You should wait six months to one year between credit card applications. Applying for a credit card triggers hard inquiries which can lead to a slight dip in your credit score, especially when you apply repeatedly within a short period of time. And that’s a bad thing from a lender’s perspective. More importantly, applying in bulk tells lenders that you are desperate to borrow, which doesn’t bode well for your ability to pay.
There is an exception though: if you have excellent credit, a high income and a record of on-time payments, you have a good chance of getting approved even if you apply more often. That’s because lenders see a low risk of you defaulting on future payments.
You should wait six months to one year between credit card applications in most cases, regardless of whether your last application was approved or denied. Most people’s credit scores will bounce back from a credit card application in about six months. The same rule applies if you’re trying to reapply for the same credit card you were denied for (though you should make sure you’ve addressed the … read full answerreasons stated in your rejection letter before you apply again).
When your credit card application is denied, it doesn’t show up on your credit report. But the card issuer’s hard inquiry, or credit check, does – and too many of them in a short period of time can hurt your credit score and make you look desperate for credit. One hard inquiry won’t hurt your credit score too much – scores generally take a hit of a few points for each inquiry. But that effect can be compounded by multiple hard pulls in a short period of time. Hard inquiries can stay on your credit report for up to two years, and they can affect your credit score for one year.
While denials don’t affect your credit score beyond the initial credit check, you might imagine that lots of recent hard inquiries without corresponding credit accounts could look bad to a card issuer. In fact, a card issuer can deny your application because of too many recent hard inquiries. Issuers aren’t just being paranoid, either. Statistics show that people with six or more hard inquiries on their credit report can be up to eight times more likely to file for bankruptcy than people with no inquiries. So lots of inquiries potentially signal lots of risk for the card issuer.
Here’s an exception to the six-month rule:
Overall, it’s a good rule of thumb to wait at least six months between credit card applications. You’ll minimize credit score damage by waiting, which will increase your future approval odds. That said, there is an exception to the six-month rule. If you’re trying to build credit and your most recent credit card application has been denied, you don’t need to let six months pass before you apply for a secured credit card. Secured cards build credit just like unsecured credit cards, but secured cards tend to be much easier to get approved for. The sooner you get one and start using it responsibly, the better for your credit.
There’s no rule against applying for multiple credit cards in one day, but doing so may hurt your credit standing as well as your chances of approval for a new credit card account. Each time you apply for a credit card, the credit card company does a hard pull, or inquiry, on at least one of your credit reports. For most people, one hard inquiry will cause a credit-score decrease of less than 5 points—not a huge impact. But even applying for 2 cards in a day could potentially bring a score down by 10 points or more. Depending on the content of the rest of your credit report, the negative impact could multiply with more hard pulls. That could mean the difference between good and fair credit, for example, or fair and bad credit. If you’re planning to apply for a mortgage or other major loan anytime soon, having a lower credit score could cost you a lot of money, too.… read full answer
A hard pull can affect a credit score for up to a year, and will drop off a report completely in 2 years. Even though the effect is temporary, it’s worth considering whether or not your score can afford that kind of drop for a year. In other words, do you need your score for anything important during that time?
If you apply for more than one card in a day, it's possible that some or all of these applications will be approved. That too would have an effect on your credit standing. A few new lines of credit will increase your total available credit, lower your overall credit utilization, and decrease the average age of your credit. The first two are good for a credit score but could quickly turn bad if you misuse your new credit. The third could also have a negative impact. A cluster of new credit lines could look like you’re desperately trying to borrow, which could be a sign of budding financial problems, making you look riskier to potential lenders.
If you’re applying for multiple cards at the same time to increase your odds of one approval before a hard pull hits your score, reconsider this approach. It will only hurt your score in the long run. If you don’t get approved for the first card you apply for, there are always lower-tier offers to consider, including credit cards with no credit check.
A good rule of thumb is to pick your credit applications wisely – measure twice and cut once, so to speak. Do some research to find the best credit cards for your needs, and choose the cards with the best approval odds based on your circumstances. Many credit card issuers let prospective customers check for pre-approval through the company’s website. Pre-approval results in a “soft pull” on your credit, with no score damage, and provides a good sense of your likelihood of approval before you apply for real. That way, you’re not wasting hard pulls on a credit card you have no chance of getting.
At the end of the day, it’s best to apply for no more than one or two credit cards per year. This allows your credit score to recover from each hard inquiry and lets you get accustomed to managing a new account. That said, people who can manage their card usage responsibly will benefit from gradually building a collection of multiple credit cards. With 2 or 3 cards, for example, you can take the Island Approach with your expenses. More cards than that can complicate due dates but will allow you to mix-and-match more types of rewards, rates and features. And be smart: set up automatic payments.
It’s best to apply for a credit card about once per year, assuming you need or want a card in the first place. And you shouldn’t apply for more than one card at the same time. If you apply more often, the repeated hard inquiries into your credit history will hurt your credit score. Creditors will also see you as desperate to borrow, making you a greater risk and less likely to be approved for a loan or line of credit.… read full answer
Every time you apply for a credit card (with only a few exceptions), the issuer will do a hard pull of your credit, which temporarily lowers your credit score. Normally, this isn’t a big deal, because your score will bounce back after a few months of responsible credit use (e.g. paying on time, low utilization, etc.). But hard pulls become problematic when there’s a bunch at the same time. The damage is more significant and lasts longer – up to 12 months, according to TransUnion. And that can wind up costing you a lot of money if you need the best possible credit score in the near future, such as if you’re going to shop for a mortgage or car loan.
So careful planning is important, in terms of both which card you apply for and when you apply. If you’re rejected for a card, one option is to wait until your credit score rebounds before trying again. And you can track your credit score for free on WalletHub, the only site with free daily updates, to see when that happens. Alternatively, you could apply for a card with lower requirements.
For example, people with limited or damaged credit may want to consider a secured credit card. They require you to make a security deposit that acts as your credit line, and this collateral gives them the highest approval odds of all credit cards. As long as you can fund the deposit and make minimum payments, your chances are decent no matter what your credit score is.
If you’re not approved for a secured card, there are other ways to get your hands on credit. For instance, you can become an authorized user on someone else’s account or try to find a cosigner to apply with.
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