things you read in the letter.
The reason included with your denial is important if you are thinking about calling for reconsideration. You will need to come up with an explanation for why the reason you were denied should not disqualify you. You will be more or less likely to be successful depending on your reason.
Having too many new credit accounts on your credit history is a common reason for being denied. Too many recent inquiries–for anything from new credit cards to loans–is another thing that can hurt your application and chances for approval because it can make you look like a risky borrower. You may have trouble getting approved even after reconsideration.
If this was your reason, you may do best to just wait six months or so to reapply and avoid opening any new accounts for the time being. This should improve your credit too.
Also note that American Express only allows you to open two new Amex credit cards within 90 days and have five existing accounts with them at a time. You won’t be able to change their mind about these ones if the reason stated in your letter is “too many new accounts” or “too many American Express accounts.”
If your credit history is too short, as in you haven’t been building your credit for long and your accounts are young overall, you probably won’t qualify for a premium card just yet. But if you didn’t apply for a premium card, you might be able to talk your way to approval.
Income and credit score requirements cause a lot of American Express applicants to be denied. Some of their cards are pretty tough to get. If one of these things was given as your reason, you may be successful when asking for reconsideration and there are steps you can do to make your application stronger.
Who to Call
The phone number you need to call for reconsideration is 1-800-567-1083. This is the dedicated reconsideration line for new personal credit card applications. The dedicated reconsideration line for customers who already have an American Express account is 866-314-0237. Both lines are open between 8 am and 12 am Monday through Friday and between 10 am and 6:30 pm on Saturday (closed Sunday).
It is best to call for reconsideration within 30 days of being denied. This is how long American Express will usually accept requests for a second review before closing the application permanently.
If you do decide to submit another application after going through reconsideration, wait at least 30 days after receiving your rejection notice. It is not likely that you will be approved so soon after being denied and you don’t want to add another hard credit inquiry to your report. The next section will help you determine when to call and how to get ready.
How to Prepare
Before you call the American Express reconsideration line, you need to be sure that you’ve been denied. Don’t call if you’ve been waiting for a response after applying and assume you’ve been turned down.
If you haven’t heard back at all, go online to check the status of your application. It only takes a couple of minutes. Or, you can call 1-888-826-3471. Your application will show as either approved, denied, in progress, or canceled. If it’s still in progress, continue waiting before calling for reconsideration. This is not an automatic “no.”
If it shows that it has been canceled, there might have been an issue with your application and you will need to call American Express to find out if they need anything from you to process your application.
After receiving a rejection letter for any credit card, it’s a good idea to get to work building your credit and improving your financial situation, whatever that may look like for you. For example, try paying down your debt to quickly decrease your credit utilization ratio, shooting for somewhere around 30%.
Finally, although not necessarily recommended, you could close another one of your other credit card accounts if you have too many open. This can negatively affect your credit by lowering the average age of your accounts but may allow you to open one more. Don’t do this unless you feel strongly that this new card is better for you than your other cards and definitely don’t close your oldest card. And again, nothing is guaranteed, so this is somewhat risky.
In general, it’s a little more complicated to have a business card application reconsidered than it is to have a personal card application reconsidered. You may need to provide documents to show that your company is legitimate and help the representative understand how you plan to use the card.
Review Your Application
Did you accidentally leave a question on your application blank? Answer something incorrectly? Fail to provide necessary documents? Any of these things can land your application in the metaphorical “no” pile or cause it to be automatically canceled, but they are easy to fix.
Before calling for reconsideration, make sure that your application was filled out properly. Getting approved could be as simple as correcting a mistake on your application.
Review Your Credit Report
The reason you were denied might not even be your fault. There could be an error in your credit history–like an incorrect date, a debt recorded twice, or a misreported account balance–that caused your application to be automatically denied.
You can dispute an error on your credit report by calling the credit bureau responsible for the report containing the mistake. Each bureau has its own process for opening a dispute. Wait until your credit report is 100% accurate to call American Express for reconsideration.
Use Your Current Credit Cards
Especially if you already have American Express cards open, you want to show that you use them. Add spend to your cards and pay the balance in full before the due date. You want to appear as American Express’s #1 customer.
Do the same with your other credit cards as well, just don’t send your credit utilization ratio skyrocketing.
Call for Reconsideration
If you have taken the above steps to build your case, you’re ready to call American Express for reconsideration. This is not the same as reapplying, so it doesn’t require a second hard inquiry and they can use your existing application.
The next section will help you figure out what to say for the best chance of approval.
What to Say
Prepare what you’re going to say with the reason you were denied in mind. You don’t want to fumble your way through the call. American Express does not guarantee that asking for reconsideration will change your outcome, but it’s worth a shot.
Was your reason that your income is too low? Explain how you have been working to increase your cash flow and pay down debt with careful budgeting. It’s possible that lowering your overall credit limit by calling your other credit card issuers can help with this issue to improve your potential debt to income ratio.
Was your reason that you already have too much credit with American Express? Explain that you are happy to shift some of your existing credit with the bank to this new card. This often works.
Was your reason that you have poor or too little credit? American Express does not allow co-signers, but you might be able to provide examples of ways you are working to build or improve your credit. Or if you found that your credit report had an error that brought your credit score down and you have since resolved it, you can explain the situation to the agent and they will reconsider your application with your new score.
When you call for reconsideration, be prepared to answer a series of questions. Be patient and helpful to the representative you’re working with and they’re more likely to be willing to hear you out.
The American Express agent reviewing your application may ask you to submit additional documents to support your case. For example, they may request proof of income such as a pay stub or ask for a copy of your lease or title papers to prove that your current address matches the one on your application.
They will also probably ask you to provide more detail than the application asked for. They may ask you to explain why you have so many recent hard inquiries or have opened so many new cards, for example. Maybe you just moved and needed to apply for a mortgage, car loan, and new credit card in a short time period. Depending on how strong your application is otherwise, this can work.
By the end of your reconsideration call, you should know whether your application has been accepted or denied.
What to Do If You Are Denied After Reconsideration
Calling for reconsideration doesn’t always work. You may receive the same answer you did the first time. If you get denied the first time you try, you can always try again. Wait a day or two before calling back.
Feel free to ask the American Express agent for suggestions if you get denied. Even if you don’t walk away with a new card, use this opportunity to find out what Amex is looking for in applicants and how to make yourself more creditworthy in the future.
If you keep getting denied, the issue could be that you set your sights too high. Maybe you applied for a luxury card but something geared more toward everyday use would be a better fit given your credit, income, and history.
If you do plan to reapply, we recommend waiting at least six months. Although you can technically submit another application just 30 days following rejection, your chances might not be a lot better in such a short time frame. Plus, reapplying requires a hard credit pull that will hurt your credit. Don’t do it until you’re much more confident about being approved.
You don’t have anything to lose by calling the reconsideration line when you get denied for an American Express credit card. If you received a rejection letter after your most recent application, you can call to have your application manually reviewed a second time within 30 days.
American Express cards are a little bit harder to qualify for than the average credit card, with some cards requiring excellent credit to get approved. So you may not hear what you want to hear when you apply, but you may have better luck the second or third time around–especially if you’re well prepared for the conversation.
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