Even if you have good credit, approval of your credit card or loan app isn’t always a sure bet.

3 minute read

After years of paying bills on time to improve your credit and maintain an impressive credit score, the last thing you expect is a lender or credit card company denying your credit application. In fact, if that happens, you may even assume there’s been an unfortunate error on the part of the lender or credit card issuer.

However, even people with a credit score solidly in the “excellent” or “exceptional” range of 800 or above could still get denied under certain circumstances.

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1. Your income doesn’t make the cut

Even though you have excellent credit, a lender may deny your loan application based on the fact that you don’t meet its minimum income requirements for the amount you’re trying to borrow. Insufficient income can also cause you to be denied by credit card companies, especially if you’re applying for a premium credit card with superior benefits and rewards.

Find out: How Can I Protect My Credit Score During COVID-19?

2. You have a spotty employment history

If you have a history of job hopping or long periods of unemployment, that history can put off lenders or other creditors who worry that you will lose or quit your job and be unable to make payments on a loan or credit card.

Many lenders don’t feel comfortable extending an auto or other loan until the applicant can prove at least two years of continuous employment.

Find out: 8 Things to Do When You Achieve Excellent Credit

3. You recently got a credit card with the same issuer

Even if you have perfect credit, if you recently opened a new credit card account with the same company as the card you just applied for, you may be surprised by an instant denial on the online application or receive one later in the mail.

That’s because some credit card companies may not allow you to open a new credit card if they recently approved you for a different card. With some credit card issuers, you may be approved for the card but not for the sign-up bonus if you received a bonus on another of its cards within a specific period.

To avoid the sting of “How Could You Deny Me?” rejection, always check the terms and conditions of the card and offer for such limitations before applying.

Find out: 6 Times Your Credit Score Matters More Than Ever

4. You have too much debt

If you’re already deeply in debt with loans and credit cards, those high balances can be a red flag to lenders and credit card companies when weighed against your annual income. In fact, a high debt-to-income ratio could be just the thing that keeps you from being approved for a new loan, credit card, or other line of credit.

Find out: How Financially Resilient Are You to the COVID-19 Pandemic? 

5. Your credit report isn’t updated

Even worse than being denied because you have too much debt is being wrongly denied because your credit report hasn’t yet been updated. For example, if you paid off a credit card with a large balance last week, and it’s not appearing on your credit report yet, the bank or credit card company will think you have more debt than you actually owe.

To find out if your credit report reflects the true status of debt balance, get a free copy of your report from AnnualCreditReport.com.

Find out: What is the Fastest Way Possible to Improve My Credit Score?

6. You forgot to “unfreeze” your credit report

If you placed a security freeze on your credit report to stop new credit from being opened in your name as an identity theft precaution, you must contact the major credit bureaus to unlock your credit report before potential creditors can pull your report for review.

To unfreeze or temporarily lift the security freeze on your credit report, you must contact each of the three major credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – individually before lenders and credit card companies can access your report.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

Published by Debt.com, LLC