Posted by William Charles on February 28, 2015
Credit Cards

Published on February 28th, 2015 | by William Charles

46

How Many Credit Cards Can You Have With Each Credit Card Issuer?

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.

American Express

You’re limited to four 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 four 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 4 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 4 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.

Barclaycard

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.

Capital One

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

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

Citi does not have a hard limit on the amount of cards you can have.

Discover

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.

U.S Bank

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

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.

Smaller Issuers

Alliant

You’re limited to one credit card currently with Alliant (according to our contact at Alliant).



46 Responses to How Many Credit Cards Can You Have With Each Credit Card Issuer?

  1. BenT says:

    Is the 4 credit card limit for Amex only personal cards? Or do business cards count against it?

    • Paul says:

      @Ben, in my experience Amex has divided their cards into two groups, charge and credit cards. I called them a while ago, while holding four credit cards (2 of which were business cards) and was told if I wanted a specific card I would have to cancel one of the four. In short, business and personal credit cards are lumped together.

      • Jackson Chang says:

        So I applied for the American Express Blue for business card. I got auto denied, then called for reconsideration. I got a call today about the application. They told me I can only have 4 credit cards on my account. I didn’t know this rule and I have 5 credit cards (Everyday, Hilton, Costco, SPG, Delta SM) and 2 charge cards. (Platinum, PRG) I asked them how was I able to get my 5th and they didnt know. They told me I had to cancel 2 of my credit cards in order to get the blue business card. I really want the blue card but now need to think of which 2 to cancel. I’m leaning towards the delta and costco, but not exactly sure. What do you guys think?

        • ZiggyZ says:

          You probably have 5 cards for 2 reasons.

          1. You gradually opened each one prior to the 4 card limit rule taking effect.

          OR

          2. One of your cards was previously underwritten by a different lender and Amex purchased the 1 portfolios.

          Example: The Costco card may have been a Chase card at one point, but then Amex purchased that portfolio and the card converted to an Amex card. I don’t know if this was the case or not, just an example of what happens in the industry.

          Capital One has a 2 Card limit, but yet I have 4 Cap 1 Cards. I already had 2 Cap 1 cards and then Cap 1 bought out all of HSBC’s Household & Orchard Bank Portfolio. I had 2 Household Bank Cards at the time.

          A Couple of recommendations:

          I would recommend closing the 2 cards you don’t use or don’t really benefit you. Meaning, if you don’t shop at costco, close the Costco card. However, don’t close your oldest cards that have the biggest limits. You could always transfer the balances to another card. Most lenders will disallow transferring balance within the same family. You can still accomplish this by just temporarily transferring the desired balance to a different card, like a Master card. Then 30 days later, transfer that balance back to the Amex card you would like. Leave the old one that has a $0 balance open for 30 – 60 days. 60 days if you have the discipline & patience. Then close it.

          Otherwise, if the 2 Amex accounts already have a $0 balance, find out if Amex will allow you to combine both accounts into 1. Doing so will add both credit limits together. Cap 1 has this feature. It’s nice. I haven’t done it yet, because the cards I want to combine are 2 of my oldest Lines and the other 2 have the most favorable terms between most of my cards.

          Also, if you do a balance transfer to another card that has a great balance transfer offer, you’ll typically have 2 offers. 1 may be 0% APR for 12-18 months with a 3% balance transfer fee OR maybe be $0 balance transfer fee with a 3% APR for 18 months. If you have these offers. Take the 3% APR with $0 fee. The APR for 1 month will be less than the fee since it would be a temporary transfer. Then once you transfer that balance back to AMEX, the check Amex will send to the other lender will actually pay and go towards your oldest balance. The remaining balance will be the balance that you originally Transfered in that now has a nice low APR for the time being, since it is the newest balance. And the balance that was Transfered to Amex will likely have a nice rate as well.

          Or you can do a temporary balance transfer of the 2 cards to 1 of your other credit cards. Close those 2 cards. Then Wait about 10 days, then open that new card you want and transfer one balance from the 1 card that the other 2 balances were transferred to, to the new Amex card. Chances are, the new Amex card will have a nice intro Balance transfer offer.

          Whenever you make a payment on your cards, any payment in excess of the minimum payment that the lender receives, must be paid towards the oldest balance that has the highest APR.

          At the end of the day, you will be able to close the 2 cards that you don’t want and get the other card that you do.

          Make sense?
          Any questions?

  2. JB says:

    Re the Amex cards: can I have more than one of the SAME cards? E.g. can I apply for a 2nd BCP (with another annual earnings limit) or will they deny this instantly or ask questions why I need/want a 2nd card of the same product?

  3. Ben says:

    Including a debit card I have 3 Discover cards. I got the old More card a few years ago. Then got the It 1.5yrs ago and then the debit card about a year ago. Not sure if I’d be able to get the Miles card.

