Credit Card Approval Rules For Each Major Bank

Credit Card Approval Rules For Each Major Bank

Before you get too excited about churning and go apply for a ton of new credit cards, it’s important to understand the rules and limitations of each issuer.

Chase


5/24 Rule

This is the rule Chase is most notorious for. It states that you will not get approved for any Chase card if you have been approved for 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months. The 5 or more credit card count is not limited to Chase credit cards and counts any personal credit card from any issuer. This is a hard rule and the only reports of people bypassing it are when they have a black star next to a card in the Just For You section in their Chase account or in extremely rare one off situations. Note that most business cards do not count towards the 5/24 count which is why it’s recommended to churn some business cards too.

One Sapphire Rule

Another rule Chase has is that you will not be approved for another Sapphire card if you currently have another Sapphire card open. This means that if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, or original no AF Sapphire card, you cannot get another Sapphire card without first downgrading your existing Sapphire or canceling it. It’s generally recommended to downgrade your Sapphire to something like a Chase Freedom Flex instead of canceling it. Regardless of whether you downgrade or cancel, it’s advised to wait 30 days before applying for a new Sapphire.

SUB Rules

Sapphires

The last set of notable Chase rules is for their SUBs. You will not be eligible for a new Sapphire SUB if it has been less than 48 months since your last Sapphire SUB posted. Note how this is for SUB posting date NOT the approval date. If you were approved for a new CSR on 1/1/2020 and your SUB posted on 4/1/2020, you can apply and be eligible for a new Sapphire SUB on 4/2/2024 NOT 1/2/2024. This rule also applies to all the Sapphires. It does not matter if you originally got the SUB for the CSR but are now applying for the CSP. They are both considered Sapphire products and are therefore subject to this rule.

Freedoms

The Chase Freedom family of cards also are subject to a similar rule as the Sapphires. You cannot get another Chase Freedom SUB if you have gotten one in the last 24 months. The waiting period is not as long as that of the Sapphires but Freedoms are generally not worth using a 5/24 slot on since their SUBs are usually pretty small. You would be better off downgrading a Sapphire into a Freedom if you really wanted one.

Inks

The Ink family is Chase’s line of business credit cards. The Inks mention in the terms and conditions of the application that you are not eligible for the SUB if you have had an Ink in the last 24 months but this rule is NOT ENFORCED. You can get approved for and get the SUB of an Ink within 24 months. You can even get the same card like the Chase Ink Unlimited multiple times.

Before you go crazy and apply for 7 Inks in a row, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you space out your Chase applications and get a new Chase card like an Ink once every 90 days. There are lots of reports of people getting approved for 2 on the same day or 1 month apart but this is risky and not recommended. If you do something like this, it’s a good idea to take an extended break from getting another Chase card.

The >90 day application advice is not for approval chance but for reducing break out risk in Chase’s eyes. If you suddenly apply for 5 credit cards in one day, that’s viewed as very risky behavior and Chase may shut you down to reduce their exposure to that risk. This is why most folks adhere to the 90 day application strategy. If you decide to go faster than that, proceed at your own risk.

American Express


5 credit card rule

Amex has a hard rule of not approving someone if they already have 5 Amex credit cards. Amex offers 2 different types of cards: charge cards and credit cards. Charge cards are unique in that they don’t have a set credit limit. You can spend however much you want on the card with no restrictions as long as you pay it off when the statement closes. These are cards like the Amex platinum, Amex gold, Amex green, and their business card counterparts (eg. Amex business platinum). These charge cards do not count towards the 5 credit card rule. So if you have 3 Amex credit cards and 1 charge card, your count is 3 and you can still get 2 more Amex credit cards.

10 charge card rule

Similar to the 5 credit card rule, Amex has a hard rule of not approving someone if they already have 10 Amex charge cards. There are DPs of people having 11 charge cards, but 10 seems to be the common case.

Lifetime rule

The lifetime rule states that you are eligible for the SUB of an Amex card once per lifetime. If you have gotten the SUB of a card at any time, you are not eligible to get it again for that same card. However, DPs have reported that “lifetime” isn’t really lifetime but instead around 7 years as some people have reported being eligible earlier than that. The easy way to check is to try applying and if you are met with a screen that says “you are not eligible for this bonus”, you can cancel the app with no problem.

This ineligible screen is known as the “popup” and can appear at any time even when applying for cards you haven’t held before. There’s no real science behind how one gets the “popup” but if you consistently run into this screen when trying to apply for Amex cards, you are said to be in “popup jail”. Unfortunately, there’s no solution on how to get out but people have reported success spending more on existing cards or simply applying for lesser or nonreferral SUBs.

