Why your credit card application was declined

The 8 most common reasons you didn't get approved for a credit card and how you can improve your chances next time.

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To get your credit card application approved there are some eligibility criteria you have to meet and documents you have to provide. This also means that there are a bunch of reasons your application might be rejected. Here are the most common reasons your credit card application may have been declined and what you can do now to get approved next time.

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8 reasons why your credit card application may be declined

  1. Your age. You must be 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia. If you are under 18 your credit card application will be declined.
  2. Incorrect information on your application. Something as simple as entering your driver's licence number wrong or misspelling your residential address could mean the credit card issuer is unable to verify your details and move forward with the application process. This is why it's important to carefully review your application before you submit it. If you made an error, you may be able to resolve the situation with the issuer by amending your application.
  3. Recent changes in your circumstances. If you have recently moved or changed jobs and you haven’t updated this information across all your networks, it could be hard for the issuer to verify your identity or access your credit report. As with mistakes on the application, you may be able to deal with this by calling the credit card issuer and providing additional documentation. If you include your employer's contact details in the application, you should also let them know that they may receive a call from the bank regarding your application.
  4. Failing to meet minimum income requirements. Most credit cards have minimum income requirements that you must meet to apply. If your annual earnings are less than this amount, your application will be declined. Compare credit cards with low annual income requirements (between $15,000 and $25,000 p.a.) for some low-cost alternatives.
  5. Employment circumstances. Stable, ongoing employment helps show to lenders that you can meet repayments for a new credit card. So if your employment is temporary, casual, part-time or hard to verify for some other reason, you may find it hard to get approval. If this is the case but you meet the income requirements, contact the bank beforehand to confirm if there is any additional information you need to provide to demonstrate your ability to repay.
  6. Financial risks. When you apply for a credit card, you have to enter information about your income and expenses. If your expenses outweigh or take up a large percentage of your income, the issuer may consider you a high-risk applicant that could struggle to repay their balance.
  7. Not meeting citizenship or residency status. While there are some credit cards available for temporary residents who hold a specific Visa, other cards are only available for permanent residents and citizens of Australia. If you don’t meet these requirements for a particular card, you won't be approved for the card.
  8. Bad credit history or "adverse bureau" information. Credit card issuers in Australia only approve applicants who have a good or excellent credit score. When you apply for a credit card, the issuer will request a copy of your credit report from a credit reporting agency. If you have negative or "adverse bureau" information in your credit history the issuer may decline your application. This could include late payments, defaults, too many applications for credit or even not enough credit history. Before you apply for a credit card, check your credit score and review your credit report to make sure it's in good standing.
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Some issuers may be willing to discuss the details of the denial with you but others may not. It’s a good idea to keep a copy of your application and review the details to see why it may have been declined.

How can I improve my chances of credit card approval next time?

Now that you know some of the reasons why the bank may have rejected your application, here are some steps you can take to increase your chances of approval the next time you apply for a credit card:

  • Choose a card that suits your circumstances. Make sure that you can meet the eligibility criteria. For example, if you don’t earn a lot of money, you may want to look at credit cards for low-income earners. If you are retired, on a pension or self-employed, you'll need
  • Get a copy of your credit report. You can request a free credit report from all of the major bureaus once every year. This allows you to make sure all the details listed are current and accurate. It can also give you a better understanding of how you can improve your finances. For example, if you see a lot of listings for late payments, you may want to focus on paying your bills on time to help improve your credit score before you apply for your next card.
  • Update all of your details before you apply. When you check your credit history, check that your personal details (including residential address, phone number, email address and employment) are up to date before you apply. This will make it easier for credit card issuers to verify the information on your application.
  • Wait a while before applying again. Applying for several credit cards in a short period of time will leave multiple enquiries on your credit report and does not look favourable in the eyes of a lender. If you're denied, wait a few months before applying for another card. In that time, you can improve your credit score and compare your options before applying for another card.
  • Have your supporting documentation ready. Credit card issuers require a range of documents before they can process your application. This includes copies of your passport or driver's licence, pay slips and bank statements. This will help the bank verify your information and may speed up the approval process.

Credit card issuers require a lot of information before they can make a decision about your application. By understanding what may cause a bank to decline your application, you'll know the mistakes to avoid and how to improve your chances of approval next time.

How to improve your credit score

Frequently asked questions about declined credit card applications

I have a high interest rate on my current credit card. I've tried to move it to another card with a balance transfer offer but my applications keep getting rejected. What should I do?

