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Why my credit card application was declined


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It can be incredibly disappointing and frustrating to be denied for a credit card. You might wonder why your credit card application was not approved and what actions you can take to enhance your chances of approval in the future. Let’s look into the reasons behind declined credit card applications.


1- Low Credit Score


One of the most common reasons for credit card application denials is a low credit score. Banks and credit card issuers in Canada have different credit score requirements for different types of credit cards. If your credit score falls below their threshold, your application may be denied.

To determine where you stand, it’s essential to check your credit score regularly. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report from the major credit bureaus once a year. If your credit score is low, it’s crucial to work on improving it. Paying bills on time, reducing credit card balances, and avoiding new credit inquiries can all help boost your score.


2- Limited Credit History


Having a limited credit history can make it challenging to get approved for certain credit cards. Lenders need to see a track record of responsible credit management to assess your creditworthiness. If you’re new to credit or have only recently started using credit accounts, your application may be denied due to insufficient credit history.

To overcome this hurdle, consider applying for credit cards designed for individuals with limited credit history. Student credit cards, store cards, and secured credit cards are often more accessible options for building credit. These cards can help you establish a positive credit history and eventually qualify for more rewarding credit cards.


3- Insufficient Income


Your income plays a crucial role in the credit card approval process. Credit card issuers want to ensure that you have enough income to repay any debts you accumulate on the card. When applying for a credit card, accurately report your income. If you have a low income, consider applying for credit cards with lower income requirements or secured credit cards that require a security deposit. Building a stable income and demonstrating responsible financial habits can improve your chances of approval in the future.


4- History of Late Payments


Your payment history is a significant factor in your credit score calculation. If you have a history of late payments or missed payments, credit card issuers may view this as a red flag and deny your application.

Unfortunately, you cannot remove accurate late payment information from your credit report. However, you can take steps to rebuild your credit. Consider applying for secured credit cards or credit cards designed for individuals with bad or fair credit. Make consistent, on-time payments, and over time, your credit score will gradually improve.


5- High Debt


Having a significant amount of debt can make it challenging to keep up with your monthly payments. Credit card issuers prioritize applicants who demonstrate responsible debt management. If you have high credit card balances or a substantial amount of debt relative to your income, your application may be denied.

if you are in this situation, focus on paying down your existing debts before applying for a new credit card. This will not only improve your chances of approval but also positively impact your credit utilization ratio.


6- Age Restrictions


Age restrictions can be a barrier to credit card approval. In most cases, you must be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card on your own. If you’re younger than 18, you may need to become an authorized user on a parent’s or guardian’s credit card to start building credit.

If you’re a student, you can also explore student credit cards specifically designed for students with limited credit history. These cards often have more lenient requirements and can help you establish credit at a young age.


7- Frozen Credit Reports


Credit card issuers rely on credit reports to assess an applicant’s creditworthiness. If you have frozen your credit reports to prevent identity theft, you will need to unfreeze them before submitting a credit card application.

Unfreezing your credit reports is a simple process. Contact the credit bureaus and follow their instructions to temporarily lift the freeze. Once your application is approved or denied, you can reapply the freeze to protect your credit information.


8- Recent Bankruptcy


A recent bankruptcy can significantly impact your creditworthiness and make it challenging to get approved for new credit cards. Bankruptcies remain on your credit report for several years and indicate that you didn’t fulfill your debt obligations.

If you have a recent bankruptcy on your credit report, consider applying for secured credit cards. Secured credit cards require a security deposit, reducing the risk for the issuer. By using a secured credit card responsibly and making on-time payments, you can gradually rebuild your credit and improve your chances of getting approved for unsecured credit cards.


9- Recent Credit Inquiries


Having too many recent credit inquiries can raise concerns for credit card issuers. Multiple credit inquiries within a short period may indicate financial instability or an excessive need for credit. If you have many recent credit inquiries that are not related to rate-shopping for a mortgage, auto loan, or student loan, your application may be denied.

In this case, it’s best to wait until some of the inquiries fall off your credit report before applying for a new credit card. Hard inquiries remain on your report for two years but have a diminishing impact on your credit score over time. Give yourself some breathing room and apply strategically to avoid unnecessary denials.


10- Incorrect Application Information


Sometimes, a credit card application may be denied due to incorrect or incomplete information provided. Small mistakes, such as typos or inaccuracies in your personal details, can lead to a denial.

To avoid this issue, double-check all the information you provide on the application form. Make sure your income, address, and other details are accurate. If you realize you made a mistake after submitting the application, contact the card issuer to correct the information and request a reconsideration.




Being denied a credit card can be discouraging, but it is essential to understand the logic behind the rejection to take the right measures to increase the probability of approval later on. Whether it is creating your credit history, paying back debts, or correcting mistakes on your credit report, proactive actions can lead to a successful application for a credit card. Responsible financial habits will ultimately pave the way for your credit card approval.


Author Bio

Mohamed Konate

Mohamed Konate is a personal finance expert, blogger, and marketing consultant based out of Toronto. He is a former financial services professional who worked for many years at major Canadian financial institutions where he managed the marketing strategy around various financial products ranging from credit cards to lines of credit. Mohamed is passionate about personal finance and holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Quebec (Montreal) and a Master in International Business from the University of Sherbrooke (Quebec).He is also the author of the Canadian Credit Card Guidebook. Read his full author bio

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