1/5 rule

This rule states that you can only be approved for at most 1 Amex credit card every 5 days. Note that this only applies to credit cards. Charge cards are not subject to this rule. So you could get 2 Amex cards in one day if one is a credit card and the other is a charge card.

2/90 rule

This is a hard rule that states you will not be approved for more than 2 Amex cards in a 90 day period. Both credit and charge cards are subject to this rule so plan carefully around it.

1/90 rule

This is a hard rule that states that you will not be approved for the same card within 90 days of the first approval. If you get approved for the Amex gold on 1/1, you cannot get approved for another one until 90 days have passed. You may be asking “but why would you want the same card if there’s the lifetime rule?”. The answer is that there exists no lifetime language (NLL) offers that Amex periodically sends out to targeted customers. This is a special offer usually targeted at business charge cards that do not include the one bonus per lifetime language in the terms and conditions. This means that even if you have gotten the SUB for the card before, you are eligible to get the SUB again using that offer.

Capital One


Capital One doesn’t have any notable hard rules like the Chase 5/24 rule. The only hard rule is that you can earn a SUB once per card. This doesn’t apply to different flavored products like the Venture and Venture X. They are considered different products so you can earn the SUB on both of them. There is, however, a soft rule of 6/24. This doesn’t always seem to be enforced but there are reports of people being denied when at 7/24. Overall, Cap1 is a very fickle issuer that has inconsistent approval rules. There can be no rhyme or rule to denials so the general consensus is to just apply and pray for the best.

Bank of America


2/3/4 Rule

The 2/3/4 states that you will get approved for no more than 2 Bank of America credit cards in the last 2 months, no more than 3 Bank of America credit cards in the last 12 months, and no more than 4 Bank of America credit cards in the last 24 months. This isn’t as restrictive as Chase’s 5/24 rule as this only applies to the number of cards Bank of America will approve you for in a given time frame. It does not take into consideration other cards you have been approved for but you are still subject to normal velocity rules that are present in all issuers. (Eg. if you’ve been approved for 3 cards in the last 3 months, you will have lower approval odds than someone who hasn’t been approved for a card in the last year). Note that the 2/3/4 rule only applies to personal cards, it is not enforced on business cards.

7/12 and 3/12 Rule

This rule states if you do not have any banking account with BofA, you will not get approved for any BofA credit cards if you were approved for 3 or more personal cards in the last 12 months. If you do have a bank account with BofA, you will not get approved for any BofA credit cards if you were approved for 7 or more personal cards in the last 12 months. Based on reports, there seem to be some counter datapoints (DPs) to this rule but there are more positive reports supporting that this rule is indeed enforced. In addition to making the approval process more lax, opening a BofA bank account if you don’t have one yet, is also said to improve your chances of approval. Credit to DoctorOfCredit for the explanation of this rule.

Citi


1/8 Rule

Citi will not approve you more than 1 card every 8 days.

2/60 Rule

Citi will not approve you for more than 2 cards in a 60 day period. Note that this applies to both personal and business cards.

1/90 Rule

Citi will not approve you for more than 1 business card every 90 days. Note that for the Citi American Airlines business card, there is a soft-ish rule of having at least 5 years of credit history in order to get approved. There are reports of people getting approved with sub 5 years of credit history but having greater than 5 years seems to be the best chance of approval.

SUB Rules

Citi enforces a 48 month SUB eligibility rule for all their cards. On the card application page, the terms state that only one SUB can be earned in a 24 month period and this applies to both personal and business cards.

Wells Fargo


The Wells Fargo application page states that you can only open a new Wells Fargo credit card every 6 months.

US Bank


There do not seem to be any specific application rules for US Bank other than that you can only receive the SUB once per card.

Barclays


Barclays has a soft 6/24 rule that is inconsistently enforced. 6/24 means that if you were approved for 6 or more personal cards in the last 24 months, Barclays will not approve you for a credit card. They also have a 24 month SUB eligibility rule that states one is not eligible for a card’s SUB if they were an account holder of that card in the last 24 months. However, there are reports of people getting approved and getting the SUB despite closing the card less than 24 months ago. It’s probably best to err on the side of caution and wait 24 months after closing the card before applying for it again.

Conclusion


The bigger banks like Chase and Amex that offer more profitable credit cards have some pretty strict rules in place to prevent churning, but if you’re smart and aware of them, they’re not too hard to work with. But for all banks, always be wary of things like velocity and utilization as these factors can affect your approval chances. A big shoutout to the guide at r/churning for the info as well! Lastly, check out our best credit cards page as well for a list of good credit cards and our personal verdict on them.

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