Master List of Credit Card Application Rules By Each Bank [2021]

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  • Added Wells Fargo credit card application’s rule
  • Starting April 26, 2021 – Amex now allows you to have at most 5 Amex credit cards and 10 charge cards.

It is important to understand each credit card issuer’s rule in order to successfully apply for a credit card. Miles and points credit card application rules are no different than a regular credit card application. All of the major banks have different rules and restrictions such as the number of cards that they will allow you to have, how long before you will be eligible for the welcome bonus points again, how many credit inquiries on your credit report so on and so forth. 

To help keep all these different rules in place, here’s our master guide to credit card application rules for each bank:

Master List of Credit Card Application Rules By Each Bank [2021]
Table of Contents  [show/hide]

    American Express

    [UPDATE] Amex previously changed the rule to allow only at most 4 Amex credit cards during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting April 26, 2021 – Amex now allows you to have at most 5 Amex credit cards and 10 charge cards. This includes both personal and business credit cards. The difference between the Amex credit card and charge card is an Amex credit card allows you to carry a balance and an Amex charge card does not.

    American Express has the following application rules:

    • Amex does not care about the number of hard credit inquiries on your credit report. 
    • Multiple applications in the same day will only result in one hard credit inquiry on your credit report. However, you are limited to only 1 approved Amex credit card every 5-day period and 2 approved Amex credit cards every 90-day period. This rule does not apply to Amex charge cards
    • If you apply for 1 Amex credit card (personal/business) and 1 charge card on the same day, Amex will only hard pull your credit once. 
    • There are also some data points indicating that Amex does not hard pull credit on existing Amex credit card holders when applying for a new Amex card, but your mileage may vary.
    • You can only get the welcome bonus once in a lifetime. Therefore, be sure to apply for an Amex card when the welcome bonus is high. 
      • Amex recently introduced a handy bonus eligibility tool that when a card application is submitted and if you are not eligible for the card’s welcome bonus, a pop-up window will appear informing you so. This check happens before Amex doing any hard pull on your credit to come to a decision. At that point, you can decide whether to continue or withdraw your card application.

    Bank of America

    You can get a Bank of America credit card without an SSN and credit history, but you must go into a Bank of America branch to apply. 

    • There’s no limit to the number of cards you can have with Bank of America. 
    • Bank of America has a 2/3/4 rule when it comes to their application’s approval. Bank of America only approves your application for the following:
      • 2 cards in a 2-month period
      • 3 cards in a 12-month period, and 
      • 4 cards in a 24-month period.
    • You can earn a welcome bonus with a Bank of America credit card multiple times. 
    • You can also have multiple same cards with Bank of America and can still earn the associated card’s welcome bonus multiple times. However, Bank of America does not approve your card’s application if you currently have the card, and you have to wait at least 2 years after opening the original card before applying for the same card again.


    Barclay is very serious about the number of hard credit inquiries on your credit report. A high number of those hard inquiries can result in the denial of your application. It is recommended that you submit a new application when your credit report shows less than 6 hard inquiries in the past 6 months.

    Moreover, Barclay also takes your spending on your existing Barclay credit cards into consideration to determine whether to approve you for a new card or not. The gist of it is, the fewer hard pulls you have on your credit report and the more spending you put on your existing Barclay credit card before your new Barclay card application, the more likely you are to be approved.

    Barclay also has this “unofficial” 6/24 rule, which means that if your credit report shows you have at least open 7 credit cards with any banks within the last 24 months, your Barclay card’s application is likely to be denied. This rule is considered “unofficial” because it does not seem to be strictly imposed by Barclay at this time and it really depends on the individual credit’s situation. However, keep this rule in mind also when applying for a new Barclay credit card. See this post for more information.

    It is worth mentioning that Barclay does combine credit inquiries on applications that are submitted on the same day. It does not matter if it is a personal or a business credit card application. In fact, you can apply for one personal credit card and one business credit card on the same day, the credit inquiries will be combined into only one credit inquiry.

    As far as Barclay card’s welcome bonus goes, be sure to read carefully the terms and conditions before applying for a Barclay card as each Barclay card may have different restrictions on how long before you are eligible for a welcome bonus again. This is because it used to be that you can close a Barclay card first, wait at least 6 months then apply again to get a welcome bonus. However, Barclay has started adding a new fine print stating that “You may not be eligible for this offer if you currently have or previously had an account with us in this program.”

