UPDATE 9/21/20: It appears that it is safe again to apply for business cards. See this post: Chase resumes approving business card applications
We’ve seen reports in recent days of changes at Chase that suggest a tightening of the belt in terms of business credit card approvals with several changes in the application and approval process.
- You now need to log in to apply for most of the business cards as seen in the screen shot above. Note that this is not the case for referral links — those still have an “Apply now” link. This restriction indicates that Chase is looking to narrow the applicant pool to customers that already have a relationship with Chase.
- There have been anecdotal reports of tougher approval standards recently. I’d ordinarily take this with a grain of salt as even a dozen similar reports does not make for a useful sample size. However, one thing I’ve seen several times is people who had difficulty getting approved because of a lack of deposit accounts with Chase. That would line up with the new requirement to log in for applications from the public landing pages, so perhaps Chase is indeed looking to limit the applicant pool some.
- The public application pages in most cases now require you to list some minimum of business income and ask for a business established date. Previously, it was possible to be approved with a new business that had $0 in revenue. I don’t know if there is now a specific minimum. Additionally, the referral links still ask for a number of years in business, whereas the new style applications ask for the date your business was established. A few reddit reports indicate denial for businesses that were too new, though at least one person in the past few days reports having applied through a referral link with $0 revenue / 0 years in business and still being approved. YMMV. We have both the public offer and referral offer as an alternate offer on our card pages when available (see the Chase Ink Business Preferred for example).
Overall, I’m not surprised to see these changes given the current economic environment and what had previously been a seemingly tightening set of standards from all issuers over the past year or two. It is possible that all of this would have happened without the pandemic, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the COVID-19 situation expedited some of this. Banks are in the business of managing risk and in an environment with 20+ million people out of work and a volatile stock market that becomes increasingly difficult. Even if you run a tight ship with your business, it’s certainly conceivable that whatever your customer market is could dry up if they are out of work for an extended period of time, so it isn’t surprising to see things become a bit more lean in the short term.
Assuming the economy turns around, I doubt we’ll see a full swing in the opposite direction on this, but at the same time I doubt they’ll shut new customers out of business cards (since they can’t log in) forever.