Posted by William Charles on February 19, 2016
Credit Cards

Published on February 19th, 2016 | by William Charles


Credit Card Issuers That Don’t Do A Hard Pull If You’re Denied

We’re reposting this as it seems Bank of America also doesn’t do a hard pull when you’re an existing customer and you’re denied.

When you’re signing up for a lot of credit cards, one of the things that you want to minimize is the number of hard pulls on your credit report. This is because hard credit pulls (or inquiries) affect your FICO score, unlike soft pulls. A hard credit pull stays on your credit report for a period of two years and will affect your FICO score for one year.

[Read: How to get your FICO score for free]

We’ve talked about tactics to minimize hard pulls in the past, sometimes it’s possible to get multiple inquiries from the same bank combined if you apply for multiple cards in the same day for example. As part of my credit card strategy, I also try to spread my inquiries over all three of the credit bureaus as well.

When you get denied for a credit card, it’s a double whammy. Most credit card issuers will do a hard pull on your credit report, not like what they see and then deny you. This leaves you with a hard pull on your report and no sign up bonus to show for it. Fortunately not all credit card issuers do this, some will do a soft pull to see if they will approve or deny you and then only do the hard pull when they approve you.

Let’s have a look at the banks that won’t do a hard pull if you’re denied. Since most financial institutions don’t do this, we will only list the ones that do. If we’re missing any, please let us know in the comments.


American Express

If you read Frequent Miler’s blog, you’ll probably already be aware of this as I shared this with Julian in the past for a Bet You Didn’t Know Post? If you’re an existing cardholder with American Express they will use your existing credit report they have on file to see if you’re eligible, if you pass this check they will do a hard pull to recheck your credit report before finally approving you.

This means that most of the time if you’re denied, no hard pull will have been done as they will have denied you based on the existing information they already had access to. If there has been a significant change to your credit report between when they last did a soft pull and when you applied for the card, it’s possible that a hard pull will be done and you will be denied but in most circumstances this will not be the case.

American Express usually do a soft pull once a month or so to check everything is in order, so the chances that your credit has changed drastically in one month that you would go from being approved to denied is small. Keep in mind this only works if you’re a current American Express cardholder (and the card must be issued by American Express and not just running on their payment network).


Barclaycard seems to work the same way as American Express, as long as you’re an existing cardholder and you’re denied a soft pull will be done unless your credit has changed significantly recently. One thing to keep in mind is that Barclaycard is quite inquiry sensitive, so if you’ve recently applied for a lot of cards you might be denied and still receive the hard pull as they will consider this a significant change and deny you when they repull your credit report.

Bank of America

There are now two separate reports (1 ,2) of Bank of America not doing a hard pull if you’re denied and have at least one credit card with Bank of America already.

Other Card Issuers

Have you received a soft pull when you’ve been denied with any other card issuers? If so let us know in the comments below. As always, all of this stuff is your mileage may vary, if you’ve had a different experience than listed above then let us know as well as any ways your credit might have changed a lot just before you applied for the card (e.g high credit utilization, late payment, lots of applications etc etc).

57 Responses to Credit Card Issuers That Don’t Do A Hard Pull If You’re Denied

  1. Michael says:

    With Barclay, do they get worked up if you have too many inquiries with them specifically or overall with all agencies?

    • Sarah says:

      I was approved for a Barclay Arrival + card this month, even though I already had 3 Barclay hard inquiries in the last 2 years.

  2. Chuck Sithe says:

    Interesting that Barclay does this too. Makes it easier when debating a Barclay app.

    • George Smiley says:

      Although, that was never that tough a debate since they only pull TU, right?

      • junniebug says:

        Becarful, Barclay only pulls Transunion; but they soft pull Equifax & Experian. I applied for the Arrival card back on November 5, 2015. At the time I already was approved for 3 credit cards prior. I applied for the everyday Amex card October 20, 2015, Citi Diamond October 23, 2015 , Chase Freedom hard pull to increase my credit limit October 25, & finally Amex Blue cash October 26, 2015. I gotten 4/4, so I was lucky. That gave me four hard pull on my Experian less than two months. I still got approved for my Barclay Arrival card any way.

  3. Jason says:

    I concur with the point with Amex. I recently applied two Amex Platinum— person and business in different days, and the HHonors one month ago. All these three pulls never showed up in my report, none of the three, though Amex usually pulls from Experian in my area. I have been with Amex over 10 years.

    • Jason says:

      Forgot to mention that I was approved for all three apps in Amex. I had no idea why no hard pulls on the reports. On the contrary, Barclays pulled me twice, one on initial app pending, the other on two days later I called in for recon. I should have just waited it out as opposed to calling in.

