I Have Exceptional Credit, but Here’s Why I Can’t Get Approved for a Chase Credit Card

A single unexpected and unofficial rule can prevent you from getting approved.

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With a long list of incredible travel, cash-back, and business credit cards, Chase is one of my favorite credit card issuers. I’ve collected six Chase credit cards over the years that I’ve held onto. But in the past few years, it’s gotten harder and harder to get approved for additional Chase cards.

Even with a credit score above 800, I could apply for a new Chase credit card and get denied outright — all because of an unofficial rule the bank instituted a few years ago. Among credit card enthusiasts, it’s called the 5/24 rule.

What Is Chase’s 5/24 Rule?

The Chase 5/24 rule effectively states that if you’ve opened five or more new credit card accounts in the last 24 months, your application is more likely to be denied outright, even if you’d be a good candidate otherwise. The bank created this rule to deter a select group of credit card users who apply for credit cards, qualify for the sign-up bonuses, and then cancel the accounts.

In the beginning, the 5/24 rule only applied to certain Chase credit cards. But more recently, it’s been applied across the board to all credit cards from all issuers. This can be frustrating for credit card users, especially considering that the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve are among the best travel credit cards you can get. But it also makes sense for the bank to focus on consumers who are more likely to hold onto a card for the long haul.

What Counts Toward the 5/24 Amount?

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Credit: iStock.com /xavierarnau

As of this writing, I’m at 8/24, based on what Chase counts as a new credit card account. That number includes new consumer credit card accounts I’ve opened in my name, but also credit card accounts on which I’ve been added as an authorized user.

What doesn’t count are most business credit cards. That’s because Chase uses your credit report to determine how many recent accounts you have, and most business credit card issuers don’t report any account activity to the consumer credit reporting agencies unless you’re seriously delinquent. In other words, I’ve opened more than eight credit cards in the last two years, but many of them are business credit cards that don’t show on my credit reports.

The only major business card issuers that report to the consumer credit bureaus are Capital One and Discover.

If you’re a business owner, this not only means that cards from those banks count toward your 5/24 status, but also your business’ use of the card will affect your personal credit.

How To Work With the Chase 5/24 Rule?

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Credit: iStock.com

There aren’t many ways to get around the Chase 5/24 rule, so it’s best to try to stay under it if you’re thinking of applying for a Chase card soon. Still, there are a few things you can do:

Remove Authorized User Status

If your partner or parent added you as an authorized user to their credit card, asking the card issuer to remove you from the account will result in the tradeline being taken off your credit reports.

If you have a hard time doing this through the bank, you can also submit a request directly to the credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Remember, it only counts against you if the account was opened in the last 24 months. So if you’re an authorized user on an account older than that, there’s no need to worry.

Apply for Business Credit Cards

If you’re over the 5/24 limit and you have a business, consider applying for business credit cards only until you’re under Chase’s threshold again. Just remember that Capital One and Discover both report business account activity to the consumer credit bureaus, so you’d likely want to avoid cards from either issuer.

If you’re applying for a business card from a regional or community bank, ask before you apply to find out what their reporting standards are.

Apply for Targeted Offers

There is a way to bypass the Chase 5/24 rule, even if you’ve opened too many credit cards in the past couple of years. If you have an existing account with Chase, log in to your online account and click on “Just for you” in the main menu. Chase may provide some targeted offers on this page that you can apply and get approved for, even if you’re not under the 5/24 threshold.

You may also be able to get around the rule if you’re pre-approved for a card through your local Chase bank branch. Of course, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get any targeted offers through either avenue, but reports show that it’s possible.

Popular Chase Credit Cards

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Credit: iStock.com /lechatnoir

Whether you’re new to rewards credit cards or thinking about adding a new card to your wallet, these are a few of the most popular Chase credit cards from Slickdeals Credit Card Hub. If travel is an important part of your life and you won’t qualify for a new Chase card because of the unofficial 5/24 rule, our guide to the 10 best travel rewards credit cards is a perfect resource for people who want to earn travel more rewards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

If you aren’t ready for the hefty annual fee that comes with premium cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred may be the next best thing. The Chase Sapphire Preferred features a lower annual fee ($95) and many perks. New cardholders can earn up to $750 in travel when they spend $4,000 in their first three months. Earn 2X points on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases. Points go 25% farther when redeemed on travel. Plus, this card has no foreign transaction fee, so you can use it freely on your trip to Tuscany.

  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Value: 2x points on travel and dining
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 during the first three billing cycles
  • Pro: No blackout dates for point redemption
  • Con: High spending threshold to reach sigh-up bonus

Apply Today

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Earn up to $750 worth of travel after spending $4,000 within your first three months of opening the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Your points are worth 50% more when you redeem them for travel, and you will receive a $300 travel credit each year. The Sapphire Reserve packs in a lot of benefits for its $450 annual fee, including access to airport lounges with Priority Pass, zero foreign transaction fees, 3X points on dining, and a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check.

  • Annual Fee: $450 annual fee
  • Value: 3X points on travel and dining
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 50,000 points (worth $750 towards travel) after spending $4,000 in your first three months
  • Pro: Complimentary Priority Pass™ Select Membership to 1,000+ airport lounges
  • Con: High annual fee

Apply Today

Chase Freedom Unlimited

If you want to earn rewards, but you’re not willing to pay an annual fee, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is the cash-back credit card for you. It’s hard to beat the Freedom Unlimited’s generous sign-up bonus and its 1.5% cash back on all purchases, especially without paying an annual fee.

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Value: 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 in the first three months
  • Pro: Higher than average cash-back rewards on everyday spending
  • Con: Other cards offer better cash-back rewards in certain categories like groceries or home improvement

Apply Today

The Bottom Line: Chase 5/24 Rule

While the Chase 5/24 rule screens out certain credit card users who are just in it for the sign-up bonus, it also prevents people who actually want to use Chase credit cards regularly from getting them. If you’re like me and you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months, consider just avoiding Chase for the time being. If you apply, you may end up with a hard inquiry on your credit report for nothing.

But if you simply can’t get your mind off a specific Chase credit card, be sure to take the steps required to get yourself under that 5/24 threshold before you apply.

Comparing Rewards Credit Cards

Still uncertain about which rewards credit card is right for you? We get it. Choosing a credit card that meets your needs is important, which is why Slickdeals’ Credit Card Hub helps you compare the benefits of different cards, search credit cards by rewards categories, and explore cards by their issuers — all to find the best fit for your wallet.

NEXT: I’ve Taken a Dozen Trips This Year Just Using Credit Card Rewards

We want to make sure you get the best deal! Our editors strive to ensure that the information in this article is accurate as of the date published, but please keep in mind that offers can change. We encourage you to verify all terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply. Also, please remember this content wasn’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any company mentioned in this article.

Ben Luthi

Ben Luthi is a personal finance and travel writer and credit card expert. He has a degree in finance from Brigham Young University and worked in financial planning, banking and auto finance before writing full-time for NerdWallet and Student Loan Hero. Ben is now a full-time freelance writer and enjoys traveling and spending time with his two kids. His work has appeared in several publications, including U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Money, Success and Slickdeals.

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