Just because one creditor didn’t find you creditworthy doesn’t mean you should give up.

3 minute read

The sting of rejection is bad enough when it comes from a love interest or potential employer. But getting rejected by a credit card company or being turned down for a bank loan comes with its own shame-inducing baggage. No one likes hearing they didn’t make the credit cut, but being denied credit doesn’t have to ruin your life, either.

Instead of feeling bad about yourself and your financial future, you can take control of your credit situation, get to the bottom of what caused the denial and work on making sure you don’t get denied the next time you apply.

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1. Study the adverse action notice

When a creditor turns you down for a loan or credit card, it’s legally required to notify you with the main reasons why you were denied credit. The notice you receive in the mail from the creditor should include the credit score it used to make its determination and the name, address and telephone number of the credit reporting agency that provided your credit report.

When you’re denied credit, you’re also entitled to get a free copy of your credit report from the agency that provided it, so the notice will explain how to request your report. The adverse action notice must also tell you the process for correcting any mistakes on your credit report or adding missing information.

Use this adverse action notice to your advantage by getting a free copy of your credit report and taking note of areas where you can get to work on improving your credit.

Find out: 6 Reasons You Could Be Denied Even With Excellent Credit 

2. Review your credit report

You have up to 60 days from the date of your adverse action notice to request a copy of your credit report from the credit reporting company named in the notice. Once you receive a copy of your report, review it closely for any errors or accounts you don’t recognize to make sure you weren’t denied credit because of inaccuracy on your credit report.

If you find inaccurate information on your credit report, you can dispute the information by contacting both the credit reporting agency and the company that reported the inaccurate information. If the furnisher of the information agrees that it’s inaccurate, it must notify all the credit reporting companies it provided the information to so they can correct it.

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

3. Call the card issuer

When you are denied for a credit card, it may be worth a shot to call the credit card company and ask to speak to someone so you can make an in-person case for your creditworthiness. Even if the company still won’t approve you for that particular card, the representative may be able to suggest a card that has a higher chance of approval with your credit score and income.

Find out: 9 Ways Your Credit Score Can Make Life Heaven or Hell

4. Apply for credit that’s within your reach

Some cards are available only to those with excellent credit. So, if your credit score is 700, which is in the “good” range of 670 to 739 and you applied for a rewards card aimed at consumers with “excellent” credit scores of 800 or above, that could be why you didn’t get approved.

If that’s the case, try applying for a card aimed at consumers with “good to excellent” credit. If your credit score falls in the “fair” range of 580 to 669 and you were denied for a card targeting consumers with good credit, your chances are better if you apply for cards specifically designed for those with a fair score.

Find out: 5 Signs Good Credit Could Be Within Your Reach

5. Work on improving your credit score

Whatever your credit score, you can always work on improving your credit history and score by making all payments on time and keeping your credit utilization rate – the percentage of revolving debt to your available credit – below 30%. Time is on your side, too, since negative payment history automatically drops off your credit report after seven years.

Keep working on improving your credit, and once your score improves, your days of credit denial will be only a distant memory.

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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