12 Reasons Your Credit Card Application Got Declined [Plus Tips Inside]

Why are my credit card applications always declined? If you want answers, just read on.

I cannot remember exactly when and how I applied for a BPI credit card, maybe summer last year and maybe via their website. Late January at lunch, I was surprised receiving an SMS notification that I got it approved, and that the card was being prepared for delivery in two weeks.

Bragging aside, I’m but thinking if I’ll still activate it upon receipt as it’s going to be my sixth credit card already. As can be remembered, it was just a year ago when I would almost complain about not getting one amidst all the qualifications and the numerous tries.

To cut the story short, I ended up availing an RCBC Instacard, a secured credit card (SCC), which gave me the complete experience, minus the hold-out deposit, of having a credit card. Yes, and it did a big help for me to get a regular one.

In another article, I mentioned that it’s not customary for banks and credit card issuers in the Philippines to send an adverse notice disclosing the reasons for not getting approved. It’s just declined, nothing more.

Curious about this, I read a lot of blogs and social media stories, and I came up with these twelve (12) top reasons why credit card applications get declined, plus some helpful tips exclusively for Filipinos who just want to have their first credit card.

Before you jump into these reasons, you might want to read these articles about my own credit card journey:

[1] You have a low credit score and a bad credit history. These are possibly the biggest culprits. You might have defaulted on your previous loans with lending institutions, even the small ones, or you still have a delinquency on your previous credit cards.

All of these are reflected on your credit history that serves as a reference for banks and credit card issuers upon making decision on your current application.

As Investopedia simply defines it, a credit history is a record of your ability to repay debts and your demonstrated responsibility in repaying them. In short, if you have such a bad credit history, credit card issuers get instantly turned off and most likely, will decline your credit card application.

Get a copy of your credit report from credit bureaus such as TransUnion Philippines, CIBI Information Inc, and CRIF Philippines. Find out what’s hurting your credit score.

If there really is, settle the issue first and re-establish your creditworthiness possibly through a secured credit cards (SCC) or any other regularly paid small loans.

[2] You still have a thin file, or worse a zero credit record. You might have just started working and earning, or most of your credit transactions such as personal loans are through informal lending and which are not reported to and recorded by credit bureaus, hence do not make any positive impact, if they really do, on your credit score and history.

Banks and credit card issuers will be clueless about your creditworthiness given the limited information about your borrowings and payments. It even happens that you do not exist in their files. In most cases, they will have your credit card application declined for now.

Just as how suspicious you are about the bad credit history, it’s a good idea as well that you get a copy of your credit report from credit bureaus just to check your current score. You will soon discover that there is much work to do with your low credit score.

[3] You’ve got tons of debts on your credit report. While the purpose of these card issuers is for you to make debts or additional ones by swiping the credit cards here and there, still they consider whether you are still in capacity to have a new one, especially if your credit report shows you can hardly pay off the existing ones.

Again, your credit report shows your payment histories, and partly your declared salary, but not really how much you have in your bank accounts. Your capacity to make additional debts and pay them off is just assumed based on your payments as in the report.

If you want a higher chance of getting approved on your credit card application, you should have thought about your existing debts and about what impression the credit card issuers may have on these debts being paid off.

[4] You’re not financially stable, and you don’t earn enough. Even if your gross annual income is hitting around the minimum required for a decent credit card, still card issuers are sometimes hesitant to give you a try.

Given your low income, credit card issuers are difficult to convince that you have the capacity to repay all debts you will charge to the card. Or if ever, you will be given an extremely low credit limit, sometimes as low as PHP10,000, but that’s always better.

If you are in this case, do some research about what counts as income on a credit card application. Maybe, you have other side business or freelance income that qualifies and be added to your declared gross annual income.

12 Reasons Your Credit Card Application Got Declined (Plus Tips Inside)

[5] You have multiple applications that have caused suspicious hard inquiries on your credit report. Your every credit card application triggers the card issuer to make a hard inquiry on your credit report. Although not much affecting your actual credit score, your multiple applications in a very short period may be taken as a red flag.

Multiple applications can suggest that you’re struggling to manage your finances efficiently and that you’re desperate to make debts. Of course, you don’t want to make such a bad impression.

If it’s your first time applying for a credit card, better start and focus on a card issuer which gives the most chances of getting approved. If it doesn’t work, try another but give it some time intervals.

[6] Your last application with the same card issuer was just a week ago. Usually, upon receipt of a rejection SMS, you also receive some advice to reapply after six months or to avail their secured credit card offering.

It’s a bad move filling out the same form again and uploading the same supporting documents on the day or just days after your receipt of the rejection notice. Most likely, you will just keep on receiving the same notice over and over again.

