9 Tips to Successfully Negotiate With Debt Collectors

Lesson #8 : Tips For Reconsideration Phone Calls

If you’ve ever applied for a credit card and been denied or not instantly approved, you should have called the card issuers reconsideration line. When people first call these lines they can be a bit nervous so we’ve compiled a bunch of tips below to help you get through.

They’ll always ask basic “verification” details before probing further.

These verification details are used to make sure you didn’t lie about anything on your application (e.g, your income). Make sure you always tell them the same details, they usually ask the for the following: full name, last four digits of your social security, annual income, length of employment, job description, date of birth, address.

  1. Call promptly. If you wait more than a month before calling the reconsideration line you’ll need to submit a new application which will result in another hard credit pull. If you’re denied for a card you should call the reconsideration line as soon as possible.
  2. Have a valid reason for wanting the card. You really just want to look for a unique feature the card has (they’ll usually be listed and in bold font on the application page for you). Some basic examples below:
    • Good: I want the Barclays Arrival because I regularly travel, but don’t want to be tied down to a specific airline or hotel chain.
    • Bad: I really like the sign up bonus.
    • Good: I want the Chase Freedom because I like flexibility of getting cash back and I also love the fact it has 5% rotating categories.
    • Bad: I want the Chase Slate because I want to do a balance transfer so I can park my extra money in a checking account and then immediately pay off it off when the interest free period ends.
    • Good: I regularly travel to Europe so I need an EMV card, as most card readers there require it.
  3. Be Polite.  This should really be a rule of life and anybody who has worked in customer service knows it’s the truth. If you’re polite, kind and courteous the customer service representative is going to do their best to help you out. If you’re rude, obnoxious and make threats they will go out of their way to make sure you’re not approved.
  4. Know both your credit score & details of your credit report. You should really know what your credit score is before you apply for a credit card, different cards require different scores. For example, premium cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred & Barclays Arrival will require a credit score of at least 720+. There are plenty of free ways to find out your FICO score. You can also get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once per year from annualcreditreport.com (a government supported site). Knowing both your credit score and report and having them accessible during a reconsideration call arms you with knowledge and avoids embarrassing mistakes (there’s nothing worse than being on the line to reconsideration only to find out your credit report contains mistakes which have prevented you from being approved.
  5. Avoid closing existing accounts/cards with the bank before you apply for the new card. If you close a card with the same issuer before applying for a new card you lose any leverage you might’ve been able to use to your advantage. For example some cards require a minimum credit limit to be opened, if you already have an existing line of credit with that bank you could offer to move some of that limit onto the new card.
  6. Be flexible. In some cases you might have to be a bit flexible and negotiate a bit. For example, if the customer service representative says that you weren’t approved because you have too much available credit with their bank already – you can offer to reduce or move a credit limit from an existing card.
  7. If you have a banking relationship with the card issuer, use it to your advantage. If you’ve already held a card with the card issuer before or have one of their other products (e.g a checking account) then you can use this to your advantage. For example:
    • They say “Your credit reports show three late payments”, your reply could be “I’ve held card X with your bank for six years and never had any late payments. The reason I was late with those cards was that the card issuer had a problem with their Bill Pay feature causing me to be late. I’m currently contesting that negative item with them”.
    • They say “Your income is too low for this card”, you say “I have a checking account with you guys, as you can see I currently have $10,000 in savings. I always live well below my means and am extremely frugal”.
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