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How Often Should You Apply for a Credit Card

Last Updated: September 10, 2023
2 min read

Key points about: how often to apply for credit cards

  1. You can apply for more than one credit card at a time, but it may affect your credit score.

  2. Every credit card application results in a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can impact your credit score.

  3. It’s best to spread out applications for new credit cards by several months.

Credit cards can provide a helpful tool for managing your money. Whether you plan on having a few or several credit cards, it’s important to know how often you should apply for a credit card.

Can you apply for more than one credit card at once?

You can apply for more than one credit card at a time. However, there are two main things to consider when applying for multiple credit cards in a short period of time. Your credit score can be affected because of multiple applications. And some credit card issuers may have rules on how soon you can apply for a similar credit card and the number of accounts you can have with the same issuer.

How applying for a new card affects your credit

When you apply for a new card, the credit card issuer will place a hard credit inquiry on your credit file (also known as a hard pull). When considering how often to apply for credit cards, realize that each credit card application results in a hard inquiry on your credit report. Multiple hard inquires at the same time can impact your credit score. Considering you want a higher credit score to qualify for credit cards with the lowest Annual Percentage Rate (APR), it may be best not to apply for multiple offers, which will result in hard inquires on your credit report.

With each approved new credit line, it may be best not to increase your outstanding balance or revolving credit, which can help manage your credit utilization ratio. Credit utilization ratio refers to the amount of a person’s credit in use compared to their total credit available. A lower credit utilization will generally be better increasing your chance of approval and credit limit determination.

Card issuers may limit how often you can open a new credit card account

Each card issuer has their own set of rules to determine eligibility for their cards, including how often you can apply for a credit card, how many credit cards you can obtain within a set time period, and even how many total accounts you can have. Some may require you to wait a year before you open a second account and may also limit you to two accounts with them.

To find out how often you can apply for a credit card, contact the card issuer for specific details.

Did you know?

If you’re looking for a new credit card, it may be most beneficial to find a card that rewards you the in areas where you spend the most. For example, with the Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card, you can earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

How long should you wait before applying for a new credit card?

There is no set guideline for how long you should wait between applying for new credit cards. It depends on your personal situation. If your credit score is healthy and your financial situation is stable, you may not need to wait at all.

However, if you plan on applying for a loan, mortgage, or refinancing, you should consider spacing out your credit inquiries by several months. If you are working on rebuilding your credit, wait several months before applying for a new card regardless of being approved or denied for new credit.

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  • Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.