How Often Can (And Should) You Apply for a Credit Card?

We promise to always deliver the best fiscal advice that we can. That ‘s our beginning precedence, and we take it badly. Our writers and editors follow rigorous editorial standards and operate independently from our advertisers and affiliates. Learn more about how we make money. While you can apply for credit cards vitamin a frequently as you want, you ’ ll face restrictions based on the poster issuer, and you risk harming your credit rating if you apply excessively frequently. possibly you precisely got yet another credit card offer in the mail, or possibly a Facebook ad promised 50,000 bonus credit card miles for signing up for a new batting order. If you ’ re thinking about accepting the offer, take a second and think cautiously. It ’ mho entice to take advantage of the many credit card offers on the market, but trying to take out excessively many new credit cards comes at a steep cost .
Applying for accredit cards frequently can hurt your credit, makes it difficult to qualify for credit lines and loans, and violates many batting order issuer rules. To maximize your credit card benefits, find out how long you should wait between menu applications and what you need to consider before trying to land your future menu.

How long should I wait to apply for another credit card?

In general, you should wait 6 months between credit card applications. If you ’ re in a nip, you can reduce that time to 90 days. however, you might not be eligible for cards from the lapp credit circuit board issuer, and your frequent applications will hurt your chances of getting approved .
This specify of 90 days to 6 months international relations and security network ’ thymine a intemperate rule—just a road map. technically, you can apply for ampere many credit cards as you want, arsenic frequently as you want. however, you ’ re not likely to get approved for those cards. flush worse, you ’ ll damage your recognition score in the process .
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What if my credit card application is denied due to lack of credit?

If a specify credit history is making qualifying for credit cards unmanageable, lay off the applications for a few months. alternatively, ask a acquaintance or family member to add you as an authoritative exploiter to their credit card. This will give you credit to use and will build your credit grade promptly .

How often should I get a new credit card?

There ’ s no universal standard for how frequently you should get a raw credit batting order, but passing the 6-month specify doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate mechanically mean you should send out an application. As a general rule, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ( CFPB ) recommends entirely applying for new credit when you actually need it. 1
If you apply for credit excessively frequently, lenders may suspect that your fiscal site is parlous and you pose a risk as a borrower .

Good reasons to apply for a new credit card

It ’ south probably worth opening a newfangled credit card in the pursuit situations :

  • You’re a young adult and are ready to open your first credit card. (If you’re enrolling in a 2-or-4-year degree program, consider opening a student credit card.)
  • You just closed an old card and are ready to open a new one.
  • You want to upgrade from a secured credit card to an unsecured card.
  • Your credit score has improved and you qualify for better credit card deals.
  • You need a higher credit limit to improve your credit utilization rate (which will boost your credit score).
  • You’re performing a balance transfer and need a 0% APR card or one with lower interest rates.

Everyone ’ second site is different, and reasons for applying for modern credit rating change. however, you should decidedly only apply if your finances are stable—don ’ thymine get new recognition cards fair to have more spend office if you ’ re ineffective to pay off your balances every month .

How many credit cards can I apply for at once?

You can apply for multiple accredit cards at once, but not inevitably from the lapp issuer. many banks and credit wag companies have restrictions on how many credit card applications you can send at any clock. Some may allow you to apply for two cards in the like day ; others may require you wait 6 months between applications .

Why should I wait between credit card applications?

You should wait 90 days to 6 months between credit wag applications for three reasons .

1. Applying for cards can hurt your credit score

Multiple credit card applications can damage your credit score. This is because when you apply for a raw circuit board, the lender will check your credit by performing a heavily inquiry, besides called a hard draw .
hard inquiries take up to 5 points off your credit rating score and can impact your credit for 12 months. The inquiry itself will appear on your report card for a full 2 years. 2
While a hard question here and there international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate a big softwood, piling up multiple difficult inquiries in a short-change menstruation can be dangerous for your credit score. additionally, having besides many hard inquiries on your credit report can be a red pin for lenders, even without the effect on your mark .

