Credit card denied despite good credit history

Dear Experian,

If my credit history is good, why would a credit card company not issue me a credit card?



Dear KRG,

It’s possible that your definition of a “good credit history” differs from the credit company’s definition, and it is also very possible that the credit card company’s decision had nothing at all to do with your credit history.

I often hear from people who equate “no late payments” with “good credit history.” However, having no late payments is only one piece of the puzzle. Having very high balances on credit cards, a large number of credit cards, or substantial outstanding debt also are signs of high risk.

A short credit history or no recent activity, despite otherwise good credit behavior can contribute to the decision, as well. While everything else may show strong credit management, the lender may be reluctant to approve your application simply because it doesn’t have enough information upon which to base its decision.

It’s also important to understand that no one element is considered in isolation. Rarely does a single issue cause the declination. Instead, a combination of factors almost always contributes to the final decision.

For example, a person may have a relatively short credit history, a number of new accounts and balances near the limit on several credit cards. While any one of those issues may not be enough to cause the application to be declined, together they pose too much risk for approval.

On the other hand, the lender’s decision may not have had anything to do with your credit history. Other factors, such as whether you can demonstrate sufficient income to support the account, are more important today than they have been in the past.

You should have received a declination notice informing you of the lender’s decision. The notice typically includes a description of the factors that most affected that decision, and should give you a clearer idea of what was considered.

Only your lender can explain exactly why it chose not to issue you the credit card. If the declination letter doesn’t provide the detail you need, try contacting the lender’s customer service department. They might be able to provide more insight.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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