Credit card application rules and restrictions to know before applying
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- American Express credit card issuers at Wells Fargo have rules regarding the number of cards you can get.
- These rules are not published on the websites of card issuers, but they are well substantiated and documented with data points from the applications of credit card users.
- The most famous example is Chase’s 5/24 rule, which prevents you from getting new Chase cards if you’ve opened five or more cards at a bank in the past 24 months.
- If you want to earn maximum rewards with the best signup bonuses from the best credit cards, it is important to know these restrictions before applying for a new card.
- Check out Business Insider’s list of the best rewards credit cards.
When applying for a new credit card, you want to do everything in your power to increase your chances of being approved. But sometimes even having a excellent credit rating is not enough to get approval.
Most banks and credit card issuers have specific policies that determine whether or not you qualify for a new card, and it is wise to be aware of them. If not, you may not be approved, or you may be approved but not eligible to obtain the sign up bonus points, miles or cash back.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the enforcement policies of some of the major credit card issuers.
Important note: only some of these are “official” policies that are mentioned in the terms and conditions of the relevant credit cards. Other rules are not officially published by the issuer but have been well documented by candidate data. For example, even the 5/24 chase rule, which is one of the more well-known app restrictions, isn’t actually documented anywhere on Chase’s website.
With American Express, the most important application policy to know is that you will only receive one welcome offer per card in your lifetime.
This rule is in the terms and conditions when you go to apply – “Welcome offer not available for applicants who have or have had this card”. Different varieties of cards are counted separately, for example if you received a welcome offer on the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express card, you would still be eligible for an offer on the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express card. You may also receive a welcome offer on the different varieties of the American Express Platinum card, like the Platinum Card® from American Express
and the American Express Business Platinum Card®
Another thing to keep in mind is that American Express has a limit on the total number of Amex Cards you opened at any time. This limit has historically been five cards, but there are reports that there may now be four cards.
You will also not be approved for more than one American Express card in a five-day period and no more than two cards in a 90-day period.
Bank of America
Bank of America has a 2/3/4 rule, which states that you will only be approved for:
- Two new cards per rolling two-month period
- Three new cards per rolling 12-month period
- Four new cards in a rolling 24 month period
So if you are looking to get multiple cards from Bank of America, you will need to space your requests accordingly.
In addition, many Bank of America Cards have language similar to the following, of the terms and conditions of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card: “This card may not be available if you currently have or have had the card within the past 24 months.”
Barclays has not published any criteria for nominations. Many cards have language like this found in the JetBlue Plus Card Terms and Conditions:
“You may not be eligible for this offer if you currently have or have had an account with us in this program”
Barclaycard is known to be quite conservative when it comes to approving new applicants. The more other credit cards you have, with Barclays or with any bank, the more difficult it will generally be to get approved.
A capital letter
You can only open two personal credit cards with Capital One, and requests for additional cards will be refused. The issuer also limits you to one request (personal or professional) every six months.
Capital One sources from all three credit bureaus when you apply for one of its cards. So if you keep a close eye on the number of pulls hard on your credit report to make sure your credit score doesn’t drop too much in the short term, keep this in mind when applying for a card with Capital One.
Chase is well known for his 5/24 rule, which states that if you have been approved for five or more cards from any bank in the past 24 months, you will not be approved for a Chase card.
Chase will also limit you to two new personal cards and one new business card during a continuous 30 day period. It will also often limit the total amount of credit they are willing to extend to you. So if you have many different Chase cards, you may be initially declined due to this policy. In this case, you can then call the Chase reconsideration line (1-888-270-2127) and ask to reduce your credit limit on another card in order to free up enough limit for your new card application.
Chase also limits how often you can get the Welcome Offer on his cards, and he usually does this by family. This limit is 24 months for most cards and 48 months for the Sapphire family of cards. This date is measured by the time elapsed since you received the bonus for the card, not from the date of the request.
Most cards will have this spelled out in the terms and conditions when you apply. This is what the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card looks like:
“The product is not available to (i) current Sapphire credit card holders, or (ii) former Sapphire credit card holders who have received a new cardholder bonus within the past 48 month.”
Citi has different rules about when to request cards depending on whether you are viewing a personal card or a business card. For personal Citi cards, you can apply for one card every eight days and two cards every 65 days. For business cards, you can request a card every 95 days.
In addition, to be eligible for the welcome offer on Citi branded cards such as the Citi Prestige® card
or Citi Premier® Card, you may not have received a bonus or closed any of the cards in the past 24 months.
This is the language of the landing page of the Citi Premier application page.
“ThankYou® bonus points are not available if you have received a new cardholder bonus for Citi Rewards + SM, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier / Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed one of these accounts, within the past 24 months. “
For American Airlines Co-branded Credit Cards issued by Citi, the restrictions are slightly different: you can receive a new bonus every 48 months for each different type of card. For example:
“American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have received a new account bonus for a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®
account in the last 48 months. “
This is usually displayed prominently on the application page, so you will know what to expect.
You are limited to a total of two Discover credit cards open at any one time. Additionally, your first card must be open for at least a year before being approved for a second card. Other than that, Discover has no other limitations on being approved or receiving the welcome offer on the cards.
US Bank does not have published rules on new credit card applications for most of their cards. The only rule stated applies to the US Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® card and which states that in order to be approved for this card you will need an established banking relationship with US Bank.
Wells Fargo has no limit on the total number of credit cards you can have. However, they have limits on how often you can be approved for new credit cards. Most Wells Fargo cards contain small print like the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card:
“You cannot claim an additional Wells Fargo credit card if you have opened a Wells Fargo credit card within the past 6 months. “
Additionally, Wells Fargo limits how often you can get a welcome offer on a new card. Still from the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Terms and Conditions:
“You may not be eligible for introductory annual percentage rates, fees and / or bonus rewards offers if you have opened a Wells Fargo credit card within the past 15 months from the date of this request and you have received any APRs, fees, and / or bonus rewards offers, even though this account is closed and has a balance of $ 0. “