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How long should I wait to apply for another credit card?

Find out why you should wait at least 3 to 6 months between card applications, and how to keep up your credit score when applying for multiple credit cards.

If you’ve recently applied for a credit card, you might be wondering how long you should wait before applying for your next one.

Typically, 6 or more months is the optimal waiting period. It’s long enough that your previous application won’t drag down your next one. It will also help increase your chances of approval. However, you could apply sooner if you’re a strong applicant with an excellent credit score.

How long should I wait to apply for another credit card?

Typically, it’s best to wait at least 6 months between credit card applications. If you’re a strong applicant — for example, you have an excellent credit score or high income — you can consider applying more frequently. Even then, consider waiting at least a minimum of 3 months between applications.

Submitting multiple credit applications within a short period of time implies the applicant is desperate for credit. 3 to 6 months is generally enough time for a previous application not to negatively impact your new application.

Can I apply for multiple credit cards at once?

Yes — you can submit applications for different credit cards at the same time, but it’s not a great idea. Each time you submit an application, the provider will initiate a hard pull on your credit report that will lower your credit score by several points.

A lower credit score and multiple applications on your credit report can hurt your subsequent applications. To combat this, apply for cards selectively.

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 6-12 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?

It doesn’t matter if your application is rejected or accepted, your credit score will take the same hit. Again, this is temporary, lasting about 6-12 months. That means if you plan on applying for several types of loans, you might want to space out your applications.

Why should I wait to apply for another credit card?

There are a variety of reasons why you might want to wait before applying for another credit card. These include:

  • Your credit score is too low for the card you want.
    It’s always a good idea to apply for cards that fit your credit score. If you check your score and find it’s too low for your preferred card, consider waiting while you steadily build your score.
  • You’ll soon be applying for an auto loan or mortgage.
    With high-dollar purchases such as vehicles and property, even a small increase in your interest rate can mean paying thousands more over the life of your loan. Protect every point on your credit score before applying for an auto loan or mortgage to help secure the lowest rate possible for your biggest purchases.
  • You’re having a hard time keeping up with your current expenses.
    While a credit card could offer temporary relief, it may not ultimately be useful if there’s a structural problem with your finances. It could, for example, tempt you to spend more and get deeper into debt. Examine your income and expenses, then cut spending where you can.
  • There’s a signup bonus you’re trying to earn.
    Most signup bonuses require you to spend a certain amount on your card within a period of time. If you’re trying to earn a bonus, you may not want to split your focus with a new card. Instead, you can keep all of your spending on your current card to get the bonus more quickly.
  • You recently applied for a credit card.
    An issuer will typically frown upon multiple applications within a short period of time. It makes the applicant seem desperate for credit and risky as a potential customer. Accordingly, the issuer will be more wary about approving the application.

How can I keep my credit history 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. You’ll want to wait for a small period of time before applying again.
  • Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. Applicants usually need to be at least the age of majority in the province or territory in which they reside (either 18 or 19 years old), a permanent Canadian 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.

Compare credit cards that will pair well with your first

If you’re ready to apply for another credit card, consider getting a product that covers the weaknesses of your existing card.

