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Credit card issuers reserve the right to close accounts if they suspect any risky or suspicious activity. Most issuers usually send an income verification request before closing your accounts.
In this post, we’ll cover the income verification process and how to avoid a financial review.
What’s a Form 4506-T, and why do some credit issuers request it?
A Form 4506-T is a request for a transcript of your tax return. It allows the financial institution or credit issuer to look into your IRS tax returns. Most lenders use the form to verify the self-reported income portion of your application to your tax return.
American Express and Discover are the two main credit issuers who routinely request Form 4506-T to verify your income.
In Summer 2019, Discover started sending out an IRS Consent Form 4506-T to people who requested new credit products, credit limit increases, unusual purchase activity, and high credit limits.
This is concerning because existing Discover customers are also receiving a Form 4506-T when they do one of the actions mentioned above.
American Express usually conducts a financial review of your account when they request a Form 4506-T.
One of the easiest ways to trigger a financial review is to “Check Spending Power” on your charge cards.
I tried playing with the “Check Spending Power” button a few years ago out of curiosity, and I immediately received a financial review.
Another possible trigger for an Amex financial review is having too much credit limit across all your Amex accounts. The limit may vary based on your income, but the general rule is that you don’t want to exceed $35,000 across all Amex accounts. Your mileage may vary.
When American Express conducts a financial review, any questions or inquiries get routed to the financial review department. A financial review can range from 1-3 weeks.
Depending on what Amex uncovers during the financial review, your account may remain unchanged, or they may adjust your credit limits accordingly.
Chase and Other Credit Issuers
Chase doesn’t usually request a Form 4506-T; my guess is because they’re focused on the prime market, and they’re also a bank. Most Chase credit cardholders are likely to have a bank account or assets with them as well.
Citi and Barclays routinely request a Form 4506-T if they see any suspicious activity.
In my experience, Citi requested a Form 4506-T when I opened a Citi Prestige and another Citi card within two months. I forgot about sending in the form, and it had no impact on my accounts. Citi continued to approve me for future cards.
What should you do if you receive a Form 4506-T?
If you receive a Form 4506-T, you should fill it in to avoid potential account shutdowns.
For Discover and American Express, you risk getting all of your accounts shutdown if you don’t comply with the request. This is not optimal because it will negatively impact your credit score, especially if some of your oldest accounts are with them.
Getting blacklisted from the credit issuers are another possibility.
How to minimize your chances of a financial review or Form 4506-T request
- Avoid any unusual purchase behavior. Sometimes this can’t be avoided, but it’s worth calling and letting the issuer know that you have a large upcoming purchase.
- Keep your credit card utilization low. If you have high utilization, I suggest “pay as you go” before the statement closes. Pay off your balance in advance so the bank doesn’t report a high utilization rate.
- Have a reasonable credit limit range. Don’t request a higher credit limit if you don’t need it.
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