Young couple smiles as they sit by their sofa looking at a computer screen

How Often Should You Apply for a Credit Card

Published March 7, 2022
3 min read

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

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

Technically, you can apply for more than one credit card at a time. There are two main things to consider when applying for multiple credit cards in a short period of time: Your credit score can decrease because of multiple applications. 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 do a hard credit inquiry or hard pull. Credit card issuers typically prefer not to issue credit cards to applicants with low credit scores.

When considering how often to apply for credit cards, realize that each credit card application is 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 secure the lowest APR credit cards, 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, you should not increase your outstanding balance or revolving credit to try to 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 – less relative credit in use – will generally be better for card 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 on how often you can apply for a credit card or 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 total accounts. In some cases, issuers will only offer sign-on bonuses to one new rewards card during a specific time window.

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

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.

Was this article helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!