If you've been keeping up with my posts, then you'll see that I talk about a lot of different credit cards. Personally, I have 16 cards open right now and although that seems like too many to most people, I know many others that have at least double that.
To get into the realm of having more than 10 credit cards, it is important to have a good understanding of the rules that banks follow when looking at credit card applications. My plan is to focus on the 3 banks that I have been hitting the hardest lately, but I will probably touch on the other banks at a later date as well. To start off, let's take a look at my favorite bank, Chase. Check back later on for the other two banks.
Chase is my favorite bank because it has great customer service and some top tier cards. Their UR points are extremely versatile and it is not too difficult to rack up a bunch of them. All of these great qualities come with one downside, Chase has a lot of rules when it comes to their credit cards. What makes their rules even more confusing is that not every rule applies to every card. To keep things simple, I am going to outline every rule and list the cards that they apply to, check out the list below:
This is the most strict rule that Chase has. If you do not pay attention to it, you can miss out on some good cards by making yourself ineligible. The basis of this rule is that you will be automatically denied for the card you apply for (if it is affected by this rule) if you have opened more than 5 credit cards in the last 24 months. The following count against 5/24.
- Personal Credit Cards
- Authorized User Cards*
The following do not count towards 5/24
- Business Credit Cards**
- Installment Loans
- Store Cards***
* Authorized user cards initially count but if you explain during a reconsideration call that you are not financially responsible for the payments on that card, you may be able to have it taken off your 5/24 count.
** Business credit cards generally do not count. The following banks report business credit cards on your personal credit report: Capital One, TD Bank
*** Store cards that only work at the specific store do not apply to 5/24. This is because they are not credit cards if they are not usable at locations other than one specific store.
As you can see, when you are just starting out out it is extremely important to carefully consider what your first few cards will be. If you make a mistake, you may accidentally lock yourself out of the best ones.
The list below comprises of all Chase cards that I consider worthwhile that fall under this rule.
- Sapphire Preferred
- Sapphire Reserved
- Freedom Unlimited
- Ink Cash
- Ink Preferred
- Ink Unlimited
- Marriott Rewards Premiere
- United MileagePlus Explorer
- Southwest Plus
- Southwest Premiere
As you can see, there are more than five high quality cards up there so it is important to figure out which ones are the most valuable for you.
If you plan on applying for business cards, then the next rule is very important for you.
The x/30 rule is a soft rule for personal cards and a hard rule for business cards. This rule applies to the number of Chase cards that you can apply for within 30 days.
To be approved for a business card you should be at 0/30, or in other words, have no applications with Chase within the past 30 days. It is good measure to wait 31 just to be safe. If you are unsure of when your last application was processed, your best bet is to call the Chase Automated Status Check line at 1-800-436-7927. Just follow the prompts and if it gives you an application status, you are 1/30. This is also useful to check approval status if you were not autoapproved.
This rule is a good one to follow for business cards. You are very likely to be denied at 1/30 if you apply for a business card like the Chase Ink Preferred. If you are applying for personal cards, this rule may actually not be enforced. At 2/30 however, it will be near impossible to be approved for another card. The next two rules are more guidelines than hard rules. They mostly apply to high volume churners so a casual credit card user will not have to worry about them.
Also, please note that double dipping credit cards (which I will talk about in my next post) only works because the two credit cards you apply for will be personal cards.
x/6 and x/12
Lately, Chase has been shutting down a small population of high volume users and one of the metrics they take a look at is the speed at which you have been applying for cards with them. There is no ceiling for what is acceptable but to be safe, it is recommended to wait 2-3 months between applications so that it doesn't seem like you are applying for credit at a rapid pace.
These rules are guidelines and as I said, if you are a casual user with 3-4 applications a year with Chase then you have nothing to fear. Seeing how this is pretty straight forward, I won't really dwell on it too much. The next rule also has been known to be a factor in shut downs but if you are proactive, it is pretty straight forward to lower your personal risk.
Credit Limit to Income
If you have a total credit limit of $60k (which I did at one point) and make ~$80k or less, your credit limit to income ratio is almost 100%. That is a very dangerous situation for a bank to be in, and if you pair this a high velocity of applications, you may look like a dangerous customer.
A simple solution to having high credit limits is to lower them. When you are approved for certain cards, they have minimum lines of credit that you must be accepted for. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has a minimum credit limit of $10k and the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a minimum limit of $5k. Once you are approved, you can lower these limits to around $3-4k based on estimated spending.
Chase has recently implemented the family rule. This rule states that you can only hold one card from a given family of cards. This does not apply retroactively, and therefore only effects new applications. An example of the important Chase families can be seen below:
The Sapphire Family
- Sapphire Preferred
- Sapphire Reserved
The Southwest Family
- Southwest Premier
- Southwest Plus
As you can see, this can drastically effect plans to get the companion pass or to get two of the best Chase card, the CSP and CSR. The only way you can avoid this rule is by double dipping, otherwise, you will be instantly denied for a Chase card if you already have one in that family. The only way around this is to double dip, which I will talk more about in my next post.
Now that you know the rules that Chase wants you to follow, stay tuned for my next post about double dipping credit cards. It will talk you through the process, which cards I recommend doing it for, and why you should do it.
As always, thanks for reading! If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me.