What is the Chase 5/24 rule?

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If you’re hoping to apply for a Chase credit card, you need to be aware of the 5/24 rule. This infamous credit card restriction was put in place to prevent people from opening Chase credit cards, earning the sign-up bonuses and then letting the cards languish in their wallets.

To prevent this kind of credit card churning, Chase keeps track of how many credit accounts you’ve opened in the past, and may deny your credit card application if you’ve already taken out too many cards.

What is the Chase 5/24 rule?

The 5/24 rule is as follows: if you have opened five credit cards in the past 24 months, you might not be eligible to open a new Chase credit card. This rule applies to cards from any bank or credit issuer, not just Chase; if you’ve taken out two Bank of America credit cards and three Capital One credit cards in the past two years, the odds are that your Chase credit card application will be declined.

Chase’s 5/24 rule is in place to prevent credit card churning — that is, the practice of opening multiple credit cards within a short period of time to claim valuable sign-up bonuses. Since many Chase credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, offer excellent sign-up bonuses, the 5/24 Rule helps ensure that people who apply for Chase cards will continue to use the cards long-term, instead of only making enough purchases to grab the bonus.

What cards are subject to the 5/24 rule?

Chase has not issued an official list of which cards fall under the 5/24 rule. However, you can assume that most major credit cards are subject to the 5/24 rule, including:

How to check your 5/24 status

If you want to know whether you’ve opened more than five personal credit cards in the past 24 months, the best way to check your 5/24 status is by reviewing your credit report. You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to access your credit reports, which will show how many lines of credit you have and the date on which each credit account was opened. You might also be able to check your 5/24 status by using a credit monitoring app.

How to get around the Chase 5/24 rule

There aren’t really any ways of bypassing the 5/24 rule. The easiest way to avoid getting stymied by the Chase 5/24 rule is to be careful about the number of credit cards you apply for. As long as you’ve opened fewer than five credit cards in the past two years, you should be eligible to take out a new Chase credit card — assuming that you also have the right credit score for the card you’re hoping to receive.

What about card conversions and upgrades?

Converting or upgrading a Chase credit card does not count as opening a new card. If you have the Chase Freedom® and you’d like to switch to the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, for example, the card conversion won’t count towards your 5/24 limit.

Be aware that doing this kind of credit card switch often means foregoing any sign-up bonuses associated with the card. New Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholders can earn $150 cash back if they spend $500 in their first three months of card ownership, but if you convert to the Chase Freedom Unlimited from another Chase card, you aren’t considered a new cardholder and won’t be eligible for the bonus.

That said, converting or upgrading a Chase card is a good way to take advantage of a card’s rewards potential — going from a rotating cash-back credit card to a flat-rate cash back card, in this example — while still leaving space to apply for a new Chase credit card in the future.

Other credit card conversions and upgrades might also fall outside of the 5/24 rule. It all depends on whether the conversion involves a hard credit pull, which will show up on your credit report as a new credit inquiry (and count as a new credit card). Many credit card issuers will upgrade your credit card without doing a hard credit pull, so if you want to upgrade but are worried about hitting 5/24, call your credit card issuer and ask about their policy.

Remember, the best way to remain within Chase’s 5/24 rule is to be strategic about opening new lines of credit. Don’t take out credit cards just to claim sign-up bonuses, and don’t jump on every pre-approved credit card offer that shows up in the mail. Only take out a credit card when you know that the card is the best choice to meet your financial needs. That way, when it comes time to apply for a new Chase credit card, you’ll be more likely to meet the 5/24 rule and get your credit card application accepted.