Update 8/20/19: Maximum for HSBC has been increased to 3. If you see any other errors on this page let us know so we can update them.
Some credit card issuers only allow you to have a certain amount of credit cards with them before you’ll be automatically denied. I thought it’d be interesting to look at each of these limits with the major credit card issuers. These limits do not count authorized users, the limit only applies to cards that you’re the primary account holder on.
You’re limited to five credit cards from American Express at any one time. It’s important to remember two things:
- This limit only counts credit cards issued by American Express. Credit cards that are issued by other banks that run on the American Express payment network will not count towards this limit.
- This limit only applies to credit cards. American Express issues two types of cards: charge cards and credit cards. The only difference is that a credit card allows you to carry a balance and a charge card doesn’t. On the American Express website it’s easy to search just for charge or just for credit cards.
Sometimes this rule isn’t actually enforced, which leads people to have more than five cards. I’m not sure what causes this limit to be enforced or not enforced but in my personal experience it has always been enforced. If you already have more than 5 credit cards with American Express then you won’t have to close any, but next time you apply they will likely not approve you stating this 5 card limit. If you call reconsideration they will likely give you the option of cancelling one of your existing cards.
Being an authorized user also does not count towards this limit.
More recently, some data points indicate that the limit has changed from 4 to 5, or possibly even more.
There is no hard limit on the amount of credit cards you can have with Barclaycard. Most people find that they will struggle to get approved for more than one card with Barclaycard every six months, but this really depends on your individual situation.
The more spend you put on existing Barclaycard products and the less recent inquiries you have with all credit card issuers, the more likely you are to be approved. Barclaycard used to be a lot less strict, but gone are the days of getting instantly approved for 5 cards in one day.
Bank of America
Bank of America does not limit the amount of cards you can have with them. I know plenty of people with 10+ credit cards with BofA. Keep in mind they do have a 2/3/4 rule now.
There is some discussion on the limit about Capital One limits on the myFICO forums. To save you some time, here is the basics:
- Some people have been told that they can only have two Capital one cards. This does not include co-branded cards (like the Capital One Sony card), only cards like the Capital One Quicksilver or Venture.
- Other people have been told that there is no limit or they have two or more cards.
Keep in mind people are being told this when they apply for the cards and are denied, so this isn’t really a case of misinformed customer service representatives. In fact when people have received their notices of adverse action, this is the official reason listed (maximum limit of two credit cards with Capital One).
My personal theory is that there is a limit of two cards per consumer, business cards do not count towards this limit , cards in the credit card steps program do not count and neither do co-branded cards. Some people have been able to get past this two card limit because they have old cards that have been product changed a number of times, for whatever reason these do not count towards the limit even if they are Capital One branded credit cards.
Chase doesn’t have a hard limit on the amount of credit cards you can have with them, they usually just restrict you by the amount of total credit you have available to you (which will vary person to person). You can get around this by calling them asking them to reallocate credit limits from existing cards onto a new card that you’ve applied for.
There is some discussion on the card limit on Flyertalk, but I’ve never seen people be denied due to this before.
Citi does not have a hard limit on the amount of cards you can have.
According to Discover:
A cardmember can be the primary cardholder on two Discover accounts, and can only be considered for a second account once they have had the first account for at least a year
One reader even commented that this limit applies to debit cards you have with Discover as well. This limit does not apply to debit cards. You can also only have a maximum of one student card with Discover.
You can have a maximum of three HSBC credit cards.
There is no hard limit on the amount of cards you can have with U.S Bank, that being said the more cards you have with them the more difficult it is to get approved. You can improve your chances by freezing your IDA & ARS credit reports, but this won’t really help that much if you already have a few U.S Bank credit cards.
Wells Fargo doesn’t limit the amount of cards you can have, typically they will want you to have a banking relationship with them before approving you for any of their premium credit card products.
You’re limited to one credit card currently with Alliant (according to our contact at Alliant).
You can hold a maximum of three NFCU cards.
for AMEX, is it 5 total (personal+business) or personal only?
I believe it’s 5 cards all together. Personal and Buisness all counts towards that. However, charge cards are not included .
Do we have any updated DP’s on what Amex’s current policy is? Is the CC limit 4 or 5 these days?
I was denied with 4 CC. Not sure what is counted as the 5th. Unless they are including the Green into the mix.
Yeah apparently they do count the Green as a CC (if you already have it – as opposed to applying for the Green as your 5th card). Frequent Miler had a post about this recently if you want to read more about it, there are nuances to how Amex looks at the Green card: https://frequentmiler.com/you-can-get-an-amex-green-card-when-over-the-credit-card-limit/
I believe they lifted that already. Got approved for my 5th card in early May and they approved me on the spot.
William Charles Do you have any DPs on Penfed?
BofA only allows one student card. Confirm ed with executive customer service. They said they only allow one card while you’re a student. I took that to mean only one student card.
Supposedly Navy Federal Credit Union has a 3 card per person limit. I don’t know if PenFed has a limit.
I have 10 Amex cards (4 charge, 6 credit) plus 1 authorized user credit card that I don’t count. The 5 credit card limit is a myth. It just might be the case that for 95% of people, 5 is the limit based on the Amex algo’s. But if you have enough income/spend/etc, it’s not an issue. I will be adding more in the future.
Capital One seems to be the one, no one can agree on. Go to Capital One site, act like you’re applying for a card and scroll all the way to the terms. On some cards it’s says TWO. On other card it says FIVE. Yes five.
The distinction is prime vs, Subprime. On the subprime cards (Platinum and Quicksilver One) it says the limit is two. On the prime cards (savor and savor one, venture and venture one, and regular Quicksilver) it says the limit is FIVE.
Is there a good HSBC card that we should be getting? Having trouble understanding who would actually be pushing the limit of three cards with them. Looked at their card lineup, and I feel like I must be missing something.
If you are willing to move investments over to get Premier, a case can be made for the Premier World and Premier World Elite. You can get two cards at once with them.
Great post! At some point it might also be interesting to have a similar summary on the issuer’s policies regarding card activity to sustain the existing cards, @William Charles? As in, at least for me, CapOne and BoA don’t seem to care, but Citi unilaterally closed one of my cards because I hadn’t used it in a long time.
I just had that as well. Maybe I’ll make a post.
Cap 1 will close for no activity, but it can take several years.
I have one personal (2 months) and one biz card (1 yr) with Amex. What is Amex’s rule when it comes to receiving welcome offers? I recently tried applying for 3 different cards and each time I eventually get a pop up that tells me that I am not eligible for welcome offers due to my history with Amex cards. When asked if I want to continue applying I then shut it down.