Give it a time, though not necessarily after six months. Let’s just say that at least a month or two is safer for you not to sound a desperate credit card applicant. And the next time you apply for it, you should have done your research about what possibly went wrong with the first one.

[7] Your occupation is not on the priority list. Small business owners, the self-employed, and freelancers among others may find it hard to get their credit card applications approved for a common denominator — unstable income. Call center agents, on the other hand, experience the same as being tagged as job hoppers.

Just as in many credit card ads circulating online, priority applicants are the licensed professionals in the fields of medicine, accounting, engineering, and the upper-management employees.

Nowadays though, even freelancers get credit cards by securing and submitting proofs of income that justify stability and hence, the capacity to pay off debts. Otherwise, other alternatives such as maintaining a decent savings account and availing a secured credit card do the convincing.

[8] You’ve filled out your application with inconsistent or wrong information. You might have misdeclared your gross annual income or any other important details that upon verification call, such discrepancy is even confirmed.

Equally, there are instances that your uploaded supporting documents such as ID cards, selfies, and income documents, and the details therein do not match with those in the accomplished application form.

Always make sure that the information you provide are consistent and accurate. Provide supporting documents as specified and required. The same way, you establish such an integrity and a bit of an enthusiasm upon answering those verification calls.

[9] You’ve just picked the wrong card. You might have been obsessed with the platinum cards or maybe something that in the first place you’re not qualified for given your current credit score and particularly, your income. Not all credit cards are the same.

With Citibank for example, it’s easier to get approved for Citi Simplicity+ and Citi Rewards cards than any other card offerings. Most credit card issuers however make adjustments based on qualifications and even send cards different from what you applied for.

If it’s your first time applying for a credit card, it’s a common suggestion to pick the basic one, the one for starters. You may however ask for an upgrade soon that it does not anymore suit your needs and preferences. And that is easier when you already get approved for whatever type of card.

[10] You’ve missed all the verification calls. Verification calls may be long or short, normally just for ten minutes while others, such as with BDO, even take 30 minutes or more. Expect that verifications may take not just one but two or more before you finally get that sweet approval.

Sometimes, banks don’t call at all. You just get surprised receiving an SMS or email, just like what happened to my applications with UnionBank and BPI.

Though most credit card issuers make two or three call attempts for verification and sometimes, send an SMS for you to call back their hotlines within three days or so, a single missed verification call sometimes results in your application getting denied, the same day itself.

If you’re expecting these calls, leave your lines open. Wherever you are, find a more private space and answer the call. Remember all the details you fed into your application. You need to be consistent and of course, listening attentively.

12 Reasons Your Credit Card Application Got Declined (Plus Tips Inside)

[11] Your company landline might be out of reach. Having a company landline is a typical requirement by most credit card issuers. They can have someone to call for your employment verification. Though not at all times, but they do call.

Just like with your personal contact numbers, a missed call to the company landline or an erroneously provided digits may end up the same fate — application denied.

You may declare your actual office landline, or that of your HR for more reliable point of contact. While the department knows its restrictions for confidentiality of your information as an employee, you may give them a friendly heads-up about this.

[12] You’re still clueless about some shortcuts. Credit card agents, and even bank employees themselves, are all around social media, and they know some shortcuts to getting your first credit card even if you got declined already.

For instance, they may suggest that you open a savings account and keep it active while the application is ongoing.

Equally, banks such as BDO and Metrobank send pre-approved cards to their clients who have maintained a savings account, i.e., with a significant deposit amount, with them for a certain period of time, e.g., for months or years.

Getting a secured credit card, maintaining it in a good standing for at least a year, and using it as a reference card is another proven way.

If you’re transacting with credit card agents, especially online however, always check their legitimacy and affiliations as you don’t want your personal information to be sold as a lead to third parties, and you end up receiving calls and SMS for other promotions no longer related to credit cards.

12 Reasons Your Credit Card Application Got Declined (Plus Tips Inside)

More and more Filipinos are becoming interested in credit cards because of the known benefits, and at the same time, aware of the financial risks that come with them if used irresponsibly.

Despite these, still we lag behind other countries in terms of credit card approval rate and use for a number of reasons such as lack of access to formal credit market, stigma of credit cards, and lack of financial literacy.

In the end, getting a credit card is a personal decision. It may either be a need or a dispensable financial tool.

Others need it for business. Others take it as just a convenient payment mode. I use it the latter way while building a good credit score for bigger financial decisions in the future and while enjoying the benefits.

To easily get approved for a Citibank Credit Card, apply through our referral link. 

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