See if you pre-qualify before submitting a credit card application

If you find a batting order you want to apply for, see if there ’ s a pre-qualification choice first—pre-qualifying won ’ metric ton hurt your score. If you don ’ thymine pre-qualify, you might want to think twice earlier formally applying. failure to pre-qualify means you credibly won ’ thymine get the batting order, and you don ’ thyroxine want to get a hard inquiry for nothing .

2. You may violate credit card application restrictions

Credit tease issuers sometimes have rules on how much you can apply for new cards and how many of their credit cards you can have open at all .
If you ’ re applying for multiple cards with an issuer that has lotion restrictions, they ’ ll mechanically reject you if you violate their limits. not only will you miss out on getting the credit rating menu you want, but you ’ ll have knocked multiple points off your recognition score for no reason .
Beware that many credit card companies don ’ t advertise their lotion limits. however, it ’ s potential to figure out some issuers ’ limits and rules based on anecdotes collected on-line. While you can get an idea of common restrictions below, we however recommend proceeding with circumspection if you want to apply for multiple cards from the lapp issuer .

Application restrictions by major credit card issuers

here are some of the restrictions that major citation card issuers are believed to have :

Credit card issuer How many credit cards you can have open in total Application restrictions Welcome bonus restrictions
American Express 5 2 credit cards / 90 days You cannot qualify for a welcome offer you’ve previously received
Bank of America N/A 2 credit cards / 30 days
3 credit cards / 12 months
4 credit cards / 24 months
N/A
Capital One 2 1 credit card / 6 months You cannot qualify for a welcome offer you’ve previously received
Chase N/A 5 credit cards / 24 months (regardless of credit card issuer) N/A
Citi N/A 1 credit card / 8 days
2 credit cards / 65 days
Eligible for welcome bonuses only once every 24 months
Eligible for welcome bonuses on American Airline credit cards once every 48 months
Discover 2 credit cards
1 student credit card
1 credit card / 12 months N/A
Wells Fargo N/A 1 credit card / 6 months You will not be eligible for a welcome bonus or introductory offer (including 0% APR) if you’ve opened a credit card in the last 15 months

Remember that these rules aren ’ t advertised by the circuit board issuer, but collected through anecdotic evidence. Credit poster companies may change their restrictions at any time .
furthermore, even if you haven ’ metric ton exceeded these limits, it ’ mho no undertake that your lotion will be successful—you still may be rejected because of frequent applications even if you haven ’ triiodothyronine exceeded the official limit.

Why do credit card issuers have application restrictions?

It makes smell to keep people from applying for excessively many cards because frequent applications suggest you might be in fiscal trouble. furthermore, lotion restrictions prevent credit card churning, which is when people open and close citation accounts merely to score welcome bonuses and rewards .
not lone is credit churning bad for your credit score and future adopt prospects, but increasing restrictions have made it extremely difficult to pull off .

3. You may hurt your chances of qualifying for credit cards and loans

As mentioned, multiple recognition applications in a short-change menstruation of time are red flags with lenders .
Applying for besides many lines of citation signals a change in your fiscal situation—presumably for the worse. This makes lenders think that you ’ re a adopt risk. You look like person whose expenses have recently increased or whose income has decreased ( or both ) .
basically, applying for a draw of cards makes you look like person that won ’ triiodothyronine pay off their debts .
not only will this affect your ability to get the credit cards you ’ rhenium practice for, but it can besides hurt your chances of securing other newly credit, such as loans. even if you do qualify for new citation, you may get offered worse borrowing terms ( like higher interest rates and fees ) .

How credit card applications affect your credit score

We ’ ve already established that frequent credit card applications can hurt your accredit score by saddling you with multiple difficult inquiries .
If your application is successful and you actually open the raw batting order, it will besides affect your credit score in several other ways .

Negative effects on your credit score

Opening a new credit card can cause a drop curtain in your credit score because it :

  • Lowers your average credit age: The length of your credit history is a factor in your credit score. Opening a new card will lower the average age of your accounts, which will hurt your score. This is especially true if you’re a relatively recent borrower or have a thin credit history.
  • Adds to your new credit: Opening new accounts affects a credit scoring factor called new credit, which determines roughly 10% of your score. Opening a new account generally lowers your score, at least temporarily.

