Credit Card Application Rules for Major Banks

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Last updated on August 24th, 2023

Applying for a credit card requires a variety of steps. Part of the process involves the bank using internal approval processes, which are hidden from consumers. Before you apply for your next credit card, make sure you know the secret credit card application rules from some of the biggest credit card issuers in the United States:

Credit Card Application Rules from Major Banks and Issuers

The Chase 5/24 rule is one of the better-known credit card application rules. The 5/24 rule states that Chase will not approve a personal credit card application if there are more than five hard inquiries on the applicant’s credit report within the last two years (24 months).

Other banks also have secretive rules regarding credit card applications. Bank of America, for example, has two rules: the 7/12 and the 3/12 rules. The 7/12 rule states that Bank of America will not approve a seventh new credit card account if the applicant has opened six accounts in the last year. The 3/12 rule is similar, stating that Bank of America won’t approve a third BoA credit card within a 12-month period.

Other Bank Rules Regarding Credit Card Applications

Not surprisingly, other leading banks also have limitations to approving credit card applications. Here are some of the most noteworthy of the card issuer language regarding new applications:

American Express

American Express is one of the most popular issuers of credit cards and charge cards (including the Platinum Card and Gold Card). The issuer has several rules regarding applications for either type of credit product, including:

  • Applicants are limited to one approved credit card every five-day rolling period
  • Applicants are limited to two approved credit cards every 90-day rolling period

These rules only apply to credit cards and not the bank’s popular charge cards. This means that it is possible to apply for a credit card and a charge card within five days and be approved for both.


Barclays has the 6/24 rule, which is like Chase’s 5/24 rule. The 6/24 rule from Barclays states that applicants will likely be rejected for a new credit card if they have six new accounts on their credit report within the last 24 months.

Capital One

Capital One is one of the largest issuers of credit cards in the United States – and a leading issuer of co-branded credit cards. The bank has strict rules on the total number of cards one account can have:

  • Capital One will only approve one new credit card account every six months, and this rule applies to both personal and small business credit cards.
  • The bank has a strict limit of two co-branded credit cards, with any subsequent applications doomed for rejection.


Citibank has the following rules regarding its consumer and small business credit cards:

  • A limit of one business card application every 90 days
  • Applicants can only be approved for one new personal credit card every eight days and no more than two cards in a 65-day period

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank only has one rule, which pertains to its popular U.S. Bank Altitude line-up of cards. This rule is known as the 0/6 Altitude rule and stipulates that the bank will not approve a new Altitude account if there was another inquiry within the last six months.

Some experts have also noticed a rule with the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite, the luxurious, ultra-premium travel card from U.S. Bank. This rule stipulates that U.S. Bank will not approve an application for the Altitude Reserve if there is no previous banking relationship (checking, savings, credit, mortgages, etc.) between U.S. Bank and the applicant.

Wells Fargo

Like U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo also considers previous relationships with applicants before approving credit card applications. The bank also has explicit language on their website regarding credit card application rules: “You may not qualify for an additional Wells Fargo credit card if you have opened a Wells Fargo credit card in the last six months.”

Related Article: How to Recover After a Credit Card Application Rejection

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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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