Income isn’t the key factor in getting credit card

Dear Experian,

How could it be that I make $80,000 a year but I can’t get a retail credit card?



Dear TNI,

It might seem odd, but your income isn’t the key issue considered in the decision to approve or decline a credit card application, and salary information isn’t part of a credit report. Instead, you provide it in your application.

It is important for the lender to verify an applicant has sufficient income to repay any charges they make, but to put it bluntly, just because a person makes enough to pay their credit card bill doesn’t mean they will pay it.

That is why a person’s credit history is so important. It shows that a person has a history of repaying their debts as agreed. A person who has a strong history of repaying their debts on time will likely repay any new debts on time, too. On the other hand, experience has shown creditors that a person who has a history of not paying their debts is likely to repeat that behavior.

You don’t mention what your credit history is like, but I suspect you either have no recent credit activity or you’ve had some issues in managing past debts. If so, then you’ll need to bring any late payments current and then begin to establish a record of on-time payments.

The lender may have provided some insight into your specific credit history issues in its declination notice. You can also purchase a credit report and credit score that will provide an explanation of the things that are having the most negative impact on your credit scores. If you don’t have enough recent credit activity, then you may have to open a secured credit card account to build recent history.

Address those issues, re-establish a positive payment history over time and you will eventually be able to get that credit card.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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