At a Glance

The last thing anyone wants to experience when applying for a new credit card is a notice of denial, especially if approval seemed like a sure thing. While having a credit card denied can be discouraging, rest assured knowing there are steps you can take to either see if the denial can be overturned or to improve your credit so that you are approved in the future.

In this article, you’ll learn:

Why can you be denied a credit card?

The first step towards rectifying a denied credit application is understanding why your application was denied in the first place. The company to which you applied will always send you a letter or email notifying you of why your application was denied, whether it be for single or multiple reasons, with the below being the most common causes:

1. Limited credit history

One of the primary reasons you may find a credit card application denied is if you do not have an extensive history with credit. Lenders typically want to see an applicant have multiple credit accounts in the past where they have remained in good standing through the life of those accounts. However, not having many credit accounts in the past is viewed as riskier to lenders as there is not much history, positive or negative, to go off of.

2. Low credit score

Naturally, a person’s credit score is one of the leading metrics used by lenders to determine a person’s creditworthiness. Calculated using a person’s payment history, length of credit history, credit utilization, type of credit accounts, and more, having a lower credit score than that which is required by a lender will typically result in a denied application.

3. Low personal income

A person’s income is the primary source of repayment for any debt they may have. After evaluating your spending habits on current credit accounts, a lender may determine that your income is too low to handle another credit account and they may deny your application.

4. High balances

Having high outstanding balances on your existing credit accounts for a long period may result in being declined for a credit card. This is because it may appear to lenders that you are unable to repay your debt significantly, signaling that taking on additional debt would be unwise.

5. Too many credit inquiries

Another issue lenders may have with a person’s credit application is if there have been a large number of credit inquiries in a small period. To a lender, this may signal that a person is actively seeking large amounts of credit without being sure they can meet the financial obligation associated with each account.

6. Recent delinquencies

Being delinquent on debt is a common reason for getting denied credit card applications. Delinquency refers to the period when you are late on your credit payments, but your account has not yet gone into default.

7. Negative account information

Any negative information that exists within your credit history could be cause for a denial on a credit application, which is why contacting the credit bureaus to remove any erroneous information is so important.

8. Card application restrictions

Specific credit cards will have specific requirements as outlined by the issuer of that card. Should a person not meet any of these specific restrictions, they may see their credit card application denied, even if they have good credit.

What happens when your card application is denied?

As mentioned, answering the question of why my credit card application get denied is the first step toward fixing the situation. When you are denied a credit application, you will not be provided with whatever you applied for, whether that be a loan, credit card, or something else. The lender may also request that you wait a certain period before applying again.

What to do when you are denied a credit card?

If you are confused as to the answer to the question of why was I denied a credit card, especially if you have good credit, it may be worth following up on the denial. Reach out to the lender’s contact line for the specific area you applied for and ask for additional information on why your application was denied. For smaller reasons, it’s possible you can provide additional information over the phone that will get the decision overturned. At the very least, you will gain more insight into the reason which can help you with a future application.

Does being denied a credit card hurt your credit score?

No, being denied for a credit card will not hurt your credit score in and of itself. With that said, the hard inquiry into your credit as a result of the application will likely drop your score by a couple of points, but this is a temporary drop that will correct itself in a couple of months at the longest.

Learn more: Credit Card Rejections and Credit Score


Some people asking themselves why are not getting approved for a credit card believe the solution is to continuously reapply. While nothing is stopping a person from doing this, it is not the best idea. There is a reason you are being denied and applying right after each denial without addressing the problem will only result in another denial.

Yes, certain credit card issuers have dedicated support lines where a person can call regarding their denial to see if it can be overturned based on additional information.

A credit score is not the only factor taken into account by credit card issuers during an application. Many lenders have specific requirements, whether that be debt-to-income ratio, how many new accounts you’ve opened recently, and more which can impact their decision. It’s best to review your denial notice to see the specific reason why you were denied the card.