How This Credit Card Approval Turned Out Worse Than A Denial

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Rakuten Visa Card

Rakuten Visa Card

We’ve had quite a string of bad luck lately, particularly my wife.  We suffered a significant credit card shutdown, she received the worst Amex pop up, and she was approved for the Rakuten Visa card.  Wait, why is that last one bad news?  Dear reader, that’s what I’ll answer today.  But first, why did she just apply for it?

Background

My wife and I each held Rakuten cards for a good while; they were Ebates cards back when we first got them.  We enjoyed the Membership Rewards-earning version of the Rakuten credit cards for the past few years, particularly in the Gift Card Mall heyday.  After the ugly death of that play, our use of the Rakuten cards greatly diminished.  We focused our Rakuten spending on a few online purchases, primarily on my card.  Maybe too much.  Synchrony automatically closed my wife’s Rakuten Visa card last spring due to inactivity.  After receiving our recent shutdowns, we wanted to re-energize with other card issuers.  My wife applied and was instantly approved for the Rakuten Visa card.  She was back in the Rakuten Visa game!  But wait…

Rakuten Visa Card

Demise of the Rakuten Visa Card

Five days after my wife was approved again, news appeared that the Rakuten Visa card was no longer accepting new applications.  Our first thought was how lucky she was that she re-obtained this card prior to it closing for new applications.  We quickly shifted to concern that the Rakuten Visa card may disappear entirely.

Our concerns were justified.  Two days later, Synchrony basically announced the death of the Rakuten Visa card, effective 17 September.  Apparently, eligible Rakuten Visa cardholders will receive a product change to the Synchrony Mastercard.  It’s not clear if that’s everyone or just a subset of cardholders.  Synchrony promised to send a letter in early August with more info.

Why This Stinks

Of course, the Rakuten Visa card disappearing is bad news for fans of the card.  This particularly stinks for my wife for a few reasons.  First, she only has about six weeks (at most) to use the card.  (Actually, she still hasn’t received the card in the mail.)  Second, at best, she essentially applied for the Synchrony Mastercard without knowing it.  Would she have applied for this card otherwise?  NO.  And at worst, she applied for a card that will end in mid September and not get a replacement card.  Third, it’s one more opened card on her credit report.  We quit caring about Chase’s 5/24 rule years ago.  But we’ve found other banks’ rules a bit more palatable, particularly Bank of America’s 7/12 rule.  This approval counts against those numbers, and it wasn’t even worth it.

Rakuten Visa Card

Conclusion

That’s why we would have been better off with my wife getting denied for the Rakuten Visa.  We’re disappointed but not angry at how things turned out.  I actually laughed at the sequence of all these events.  You can’t make up this run of bad luck we’re on.  Of course, things could be worse.  It’s comical to consider this stuff a big deal in the grand scheme of things.  As much as things can go positively in the points and travel hobby, rough patches inevitably appear.  We’ll keep grinding, and I encourage you to do the same!

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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9 COMMENTS

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Had a terrible experience ‘getting approved’ for Synchrony’s Cathay Pacific Card back in 2017. So terrible that I ended up not getting the card and swearing off Synchrony from that point forward. Keep hoping the day will come when synchrony will drop Cathay and another bank will pick up the program.

  2. It’s sucks as I’m losing the card as well. Received the notice in the mail last week and they’re not converting it to another card, it’ll just be a closed account.

    Synchrony, though they have a large portfolio of cards, having been losing (or cutting) a lot lately.

    They lost Walmart to CapOne, GM Card to Goldman Sachs, PlayStation Visa to Comenity, Old Navy and their family of cards to Barclays, BP Visa to FNBO, Marvel Mastercard was just cut completely, and now Rakuten…and that’s not including those I’m sure I’ve missed.

    With Amex issuing Lowes and Chase issuing Amazon, Synchrony doesn’t even have a lock on those partnerships.

    It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for them.

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