      • Kent C says:

        Barclay reconsideration rep once told me they will not do a 2nd hard pull on a recon call unless it has been 30 days since you applied. Then you’re fair game again.

      • Dan says:

        This is strange because there is no mention of being able to get a credit card without any hard pull at all (I think you are misunderstanding the post). The point of the post is that in many cases, getting a denial does not lead to getting a hard pull. According to all data points I’ve seen, Amex should always do a hard pull before giving an approval.

      • Justin says:

        Same thing happened to me, I already had an Amex(for quite awhile) and every Amex I add to my collection I never get a hard pull.

  4. M. Smith says:

    I keep all three of my credit reports frozen. If I am a current AmEx cardholder, could I apply (and potentially get approved) for a new AmEx without lifting my credit freeze?

    • Naveen says:

      I am like you, and always keep all 3 credit files frozen. I have always had to unfreeze at least one of them to get a new credit card regardless of my current status with the issuer. In most cases, I get on the phone with the issuer and let them call the bureau to join the call – that way i don’t pay the unfreeze fees.

    • junniebug says:

      No you cannot. I have Credit freezes on all three of my credit reports. I tried applying for Amex Blue Card two weeks ago.They told me I had to unlock my Experian so they can hard pull me. I decided to the decline the application. I decided to play it safe & wait six months before I apply for another credit card. I want all of my hard pulls to count. June 1, 2016 I think I will be safe to apply without getting deny, because I waited six months. Most banks will not be scared to give you credit, if your not credit hungry. My goal is to apply for the two charge cards. Amex platinum & Amex Premier rewards card. I think I can get them now, but I will wait to be safe.

  5. Tyler O says:

    Hypothetically, let’s say I applied for an Amex and got denied. If I were to call the recon line, would they do a hard pull AND could prospectively deny me again? Just curious..

  6. Mads says:

    Does anyone know if they do a hard pull for s decline if you are an authorized user? I have just one acct of my own (Cap1 for a year) but am an authorized user on a Barclays and a business AmEx. I know AmEx asked for a ss# for the AU… Or any suggestions for new accts for cash or points with such a short history? Credit Sesame gives me a 750. Thx!

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  8. Sayeed Mehmood says:

    I was denied for a 50,000 Citi AAdvantage card earlier this year. It wasn’t an outright denial actually, I was asked to call, I did, but it didn’t work. Don’t really know why, since I was instantly approved for the Thank You Premier soon after. Anyway, it seems that they did not do a hard pull for the denial. In fact, I am yet to see the hard pull for the Thank You Premier.

  9. Alex says:

    Just did 62nd day 3x Amex CLI – Approved. Next day applied for Amex Blue cash. Result – Approved without Hard Pull. Add it to your knoweledge base. 😉

  10. jnrfalcon says:

    Got pulled and denied applying for Upromise while having Wyndham…

  11. Sean says:

    Likewise, no hard pull after two BoA apps denied. I already had one BoA card.

  12. Dirk says:

    how about requesting a credit limit increase for 2 BoA accounts online? will it be 1 TU(?) HP if i request the 2nd one within 30 days?

  13. gary says:

    question. for those successful of not getting a hard when denied. Did you have to apply through your existing online account where the information was already stored or did you apply the same way someone without a card with the card issuer.

    Want to know if the method used to apply for the card makes a difference

  14. Mike says:

    I’m assuming Barclays doesn’t do the pull only if you’re a current card holder? I’ve had Barclays cards in the past but don’t currently have any so I’m assuming I will get a inquiry if I am denied for whatever reason.

  15. Mimi says:

    I applied for CSP back in November 2015, app was on pending status and a week later, I got the letter of denial. I called recon since I only had one personal and one business CC with them although I was AU to DH’s Chase cards. The senior supervisor said she can put another request and I may be granted the card. No go 🙁 I was expecting to see HP in any of the 3 bureaus in December but there was none and none in January so I can commend Chase for that.

  16. BC says:

    Regarding barclayscard I tried getting a second US air card about a year ago and they denied me and did a hard pull

    • DGS says:

      I had had the Barclays Williams Sonoma Visa for a little over a year when I applied for and was approved for a Barclaycard Rewards card and there was definitely a hard pull.

  17. Paul says:

    I applied for cli with American Express way after 60 days. Was denied

  18. MMK says:

    Barclay denied me for the Lufthansa card and did a hard pull when I was already an existing customer.

