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Bank of America 7/12 and 3/12 Rules

Last updated on November 23rd, 2020

Many banks and credit card issuers have unwritten rules about who can – and can’t – apply for their cards. Chase Bank’s 5/24 rule is the most famous of these rules, but it seems that Bank of America has got in on the act as well.

The Unwritten Rules of Credit Card Applications

The 5/24 rule from Chase is a well-established – and well known – rule in the credit card industry. This rule essentially states that those with five-or-more hard inquiries within 24 months are not eligible for new Chase credit cards. What many people might not know, however, is that many other issuers have unwritten rules like Chase. Recently, many individuals with good credit have received rejection letters from Bank of America (BOA) after applying for BOA cards that they normally might receive instant approval for. Today, we’ll look at Bank of America’s secretive 3/12 rule and 7/12 rule and why you should pay attention if you are thinking about applying for a new card soon.

The Bank of America 7/12 Rule

If you want to apply for a Bank of America credit card, these rules differ depending on your current banking relationship with the lender. Those who currently have open BOA credit card accounts or other banking products (such as checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, etc.) likely will not be approved for a new credit card if they have already opened six new credit cards within the last 12 months. This rule applies not only to Bank of America cards but to credit cards from any other issuer, as well. So, if you are planning a trip abroad and are looking for an excellent airline rewards card, like the Air France/ KLM World Elite Mastercard, or a hotel rewards card, like the Sonesta World Mastercard, to help you get the most out of your trip, you might consider planning ahead before applying.

The Bank of America 3/12 Rule

The 7/12 rule differs from the 3/12 rule in that it only affects those who do not have an existing banking relationship with Bank of America. The 3/12 rule stipulates that those who submit a Bank of America credit card application, do not have any Bank of America products now or in the past, and have already opened two new credit cards in the last 12 months, will be rejected on their application. In practice, the 3/12 rule may affect more applicants than the 7/12 rule, as it’s likely that people who do not already have a Bank of America account or credit card already will be more likely to apply for two or more cards in a year – with BOA and with other card issuers. Bank of America offers a wide variety of cards geared at nearly every rewards category and customer profile.

Businesses Are Also Affected

The 7/12 and 3/13 rules appear to apply to companies and merchants as well as individual consumers, so those who apply for credit cards for both themselves and their businesses should be wary before they apply for the Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard, Alaska Airline Business Card, or any other of the great business rewards credit cards that Bank of America has to offer. If, however, a person uses a different banking account than their consumer banking accounts, they likely won’t face too many issues.

Limitations to the 3/12 Rule and 7/12 Rule

With the new Bank of America rules, there is both bad news and good news. The bad news, of course, is that many potential new Bank of America credit card applications will be denied simply for not having a pre-existing relationship with the bank. The good news, however, appears to be that both of these rules can be manually overridden by a Bank of America employee. While incidents of manually overriding applicants who previously violated these rules are minimal, they seem to indicate that these two rules are not as concrete as Chase’s 5/24 rule. Potentially, if you find that your application for a Bank of America card has been declined, you may be able to state your case and have that decision overturned.

Do Your Homework Before Applying for Your Next Credit Card

The biggest takeaway from the news of the secretive Bank of America 3/12 and 7/12 rules is that it is crucial for people and businesses to do their homework before they apply for their next credit card. Fortunately, the team at BestCards is here to help you ensure that you select the right card before you hit that “apply” button on your computer or smart device. Our expert team scours the web to find the best credit card offers and news and provides comprehensive and informative reviews of credit cards from the biggest banks – as well as their local credit unions. No matter what you are looking for, the team at BestCards has you covered. Browse some of our credit card reviews – including those from Bank of America – and find your perfect credit card today.

About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.