Frequent applications and rejection can hurt your credit rating. In this case, you may want to wait a few months and then find a card that suits your needs and also has eligibility requirements you can meet.

I am retired. Will this affect my application?

It depends on the card. Lenders may look at both the employment details and income of a person, which means you could still get a credit card when you are retired if you meet the minimum income requirements. You can compare credit cards for retired applicants here.

I am new at my current job. Should I wait for some time before making an application?

Card issuers generally require a minimum of two to four months of employment with your current employer. Alternatively, you may be asked to provide a letter from your employer confirming the terms of your employment and salary.

Is it harder to get approval for your first credit card?

Credit card issuers consider many different factors before approving or declining an application. While you may not have much credit history if it’s your first credit card application, other details such as your employment and income can help you get approval. You may also want to check out our guide to applying for your first credit card for more information.

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39 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    SimJuly 21, 2017

    In the “Dos and don’ts for credit card applications” you list to not apply for several credit cards within a short period of time. What is considered a “short period of time”? Weeks, months etc… please elaborate on the time frame.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezJuly 22, 2017Staff

      Hi Sim,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Short period of time for numerous credit card applications may be in a weekly or monthly manner. These days most providers offer an outcome in minutes when you apply online. No matter how long the wait, it is important to hold off applying for other products until you have an outcome. Therefore, you should submit one application at a time.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

    Default Gravatar
    DylanJune 19, 2017

    Hi,

    I am interested in applying for a credit card with a very small limit, just to build up my credit history and establish a good reputation.

    However, absolutely NOBODY will approve me, even for the lowest limit.

    I earn approx. $35,000 pa.

    So my question is, how can I build up my history when nobody will allow me the opportunity to?

      Default Gravatar
      DanielleJune 20, 2017

      Hi Dylan,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’m sorry to hear about the problem you’re having.

      I highly recommend that you check our guide on how to improve your credit score. The tips mentioned there don’t need you to open a credit. So, please do check that one out.

      You may also seek the advice of a Credit Specialist for a more personalised help.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

    Default Gravatar
    CoOctober 25, 2016

    Hi,

    I have recently applied for a credit card but later on realised that other credit provider offers a better deal. The credit card that I have already applied for has not been approved yet (I kept missing their call for the ID verification). Would it be not wise to call them up and withdraw my application then apply for one that offers better deal as there would be a recent enquiry recorded on my credit file?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayOctober 28, 2016Staff

      Hi Co,

      Thank you for your question.

      Please note that all credit applications you make are recorded in your credit file whether they are approved or not. Generally, too many applications within a short period may have a negative impact your file.

      So if you will apply for the other card with the better deal, most likely, the issuer will make an enquiry on your file and will find that you have just made a recent application from a different bank. So yes, it may not be a good idea to apply for that card (with the better deal) this very soon.

      Cheers,
      May

      Default Gravatar
      CoOctober 28, 2016

      Hi May,

      Thank you for your reply. So how long should I wait to apply for the other one? I know this can be very different cases by cases, but how about in general.

      Thanks

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayOctober 28, 2016Staff

      Hi Co,

      Thanks for getting back.

      Generally, to ensure that your rating will not be affected, you may have to wait for a few months (or up to 6 months) before you start applying again.

      Cheers,
      May

    Default Gravatar
    DawnOctober 3, 2016

    If my card application was declined by an online 60 second response will it be recorded on my credit file?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayOctober 4, 2016Staff

      Hi Dawn,

      Thank you for your question.

      Most likely, yes. Usually, when you apply for any form of credit, for instance, a credit card, the bank will surely check your credit file to examine your ‘creditworthiness’ and by doing so, that will leave an “enquiry” on your file.

      Cheers,
      May

      Default Gravatar
      DawnOctober 4, 2016

      Yes but this is a 60 second response….how can they do a credit check in that amount of time?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayOctober 4, 2016Staff

      Hi Dawn,

      Thank you for getting back.

      Unfortunately, all applications are recorded in the file and the “speed of response” is not a factor at all. So, in future, in order to avoid any possible enquiry on your credit file, you may have to contact the lender or the credit card company first and discuss your chances of approval with them before submitting an application.

      Regards,
      May

    Default Gravatar
    simonJuly 20, 2016

    How long must I wait after been declined,

      Default Gravatar
      ChesterJuly 20, 2016

      Hello Simon,

      Credit card companies and banks across Australia do not have the same application approval criteria. There are various reasons why your application might be declined. I have sent you an email so to provide some information in regards to your current status.

      Cheers!
      Chester

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