Applying for a credit card does hurt your credit score, but your score should only drop a few points and rebound within 3-6 months if you use your credit card responsibly. The longest the hard inquiry from a credit card application can affect your score is 12 months. After that point, it will still be visible on your credit report for another year but will have no influence on your score.
Pretty much any time you apply for new credit, whether it’s a bank loan or a credit card, the lender does a hard inquiry into your credit history. The inquiry stays on your credit report for two years, but the more responsible you are as a borrower, the sooner your score will turn around. If there are numerous hard inquiries added to your report in a short period of time, however, the damage will be greater and last longer than it would otherwise.
You can see exactly how much applying for a credit card is likely to hurt your credit score by trying out WalletHub’s free credit score simulator. Just remember that even though applying for a credit card may hurt your credit score, that shouldn’t necessarily stop you from doing it. There are ways to minimize the damage and make sure that a temporarily hurt credit score doesn’t actually hurt your wallet, which you can learn more about below.
How applying for a credit card affects your credit score:
- Applying for a credit card usually causes your credit score to drop by a few points for 3-6 months.
- Nearly all credit card applications result in a hard credit inquiry, which can affect your credit score for 12 months and stay on your credit report for up to 2 years.
- Applying for numerous credit cards in a short period of time will hurt your credit score more than a single application.
- The fewer credit accounts you have and the shorter your credit history is, the more a hard inquiry will affect your score.
- Applying for credit can hurt your score whether you get approved or denied.
- Some secured credit cards don’t check your credit when you apply, which means there is no hard inquiry. But your credit score may still dip slightly after opening an account, as new cardholders need to demonstrate they can manage the added responsibility.
- Temporary credit score damage from a credit card application does not have to cost you money. Just wait until your score recovers before using it again for something important – like applying for a mortgage or auto loan.
- Your credit score will recover faster from a credit card application if you pay all your bills on time and keep your balances well below your credit limits on your credit card accounts.
While applying for a credit card does hurt your credit score in most cases, it’s usually not enough of a drop to worry about. Using your new card responsibly should help your score recover quickly and then go higher than it was before. You just don’t want to apply for several new cards at once or risk a hard inquiry right before an important loan application.
You can monitor how applying for a new credit card ends up affecting your credit score by signing up for a free WalletHub account and getting free daily credit score updates. You’ll also get personalized recommendations for the best credit cards to apply for.