Should you call when your application goes pending?


Fairmont and IHG cards

When applying for credit cards, it is common to not get an instant decision.  At that point, you have a decision to make: Do you call the bank’s reconsideration line to force a quick decision, or do you wait?


Usually, I recommend waiting.  When you apply for a card, you have a number of chances to get approved:

  1. Instant approval upon applying
  2. Automatic delayed approval
  3. Automatically triggered analyst review
  4. Call reconsideration if denied

If you call the reconsideration line when your application is not instantly approved, you are voluntarily giving up the chance of getting approved in steps 2 or 3, above.  So, my usual recommendation is to wait.

Three reasons to call

Despite the above advice, there are times where it makes sense to call…

1. You need the card right away

Maybe you have a large purchase to make and you want to use the new card.  Or maybe you need to earn the signup bonus points in time to plan an upcoming vacation.  Either way, calling can be an effective way of speeding up the process.

2. You’re confident you’ll be approved, and you’re impatient

If you have good reason to believe that the card will be approved and you can’t stand waiting, then there is little harm in calling.

3. You want to control account trade-offs

If you have existing credit card accounts with the same bank that you applied to, they may move credit from another card to the new one, or even close a dormant account in order to approve your new card.  By calling, they’ll usually let you choose exactly how you want to free up credit for the new card.

Do you remember how my wife and I recently signed up for the Fairmont card just before it was no longer possible to do so?  My wife’s application went pending, and so we waited.  Eventually her application was approved along with the following message:

To open your new account and provide the highest possible credit limit, we’ve adjusted the credit line(s) on your other credit card(s) based on your use of these accounts.  Here’s a summary of the adjustments:

  • Account ending in XXXX
  • Action Taken: CLOSURE
  • Account ending in YYYY
  • Action Taken: DECREASE

They had outright closed one card, and drastically decreased the credit line in another.  I’m sure we could have called to change this result, but we were OK with it.

Which of my wife’s cards was closed?  Do you remember how I recently signed up for the IHG card in order to align my account with my wife’s so that we would get the annual free night certificates around the same time?  Yep, they closed her IHG card.  Ironic, isn’t it?  So, next year, around the same time, she’ll apply for the card again.  We can always use another 80K points

Calling Reconsideration

Our Best Offers page has an “App Tips” section for each credit card issuer.  There you will find reconsideration phone numbers, along with other helpful tips.

Best Offers Application Tips Chase

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