Citi Credit Card Application Rules Ultimate Guide [2020]

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Each bank has their own rules and restrictions for applying for new credit cards. Some can be a little confusing, while others are more straight forward. I’d put Citi closer to the confusing side because there is so much unknown. Here’s what you need to know about Citi’s application rules when it comes to the 8/65/95 and 24/48 month application rules.


What are the Citi credit card application rules?

The Citi credit card application rules are the following: 

  • 1/8 Rule
  • 2/65 Rule
  • 1/95 Rule
  • 6/6 Rule 
  • Welcome bonus restrictions (24/48 month application rules)

These rules can get very confusing because there is not a lot of clarity as to how they are calculated when it comes to personal and business credit cards. Also, because you are dealing with multiple rolling periods of time, it is more confusing than dealing with a single timeframe of something like 12 months.

This is why I would suggest to use WalletFlo for calculating all of your Citibank credit card application rules. However, there are some exceptions and details to know about these rules, and so I will explain all of these in detail below.


Citi 1/8 Rule

The 1/8 rule means that you cannot apply for more than one Citi credit card in an 8 day period.

The actual rule implemented by Citibank is 7 days but to be on the safe side people have gone with eight days. This means that if you were to apply for a Citi card on the first of the month, you would need to wait eight days until your second application, which would be on the ninth. 

There are a couple of things to know about this rule. 

Based on application date

The first thing is that this rule is based on the application for a credit card.

If you don’t know what day you applied, you can check your credit report for a Citibank inquiry or you can check the application number from Citi. The date is written in the following format: “year, month, day” in the application number. So 201702150000 means you applied on February 15, 2017. (hat tip: FT).

You should not that if you apply and are not approved, that application will still count towards this rule. So you would need to wait eight days until after you were rejected to apply for another card. 

In many instances, Citi won’t run a hard pull if you’re rejected on the basis of the 1/8 rule (or 2/65 rule). So if you only waited four days until after your first application to apply, that second application likely will not cost you a hard pull.

If your (second) application does not go through (there is no hard pull), that application may not count towards this rule but if you want to be on the safe side you may as well go ahead and count that towards the rule for your next app.

Exceptions 

The second thing to note is that there are exceptions to this rule. Some people have been able to get more than one Citi credit card in an eight day period. However, this usually seems to involve getting one personal credit card and one business credit card.

Personally, I would not try to push it with this rule since the waiting period is only one week. 


Citi 2/65 rule

The Citi 2/65 rule states you cannot apply for more than two Citi credit cards in a 65 day time span, and it works the same way as the 1/8 rule.

This means that if you were to apply for a Citi card on the first of the month, you would need to wait eight days until your second application, which would be on the ninth. And then for your third application you would need to wait 65 days from your first application. 

It would look something like this:

  • Application 1: January 1, 2020
  • Application 2: January 9, 2020 
  • Application 3: March 6, 2020

The difference with this rule is that it seems to be more of a “hard rule.” In other words, there are not as many (or any) exceptions to this rule like there are to the 1/8 rule.

So you should never apply for more than two Citi cards within any 65 day timespan  — you’re pretty much just guaranteeing/risking a denial. 

I have also seen some reports of people getting limited to one card within a 60 day period. This appears to involve some sort of anti-fraud measure and usually is triggered if you are trying to get a card for a second time (e.g., applying for a card that you already have). 

So if you want to play it very conservatively, you might just want to wait until 65 days have passed from your first application to apply for another Citibank credit card.


The 1/95 Rule (business credit cards)

The 1/95 rule states Citi will only approve you for one business credit card in any 95 day span. (Same thing — the actual rule is 90 days.)

There are mixed reports of how business credit card application rules affect the Citi personal credit card applications rules. Some claim that business credit card applications don’t affect the rules above while others state that they only affect some of those rules. 

This is extra confusing because some business credit card applications may only use a Social Security number while others might use a EIN + Social Security number and that could potentially alter the outcome. Also, sometimes something like this could come down to the discretion of the banking agent.

To make things simple, I would just treat a business credit card the same as a personal credit card when it comes to the application rules. 

So this is what I would ask myself when applying for a Citibank credit card:

  • Have I applied for any Citibank credit card (personal or business) in the past eight days? If yes, then don’t apply for any card. If not, then you are ok to apply for a card.
  • Have I applied for two Citibank credit cards (personal or business) in the past 65 days? If yes, then don’t apply for any card. If not, then you are okay to apply for a card.
  • Have I applied for a business Citibank credit card in the past 95 days? If yes, then don’t apply for any business card. If not, then you are ok to apply for a business card.