  4. Jimjar says:

    I think Citi is actually like the policy you attribute to Chase, no card limit but a credit limit. When I applied for my 3rd Citi card last year, Citi called me on the phone. They said that I was approved for the third card but no additional credit. (I already had $60k). They told me to choose which of my cards to reduce my credit line on so they could apply the reduction to the new card.

  5. ATLJason says:

    I think you mean “This limit only applies TO (not “two”) credit cards” in the American Express section.

  6. dave says:

    @William Charles are you aware of any resources that cover the amount of inquires one can have, all other things being equal, before getting denials? I’m at about 15 on equifax for the last 12 months but still have scores close to or above 800. Just not sure how far to push it.

    • There isn’t really a hard limit like that, it will vary based on other factors way too much. I don’t know of any credit card issuers that have a hard limit like that.

    • ZiggyZ says:

      Thats a lot of inquires with-in a 12 month period. Yes Inquires can effect your score, but they won’t destroy it depending on your overall history especially Age of accounts as well.

      However, the amount of inquires you have, regardless of Score, can pose a possible issue in getting approved or if approved, may end up giving you a much lower CL than you would expect.

  7. Jordan says:

    Any idea on the limit for USAA?

  8. Longtao says:

    More than Discover’s limit on two accounts, they also have a limit on only one student version account.
    I was able to double check with my Discover it Miles application. It turns out my first Discover it card is a student version. Although I went through normal application portal of Discover it Miles, I inadvertently put in my occupation as graduate student. They considered my application as student version and denied me because of the limit of one student version card. I called recon line. They changed it to normal application and got me instantly approved.
    PS: Debit card doesn’t count, I’ve checked it.

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  10. ZiggyZ says:

    For Capital One, I can confirm that there is a Hard Limit no more than 2 Cards that you can have with them. However, that limit will adjust if they purchase another Lender that you currently have a card with.

    I have a total of 4 Card with CapitalOne because they bought out 2 other lenders that I had cards with. However, if you only have 1 card with them now, and they do purchase another lender that you have a card with, then you will be at their 2 card Hard Limit.

    I don’t know why anyone would want to have more than 2 cards with the same lender. I would close the other 2 accounts that I have with them, however, those other 2 cards are my oldest cards being reported to my Credit Bureau, and I don’t want to close the 2 accounts that I originally opened directly with them because they currently have the biggest credit limits between all the cards. Both of them have a combines CL of $14k, compared to my other 2 that were taken over that have a combined CL of $6k.

    • Jhon says:

      My dad is user authorized of my cap1 secured card and the last week he applied for cap 1 platinum and the cap1 quicksilver and was approved instantly for both

    • Britney says:

      i disagree I have a secured card, quicksilver one, business card, journey, and a platinum card with them all opened up within 4 months of one another.

    • Dale says:

      There is no such thing as a “two card limit” with Capitol One. I have a Capitol One Quick Silver Card & a Capitol One Platinum Card. I opened both of those cards in 2015. I called Capitol One yesterday & asked two different representatives if they had a two card limit. Both representatives answered, “no.” I applied for the Capitol One Venture Rewards card this morning and was approved instantly. Now I have 3 Capitol One credit cards.

  11. james says:

    It is very true about capitol one. I was denied a quicksilver, and the only reason listed was that I already have two capitol one credit cards.

    • ZiggyZ says:

      The only way around having more than the 2 card maximum limit with capitalone is if you already have 2 and they buyout another lender that you already have cards with.

      I happen to have 4 capital one card because I already had the 2 max already and they purchased the cards of 2 of my other lenders.

  12. Rishabh says:

    9 personal Chase cards in less than one year. Am I a record holder? 😛

    1. Freedom (09/14)
    2. Sapphire Preferred (11/14)
    3. British Airways (09/14)
    4. United Mileage Plus (12/14)
    5. Southwest Plus (07/15)
    6. Southwest Premier (07/15)
    7. IHG Club (01/15)
    8. Marriott (04/15)
    9. Hyatt (07/15)

    Every time I apply, I believe that this is the time when Chase will deny me a credit card but never happened. Just pay my balances on time. Also, have a checking account opened in 05/15.

    • Jordan says:

      Are you applying to other banks? Whats your current score and how many inquiries have you had?

      • ZiggyZ says:

        To have that many NICE chase cards, he has to have at least a 760+ if not better.

      • ZiggyZ says:

        Jordan, you also asked about him applying at other banks. What do you mean by this? Applying at other banks for thier Banking or credit products?

        If it’s for a bank account, then those are always a soft pull on car unless he applies for Over draft protection, which does a HP.

        • Jordan says:

          I was curious if he had a lot more hard inquiries going while he was applying for so many chase cards.