For example, your current card might offer poor rewards for certain spend categories. You can get a new card with bonus rewards in those categories, giving you strong cash back, points or miles for more of your expenses.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
RBC Cash Back Mastercard
N/A
Up to 2% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get 2% cash back on grocery store purchases, and up to 1% cash back on all other qualifying purchases and pre-authorized payments.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,500). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
Tangerine World Mastercard
15% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 15% cash back (up to $150) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months Until September 30, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
RBC Avion Visa Infinite
55,000 points
Up to 1 point per $1 spent
19.99%
$120
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get up to 55,000 Welcome Points. Get 35,000 points on approval and 20,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 in your first 6 months. Apply by September 16, 2022.
OFFER
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
15% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 15% cash back (up to $150) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months Until September 30, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
EXCLUSIVE
Neo Financial Mastercard
Get $25.00
Average 5% cash back
19.99% - 24.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Get $25 when you sign up for the Neo Financial Mastercard. Plus, earn bonuses like 15% cashback on your first purchase at most partners, and earn an average of 5% cashback at thousands of partners and at least 1% cashback guaranteed.
RBC Rewards+ Visa
3,500
Up to 1 points per $2 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Earn up to 3,500 RBC Rewards points by going digital in the first 60 days.
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Name Product Balance Transfer Rate Balance Transfer Fee Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
BMO CashBack Mastercard
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,500). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
Tangerine World Mastercard
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 15% cash back (up to $150) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months Until September 30, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 15% cash back (up to $150) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months Until September 30, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
0.99% for the first 9 months (then 12.99%)
2%
12.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($20 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 2% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
BMO Rewards Mastercard
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 725
Get a bonus of 10,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
1.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
1%
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card
0% for the first 6 months (then 22.99%)
N/A
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, get a 0.00% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months with no balance transfer fee. Apply by August 31, 2022.
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Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
American Express Cobalt Card
30,000 points
Up to 5x points per $1 spent
20.99%
$155.88
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 2,500 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in net purchases on your card (up to 30,000 points).
BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard
60,000 points
Up to 5x points per $1 spent
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($150 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 60,000 points and get the $150 annual fee waived in the first year.
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege
90,000 points
5 points per $1 spent
20.99%
$499
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 90,000 welcome points in your first year.
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
35,000 points
Up to 2 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$139
Min. recommended credit score: 750
Earn up to 35,000 bonus Scene+ points in your first year (that’s up to $350 towards travel).
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
40,000 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points in your first year (that's up to $400 towards travel) and get the first year annual fee waived.
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
110,000 points
Up to 10x points
19.99%
$599
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 110,000 welcome bonus Aeroplan points. New Cardmembers can earn up to $3,100 in value within the first year. Offer ends September 20, 2022.
Signature RBC Rewards Visa
N/A
1 point per $1 spent
19.99%
$39
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Earn 1 RBC Rewards point for every $1 you spend on qualifying purchases, plus earn bonus points through purchases at select retailers.
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Name Product Welcome Offer Cash Back Rate Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Reward Description
Neo Financial Mastercard
Get $25.00
Average 5% cash back
19.99% - 24.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
RBC Cash Back Mastercard
N/A
Up to 2% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
BMO CashBack Mastercard
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 3% cash back on groceries, 1% on recurring bill payments and 0.5% on all other eligible purchases.
Tangerine World Mastercard
15% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
15% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Walmart Rewards Mastercard
Up to $25 in Reward Dollars
Up to 1.25% cash back
19.89%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Neo Secured Card
15% cash back
5% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
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Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
RBC Cash Back Mastercard
N/A
Up to 2% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get 2% cash back on grocery store purchases, and up to 1% cash back on all other qualifying purchases and pre-authorized payments.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,500). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
Tangerine World Mastercard
15% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 15% cash back (up to $150) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months Until September 30, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
OFFER
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
15% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 15% cash back (up to $150) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months Until September 30, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
EXCLUSIVE
Neo Financial Mastercard
Get $25.00
Average 5% cash back
19.99% - 24.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Get $25 when you sign up for the Neo Financial Mastercard. Plus, earn bonuses like 15% cashback on your first purchase at most partners, and earn an average of 5% cashback at thousands of partners and at least 1% cashback guaranteed.
RBC Rewards+ Visa
3,500
Up to 1 points per $2 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Earn up to 3,500 RBC Rewards points by going digital in the first 60 days.
Neo Secured Card
15% cash back
5% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn bonuses like 15% cashback on your first purchase at most partners, and earn an average of 5% cashback at thousands of partners and at least 1% cashback guaranteed.
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1 - 3 of 3
Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Reward
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
12.99%
15.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($20 thereafter)
$15,000
Take advantage of an introductory balance transfer offer, annual fee waiver in the first year, and low purchase and cash advance interest rates.
Get a rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 2% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
12.99%
12.99%
$29
$12,000
Save on interest for 6 months by consolidating your higher-rate balances with the balance transfer offer, and get an on-going 12.99% interest rate on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers.
Get a 0.00% introductory interest rate on Cash Advances for the first 6 months. Plus, pay no annual fee in the first year. Apply by August 31, 2022.
National Bank Syncro Mastercard
8.90% or prime + 4.00%
12.90% or prime + 4.00%
$35
N/A
Enjoy low purchase interest, cash advance and balance transfer rates.
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Bottom line

It’s wise to wait 6 months between credit card applications. If you have a strong credit score and high income, you might be able to apply sooner. As a rule of thumb, 3 months is the minimum you should wait.

If you’ve decided it’s time to apply for your next credit card, consider our top picks for rewards, interest rates, and more and find the right card for you.

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