Many people turn to a balance transfer to get out of credit card debt more quickly. You can often find a better interest rate or better terms to pay off your card with a balance transfer, but applying for a balance transfer with bad credit puts you at risk of being denied. If you find yourself in that frightening situation, don’t lose hope! You may still have options to consolidate your credit card debt and lower your interest rate. Keep reading to learn why you might have been denied and steps you can take to fix it.

Contact the bank or issuer

Calling your credit card issuer may be intimidating, but it is often the best way to learn why your balance transfer wasn’t approved. Once you’re on the phone with a customer service representative, they will be able to look at your account, tell you exactly what caused your application to be denied and help you find a solution.

You’ll find that there are several reasons your request may be denied, including having a low credit score, too many balance transfer requests, trying to transfer too much money and applying to transfer a balance to a card issued by the same bank. Many times, card issuers will be able to approve your balance transfer for a smaller amount so you stay within your available credit limit or suggest other balance transfer credit cards within their portfolio that are better suited for lower credit scores.

Don’t rush to apply for a new card

Your first thought after being denied for a balance transfer might be that you chose the wrong credit card and you should go find a different one. Whether it was your credit card application or your balance transfer request that was denied, you should wait before applying for any new credit cards.

Credit card issuers view you as desperate for credit and an even greater risk when they see multiple applications within a short period of time. On top of that, each new application triggers a hard inquiry — when a lender reviews your full credit history as part of the application process — on your credit report, which will also lower your credit scores. While hard inquiries only make up 10% of your FICO score, each one will negatively impact your credit scores for up to a year.

Instead of applying for a new credit card right away, take some time to understand why you were denied and what you can do to fix it. You may find that you need to pay down a few balances first, or simply find a new balance transfer credit card that is better suited for your credit. After a couple of months, you should be clear to apply again, armed with more information.

Check your credit reports and scores

Your credit history is reported by to at least one of the three major credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. When you apply for a new credit card or balance transfer, the card issuer will pull your report from one or more of these agencies to determine if you’re a good candidate for credit. If you were denied for a balance transfer, the bank saw something on your report that they didn’t like — something you should know about.

The good thing is, you have 60 days after an application for credit is denied to request a free copy of your credit report, plus you’re entitled to a free report from each of the credit bureaus once a year without it affecting your credit score. Seeing your full reports will help you understand how your credit scores are calculated and give you a better idea of what banks see when they review your application.

You can also catch any inaccurate or fraudulent information on your credit reports that may be hurting your chances of being approved. If you see something that looks out of the ordinary on your report, you can file a complaint with the credit bureau to have it corrected. Once they’ve addressed the issue on your credit report, you should go back to the credit card issuer who denied you and ask them to reconsider based on your corrected credit report. The credit bureau will send your updated report to the lender automatically, but they usually won’t reconsider your application until you ask.

Consider the alternatives

Having your application for a balance transfer or credit card denied may tell you that a balance transfer isn’t the best option for you at this point. The best balance transfer credit cards come with promotional APRs as low as 0% for several months but usually require good or even excellent credit to qualify. If you’re trying to do a balance transfer with bad credit, the cards you do qualify for may not give you a low enough rate to make a balance transfer worth it.

If there were only a few hiccups that kept you from being approved, it’s probably safe for you to apply to a similar card after some time has passed. However, if you’re going to have to settle for a balance transfer credit card with high fees or a high APR, you should look into a personal loan instead. Personal loans are repaid in installments over a period of time and often come with lower interest rates that credit cards. They work great for consolidating your debt into a single, low-interest loan.

If you’re dedicated to getting out of credit card debt but feel stuck after your balance transfer request is denied, you don’t have to give up. You still have options to rebuild your credit and pay off your credit cards.