Posted by Chuck on October 4, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on October 4th, 2017 | by Chuck


New Bank of America ‘2/3/4 Rule’ for Credit Card Approvals [Confirmed]

[Originally posted 9/27/17. Updated and reposted 10/4/17 due to confirmation and clarification of the new rules.]

There is a new rule from Bank of America whereby they’ll only approve you for at most two cards per rolling 2 months, three cards per rolling 12 months, and four cards per rolling 24 months. Let’s call this the ‘2/3/4 rule‘.

We’ve heard over a dozen data points indicating parts of this rule, and we’ve now been able to confirm the entire rule with a reliable source. The source also indicated that there’s a chance for a rep to override this based on relationship, but it’s not too likely to happen unless they get a feel that there’s a legitimate reason you need the card outside churning.

While the rule sounds similar to Chase’s 5/24 rule, in fact it’s much more manageable. Chase’s rule looks at new cards from all card issuers combined, essentially weeding out churners from ever getting a Chase card. BofA merely limits us as to how many new BofA cards we can get per 2/12/24 month timeframe.

On the surface, it doesn’t sounds like much to fret over. The big hit here is that a lot of people were churning the Alaska card with regularity, first on a monthly basis, and recently on a quarterly basis.

For quite some time, people were either getting denied, or more often getting initially approved and subsequently closed out due to an ‘approved in error’ problem. We posted about this a few times before, even as far back as January.

Previously BofA was struggling to figure out what to do with those who apply for many cards, sometimes resulting in the ‘approved in error’ response. Now, within the past couple of months, they instituted a new rule limiting the approvals to begin with, with no more than two cards per rolling 2-months, three cards per rolling 12-months, and four cards per rolling 24-months.

Interestingly, as recently as last week (DP1 and DP2), BofA still has been ‘approving in error’ and subsequently shutting down the account. I would have assumed that once they got their act together and created a 2/3/4 rule, they’d work it into the system not to approve such people initially. Apparently, they aren’t quite streamlined yet, and it’s possible you’ll get approved and then closed out a couple of days later.

We haven’t yet gotten confirmation whether business cards count in these numbers. The data points we’ve seen indicate that business cards do not count. For example, if you signup today for a personal card and a business card, you can get another personal card within two months (even the same day) since the business card doesn’t count toward your 2/2 limit. Similarly, if you already got two personal cards recently and now you apply for a business card (or even two business cards), you should be able get approved.

Restriction Recap

At this point, just about all card issuers have tight rules on card applications and approvals:


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I’ve gotten 2 new BofA cards in the past 12 months and was recently denied for a 3rd when applying for a Premium Rewards. I’ve gotten 4 new BofA cards in the past 24 months which makes me think there could also be a 24 month criteria like 4/24 perhaps.

This reddit post ( states the following:

No more than 2 new (BoA) cards in 2 months;
No more than 3 new (BoA) cards in 12 months;
No more than 4 new (BoA) cards in 24 months

Is there a good reason to keep bank/CC accounts open after bonuses post?

Improve your average age of accounts, factor in all major credit scoring models.

so do you know if we can get 2 cards in 1 month. I got approved for alaska and then 3 weeks later apply for amtrak but got denied. My last application was 6 months ago

I got three identical red cash rewards card from BofA in the last 3 months or so. Each paid $150 after $500 spent. They add a 10% bonus if the rewards are deposited in a BofA checking account. When I went for the 4th, it was denied. They said it was a duplicate card. The letter said to call them if I had a need for more cards. Thus far I don’t have the balls to say I am collecting cash rewards. Maybe later!

You will also receive a 1099 for each 150.00 bonus.

Heavy sigh

I don’t think that’s true. Credit card bonus are considered discounts unlike checking/saving bonus.

Do they just accept you on the same credit cards? How you got 3 of the same card at the same time?

3 new BoA cards this year:

BankAmericard – 5/9 (pre-approved mailer)
Cash Rewards – 5/22 (cold, used same HP as 1st card)
Alaska Airlines VS – 8/9 (new HP)

Tried for the Alaska Airlines Business card on the same day and was denied immediately due to having too many products with BoA. Also, the Alaska Airlines card was a $15k approval but did not take any funds from the previous 2 cards. Lastly, I just got a CLI on the Cash Rewards this month so I wasn’t at max exposure with BoA.

I only had 1 BofA Alaska card in the last 12 months and was denied premium travel rewards card, but on same day of that pull, I applied for regular travel rewards card and immediately went pending but approved following day. Recon, I was told too many accounts – not just BofA.

me too bro

@Kelly @Dan Humana

Similar situation for me. I applied on 9/18 for Merrill+ (via phone), Premium Travel and just normal BankAmeriCard (just because I have all of my banking with BofA and figured, why not). Denied online for the Premium Travel and BankAmeriCard. Denied a couple of days later via snail mail for Merrill+.

When I called into Recon which btw, the 1-800 # worked for me, and asked about my Merrill+ application I was told too many new accounts, FROM ALL INSTITUTIONS not just BofA, in a 12 month period. I tried to get the hard limit out of the Credit Analyst but he wouldn’t divulge that information. I also tried to see if the rules bent depending on Preferred Status/High Value client. He said emphatically NO.

