Ultimate Guide to Citi Application Rules

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Different banks and lenders have different requirements for their loan products. The same applies to credit cards from issuers like American Express, Chase, and others. Citi application rules are similar to most other banks but differ in several key regards. Before you start the process, here is everything you need to know before applying for a Citi credit card.

Table of Contents

At a Glance

  • Citi offers credit cards for all credit profiles
  • You can pre-qualify for select card offers before applying
  • Citi has specific rules regarding the number and timing of your applications
  • There are also limits on welcome bonuses to consider
  • Not all “rules” are firm and may be bypassed with strong credit or an existing Citi relationship

Important Information Before You Apply

Here are some important details on what you need to know about Citi card applications before you start the application process:

What Credit Score Do You Need to Apply?

Most Citi credit cards are aimed at applicants with good or excellent credit scores. Because of this, Citi credit cards are popular for their generous welcome bonuses and everyday rewards. Despite this, Citi does offer a subprime credit card – the Citi® Secured Mastercard®.

How Many Citi Cards Can You Have?

Citi has no limit on the total number of Citi credit cards you can have. Instead, the bank limits the overall credit across all your Citi cards. If you apply for a new Citi card and you’ve already met the credit limit Citi has assigned you, you will likely need to agree to shift the existing limits on your open accounts to accommodate the new card.

Does Citi Offer Pre-Qualification Before Applying?

Citibank provides a streamlined pre-qualification process for some of its proprietary credit cards, namely, the following four cards:

To start the Citi “pre-approval” process, visit the Citi website. Hover over the “Credit Cards” tab on the top of the credit card landing page and select “See if You Are Pre-Selected.”

The following information is required to complete the pre-qualification and prescreening process:

  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Current mailing address
  • The last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN)

Related Article: How to Pre-Qualify for a Credit Card

Information Needed to Apply for a Citi Credit Card

Applying for a Citi credit card is straightforward. The bank doesn’t have any unique requirements for personal information, instead asking for the usual info:

Info Explained
① Full legal name and contact information You’ll need your full legal name, contact address, phone number, and e-mail address to apply for pretty much every credit card.
② Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Most credit card issuers require applicants to have a U.S. Social Security number to apply for a credit card. Since foreign citizens likely lack an SNN, they may receive an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead. An ITIN is an ID number the IRS issues to anyone who needs to file income tax returns in the United States but doesn’t qualify for an SSN. Be ready to provide either of these items when applying for a personal credit card.

The following banks accept foreign national applicants with an ITIN number, according to Experian:

  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • OpenSky
  • Wells Fargo

Currently, only two major card issuers don’t allow applicants with an ITIN:

  • Barclays
  • Discover
③ Income You’ll need to provide income information when applying for a credit card. Banks like to see that you aren’t too stretched financially, and part of this process is by evaluating how much income you have from things like your job, investments, and other sources.
④ Expenses Your monthly expenses are the second part of the puzzle when it comes to gauging your risk as an applicant. Your monthly housing costs (rent, mortgage) current utilities, and other relevant info might be asked when you apply.
⑤ Credit Score The final piece of informational lender needs to judge a credit card application is your credit score. Much of the information in your credit report is supplied by creditors and lenders, and potential lenders will use these details as a point of reference when considering you for a loan or line of credit. Your credit report is prepared and sold to prospective lenders and creditors by three credit reporting agencies – or bureaus, as they’re also known. They are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Citi Application Rules

Some issuers have specific rules for who can (and cannot) apply. Chase, for example, has its 5/24 rule, which states that applicants who have opened five or more new bank cards within the past 24 months are ineligible for a new Chase credit card until they are below that threshold.  

Citi is no different, with several “official” (but often unmentioned) rules for card applications:

Citi 8/65 Rule on Applications

Citi also limits how often you can seek new credit before applying for a Citi credit card. This rule is known as the 8/65 rule (sometimes called the Citi 1/8/65 rule) and limits applicants to one credit card application every eight days and no more than two applications within 65 days. If you run afoul of this rule, you may find your Citi application automatically denied, even though it is not a publicly disclosed requirement.

Citi 48-Month Rule for Welcome Bonuses

There is another time-sensitive restriction on new Citi credit applications called the 48-month rule. Unlike the 8/65 rule, the 48-month rule applies to welcome offers – namely, how many you can receive for the same card.

Citi’s 48-month rule specifies that applicants can only get the welcome bonus for a specific Citi card once every 48 months. Essentially, if you get a Citi Custom Cash℠ Card but later cancel it, you won’t qualify for another welcome offer for any subsequent Custom Cash applications for at least four years (48 months).

24-Month Rule for Family Welcome Bonuses

There is also a restriction on earning welcome bonuses for cards in the same family.  A “family” of credit cards is a grouping of cards that operate within the same loyalty program – such as Citi ThankYou Rewards or American Airlines AAdvantage. For example, if you applied for the same Custom Cash Card previously mentioned, you would not qualify for a welcome bonus for any card that earns ThankYou points. This example would apply to the following cards:

Citi 1/90 Rule for Business Card Applications

Another Citi credit card application rule is the 1/90 rule, which only applies to business card applications. Simply put, Citi will not approve more than one new business credit card application per 90 days (three months) for the same applicant

Other Rules

There are some other, softer rules which only apply to certain applicants. This applies to two distinct subsets and may result in the automatic rejection of your application. These soft rules are:

6/6 Rule

The Citi 6/6 rule is that applicants can only have six hard inquiries in six months.

1/60 Rule

The Citi 1/60 rule is that applicants only have one Citi card application every 60 days (about two months). This rule can be bypassed with an existing relationship with Citi or a robust credit file.

Summing It Up

Like most banks, Citi has specific rules for its credit cards and the application process. Despite this, most applicants have nothing to worry about, as these rules only apply to those who seek credit frequently. Before applying, ensure you meet all the card requirements, including income, credit score, and the number of card inquiries in the previous few months. If you aren’t sure you’ll be approved, consider taking a step back and taking practical steps to boost your score before applying to avoid a rejection and a hard inquiry on your credit file.

Related Article: Slay Your Holiday Expenses: A Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting a Top Credit Card-Friendly Budget

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About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

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