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Undoubtedly, Chase has one of the best portfolios of credit cards available to people looking for travel rewards and cash back. However, even if you have excellent credit, your application may still get declined due to violating the unofficial Chase 5/24 rule. If you’re considering applying for a Chase card but have never heard of this rule before, this post will help demystify it. In addition, we will offer a strategy you can use to ensure that your application for a Chase card won't get denied due to 5/24.
Chase 5/24 rule explained
To be approved for a Chase credit card, you must have fewer than five approvals for credit cards over 24 months. When you apply for a Chase credit card, Chase will count the card you’re applying for as part of your allowed five approvals. This means that you can only have been approved for four credit cards (with any issuer) in the preceding 24 months. Business credit cards that do not show up on your personal credit report will not add toward your 5/24 count.
Chase published the 5/24 rule on the application page for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® in 2016, but on Sept. 1, 2016, all language referring to 5/24 was removed from the website. That remains true today, as the 5/24 rule is not published anywhere by Chase.
Because of this lack of documentation, much of what’s understood about this rule comes from crowdsourced information. Starting in 2015, when the rule seems to have gone into effect, many applicants with self-reported excellent credit (defined as 720 or higher) have stated in social media channels that Chase reps told them their denial was due to having opened too many credit cards in the last 24 months. In fact, this happened to me in 2016, when my application was denied and I called Chase and got the same explanation.
Chase isn’t the only issuer to impose a limit on the number of approved cards. American Express, Barclays, Citibank and various other banks have their own rules. Although rules differ between issuers, the underlying message is that banks want to prevent applicants from having too much credit and either getting into debt or abusing rewards programs.
How does Chase compute my 5/24 count?
When you apply for a credit card, you authorize the bank to run your credit report. The bank will pull your credit report from one of the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.
The credit report will include a lot of important information about your financial profile, including all the credit cards that you have opened and closed, and when you applied for those cards.
When Chase runs your credit report and finds five credit card approvals in the past 24 months, you will automatically get declined for a Chase personal credit card. So if you were approved for a card on Jan. 15, 2016, that card may no longer be considered as part of your 5/24 count by Feb. 1, 2018. There have been reports of people getting approved within a few days of a card falling off the 5/24 list, but there is no guarantee that will happen.
It is important to note that if you are added as an authorized user on someone else’s credit card, it is highly likely that this card will be included in your 5/24 count.
» Learn more: Who can access your credit report or score?
What is my 5/24 count?
Since Chase can pull your credit report from all three bureaus, you will want to make sure that you calculate your 5/24 status based on that information.
You are entitled to at least one free copy of your full credit report from each major credit bureau every 12 months. You can get your free credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com, giving you insight into your credit history from all three bureaus.
It's important that you look at the list of the approved cards from each of the three credit bureaus provided on the credit reports so that you can accurately count the number of credit cards that you have been approved for over the past 24 months. Look at the sections that contain the list of your open and closed accounts, because even if an account is closed, if it was opened within the past 24 months, Chase will count that card.
Add up the number of credit cards you have been approved for in the past 24 months. If that number is four or less, you are not in violation of the Chase 5/24 rule and can apply for a Chase credit card.
» Learn more: How to understand your credit reports
Are any accounts NOT included in the 5/24 count?
Mortgages, auto loans, student loans, credit cards that you were not approved for and certain small-business cards (see below) do not add to the Chase 5/24 total.
Generally, all personal credit cards, including charge cards and retail store cards, are factored into your 5/24 count. In addition, business cards with TD Bank, Capital One and Discover are included. Even if the cards are currently closed, if they were opened within the past 24 months, they will be part of the tally.
If you have been added as an authorized user on another individual’s credit card, you can ask Chase to exclude those cards from your 5/24 count. One way to get an authorized user account removed from a credit report is to ask the primary cardholder to remove you from the card, then contact each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and ask them to remove that card from your report.
How are business cards treated?
Not all business credit cards are included in the 5/24 count.
Why is this? Generally, business cards are related to a business and not necessarily to the individual applying for the credit card. For this reason, some issuers do not report business credit cards on a personal credit report. When you apply for a business credit card, the issuer will pull your credit report. The hard pull will appear on your credit report, but the card may not.
