Can I Apply For More Than One Credit Card? Yes, nothing prevents you from applying for multiple credit cards in a short period of time, or even simultaneously. Multiple credit card inquiries, on the other hand, can lower your credit score and raise red flags for potential creditors.
If you’re thinking about getting multiple credit cards, here’s what you should know about how it will affect your credit score.
The Impact of Multiple Credit Card Inquiries on Your Credit Score
It can be tempting to apply for multiple credit cards in a short period of time, whether you’re trying to build credit quickly or take advantage of various benefits or welcome offers. However, depending on your circumstances, it may have a negative impact on your credit score.
It’s common to get quotes from multiple lenders when shopping for a mortgage, auto loan, or even a private student loan to ensure you’re getting the best terms. And if you do it in a short period of time—typically 14 to 45 days depending on the credit scoring model—all of the hard inquiries that appear on your credit reports will be counted as one when your credit score is calculated.
Credit cards, on the other hand, do not provide the same benefit. In most cases, each credit card account you apply for will trigger a separate credit inquiry, which will affect your credit score.
The credit scoring model determines how those inquiries affect your credit scores. One additional inquiry, for example, will usually lower your credit score by less than five points using the FICO® Score. Multiple inquiries in a short period of time, on the other hand, may have a compounding effect.
Furthermore, research shows that people with multiple inquiries on their credit reports in a short period of time are more likely to overextend themselves and default on their debts. As a result, even if your credit score doesn’t drop significantly, future creditors may charge you higher interest rates or refuse your application entirely due to the increased risk.
When it comes to applying for credit cards, how long should you wait?
There is no magic number for how long you should wait before applying for another credit card. In fact, depending on your credit history and situation, the appropriate amount can vary:
You don’t have a lot of credit history.
If you’re just getting started with credit, a second card can help you improve your credit utilization ratio (how much of your available credit you’re using) and give you another chance to establish a good payment history. These advantages may outweigh the negative consequences of a second hard inquiry. However, you should wait three to six months between applications if you want to be safe.
Simply make sure you’re applying for starter credit cards that are tailored to people in your situation. Otherwise, you risk being turned down and having a new hard inquiry placed on your credit report.
You’re attempting to improve your credit score.
Every effort counts if you have bad credit and want to rebuild it with credit cards. In this case, it’s probably best to wait a few months before applying for another card. Furthermore, if you’re behind on payments on another credit account, adding new credit card accounts might not help much. Instead, concentrate on improving other aspects of your credit, such as paying down debt to reduce your utilization ratio. You might consider applying for a new card once you’ve had a chance to improve your credit.
Recently, You’ve Been Rejected
Hard inquiries are made during the application process and will affect your credit score regardless of whether you are approved for a card. Take a breather if you’ve recently been denied a job. Examine your credit situation to see if any changes are required before applying for another loan.
Also, make sure you’re applying for credit cards based on your credit score. With just a soft inquiry that doesn’t affect your credit, Experian CreditMatchTM can help you get personalized offers based on your credit score. While there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved, it can help you focus on the cards with the best chances of approval.
You have a good credit history
If you’ve been using credit for a long time and have a good credit history, two or three credit inquiries in a short period won’t have as much of an impact.
If you’re not having trouble managing your current credit cards—you’re only spending what you can afford and paying your bill in full each month—the benefits of getting another card may outweigh the disadvantages.
You can check your FICO® Score to see where you stand if you’re thinking about getting multiple credit cards in the near future. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of having multiple inquiries on your credit reports in the near future as you consider your options.
Don’t just fill out a form without thinking about it.