  19. Paul says:

    I spoke with CSR and was advised that Barclays pulls hard inquiries even with requests for cli

  20. boridi says:

    BoA hard pulled Experian when I applied for the AICPA cash rewards card. I already had three other cash rewards cards from back in 2015.

    • Were you denied? Has your credit changed significantly since last hard pull?

    • santander says:

      HP after getting denied for Alaska BoA but with an existing Rewards card from BoA. I noticed that I still had a hard-pull on Experian (still waiting for Credit Karma to update TU and Eq reports). I’ve had the Rewards 1-2-3 BoA for 3 years!

      • junniebug says:

        Did your credit report change since you applied for your last BOA credit card? (Any new accounts)

        • santander says:

          yeah…I made at least 12 new accounts between my last bofa card and the denial. I guess you could say that my credit changed significantly

          • junniebug says:

            Yes it did, as you can see that’s why the hard pull was done. Seems like your credit is pretty good, but I think you have too many accounts or should I say inquiries; which probably played a key roll in the BOA decision. No doubt you will get approved in the future. Just try to stay lo key for now.

  21. junniebug says:

    Boridi did you apply for any additional credit after you have been approved for the additional 3 credit cards. I applied for amex everyday card October 20, 2015 & I applied for amex blue cash card Otober 25, 2015 & was hard pulled again. I was approved, but another hard pull. The reason why, I think my credit report change from the last time amex pulled it I applied for a citi card October 21 & a hard pull from chase for a credit increase October 23. I think that’s why another hard pull was give. If your credit report change, another hard pull will be done.

  22. PG says:

    Citi just declined my wife’s app for a AA bus card, stating “You already have the maximum number of accounts that can be issued to an individual.” No hard pull. (Didn’t know citi had a max!) I was recently denied for Barc’s Arrival after having had a hard pull. Looking back at my records, they’ve declined me and my wife a total of four times and the only time they didn’t do a hard pull was when going for a 2nd USair. But as has been pointed out, it’s only trans…

  23. CJ says:

    As far as AMEX goes, they have been very very kind to me. They have only ever done 1 hard pull.. and I have a Blue Cash preferred, Blue Cash Old, Simply Cashback, and I was just approved for an 80K Business Gold Card… no pulls what so ever… But I have been a member a while and never missed paying my card off yet.

  24. P says:

    Barclaycard did a hard pull (received immediate notification from credit sesame) but my application went into pending review for the Arrival Plus. I went to check on the status three days ago and application was denied, so I don’t think they do a soft pull. I’m an existing HA credit cardholder.

  25. Bob says:

    I’m not sure if Barclays still do this. I was denied for the Arrival Plus a week ago due to too many new accounts, 15 in the last year and Barclays still pulled TU even though I have 2 Barclays cards already. Granted it is TU so I don’t care as much.

  26. junniebug says:

    Bob Barclay pulled your trans union, because of the new accounts you occurred. If your credit report was still the same when you applied for your last Barclay card; they would have just softed pulled you. Your credit report change that’s why you were pulled.

  27. Kim says:

    Chase doesn’t seem to do a hard inquiry at all

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  29. Elena says:

    Applied for Bank of America “Travel Revards”, was denied. No hard pull on my report.

    Approved for my first BofA credit card “Cash revards” without credit history
    (a manager helped me in the financial office). No hard pull.

  30. Richard says:

    I applied for Bank of America Alaska Business card. I was declined, and my credit WAS pulled. I have existing personal and business card with them already, and my credit was still pulled. So maybe your article is only for personal cards?

  31. Tom says:

    Got a Barclay card in August and applied for another one in October and they did a hard pill and denied.

  32. kct says:

    DP for BoA: I have already had the Merrill+ card, but when I applied for the Alaska personal and denied, I was still pulled (Experian)

  33. Tom says:

    My wife just applied for a BOA card was denied and it was an Experian HP. She is already a BOA customer so they still can do hard pulls for existing customers if denied

  34. zburk says:

    Applied for Chase Freedom and was told that they need to manually review and will find out by mail within 30 days. Showed up as HP on Equifax

  35. Charles says:

    How can I find out when the last Experian soft pull from Amex was WITHOUT requesting a new Experian report?

  36. Max says:

    I have been HPed for everything upon denials, including Barclays and BoA. The only provider who does not HP me on denial is Amex.

  37. P says:

    DP: Bank of America did an Equifax hard pull when I got denied for the Business Alaska card on 8/12/17. I have 3 other cards open with them. Last application and approval was 2/26/17.

  38. P says:

    DP: Just applied for Barclays Arrival Plus. Same as last year, got denied again. But Transunion was pulled.

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