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

Wait three to six months between card applications.

Updated

Fact checked

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, six or more months is the optimal waiting period, as it’s long enough that your previous application won’t drag down your next one. However, you can apply sooner if you’re a strong applicant with an excellent credit score.

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.
  • 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 long should I wait to apply for another credit card?

    Typically, it’s best to wait at least six 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 three months between applications.

    As we discussed above, submitting multiple credit applications within a short period of time implies the applicant is desperate for credit. Three to six months is generally enough time for a previous application not to negatively impact your new application.

    Can I submit multiple credit card applications at the same time?

    Yes — you can submit applications for different credit cards at the same time. But consider avoiding this, because 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.

    Compare credit cards that’ll 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 Annual fee Filter values
    Chase Freedom Flex℠
    $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores on up to $12,000 in the first year
    5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
    $0
    Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
    Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
    $150 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
    2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
    $0
    Get 3% cash back on groceries on up to $6,000 annually (then 1%) with no annual fee. This is a simple and effective rewards card. Rates & fees
    Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
    $250 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
    6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
    $95
    Perfect for families: Get up to 6% on everyday purchases and a welcome offer worth $250. This heavy-hitter rewards card has uncontested value. Rates & fees
    Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
    80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $1,000 through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
    $95
    Earn a huge signup bonus worth $$1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
    Citi® Double Cash Card
    N/A
    Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)
    $0
    Earn up to 2% on every purchase with no annual fee. This is the highest flat-rate cashback card on the market.
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    Compare up to 4 providers

    Bottom line

    It’s wise to wait six 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, three months is the minimum you should wait.

    If you’ve decided it’s time to apply for your next credit card, consider the best cards currently on the market.

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