Do Business and Personal Credit Inquires Made with the Same Bank on the Same Day Merge Into One?

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Earlier this week when I posted about getting my two most recent rewards credit cards, a discussion started in the comments section (often my favorite part of the blog) about whether I should have done a business and a personal credit card from the same issuer, instead of a business and personal card from two issuers.  The thinking was that those two inquiries made on the same day, with the same issuer, would have “merged” into just one credit inquiry.  While that would not have worked for me on this churn, because I “needed” the two distinct cards I applied for, it is an interesting topic to consider for those who have credit card applications coming up.

First, a little background on why inquiries matter.  Credit inquiries themselves are said to drop your credit score temporarily from 2-5 points per inquiry.  They stay on your credit report for two years, but have diminishing importance after about six months.  Credit inquiries make up about 10% of your credit score, so while that isn’t a huge percentage, they can still have in impact so it is important to keep an eye on the number of credit inquiries you have from each of the three credit bureaus.  Most of the time, one credit application means one credit pull from one bureau.  However, there are some banks, like Capital One, that have a reputation for pulling from all three bureaus.  I read reports occasionally where one application will result in pulls from two banks, or even two pulls from the same bank (i.e., one on the day the application was made and one on the day it was “reconsidered”).

That being said, the most common result is one credit card application = one credit inquiry.  However, sometimes when you have two credit card applications with the same bank in one day, those two inquiries will “merge” into just one inquiry on your credit report.  For example, the personal Citi Aadvantage Amex and Visa cards that seemingly everyone was getting in pairs last year pretty reliably resulted in just one inquiry.  However, the question at hand is whether a business and personal card inquiry (such as the Chase Ink Bold business card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card) made on the same day from the same bank will result in one inquiry instead of two.  If this were reliably true, then it would be decent advice to try and pair up a business and personal card from a given bank when you are deciding to apply for cards (assuming of course that you do something that could qualify for having a business card).

However, there is anecdotal evidence that suggests that the business and personal inquiries do not reliably merge.  Of course, there is also evidence that a business and personal inquiry from the same bank, on the same day, do merge.  In fact, a useful thread on Flyertalk was started several months ago to track this exact information.  Unfortunately, the thread doesn’t seem to have caught on very well and there are a limited number of examples.  If you read the thread, you will see that there are examples that both support and go against the business and personal inquiries merging theory.  I have yet to test this specific theory myself.  I only have two business cards, and neither was obtained on the same day as a personal card from that bank.

Based on the examples I could find, it seems like the inquiries might merge, but they also very well may not.  What that means to me is if it makes sense for you to apply for a business and personal card from the same bank on the same day, then do it.  You might have the added bonus of only one credit inquiry.  However, I would not get overly stressed if it doesn’t make sense for you to apply for both cards in that manner, as there is certainly no guarantee that they would have only resulted in one inquiry anyway.  I am not a “credit inquiry expert”, but based on what I was able to find when doing  some research on this topic, there doesn’t seem to be a hard and fast rule on whether or not the inquiries will merge.

I would love to hear from you on this topic.  What has your experience been when applying for a business and personal card from the same issuer on the same day?  Did you end up with one or two (or more) inquiries?  Which bank/which cards did you apply for?  Do you know of a more extensive thread with this information than the Flyertalk thread I linked to above?

Pingbacks

  1. […] Originally Posted by twiggers Curious about this too as I wanted to try for Sapphire Preferred & Explorer. AFAIK, the two-browser-trick works only for the Citi AA cards, but I'd be interested to know if it works for you. I saw this post recently about whether business & personal inquiries merge into one, but that's slightly different: http://boardingarea.com/mommyp…erge-into-one/ […]

Comments

  1. Don’t know how this works in the US, but here in New Zealand business and personal card applications are often (but not always) processed through separate divisions of the bank which display differently on your credit report. Therefore, it’d almost certainly be two inquiries here, though I guess it depends entirely on the bank’s internal structure and processes.

  2. @Joe, thanks for sharing. Do you know which card they applied for?

    @wijomas, I think that is the case here as well, though some seem to get “lucky” and have them merge into one anyway…..but then again, sometimes they don’t. 😉

    @infamousdx, that stinks, but is very helpful. Thanks!

  3. I think a lot depends on where you are geographically too, since banks pull from different bureaus in different states.

    For me in upstate NY, I’ve had both a personal Amex and business Amex instantly approved on same day and resulted in one pull from Experian.

    Personal BOA app and Business BOA app on same day resulted in a Experian and Transunion pull, respectively.

    With Chase, when applying for both personal and business in same day, the second app is most likely gonna get blocked automatically due to them sensing second may be potential duplicate app. So only resulted in pull(s) for the first app on day of applying. Pull(s) for second app occurred when I called in a few days later to discuss the second app and gave them the go ahead to process it. I say pull(s) because Chase has been pulling BOTH Experian and Transunion for me for one app, sometimes the second pull will be recorded a couple days later. Though for my gf in the same location, only one pull for one app, weird.