Now, I do have 3 BofA cards in the past 12 months:
5-8-17: Alaska Personal
5-8-17: Regular Travel Rewards
5-8-17: Better Balance Rewards

But I also have 11-14 OTHER cards in the past 12-ish months from this app date of 9/18/17
8-26-16: CSR
4-25-17: AmEx Plat. Personal
12-28-16: AmEx BCP
12-28-16: AmEx ED
12-28-16: AmEx Green Personal
12-28-16: AmEx Gold Personal
6-24-17: AmEx Blue BUSINESS Plus (so maybe not on personal credit report)
6-24-17: Citi AA Personal
6-24-17: Citi BUSINESS Costco (so maybe not on personal credit report)
12-20-16: Citi DC
12-20-16: Citi BUSINESS AA (so maybe not on personal credit report)
4-2-17: Citi Costco Personal
10-27-16: Barclays Arrival+
12-20-16: Barclays AAviator Red

Since the Credit Analyst was so ADAMANT about ALL OF THE ACCOUNTS FROM ALL INSTITUTIONS, I’d venture that BofA’s 3/12 rule tracks more than just BofA accounts.

I agree that they are concerned with ALL recent accounts and not just BoA. I was denied Merrill+ for too many new accounts (7/24) and none of them were BoA.

All 3 BofA cards from my 9-18-17 App-o-rama were denied for the same reason according to the credit analyst i.e. TOO MANY ACCOUNTS FROM ALL INSTITUTIONS OPENED IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS.

I agree with these posters, same thing happened to me. Here’s my idea:

In terms of auto approvals or declines, the 2/3/4 rule is in effect.

For recons, where there’s a live human, they have a separate set of rules which looks to new accounts (from all banks) and all inquiries (from all banks). I’m very heavy on biz cards right now (aiming for 5/24) so I don’t have *that* many new cards. I was told it was the number of inquiries which hurt me (~25) (which I think is about 7-8 too many, btw).

1 new BoA card this year (Merrill Signature in April). The only 1 in the past 24 months as well (have an older BoA card from 7 years ago).

Denied for both the new premium card from BoA and the Amtrak card.

780 credit score. 5/12 and 12/24

I applied for 3 personal cards on 9/22. 2 approved same day- premium card and the Amtrak. Alaska personal was pending and got approved on 9/25. Also applied for Alaska biz on 9/25 which was approved too. All of these with Experian frozen. No BofA cards in trailing 12 months.

I got 4 MLB cards in Aug 2016. I canceled 3 of the cards in early Aug 2017 then 2 weeks later applied and was approved for the Merrill + and Alaska Buisness in Aug 2017. 3 weeks ago I canceled the last MLB card, waited 2 weeks and tried to apply for the Premium Rewards last week (Sep 2017) and was auto denied for too many cards with them.

This leads me to believe its not a 24 month window. I think the closed cards hadent hit their system yet, hence my denial. I will re apply for the Premium rewards in a couple of months.

I just checked and i was approved for the 4 MLB cards in Jul 2016, so the 3/12 rule can certainly be in effect as I’ve only been approved for 1 personal card in the past 12 months, but my data points goes against the 4/24 rule others are mentioning below as i was approved for 5 personal cards (plus 1 business) within 13 months

First two BoA cards in May 2017 (Cash Rewards, Travel Rewards). “Approved in error” for MLB Card in June, declined again for MLB Card and Premium Rewards in September. In all cases BoA claimed I already had a sufficient number of cards with them.

One rep I spoke with about the Premium Rewards said I might have more luck if I waited for 6 months after my last new cards to reapply.

I have been approved for a total of 4 BOA cards in the past 3 months (2 biz & 2 personal). Alaska personal in July and 3 cards on the day the Premium Rewards card came out.

Alaska personal – July 2017

Premium rewards
Alaska biz
Cash rewards biz – all 3 September 2017.

I am also Preferred Rewards Platinum which may make a difference?

The rule is for personal cards only, per some Reddit DP’s; your DP here corroborates that.

I received a Bofa card in August 2015, then two in November 2016, and one in August 2017. That would lead me to believe the rule is not 3/24

Were any of those biz cards?

No. Bank Americard, Travel Rewards, BBR, ML+

The rule is 3/12 & 4/24 which fits with your DPs.

Was approved over the phone for Merrill Lynch card, even given my credit line by phone, but then received a denial letter about a week later. When I called, they didn’t give specific numbers, but said, too many accounts had been opened and closed within too short of a time period. And even with a good credit score and good bank history with BofA, nothing could be done. Sounds like a rule, if you ask me. Prior to the Merrill application, I had closed Amtrak World in June, reopened in early August. No other BofA history for the past year. High 700 credit.

A since-deleted comment confirmed 2/2, 3/12, 4/24.

Have not applied for any of their cards in the last few months, but in March, I was denied for an Alaska card due to having too many card applications overall – at the time it was 15/12 across all institutions, not just BOA. Down to about 10/12 right now, will likely try again soon.

Have two BOA cards opened more than 1 year ago (but less than 2 years). Recently applied and approved (after pending for ~2 days) two new BOA cars. So far no “approval for error” message yet. So DP seems to fit the 3/12 theory.

Preferred Rewards Platinum, over 200k in Merrill IRA account. Got 3 MLB cards last summer. Was approved for Merrill+ card, received card but couldn’t activate it because they had already canceled it. When I called in, rep said they would only approve 2 cards within 24 months.

800+ score, and only 1 TU Hard pull.

I really hope this rep was just being overly conservative about 2/24.

Dave, stop by local bank tell them you are Preferred Reward Platinum and need help that what I did with Merrill card

I got 4 BoA cards in 6 months but 2 were biz. I have heard a couple of times that biz cards don’t count against this rule.

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