Positive effects on your credit score

The effects of getting a new calling card aren ’ metric ton strictly negative. It can besides benefit your credit because it :

  • Changes your credit mix: Your credit mix, another credit scoring factor, is the variety of credit accounts you have open. Adding another credit card account can diversify your credit mix, especially if you previously didn’t have any credit cards, which will boost your credit score.
  • Impacts your credit utilization: Your credit utilization is the amount of your total credit that you’re currently using. By adding more available credit to your total, you can potentially lower your utilization rate (if you limit your spending on your new card), which will improve your credit score.

In cosmopolitan, the net effect on your credit from opening a new calling card will be negative—at least at inaugural. If you keep your menu open and use it responsibly, in six months to a year, this will even out and the net effect will become positivist as the report ages .

What to consider before applying for a new credit card

As you ’ ve seen, frequently applying for newfangled credit comes with considerable risks, so you should only apply for a newfangled credit tease when you actually need one .
In rate to make the most out of your limited applications, consider the watch before you commit to a wag :

Make sure you know the best time to apply

There ’ s a good fourth dimension and a bad clock to apply for a new credit calling card. You shouldn ’ thyroxine apply for a new credit rating card if you :

  • Were recently rejected for another card: Wait 6 months and improve your credit in the meantime. Alternatively, consider becoming an authorized user or applying for a secured credit card instead.
  • Are applying for another loan: Remember that multiple credit applications look bad to lenders, so you could hurt your chances of getting approved or getting the rates you want.
  • Are struggling financially: If you’re unemployed or find yourself in an unstable financial situation, now probably isn’t the best time to apply for a new credit card.
  • Have outstanding debts on other credit cards: If you’re struggling to pay off your credit card debt as it is, hold off on applying for new cards until you’ve settled your current balances (unless you’re specifically opening a balance transfer credit card to make that easier).

What’s the best time of year to apply for a new credit card?

If you want to apply for a credit card—particularly a rewards card—it ’ s frequently best to do so at the end or beginning of the calendar year. That ’ s particularly true if the card you want bases its rewards off the calendar ( by, say, point matching on a annual footing, or offering bonus rewards for quarterly outgo categories ) .
Check the terms of the circuit board ahead of clock and meter your application to make the most of your rewards .

Compare interest rates, terms, and rewards

Every time you apply for a new credit card, thoroughly review the circuit board ’ south rates and terms before submitting an application. You particularly want to check the stick to to determine which credit rating card is your best choice :

  • Purchase APR (aka the annual credit card interest rate)
  • Other APRs (including for balance transfers, cash advances, and penalties)
  • Fees (like the annual fee, monthly fees, and foreign transaction fees)
  • Rewards rates, redemption options, and limits
  • Welcome bonuses
  • Introductory offers (e.g., intro APR or waived fees)
  • Authorized user terms and fees
  • Whether the card features a grace period
  • Borrowing terms and conditions

If you ’ re having trouble finding this information on the credit wag issuer ’ randomness web site, you can call customer service directly or look up the credit rating circuit board ’ s schumer box, which lists the rates and fees. You can find any credit card ’ s schumer box by searching the Consumer Finance credit wag agreement database.

Understand where your credit stands

To determine which credit cards you can qualify for, you need to know what ’ s on your accredit reports and what your accredit score is .
You can download a unblock copy of your accredit report by going to AnnualCreditReport.com. There are other accredit monitor sites and services that offer your credit report or credit scores, some of which are free and some of which are paid .
Don ’ thymine worry about doing this before you apply— checking your recognition mark won ’ t lower it. In fact, you should check your score regularly even if you ’ rhenium not planning on taking out a new credit tease .

Takeaways: Wait 6 months between credit card applications

  • You should wait a minimum of 90 days (but ideally 6 months) between sending out credit card applications.
  • Applying for new credit in a short period of time can damage your credit score through hard inquiries and other credit score factors.
  • Credit card issuers have different restrictions on how many credit cards you can have open at a time and how many applications you can submit within certain periods of time.
  • Applying for multiple lines of credit is a red flag to lenders, who may then reject your applications or offer you bad borrowing terms.
  • Research a credit card and your own credit history before formally applying for a new line of credit.
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Category : Finance

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