11 Simple Reasons Why You’ve Been Denied for a Credit Card


While being denied a credit card is disappointing, it can also be motivating. If you understand why you weren’t approved, you can increase your chances of being approved next time and reduce your financial stress.

There are many reasons why you may receive a denial, but it often comes down to not meeting the lender’s qualifications.

Here are some common reasons why credit card applications are typically declined so you can see if any of these apply to you.

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1. Your credit score is too low

Credit scores are one of the most important parts of credit card approval. Many lenders set specific credit score requirements for approval. This is especially true for high-risk or more lucrative credit cards, such as reward credit cards.

The higher your score, the more likely the lender will grant you approval. If your credit score isn’t what’s considered a good score (for FICO it’s 670), then that’s what you’ll want to work on before you apply next time.

Pro Tip: You can increase your credit score by establishing credit with any of the best credit cards for bad credit.

2. You’ve made too many late payments

Lenders generally want to be sure that borrowers will reliably make their payments on time. If your credit report shows that you have multiple late payments, this is a concern that may lead to a denial. It also impacts your credit score.

You cannot remove late payments from your credit report unless they were not properly reported. So the best way around this is to work on minimizing the frequency with which they occur.

3. You applied too many credit cards

Credit card applications occur when a borrower applies for a loan or a credit card. Some lenders see this as cause for concern, especially if you have a lot of credit card or loan applications in a short period of time.

There is no specific number of inquiries that could harm you, but the fewer you have, the better your chances of being approved.

4. You have too much debt

The more debt you have, the more difficult it may be for you to make payments to your lenders. Credit card lenders want to make sure you have enough income to cover your debts, including any new cards they offer you.

The higher the ratio of debt to the amount of available credit you have, the higher the risk for the lender you represent. This can lead to a credit denial until you find ways to reduce your debt.

5. You have high credit card balances

Having a lot of debt is one thing, but when your credit card balance is very close to your current available credit limit, it worries lenders.

If you’re already close to your credit limit on all your cards, you may need to pay them off before applying for a new credit card. This, combined with other factors, can help you qualify for a new credit card line.

6. Your income is too low

Many lenders also take into account the amount of income you receive in your home each month. Lenders want to make sure you have enough income to cover your debts, including any new line of credit they offer you.

Some lenders refuse to lend to those whose income level is below the level they set. They may think it’s too risky for a credit card, especially when considering other debts you have.

7. The lender has a lot of restrictions

Although some lenders are more lenient than others, it’s not always easy to know before applying for an offer. Some lenders have very specific credit scores or incomes. Others may require you to open no more than five new credit cards in the past 24 months.

Some lenders also won’t accept you if you have a bankruptcy or judgment in your credit history, even if you’ve worked to raise your credit score since it happened.

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8. You have too many credit cards

Sometimes lenders don’t want to lend to a borrower who already has a lot of available credit even though they don’t have a lot of debt. If you have a lot of credit cards, this could influence a lender’s decision to approve your loan.

The hardest part is that there is no specific number of cards to avoid since each lender sets their own rules in this regard.

9. You have a bankruptcy, collection or other public record

Some credit card companies won’t lend to people who have a history of bankruptcy, accounts in collection, or judgments against them.

This means that if your credit report says you filed for bankruptcy five years ago, it could still impact your ability to qualify for a loan now. Take a look at your credit report now to see if this is a concern you have.

If so, and they are correct, you may need to wait for these items to fall from your credit card or work to resolve them.

10. You are too young

If you are under 18, you may find it difficult to get credit without a parent co-signing the loan for you. Some lenders will allow younger people to get a credit card, but you must first prove that you have your own income.

You might also consider asking if you can become an authorized user on one of your parents’ credit cards. This could help boost your credit score over time.

Pro Tip: You could start building your credit sooner by applying to one of best credit cards for teens.

11. Your credit history is too short

There are certain situations where you must have credit to obtain credit. It may seem like a problem to solve, but some lenders simply don’t work with newer borrowers with no proven credit experience.

If your credit report is too thin — meaning you just haven’t used much credit in the past few months — it could hurt your chances of getting a new car. This is because it can impact your creditworthiness.

It may be advantageous to buy best secure credit cards that can help you establish your credit history.

At the end of the line

There are many reasons why a lender has not approved your credit card application. Often you can ask for more information about why they turned you down, and some will send you a letter explaining their reasons.

Sometimes it’s as simple as not filling out the credit card application correctly or completely. Other times you will have to work for pay off your debt or build your credit history.

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