Bank of America 7/12 and 3/12 Rules

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Last updated on April 12th, 2023

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 other issuers also have secretive rules and regulations concerning applications. Bank of America is one such card issuer with lesser-known rules – here’s what you need to know about Bank of America’s 7/12 and 3/12 rules:

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.

Over the last few years, many applicants 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.

Do The BOA Credit Rules Impact Businesses?

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.

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About: Cory
Cory Santos

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

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