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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.
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- Annual fee: $120
- Credit rating: 700
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.