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How often can you apply for a credit card?

Here's a scenario you may have encountered: You find yourself wanting to apply for two different credit cards at once. One card may be attractive for its bonus features; another because it can help to build credit. So, you're tempted to apply for both cards at the same time but wonder how often you can apply for a credit card.

What happens when you apply for a credit card?

When you apply for a credit card, the lender will submit a hard inquiry, which is a formal request for the applicant's credit report. The three major credit bureaus, Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion® perform their investigation and record it as a part of the applicant's credit history, which typically results in a temporary dip in the applicant's credit score.

Is it bad to apply for multiple credit cards?

It's hard to say whether it's bad to apply for multiple credit cards at once. It really depends on your personal situation, including your current credit score. So, here are a few things you may consider before applying for multiple credit cards within a short period of time:

  • Multiple credit card applications result in multiple hard inquiries that may noticeably lower your credit score.
  • Opening several accounts around the same time decreases the average age of your credit history, which can also impact your credit score.
  • Some credit card issuers won't accept applications from someone who has applied for multiple cards at once or within a certain amount of time.

How long to wait between credit card applications

There doesn't seem to be an official waiting period between credit card applications, but you may want to wait between applications to help avoid multiple hard inquiries on your credit.

In summary

You can apply for a credit card as often as you want, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. There are a lot of factors to consider, and there will likely be some downside if you apply for multiple credit cards at once. If you're still eager to apply for your next card quickly, keep in mind how it may impact your credit score.

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