Why is it suddenly difficult to get a new credit card when your credit history is clean and your salary is adequate?

I’ve made a couple of applications for point earnings credit cards recently with the same information as previous successful applications but for some reason am getting knocked back despite long term employment, bills all paid on time including credit cards as checked on my credit file.

It was ANZ and Citibank. The only thing I can think of is that it’s still only just within the 1 year window since I cut up previous credit cards with these two. The Citibank one was actually a Virgin Money card which I believe they are affiliated.

Most of the time I have taken the bonus points on the credit cards and closed the accounts before the year renewal.

Are the banks starting to blacklist people for paying their cards on time, collecting the bonus points then moving on?

Hi @raffmate

The banks have tightened their approval criteria over the past year or so, partly because of the Royal Commission and partly because of new legislation that’s come into force requiring them to be more careful before giving people credit. It might simply be that, or something different. Here’s what I’d do if I were in your situation:

First, check your credit score. I use the Get Credit Score website which also has a lot of information about how credit scores are calculated. You can also request a free credit report which might shine some light on your situation.

Second, cast your mind back over the past year … have you made any applications for credit at all? Have you bought anything on a payment plan? Taken out a new postpaid mobile phone plan? Taken out or even enquired about a new loan? Bought a car on a novated lease or other form of lease or loan? Banks have a record of any application for credit (not just credit cards) and even (as far as I can tell) enquiries about potential loans which haven’t led to actual applications. Any of the above can, and probably will, adversely effect your credit score.

I’m afraid to say that the fact that you’ve recently applied for two cards will have an adverse effect on your credit rating – banks take multiple applications for credit in quick succession as a sign of possible financial distress: even if you’re simply chasing after bonus points!

Which leads to my third piece of advice: stop applying for the time being until you get to the bottom of things, if possible. Monitor your credit score, and once it starts to climb again (which may take several months), you’ll probably be able to apply for credit again.

Hope this helps!


You are a bloody champion. Thanks heaps for that. I have accumulated quite a lot of points over the last couple of years because of multiple credit cards but always paid on time. Might be good to just wait out for a while. Had quite a run of points that scored me a return business class trip to Europe last year. Thanks again

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Yep I have noticed this too. To be honest in some cases it appears quite random (I recall one instance I got rejected for a card and partner with lower income got accepted).

I find one application every 6 months as as much as I will do. Any more frequent and I am flying too close to the sun and will get a rejection.

Looks like the landscape has changed quite a bit. At one stage I had four credit cards going on collecting points. Got the gravy while I could.

Strangely I noticed with my Equifax Credit statement that they had my drivers license number incorrect. It was a different number from when I lived in New South Wales six years ago. My current one is South Australian. I was putting my South Australian license number on my applications for verification. Makes me wonder if that was also what resulted in bounce back. I’ve emailed Equifax to change my license number to the correct one

Remember, though, that with the new Comprehensive Credit Reporting regime, in theory when you cancel a credit card, that should result in your credit score increasing. With me, I’ve noticed that when I’ve canceled a credit card, my credit score does go up, though it normally takes a couple of months.


I only very recently cancelled the Amex/Westpac black bundle which was essentially 2 credit cards. What you are saying makes sense on that basis. Looks like I’ll need to wait that out so my credit score can go up.

If they are, that is something no bank will ever tell you.

there is no chance you will ever find out the answer, and speculating is a waste of time.

  • because if banks start advising the reasons automated online credit assessment decisions are declined, applicants will work out ways to circumvent these

If you want to continue chasing points your best options are:

  • steer clear of any bank you have done this before with for as long as possible. The longer the better
  • if there is an exclusion period, go way beyond that, the longer the better.
  • reduce all your credit card limits as much as possible and what for these reductions/cancellations appear on your credit report.
  • if you apply and fail, then double up on all of the above, and try again.
  • if you keep failing, the only harm done is to your ego.


Thanks heaps for that advice. Definitely looks in my interest to be as distant as possible time wise from previously used banks. I had a pretty good wicket there for a time. You win some, you lose some.

Unfortunately the problem is Citibank and is one which I have encountered recently. I have gone through their privacy process however nothing is obviously wrong on what is a very sound application on all accounts eg 120k salary, no debt, perfect credit etc. Be warned Citibank “white label” to a lot of cards such as virgin, coles and the Qantas card. Macquarie is the only other bank to ever reject an application so I suspect information has been shared here. ANZ has been fine for me for multiple sign up bonuses spaced out at a minimum of 12 months. Hope this helps!