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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?