          • ZiggyZ says:

            Even with having 8 Hard inquiries, you could still get approved for a top notch card with favorable terms.

            Granted, a high number of inquires isn’t the not favorable thing to have. However, it also depends on what the rest of your credit looks like

            Some banks that take the time to look at your cbr May see that 4 of those inquiries may be for a mortgage or car shopping irregardless of the the time frame between the inquires. It is true that a high level of inquires “can” be viewed as someone who need is desperate or in trouble financially. But those types of people will have lots of high balances and will more than likely not get approved.

            Also, if it looks like you can manage your finances good with low balances, your average payments are big, average age of accounts is a good spread, then you perhaps would stand a good chance at getting approved, as inquiries have a typical/average of a 10% weight and bearing on most credit decisions. But again, the weight bearing of inquiries depends on factors like what I mentioned above.

            If you have high balances then that 10% may go up to 20% or so depending on the lender and what your applying for.

  13. Jordan says:

    Do you know any info on how many cards for Elan Financial? Might have found a new MS source…

  14. Robert says:

    Do AMEX business cards count toward the 4 card limit for American Express?

    • ZiggyZ says:

      No, technically it will not count UNLESS the business card you are applying for, or already have, has your SSN attached to it for liability purposes such as the primary, joint or co-signer card holder.

      Otherwise, if you have your own TIN, ein, etc That it’s covered under and have business credit, you’ll be fine.

      Also, If your an “Authorized user” of the business account it won’t, as authorized users are not the responsible party of liability. Liability is what Lenders are most concerned about.

  15. Jhon says:

    My dad is user authorized of my cap1 secured card and the last week he applied for cap 1 platinum and the cap1 quicksilver and was approved instantly for both

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  19. Freddy says:

    Hi,

    This is my dilemma. I applied for a Capital one credit card, during process I had ertor so I started again and applied 3 times by accident. Last time a 7 to 10 days massage showed. Later that day I received two emails that I was approved. Didn’t thought much of two emails, just excited I was approved. The next morning I received email that was denied, so I called worried. The CSR ask me if I applied 3 times, so I explained the errord. She said that the declined email was because the last application was denied but that I was approved. Today I received two email with two different card numbers that cards are on the way. Is this for real? Can they be sending me two similar cards with similar CL? What should I do? Should I call them and ask what’s going on or just live it alone?

  20. Freddy says:

    Hi,

    This is my dilemma. I applied 3 times to a cap one by errors on my application. I received 2 emails that was approved and one that was denied. I call and she ask if I applied 3 times. I was approved but the denial was because of 3 applications. Now I received emails with two different card numbers. Means getting two cards with same CL. What should I do? Should I call or just leave it as it is?

  21. Mark says:

    From my exp with Capital One you can have up to 5 personal credit cards (I currently have 4, waiting to open the 5th) but sometimes you have to wait 30-60 days between opening accounts. They are one of the few companies I’ve found that have that outlined in their ToS.

    • ZiggyZ says:

      Cap has a hard limit of 2 personal creditcards. The only exception to this rule is if you currently have cards with other lenders that Capital One buys out. One such example is HSBC bank. If you were an Orchard Bank or household card number then you ended up joining the Capital One family. However, this does not mean that you are able to open up to additional cards directly with Capital One. Once you with Capital One, then they are no more than 2 consumer cards.

  22. Marshall says:

    Applied for the SPG and Delta Gold SkyMiles AmEx credit cards on the same day (SPG first then DGS). The SPG card was approved immediately. DGS application, which was completed using a targeted code from a mailer for 60K miles, was given the “further review” treatment.

    I didn’t call the Recon line, just let it go through the paces. Four business days later (or three, since Good Friday was a bank holiday) I received an email with my approval for the DGS.

    The SPG card drew down my credit line on my Blue Cash Everyday. It used to be 50K, but it was reduced down to 35K by AmEx when I opened a SimplyCash Business card. Then they dropped it again for the SPG. I am assuming they’ll do the same with this new Delta Gold SkyMiles card, but that’s fine.

    Credit Score is Excellent (may drop to Very Good after this round of apps for a while).

    I had recently closed my Costco AmEx to keep from going over the 4 card limit.

    • Marshall says:

      Unfortunately when the DGS AmEx processed three days after both apps were submitted together AmEx pulled a new credit report, so there was no benefit by my doing them together (the credit pulls were not combined as I’d hoped)

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  24. Anthony Yonko says:

    I have 3 carpal one branded cards. I also have 3 capital one store branded cards.

  25. Kal El says:

    I applied for the Cap One Spark Business Card and I received the letter fo limit of two cards so I believe the business cards count toward your total. At the time I had the Secured Card, and the Platinum Card. Other cards I had were Kohl’s and the Playstation card.

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