Reasons you were turned down for a credit card

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There are many reasons to apply for a credit card. You may want to take advantage of a rewards program or maybe start building your credit history. Whatever your reason, getting denied for a credit card can be a real downer.

This article will look at why you may have been turned down for a card and what you can do about it.

You Have Too Many Recent Credit Applications

If you’ve recently applied for a mortgage pre-approval, a debt consolidation loan, a car loan, or another credit card, your credit card application might be denied. This is because when you apply for a new loan or credit, a hard inquiry is performed on your credit file. If there are multiple hard inquiries on your file within a short period of time, banks will take this as a sign that you’re “credit hungry.” Consequently, they will see you as a risky applicant who may be taking on too much potential debt too quickly.

Your Credit Score isn’t High Enough

Your credit score is a three-digit score that everyone from banks to landlords uses to judge how responsible you are with managing the money you’ve borrowed. It’s kind of like a report card for your finances.

If your score isn’t high enough, you won’t qualify for some cards. Banks don’t state explicitly that you need a specific score for approval, but in general, the higher your score, the better. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check your score online. If you only have a credit score of 620 or less, this likely explains your rejection. However, all is not lost. There are credit card products known as secured cards, which have very lenient approval requirements, and their purpose is to help you rebuild your score.

You Have A Lot Of Existing Debt

If you already owe a large amount of debt on your existing credit card or multiple cards and loans, a bank may be reluctant to approve you. This is because they may be afraid that you’ll have trouble handling another monthly payment and may be at a greater risk for defaulting.

It’s worth knowing that banks and lenders don’t usually measure your high debt load regarding the actual dollar amount you owe. Instead, they look at the size of your debt relative to your total credit limit or total income. As a general rule, you shouldn’t have a debt-to-income ratio of more than 37% or carry over 30% of your total credit limit as debt.

You Don’t Have a High Enough Income or Your Income is Unstable

To extend your credit, banks need to feel confident that you have a sufficient and stable income so you can make the monthly payments. In fact, some cards specifically state that you have to have a minimum income to qualify. For instance, Visa Infinite Cards require a personal income of $60,000.

If you’re a freelancer or work on commission, you may be flagged as a higher-risk application because your income is inconsistent. Therefore, you should provide the bank with additional documentation with your application that details your employment or income history (such as a Notice of Assessment from your Income Tax Return).

Your Credit History is Insufficient

If you’re applying for credit for the first time, you’ll have what’s known as a thin credit file. In other words, you don’t have enough of a track record of managing borrowed money and making on-time payments for the bank to feel they can trust you with a new line of credit. Fortunately, there are many entry-level student credit cards and secured cards designed for people who don’t have a credit history.


These are just some of the reasons why a bank may deny you a credit card. It’s important to know why you were turned down so you can correct the issue. However, in some cases, this might be a long process. For instance, if you have a lot of existing debt, it might take some time for you to reduce it, and unfortunately, until you do, it is neither wise nor likely that you’ll be issued a credit card.