What happens if I get declined for credit?

So, you’ve gotten declined for a credit card…Now what?

Each time you apply for credit, whether it is a credit card or a loan, it is called a “hard inquiry.” This stays on your credit report for two years. While getting declined credit will not negatively impact your credit score or history, a bank or lender will look at the number of “hard inquiries” you have; the more you have, the riskier you are. However, it is important to note that if you are looking for specific types of credit, like an auto loan or a mortgage, multiple inquiries will count as only one for credit scores.

It’s also important to understand why you were declined in the first place. Reasons can include: having too low of an income, owning too many credit cards, a record of late payments, being in collections, or having limited credit history. If you are denied credit, a lender is required to tell you why within 60 days of your application being rejected according to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).

If you’re still interested in learning more about this topic, check out these resources: “Credit Inquiries: Hard Inquiries and Soft Inquiries” and “Choosing the right card and what happens to credit scores if you are declined.”

Written by Alex Ziskind & Andrea Pellegrini, University of Illinois USFSCO Student Money Management Center

What is my credit score? Why is it important? How do I check my credit report?

What is a credit score?

A credit score is typically a three-digit number based on your financial history to analyze and determine your creditworthiness. The higher your score, the better off you are! Credit scores are used by lenders (banks, credit card companies, etc) to gage your financial responsibility based on your past financial behaviors. Credit scores are calculated from information in your credit report. Things that affect your credit score, both positively and negatively, are paying bills late or on time, the type of credit you use, how much credit you have available to you, how much you owe on your credit cards and loans, how long you’ve held outstanding credit (how long you’ve had a credit card, for example), and whether you’ve had a lot of inquiries from prospective lenders.
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