Whether you are new to credit or you’re just looking to get into the Chase atmosphere of credit cards, you could feel intimidated by getting started.
But credit card applications don’t have to be difficult. The thing is that the banks hide how they really work to confuse the consumers so they won’t learn how to game the system.
This is why you’re in the right place. I’m going to show you what factors mainly affect getting accepted for the starter cards of Chase along with an action plan on how to get accepted.
If you are relatively new to credit, Chase doesn’t just hand out access to their top of the line credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. They are more selective because they are higher value cards and that’s just how the game is.
So let’s get started with the three main guesses as to what impacts the application process the most.
1. Recommended Score
The first thing Chase will look at is obviously your credit score. While there is no known “if you have this number you’ll be approved” answer, we can guess based on the people who post what they have when they applied and if they got approved or denied.
I signed up for the Chase Freedom Unlimited a couple years ago and believe I had a 690 - 700 score back then. I got instantly approved.
I want to clarify that there is a big range for what can be accepted and rejected because your credit score isn’t the only factor that goes into it. You can have a 750 credit score but if some of the next factors aren’t right, you could still get rejected.
I wrote a post on how to increase your credit score that can help you out if you need it. If your application isn't getting accepted and you have a score below these levels, check out the article and get that score up and come back to this later.
2. Credit History
This probably affects you less if you have a higher credit score because it takes time to get to the high 700s but Chase likes people who have time on their credit cards.
Now, not as much time as you would think. Most people believe around a year of credit history is recommended to apply for a Chase Card.
This isn’t a hard rule. I had multiple credit cards for years before signing up for my first Chase Card but I know people that got approved for their first without any trouble.
Basically, think of it from the bank’s perspective. You walk in there with no credit history and they can’t tell if you’re responsible or not. Chase doesn’t want to just hand out free cards so people can take advantage and then run.
If they got screwed all the time with people taking advantage they wouldn’t be able to give such great rewards so I think it’s worth it.
3. Credit Utilization
Your credit utilization is basically the ratio of how much you currently have on your cards divided by how much limit you have on those credit cards.
Let’s say you have $10,000 of total credit limit on two cards and you have $1500 to pay off on one and $500 to pay off on another. That adds up to $2000. 2000 divided by 10,000 equals .20 or 20%.
There is no rule for the limit on what your utilization would be to get approved but most financial experts will tell you to stay lower than 30%.
Myself and other travel hackers will tell you to keep it under 10% and ideally, no utilization at all.
When you have utilization that means you’re accruing interest, and if that’s the case, then all the rewards you’re getting by using credit cards gets wiped by paying that high interest.
This is honestly the easiest factor to change though in the grand scheme of things. It could take a year to get your credit history where you want it to be or your score to go up. You can make one payment though and bring your utilization down to a better rate. It’s that easy.
This could be even more important than what I just showed you but I wanted to tell you about those factors because they affect 95% of people who sign up for Chase Credit Cards.
Now, that you know those three things, we have to move onto the Chase 5/24 rule. We will be making an article completely explaining this but to sum it up - the Chase 5/24 rule states that you can’t be accepted for certain Chase Cards if you have applied and been accepted for five credit cards in the past 24 months.
This means even if you have a credit history of 20 years and you have a perfect credit score, if you’ve gone over this 5/24 rule, you’ll automatically get rejected. It’s just programmed into their algorithm that does the applications.
If you don’t sign up for credit cards often, then this doesn’t concern you and you can move on to the next section. But if you do, stay with me.
There are a couple ways to find out if you’re over and some ways that it could be a different number than what you think but I’ll teach you the easiest way to check right now.
Go to your Credit Karma (if you don’t have one, you need to sign up.). Find the accounts tab and under every account, whether it’s a credit card or a student loan, or a car loan, it will say the date that it was started.
Only count the credit cards and see how many were within the last 24 months. This is your X/24 count and will impact how your Chase applications go.
If you are 5/24 or over, you need to wait before trying to get many of the main Chase Cards. Give it some time and come back when you have went a while without signing up for cards.
Three Phase System
So we learned the factors that most commonly go into a credit card application with Chase and about the 5/24 rule. Now we are ready to apply.
I wanted to think of the easiest way to bring you down this path for applying so this is a three phase system. If you get through one, you can go to another if not there is a way to change it up and try something else to get where you want to be.
Phase 1: Apply for Freedom or Freedom Unlimited
This depends on which card is best for you.
I recommend the Freedom to anyone who wants to earn more points or cash back but have to pay attention every quarter to see what gives them the best ROI.
If you just want a card that you don’t have to think about and can just use, the Freedom Unlimited is the card for you.
Now if you get approved, you actually move to Phase 3 so congratulations.
If you get rejected you’re going to go to Phase 2.
Here’s a different option. If you apply and you get a message coming up saying that they need some time to think about it, there is actually a number to call to talk to a person where they can look at it with you and make the decision.
This option takes computers and formulas out of the picture and let’s you have an influence on it with a person. Now they will ask you questions so make sure your social skills are there and don’t be nervous. They are there to help but they also deal with lots of angry people every day.
Say a couple niceties like “hope your day is going well” and things like that and explain that you want to make a relationship with Chase.
This part of the Phase is actually going to be Phase 1.5.
If 1.5 works and you get approved, you get to be at Phase 3.
If rejected, go to Phase 2.
Phase 2: Apply for a Chase Slate card
Now I didn’t mention this card before this because it’s not really worth mentioning in the rewards game. It actually offers no rewards and no benefits.
You can have a low 600 score and get approved for this. The benefit of this is now Chase has information on you and can know exactly how you are with payments and how responsible you are.
If you get accepted for the Chase Slate, put a couple subscriptions on it like Clickfunnels or buy some things on Amazon and just make sure you pay the minimum every month. If you don’t pay it off, they’ll actually know you’re not responsible and this will have a negative effect.
In 3-6 months after getting the Slate, try Phase 1 again.
If you get rejected for the Slate, get your score up to a 700+ and get your credit history over a year. Take about six months or so and then start Phase 1 again.
Phase 3: Other Chase Cards
Phase 3 is the easy phase. Once you break through to these first two cards, all the other Chase Cards are basically at your disposal.
They are much more likely to approve you for a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred once they have a record of you being responsible in their internal system.
Once you get to Phase 3, the sky's the limit and you can get bonuses and benefits worth 1000s of dollars for signing up for these credit cards. So worth it.
Congratulations! You're in the Chase Circle Now!
Now that we have broken down the things that impact the application process and ways to make sure you are under 5/24, you should have no problem jumping into Phase 1 and seeing where the game takes you.
Once again if you want a no-hassle card that earns you Chase UR points, the Freedom Unlimited is the card for you and we have a review on that card here if you want to learn everything about it.
If you don’t mind taking a couple minutes every quarter and really maximizing your Chase UR points, then the Freedom card is for you.
You can’t go wrong with either of these cards and I recommend everyone to get the Chase Trifecta at some point early in the game anyway.
If you’d like to learn more about travel hacking, we have a post on The Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking that I’m sure you’ll love.
Also check out our resource on my Top Credit Card Recommendations for Travel Hacking.
If this process works for you, or you have either of these cards, please let me know with a comment down below.
Also if you know anyone else that would benefit from this, feel free to share this post with them to help them out.