Card Issuers That Combine Multiple Credit Pulls/Inquiries

Update 6/19/19: Recent data points all suggest that U.S. bank is no longer combining inquiries.

Introduction

When you apply for a credit card, the card issuer will check your credit report. They rarely look at this credit report manually, but it’s used by scoring algorithms to see how worthy of credit you are (really they are checking your risk as a customer. How likely are you to default or become delinquent?).

When a credit report is pulled to aid in a lending decision (e.g when you apply for a credit card) this is known as a hard inquiry or hard credit pull. A hard inquiry affects your credit score (usually dropping it by 1-5 points for a short period of time, for usually no more than six months. It completely stops affecting your FICO score after a period of twelve months and will only stay on your credit report for up to two years), hard inquiries can also used by card issuers to determine if somebody is chasing sign up bonuses (these people are unlikely to be profitable cardholders) but this is uncommon.

[Read: Hard Vs Soft Inquiries, What’s The Difference?]

As you can gather, the less hard inquiries you have the better. The problem with this is that credit cards have some juicy sign up bonuses. One of the best ways to maximize the amount of sign up bonuses you get and minimize the amount of hard inquiries you receive is by applying for multiple cards from the same card issuer at the same time. In some cases, card issuers will only do a hard credit inquiry once even if you apply for two or more cards.

Warnings & Tips

Below is a list of card issuers and whether they combine credit pulls or not. Before that a few tips and warnings:

  • Find out what credit bureau a card issuer is likely to pull. As well as worrying about which card issuers combine credit pulls, you should also try to spread out your inquiries over all three of the consumer reporting agencies (CRA). Here is how to find out which card issuer will pull which CRA, remember that it varies based on your state.
  • Your mileage may vary. Just because a credit card issuer has only pulled once for other people, doesn’t mean the same will happen to you (“past performance is not indicative of future results”).
  • You’ll usually be denied at the auto approval stage. When you’re applying for multiple cards, you’ll generally be denied when they make their instant decision. This means you’ll be required to call the reconsideration department, if you don’t feel confident doing then this method is not for you. If you’ve never called the reconsideration department before, read our tips and gain some practice before attempting this. You can view the phone numbers for the different reconsideration departments by clicking here.
  • Opening lots of new cards will also drastically reduce your average age of accounts, regardless of how many hard pulls appear on your report. This will negatively affect your FICO score and other credit scoring models.
This is an advanced method. If you’ve struggled with credit card debt in the past or have a thin credit report then this method is not for you.

Remember that hard credit pulls stay on your credit report for a period of two years and affect your FICO score for one full year in a negative manner.  Make sure you do your own research and only use these methods when you feel comfortable.

How To Apply For Multiple Cards At Once

  • When trying to combine multiple credit pulls, you want your credit card applications to be close together as possible. The closer the applications, the more likely the card issuer will only pull your credit report once. This is because every time they pull your credit they have to pay one of the consumer reporting agencies (or credit bureaus) a fee.
  • The easiest way to apply for multiple cards at the same time is by using multiple browsers. The best method is to open a new browser (e.g Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari) and fill in all of your information for all the credit cards you want to apply for, then you can click submit in a rapid succession a few seconds after each other. If you apply earlier in the day you give yourself more time to deal with reconsideration requests.
  • Always hit apply for the most important card first. Whichever card you apply for first has the highest chance of receiving an instant approval, so make sure to apply for that card first and then the others in order of important.
  • When talking about this people will often use the acronyms 2BM, 3BM or 4BM. The BM stands for browser method, so a 3BM would be three  browser method. The number of browsers used is the same as the amount of credit cards the person is applying for. If you see somebody saying “Was successful with my 3BM with chase”, they are saying they applied for three credit cards using three separate browsers and were approved for all three (presumably only with one hard credit pull done).
Always use the different browser method if you can.

Sometimes card issuers will not do a second pull as long as you apply the same day, but by using a different browser and applying in rapid succession you should find you have a chance of being instantly approved.

