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I’m a money expert. I still got rejected for a credit card


I ticked every box, but there was one big problem.

This year I embarked on a journey to become a points master.

The entire plan hinged on getting a card with a generous bonus offer that also let me earn points on my spending.

I found a card that ticked every box for me. And I thought I ticked every box for the card company.

  • Excellent credit score: Check
  • Income above the minimum requirement: Check
  • Existing debts: Nothing but a home loan, and no missed repayments.
  • Application form: Completed, with plenty of supporting documentation.

I sent everything off and after a few days I received an email: Your application has been rejected. Ouch!

Luckily I was able to figure out why I got rejected.

One thing credit card companies need to check is your income and spending. While I earned more than enough to qualify for the card, I was spending almost my entire income each month.

Not because I'm bad with my money! I'm married. We use an account in my name to cover our bills, mortgage repayments and spending. We try to save the bulk of my wife's income.

But the card application only included my accounts. Based on the data I provided, giving me a fancy credit card was very irresponsible.

And financial providers have an obligation under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act to not provide credit irresponsibly.

I spent a few hours looking for a way to submit a new application with more information about our accounts, but the card provider's form wasn't set up that way.

I called the company but they said wait a few months before applying. But I didn't have time for that. I was on a journey to become a points master!

In the end the solution was easy. We applied again in my wife's name using her accounts and added me as an additional cardholder.

One hour after submitting the application she was approved.

Fear of rejection

19% of Australians avoid applying for credit because of a fear of rejection, according to a recent Finder survey.

I totally understand the fear now. When I got rejected there was no explanation from the card company. And I started to worry about applying again.

Getting rejected for a credit application hurts your credit score. Applying again and getting rejected would simply magnify the problem.

It's clearly a problem for many. My Finder colleague Jamie Wise had an even more confusing time getting a credit card.

"I was rejected for a credit card when I was living at home and had no bills," she says. "Fast forward to a year ago when my partner and I had just bought our first home – I figured my finances were stronger and attempted again. Denied again! But then I took a chance on a different, less demanding card, and was approved almost immediately."

Every credit card application is different. But it's hard not to feel that the whole process can be a bit random.

Compare the best credit cards and get money saving tips to help you beat the cost of living crunch.

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