    Capital One

    Capital One bank has the following application rules:

    • You are limited to just 2 Capital One credit cards. This limit only applies to Capital One branded credit cards. This limit does not apply to Capital One co-branded credit cards or Capital One business credit cards. 
    • Capital One has a 1/6 rule which means that you will be approved for only 1 credit card every 6 months. It does not matter if it is a Capital One personal or a Capital One business credit card.
    • Furthermore, Capital One is also very sensitive to the numbers of recent credit inquiries on your credit report despite the fact that you have a nearly perfect credit score.
    • When it comes to the welcome bonus, Capital One specifically states that “The bonus may not be available for existing or previous account holders.” Be sure to check the fine print carefully if you are after the welcome bonus of a Capital One credit card.

    Capital One is also notorious when it comes to a couple things:

    • Capital One performs hard-pull your credit from all 3 credit bureaus after you submit an application.
    • Capital One reports your approved Capital One business credit card to your personal credit report. 
      • With the rules credit card issuers are putting in place that is becoming more and more restrictive these days, what Capital One does here can really hurt your chance of getting approved for a credit card by another bank. 


    You are not limited to the number of credit cards you can have with Chase. They are more concerned about the amount of total credit that they give to you which varies from person to person based on income. Your online submitted Chase application may receive the dreading “under review” message because you may max out the total credit that Chase extends to you. In that case, you may call Chase credit card’s reconsideration line and ask them to reallocate credit limits from your existing card onto the new card that you’ve applied for. Similarly, if you believe that you may be maxing credit limits with Chase, you can contact Chase to lower the amount of credit on your existing card before submitting a new Chase card application. Once the request is processed, it takes effect immediately. 

    To avoid application rejection, it is recommended that you do not apply for more than 2 Chase credit cards in a single month (30 days period). This is known as the Chase 2/30 rule. 

    In addition, it is also recommended that you wait 90 days before applying for another card with Chase if you already get approved for 2 Chase cards in a single month.

    Another rule that Chase is well known for is the Chase 5/24 rule. Chase has imposed this rule on all their credit cards, including business credit cards. The rule states that if you have 5 or more opened/closed credit cards with any banks in the past 24 months, Chase will not approve your new application. It does not matter if you have a nearly perfect credit score, outstanding payment history or you have a pretty good income. 
    There are ways to bypass this Chase 5/24 if you are specifically targeted or pre-qualified for a specific Chase credit card online or in the branch, receive a mail invitation to apply, or have a business relationship manager that can file a paper application on behalf of you to bypass that 5/24 rule. Check out Chase’s 5/24 rule exceptions post for more information.

    Chase credit card’s welcome bonus criteria vary from one Chase credit card to another. Some Chase cards limit a welcome bonus to you if you are a current cardholder or previous cardholder that has received the bonus for the same card within the last 24 months. Therefore, be sure to read the card’s welcome bonus-related terms and conditions before applying.

    You also cannot have more than one Sapphire family card. For example, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you will not be approved for a Chase Sapphire Reserved card. 


    Similarly to Chase, Citi does not limit the number of credit cards you can have with them. They are also more concerned about the total credit limits that they extend to you. To approve you for a new card, Citi will either need to close one of your existing open cards with them or move some of your overall credit limits around.

    Citi has an 8/65 rule when it comes to their application process for personal credit cards. The rule states the following:

    • You can only apply for 1 Citi card every 8 days and no more than 2 Citi cards every 65 days. It does not matter if your application was approved or not. 
    • For Citi business credit cards, you can only apply for 1 Citi business credit card every 95 days. 
    • Citi is also very sensitive to recent hard credit inquiries on your credit report.

    As far as welcome bonus goes, Citi is yet another issuer that recently has made some changes to their credit card’s welcome bonus eligibility. Some cards still state 24 months while others have the new 48 months language. It all comes down to the fine print on the credit card application and thus be sure to read those terms and conditions before lodging your credit card application with Citi.

    U.S. Bank 

    You can have as many U.S. Bank credit cards as you can get approved for. There’s only one rule and it only applies to their premium U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite credit card. You can only submit an online application for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve credit card if you have an eligible consumer U.S. Bank account relationships such as another U.S. Bank Credit card or a U.S. bank account that has been opened for at least 5 business days; otherwise, you must apply for this credit card in person in the U.S. Bank branch.

    U.S. Bank is one of the most lenient credit card issuers when it comes to welcome bonuses. You can receive a U.S. Bank credit card’s welcome bonus multiple times. At the time of this writing, there are no waiting periods conditions that prevent you from getting another welcome bonus for the same U.S. Bank credit card as long as you are approved for the card.

    Wells Fargo

    There’s not really a set rule when it comes to Wells Fargo credit card application’s rule. You can improve your chances of getting approved with no problems if you have an existing banking relationship with Wells Fargo. 
    When it comes to a credit card’s welcome bonus, you can only receive one welcome offer per 15 months. In other words, you cannot receive a Wells Fargo credit card’s welcome offer if you have opened that credit card within the last 15 months from the date of the application and you received an introductory bonus offer, even if that account is closed and has a $0 balance.

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