Rules For Each Card Issuer

American Express

American Express does combine credit pulls, here are the rules:

  • They’ll allow a maximum of one credit card application per day, doesn’t seem to be a limit on charge cards.
  • All cards need to be approved in the same day, otherwise multiple pulls will be done (e.g sometimes when you call they’ll say that the application will be reviewed in a few days time. When it’s reviewed another hard pull will be automatically done. You should be able to cancel the second application when doing this if you want to avoid the hard pull).
  • Usually will be denied on auto approval, you’ll need to call reconsideration.
    • When calling reconsideration only ask for approval for one card at a time.
    • You’ll need a valid reason as to why you want each card
  • Representatives will often state the system allows only one per day, which is why you only want to deal with one card per call. It’s not hard coded into the system to allow only one approval per day, so just hang up and call again if you have this issue.
  • Can mix personal and business applications and it should only result in one pull

Bank of America

Update recent datapoints suggest that Bank of America is no longer combining inquiries: 1, 2,

Barclay

Update: Recent DP are saying that pulls are not being combined.

Barclay will combine multiple pulls, but some things to consider:

  • Possible to do up to three cards at a time, but usually they’ll only auto approve you for one card and approve one more after you call reconsideration
  • Barclay is primarily a UK credit card issuer, as such their days are based on GMT. Keep this in mind when making your applications.

Capital One

  • Pulls all three credit bureaus for every application you make.
  • Multiple applications will be combined if they are processed on the same day.

Recently, Capital One stopped processing more than one application per six months, rendering moot the issue of combined inquires.

Chase

Chase will combine credit pulls, but there are a few rules you need to be mindful of:

  • Applications must be received in the same day
  • Mixing business and personal applications will result in separate pulls (e.g if you apply for two business cards and one personal, they will pull your credit twice). [Update: Recently, a couple reports indicate that business and personal may be combined, see this Freqentmiler report and this comment.]
  • Usually difficult about opening more than three cards in a single month (some representatives state that the limit is two per month, but you should be able to get three). If you run into this problem, ask them to approve one of the cards (the one you want the most) then hang up and call again
    • Call and give them the application ID, they might not be able to see your recent approved cards
    • Applications stay in the internal system for a period of 30 days, you might be able to use this to get around the three cards in a month rule

Citi

  • Citi only allows you to apply for a credit card every eight days, but you can apply for one personal and one business on the same day (FrequentMiler). When applying for a personal and business at the same time, the inquiries are not merged due to the fact that the inquiries come from different departments of Citibank (FrequentMiler via personal communication).

Discover

  • You can have a maximum of two Discover cards and need to have the first one for twelve months before you can apply for the second one so no possibility of merging inquiries.

HSBC

TD Bank

U.S Bank

Update 6/19/19: According to all recent datapoints U.S. Bank is no longer combining hard pulls (1, 2, 3)

  • Update: Reader Electroman applied for the personal and business Club Carlson cards in the same day and the inquiries were merged into one. This means that it should be possible to apply for any two cards from U.S Bank and the inquiries will be merged (e.g personal and business cards are merged). U.S Bank is notoriously difficult for getting approved for even one card, let alone multiples in a day. Remember to freeze your IDA & ARS accounts before applying. Another DP here and another.
  • Amex_Fangirl was told that if you apply within 30 days of the first app they will use the same hard pull. This was then confirmed when only one hard pull showed up for the second application.

Wells Fargo

According to this post on Flyertalk, it looks like Wells Fargo will combine multiple hard pulls. Another DP.

Smaller Card Issuers

Alliant

Will reuse the same hard pull for 30/45 days.

FNBO

They do not combine pulls.

Synchrony

Did not combine Cathay Pacific & Stash hotel rewards inquiries.

F.A.Q’s

My partner hates calling reconsideration, what can I do?

You can try to convince them that the pros outweigh the cons and this is how you’re able to generate extra income and travel on the cheap. That being said, some people just don’t feel comfortable calling reconsideration. In that case you can ask your significant other to call and then state that you may speak on their behalf before passing the call onto you.