    Also, personal and business division may pull under slightly different name. BOA personal was “Bank of America” for me whereas it was “Bk of Amer” for business. Since they pulled from different bureaus anyway, it didnt matter.

    Even personal divisions in the same bank may pull under different names. Citi generally pulls under the name “CBNA” for me. But for my two Citi Hilton HHonors cards, they pulled under “Citi”. So when I applied for Citi Premier and Citi Hilton in same day, it resulted in two pulls, one “CBNA” and one “Citi”, instead of merging to one.

    Those are my experiences.

  4. I applied for and got both personal and business spg cards via Amex back in August. Both were approved wothin a week but on different days. Ended up as separate pulls on my report.

  5. Last November I applied for the Chase Priority Club Card (instant approval) AND the Chase SW Business Card (instant rejection). This past January I took a look at my credit report which shows all inquires in the last 2 years. It clearly showed 2 separate Chase inquires on the same day AND ANOTHER Chase inquiry 3 days later. I am guessing the 3rd inquiry was to reconsider my business card app (which I was eventually approved for). So after trying to just get 1 hard pull, I instead ended up with THREE! So I would have to advise against doing a personal and business card app with Chase on the same day unless you are fine with at least 2 pulls and possibly 3. Just thought I would share.

  6. Good point about issuers pulling credit under different names. I’ve experienced that with BoA (showing as FIA CSNA and Bank of America) and Citi (showing as CBSD/UFC and Citi). With Citi the conventional wisdom is not necessarily to minimize inquiries but to maximize churns which means applying for 2 personal AA and filling the void with with biz churns. Another problem that can arise with same day apps is an inquiry reporting a day later and not consolidating. As far as whether same name on same day for biz and personal consolidate, it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong about something. 😀 It may only be true for some reporting agencies.

  7. IMO if people are that concerned about the drop from two pulls instead of one then they are churning too often. Your position is smart. If you get just one pull, consider yourself lucky and move on.

  8. My Chase and Citi applications for personal/business on same day have not merged. A business and a personal app with AmEx on the same day in June did merge.

    Ike

  9. If the inquiries show up as two but under the exact same bank name – I have succesfully argued with the credit bureaus that the inquiries should be merged together. One time I took a business loan and personal loan from the same bank and each department pulled my credit twice. It was an easy fix since the name was identical every time

  10. When I applied for the Chase Continental personal and business cards back in November, both of them were separate inquiries and never did combine unfortunately.

  11. @Ted, great points. I have also noticed that my Chase personal and business pull were slightly different names.

    @Bender, thanks for sharing.

    @Joe, thanks.

    @John L, that stinks. I agree that don’t count on one pull. It may happen, but it very well may not. Three stinks.

    @HikerT, thanks for sharing!

    @Scottrick, I know there are many in this community who do churn “to the max”, so I see how inquiries can really matter. To me, they matter, but they just don’t matter as much since I’m in a pretty consistent pattern with churning (ie they drop off at almost the about the same rate I accumulate them). I agree totally that the best strategy is to consider yourself lucky if it happens, but don’t count on it.

    @Ike, thanks!

    @Webrobby, good point. Thanks!

    @InaCents, that stinks. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the cards. Those what helped you book the tickets for the family to Hawaii?? 😉

    @IPBrian, that is my only personal experience as well.

    @The Man of a Thousand Places, I agree it would be great if people would add these and future experiences to that thread. I think it would really help everyone get a better idea of any possible trends (if there are any).

  12. The biz and personal “departments” of cc companies are usually different businesses with different names. Therefore I’d doubt inquiries would be merged.

  13. I’m in CA and both my wife and I have applied for Costco and SPG AMX business cards in the past 4 years. Neither has led to any pull on either of our credit reports. I thought it was odd but I check both our reports every 4 mos and nothing has ever appeared on any of the 3 bureaus.

  14. It also has to do with the location of applying as some people have mentioned, but even so – whether or not the apps are instant approved. As some have reported and I can report myself, even if you apply for ONE card, you can sometimes result in getting an EXTRA inquiry just b/c you called or wrote in for a reconsideration which is something to consider. Is your 25,000 point card worth TWO inquiries? No.

  15. I was going to say that the concept of inquiries “merging” seems a little confusing. My understanding is that inquiries do not merge, i.e., you do not get two separate inquiries that are then joined to one by the CRA. Some banks just have a policy of using the same report for multiple apps in the same day. Amex is known for this. You can apply for multiple Amex cards in the same day and only see one inquiry. But there were never multiple inquiries to merge.

    There’s some evidence from posters above that they have successfully argued that inquiries should merge when it is the same bank. So maybe I am off in my understanding, but I would imagine this is an exception, not the rule, and only occurred because of the person contacting the CRA. To the best of my understanding, there is no issue with inquiries merging, there is just a question of whether the bank pulls multiple reports for multiple apps, or has a policy to check in its system to see if it already has a report that was pulled that day.

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