NerdWallet contacted representatives from various banks to find out their policies regarding business card reporting and found the following:
Does the issuer report small-business credit card activity to consumer credit bureaus?
Does the issuer report small-business credit card activity to commercial credit bureaus?
Yes, but only negative information
Bank of America
No, unless the account is seriously delinquent
No, unless the account is seriously delinquent
* In late 2020, Capital One told HelpMeBuildCredit.com that new accounts on the Capital One Spark Cash for Business would no longer be reported to consumer credit bureaus as long as the account was in good standing. It appears that consumer credit bureau reporting will continue as before on pre-existing accounts as well as all of Capital One's other Spark-branded cards.
In addition to the above, it appears Barclays does not report business card activity on your personal credit report, while TD Bank does.
Which Chase credit cards are subject to the 5/24 rule?
This data is based on crowdsourced information and is subject to change without notice from Chase. With that said, based on the latest findings, the following Chase credit cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rule:
Chase personal credit cards
Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card.
Chase Business credit cards
Starting in November, 2018, Reddit users began reporting that they were rejected for other Chase credit cards previously not included on the above list.
Aer Lingus Credit Card.
Disney's Premier Visa® Card.
Disney Rewards® Visa® Card.
Iberia Visa Signature Credit Card.
We think it's pretty safe to say that now Chase counts all of its cards toward the 5/24 rule.
Do product changes on existing credit cards count toward 5/24?
An example of a product change is when you want to downgrade a credit card from one with an annual fee to a no-annual-fee version in the same family of cards. Maybe you want some perks of the card, but not all the ones that the annual fee version offers. An example of a downgrade would be asking Chase to convert your Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (annual fee: $95) to an Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (annual fee: $0).
When you do a product change, the card number remains the same but the expiration date and CVV reset. Because the card number doesn’t change, it doesn’t count as a new credit card approval. (Requesting a product change rather than applying for a new card also typically makes you ineligible to earn the welcome offer on the card you’re switching to.)
Can the 5/24 rule be circumvented?
Generally, no. However, there is one instance in which you may be in luck: "Just for you" offers.
“Just for you” offers are exactly what they sound like — special offers that you see once you log into your Chase account. Rumor has it that if you see a card in this section and it includes a fixed APR, you can apply for it even if you are at (or above) 5/24. If the APR is variable, you will be denied if you’re in violation of the 5/24 rule.
There are reports of people being targeted for such offers as recently as January 2020 (hat tip to Doctor of Credit).
Strategy for Chase credit cards
If you’re just getting into the world of miles and points and are considering cards from various issuers, plan to apply for Chase credit cards first given their strict 5/24 rule.
If you already have a few slots filled in your 5/24 count and are considering a non-Chase card, you’ll want to follow this guidance. First, check if there is a business version of the credit card available. If so, check to see if the issuer reports approvals to a personal credit bureau. If the issuer doesn’t, the card will not count toward 5/24.
Chase 5/24 FAQs
If I close a credit card that I was approved for in the last 24 months, can I bypass 5/24?
Unfortunately not. Chase counts credit cards toward 5/24 even if they have been closed.
If I apply for a credit card but get denied, will the application count toward 5/24?
No, only approvals count toward the Chase 5/24 rule.
If I am over 5/24 but get a targeted mail or email credit card offer, will I be approved?
Unfortunately, targeted offers that have been mailed or emailed to you count toward Chase’s 5/24 rule. There have been reports of some individuals receiving approval; however, the information is not consistent enough to make any sort of guess based on that.
Although the Chase 5/24 rule isn’t officially published anywhere, the rule remains in place. If you’re just beginning your application journey, you’ll want to be deliberate with your applications. Chase Ultimate Rewards® are an extremely versatile rewards points currency and if you’re looking to earn these points, you’ll want to prioritize Chase cards above others given their stringent 5/24 rule.
If you’re already at 5/24 and are waiting it out, focus on business cards that are not reported on your personal credit report.
Are you at 5/24? Do you have any interesting experiences to share that differ from any of this info? Tell us below in the comments!
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card