You can also try a conference call where your significant other is on the phone but doing none of the speaking. Once the card is approved you can also get them to install you as an official proxy, this can be done online at American Express here and via phone for Chase (this won’t give you any power for future reconsideration calls though). I’m not sure about other card issuers, if you have any experience then please let us know in the comments.

Final Thoughts

This can be a useful way to rack up loyalty points and cash sign up bonuses without damaging your credit too much in the short term, less hard pulls will also look better on your report when applying for credit cards in the future. Doing a 3BM can be somewhat time intensive if you have to hang up and call again multiple times to get approved, but I think it’s worth doing.

Please feel free to share your experiences and recent data points in the comments section below.

Post History

Update 5: Added FNBO data.

Update 4: Added more on Citi personal and business

Update 3: Added data points for U.S Bank

Update 2: I have added data on what happens with multiple applications for both Wells Fargo & Capital One.

Update: As numerous people in the comments have pointed out, it’s not actually the credit card issuers combining multiple pulls, it’s credit bureaus. If all of the information matches, the credit bureaus assume this a duplicate entry and delete it. The reason why some inquiries are combined and others aren’t is that credit card issuers won’t necessarily use the same data for each credit card. In this article I’ve still referred to the card issuers doing the combining, but that’s not what happens in reality. Thanks to all of the readers who pointed this out.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

191 Comments
newest
oldest most voted

Kyler
Kyler (@guest_1846994)
May 19, 2024 15:20

applied for WF biz card and WF autograph journey in same day few minutes apart. hard pull for both

Fang
Fang (@guest_1827758)
April 8, 2024 11:37

US Bank still does combines inquires. I did this 2 years ago… last update is from 2019…

Alex
Alex (@guest_1816676)
March 19, 2024 17:36

DP: applied for two Chase cards in one day and they pulled Experian and two different inquiries, but with TU only one inquiry, should I ask Experian to combine the inquiries?

James
James (@guest_1804206)
February 27, 2024 23:41

BOA’s first business card was a hard inquiry to TU, and the second business card was approved two weeks later without any inquiry.

Also, I don’t see any credit inquiry on DNB and Experian Business from the first and second cards. I think it’s a soft pull from the D&B Delinquency and SBFE score.

Robert
Robert (@guest_1769438)
January 2, 2024 20:42

Chase data point: I applied for and was approved for a personal and a business card back to back. Inquiries were not merged.

Abc
Abc (@guest_1812536)
March 12, 2024 12:54

Also Chase biz + personal: Biz first in the afternoon then personal the next day early morning. Not merged.

NPV
NPV (@guest_1759993)
December 17, 2023 09:55

BofA still combing hard pulls. Applied for Premium Rewards card and it was instantly denied. An hour later, placed a freeze on my credit report from all agencies and tried applying for CCR which was in my special offers. CCR was approved instantly. After few minutes, tried applying for premium rewards again and it was approved instantly. Yet to receive a letter for initial denial reason. Also, tried applying for third card (CCR partner version) for testing and it was denied as expected.

Clyne
Clyne (@guest_1755662)
December 10, 2023 23:23

Applied for BoA PR in Nov, pulled EX back then. Just applied for another CCR and got approved, under 30 days. No notification of any hard pull reported on EX. Seems like the combining hard pull still applies under BoA.

Justmeha
Justmeha (@guest_1728954)
November 2, 2023 18:05

Applied for two personal barclays cards and got 2 trans union pulls and one on experian🤷‍♂️

Raymond
Raymond (@guest_1600362)
April 18, 2023 11:35

Any recent dp on chase combining HP?

Justmeha
Justmeha (@guest_1728953)
November 2, 2023 18:03

Yes
Still combine business

Steve
Steve (@guest_1534053)
January 14, 2023 21:06

BOA also combined 2 hard pulls when I opened two customized cash cards in 1 night.

Eric
Eric (@guest_1552192)
February 8, 2023 02:30

gave you 2 inquirys or combine them into 1 inquiry ?

William
William (@guest_1701355)
September 24, 2023 14:48

Same for me this week. Only one Experian pull for NCL and Premium Rewards Elite on the same day.