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Over the past week there has been a bunch of scuttlebutt about Chase getting more strict on approving new applicants. From what I’ve read, this only applies to the Chase’s own cards, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Freedom, Chase Slate, etc. This does not apply to Chase co-branded credit cards, such as Chase Marriott, Chase Hyatt, Chase IHG, United, Southwest, etc. And hopefully that is not the case one day!
Before I posted anything about these “new rules” I wanted to do my own test so I could share my experience as well. As you are probably well aware, the Chase Freedom card is currently offering a double sign up offer (related post) and that is a card I actually do not have but want to add to my collection. I like that it has no annual fee and the 5x points rotating categories. Quite honestly, I am not sure why I didn’t apply for this card years ago, but oh well. So I went ahead and applied. Unfortunately I received the “We need to review your application further” screen.
When applying for a Chase credit card it is very common for me to have to call the reconsideration line to shift some credit around. Instead of waiting for a decision in the mail within the next two weeks, I immediately called and after a few minutes on hold I was told I was denied. This is actually the first credit card application that I’ve been denied for!
I drilled the representative asking many questions although she wasn’t able to give me all the answers I was looking for. She said that the reason I was denied was because I have too many credit card inquiries over the past two years. During the conversation she stated that they do not look at just my Chase account, but all other inquiries (which includes American Express, Barclay’s, Citi, etc.). She also said they have access to personal and business account information. I was pushing to try to get a certain number from her on how many inquiries cause an applicant to be denied and she couldn’t give me that information (or really did not have that secret number).
After reading through the many FlyerTalk pages on this topic, it seems as though 4-5 is the “magic” number. For those involved in the credit card application game, you are probably as guilty as I am and have way more than 5 credit card applications over the past two years.
What Does This Mean Going Forward?
So what does this mean going forward? If you are a newbie and just getting into this game, I suggest applying for Chase cards first. This means, first apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom cards. Then go ahead and apply for others (as you see fit). If you’ve been at this awhile this means you’ll need to be more picky with the cards you apply for. I also suggest taking a look at your credit report and documenting your credit card inquiries over the past two years. One option is to go all out right now applying for the cards you’ve been eyeing and having your 2 year window re-set now. Then over the next two years be picky with the cards you apply for. Or, take it slow for the next year so you are less then that magic “4-5 year window.” Also, I read reports that being an authorized user for a Chase card will count against you, so be careful with those.
Unfortunately there is no secret sauce to this all, but being smart and documenting every application can be helpful.
I’d love to hear your experience as well. Hopefully it didn’t go as sour as mine!