How multiple credit card applications affect your approval

Applying for multiple cards in succession can hurt your approval odds.

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When on the hunt for your next piece of plastic, it’s wise to narrow down your choices early and apply for your most desirable card first. If you’re putting out multiple applications, it may actually decrease your chances of getting a new card.

Does applying for a credit card hurt your credit score?

Each time you apply for a card, the credit provider dives into your credit report to see if you’d be a good candidate. This process is often called a “hard pull” on your credit report. A small portion of your credit score is affected by how recently you’ve applied for a credit card.

Each hard pull on your credit report will knock off a few points from your score. This dip is temporary, usually disappearing in about six months. However, multiple inquiries into your personal credit within a short period of time can quickly add up and become more detrimental to your credit score. Each subsequent credit provider will see this score and gain the impression that you’re a higher risk applicant, which would then likely cause them to reject your application.

Fortunately, the number of inquiries recorded on your credit report is only one of several factors considered.

Does my credit score still go down if my card application is accepted?

Yes. No matter if you’re rejected or accepted, your credit score will take the same hit. Again, this is temporary, lasting about six months. That means if you plan on applying for several types of loans, you might want to space out your applications.

How can I keep my credit file in good shape and improve my chances of credit card approval?

When it comes to improving your chances of getting a new credit card, a smart strategy is to keep your credit history clean and free from black marks.

Some of the steps you should follow to increase your chances of approval while maintaining a good credit history:

  • Make timely repayments. A sign that you’re trustworthy with a line of credit is — you guessed it — paying your bills on time.
  • Avoid payment defaults. Defaulting on loan payments looks terrible on your credit report and could also lead to severe legal repercussions.
  • Don’t overspend. Learning to curb your expenses will benefit both your credit file and finances in the long run.
  • Check your credit report regularly. Request your free yearly credit report and check that it is error-free. If you find something on your file that legitimately doesn’t belong there, contact the reporting agencies so they can investigate and rectify the matter.
  • Submit one application at a time. This will limit unnecessary hard pulls on your credit file. Choose the most suitable credit card, apply and wait for a response. If your application has been declined, consider applying for the next most suitable card.
  • Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. Applicants usually need to be at least 18 years old, a permanent US resident and have a good credit history. You also may be asked to provide information about your employment and finances, so make sure you have the necessary documents to simplify the application process.

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Bottom line

There’s nothing wrong with owning multiple credit cards, though you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time in between each to keep your credit score healthy. Do your research with our credit card guide to learn how to carefully compare your options to be certain that the card you apply for is the right one.

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