Or to make things extremely simple, you can always just use WalletFlo.

One last thing about Citibank business credit cards. Some people are not allowed to have more than one business credit card and are forced to cancel all of their business credit cards including employee cards in order to get another. Some people are also limited to only one Citibank business credit card their entire lifetime. Nobody knows how these limitations are determined so it is usually just a matter of trial and error.


The Citi 6/6 rule 

Something else to consider is what some dub the “Citi 6/6 rule” which states that you might be denied if you’ve had 6 or more hard pull inquiries in the last 6 months.

This does not appear to be a hard and fast rule like the 8/65 rule, as you can find data points where people have still been approved for Citi credit cards despite having way over 6 inquiries in the previous 6 months.

Still, if you can, I’d try to heed this advice since this reasoning has been given to a lot of people to explain why their application has been rejected.

Tip: Do research to see which credit bureau Citi pulls from in your region, since only those inquiries will be relevant.  For example, if Citi pulls from Equifax and/or Experian then any recent inquiries on your TransUnion credit report should be irrelevant.


Welcome bonus restrictions

Citibank also imposes credit card rules that prevent you from getting bonuses repeatedly. 

It is really important to pay attention to the language used for these rules because sometimes they may only prohibit you from getting an individual card in a period of time or they might prevent you from getting a card that belongs to a family of cards. 

Also, the time periods in the restrictions will vary from 24 months to 48 months.

Co-branded 48 month language

Some credit cards like the American Airlines credit cards have rules that prohibit you from getting bonuses for up to 48 months. The great thing about these rules is that even though they are very long periods of time, they only apply to the individual credit cards.

Citibank has several American Airlines credit cards, so this means that if you open up one American Airlines card like a Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select that will not affect your eligibility for a bonus for a different type of American Airlines credit card such as a Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Here is an example of what the rule states: “You are not eligible for a bonus if you have received a bonus for an AAdvantage Platinum Select in the past 48 months.”

This just means that if you have received a bonus in the last 48 months, you will not be eligible. So it is possible that you could have closed your card in the last 48 months or even product changed to or from the card and you should still be eligible for the bonus.

Thankyou Rule 24-month language 

Here is what the ThankYou rule 24-month language states. 

“Bonus ThankYou Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi ThankYou Premier, or Citi Prestige, or if you have closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months.”

So the trick here is to make sure that you have not received a new cardmember bonus for a ThankYou Points card AND that you have not closed any of the ThankYou Points card accounts in the last 24 months.

It seems that we are still waiting on a clear-cut answer of whether or not a product change does count as a closed account. For example, if you product changed from a Premier card to something like a Double Cash, the question is does that count as a closure of a ThankYou card and thus reset the 24 month clock?

In the past, this would often come down to whether or not you were issued a different credit card number upon product changing.

So let’s say that after you product changed your credit card number was the exact same. In that case, that would not be considered a new card and would not reset the clock. But if you were given a completely different credit card number that would reset the clock.

Since this is a newer rule changed in 2019, we are still waiting for the official consensus on this but I would assume that a product change would reset the clock just to be on the safe side for now.

So when it comes to Citibank, you always need to be very cautious about resetting bonus deadlines when closing cards.

Offers without 24-month language

One final thing to note is that sometimes you can find offers that do not have the 24 month language on them. These are often targeteds offers so be on the lookout for those. 


No overall limit on total number of credit cards

Citi does not have a firm cut-off rule for how many total Citi credit cards you can have. That doesn’t mean it’s unlimited, of course. Like any bank, if you begin to approach what you believe is your maximum credit line with Citi, perhaps consider lowering credit limits in preparation for upcoming apps.

As always, remember that your milage may vary with some of these things. Outside of the 8/65/95 rule, you never know how Citi may interpret or modify its own terms so always try to do some research on the specific card (or even specific offer) you’re considering. You might find others have had great success or you might find the opposite, you never know.


Other issuer rules

If you are interested in finding out what the rules and restrictions are for other major banks check out the links below:


Final word 

Overall, the Citi credit card application rules can get a little confusing because they are so different from other issuers. However, if you play it conservatively by treating product changes as closed accounts and by not trying to apply for too many cards too quickly, the rules can work in your favor.

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