Four Things That Affect Your Ability To Get Credit Cards (Besides Your Credit Score)

8 January 2018
 Categories: Finance & Money, Blog

Some people are surprised when they apply for a credit card and are told that they cannot have one. They think (or they know) that their credit score is good, so why were they denied? Unfortunately, at the point of sale applications, retailers do not have access to this information. 

When this happens to you, you are stuck waiting to find out why you were denied. College students are able to get an entire wallet full of credit cards, even without jobs. Why should it be more difficult for you, when you have good credit and a job? Actually, the reasons stated in the denial letters may surprise you. If you were recently denied a credit card even though you have a full-time job and good credit, it is probably for one or more of the following four reasons.

Judgments Against You

It sounds ridiculous, but now credit card companies check your court records too. Judgments against you for any amount of money will cause you to be blocked from access to a credit card. The credit card companies do not know the reasons why, nor can they access the details of your court case histories to learn why there is a judgment against you.

They only see that you owe money to someone for something, and they consider that a major risk. It also does not matter how small the amount of the judgment is; it is still a red flag to the credit lender, so you might be denied. Sadly, even after you have paid these judgments, they remain on your record for up to ten years, so you could receive repeat denials until the expiration date for these records.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

If the amount of debt you carry exceeds your income by double or more, you will also likely be denied additional lines of credit. Borrowing all that money to get a college degree and then not being able to pay it back or not paying it back is a big problem on paper for credit lenders. They do not want to even extend small lines of credit to someone who makes $40,000 a year, but has $100,000 in school debt. You would be living beyond your means, which is a potential financial hazard that often results in bankruptcy and loss of income for the credit lenders. 


Bankruptcy stays on your financial records and court records for at least seven years, sometimes longer. If you filed for bankruptcy recently, or if you had a bankruptcy discharged within the last couple of years, most credit lenders do not want to give you more credit this close to cancelling out all of your previous debt. You will have to wait until the bankruptcy drops off your records before attempting to file for a new credit card.

Late Payments

Habitually late paying your phone bill? Guess what? That costs you access to a credit card. Even if your habitual lateness is less than a week, utility and amenity companies still report you to the credit bureaus.

If you have the money, pay the bill on time. Otherwise your habitual lateness is seen as an inability to pay, and not as a matter of forgetfulness. When it is a matter of forgetfulness, try setting reminders so that your bills are paid on time, or pay them online on the day of if your paychecks do not follow a typical pay period pattern. That will help remove some of these credit issues that are popping up on your denial letters.

Contact lenders in your area to learn more about applying for credit cards.