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If you’re looking to add another credit card to your wallet, it’s worth thinking about how applying for and getting a new card might affect your credit score — and the likelihood of you being approved for it. the new card.
Depending on the issuer, applying for a new credit card usually results in a thorough investigation, which occurs when a lender pulls your credit report to determine your creditworthiness. A gentle inquiry, on the other hand, has no impact on your credit score.
Although a serious application usually results in a slight short-term decrease in your credit score, applying for too many credit cards in a short time can be viewed negatively by lenders and lower your credit score even further. That said, while a serious inquiry will stay on your credit report for up to two years, it will only impact your credit score for up to one year.
Below, Select talks to Ted Rossman, credit card industry analyst at Bankrate.com, about how long people should really wait between credit card applications.
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The general rule for new card applications
It turns out that different issuers have different rules and preferences regarding how long consumers wait between credit card applications.
Chase, for example, is known for its 5/24 rule — in other words, the issuer rejects all applicants who have opened more than five cards with issuers in the last 24 months. Although Chase does not officially disclose which of its credit cards are subject to this rule, online speculation suggests that it applies to most if not all.
Capital One also has strict rules limiting consumers to just two of its cards, while they can only be approved for a new credit card every six months.
Rossman generally recommends people wait six months to apply for a new line of credit, because a thorough investigation typically results in a five to 10 point reduction in an individual’s FICO credit score. Many issuers may also view a consumer as riskier, and therefore more likely to reject them, if they have applied for multiple lines of credit in a short time.
“They [credit card issuers] tend to disapprove more than four or five inquiries over a two-year period,” says Rossman. “Once you start hitting six [inquiries] or more, it may have a more negative effect on your score.”
Rossman also advises people to think about their other financial goals before applying for a new credit card. “I would be especially cautious if you’re looking for a mortgage, as these lenders can be particularly nervous about recent applications,” Rossman says. “I would really try to be on your best behavior there because it’s a big deal.”
Improve and track your credit score
Whether you are interested in improve your credit score in order to get approved for a new credit card or if you hope to increase it after several credit checks, there are several ways to track and increase your credit score.
Experian Boost is a free service that allows consumers to include their one-time utility and subscription payments in calculating their credit scores. By connecting to your bank account, Experian Boost will analyze 24 months of payment history to find monthly payments for streaming services like Netflix® or recurring utilities like water bills.
You might also consider being added as an authorized user to someone else’s primary credit card account, which would allow you to piggyback on the primary cardholder’s positive payment history without being responsible for the credit card bill.
Finally, it is very important to monitor your credit report and check your credit score regularly if you are looking to get approved for a new line of credit. Everyone is entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—every year. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, individuals can also receive a weekly credit report from each bureau through the annualcreditreport.com website.
You can also use a credit monitoring service, which will alert you if fraud or other errors should occur on your credit file. Capital One’s CreditWise® and Experian Free Credit Monitoring are two nifty services that will monitor your credit score for free. If you’re interested in more features, including identity protection, Select has rated IdentityForce® as the highest paid credit monitoring service due to its extensive security features that monitor your information on a variety of sites. and services, including the dark web, court records and social media.
Improving your credit score can get you approved for more premium credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card, which currently offers a welcome bonus of 80,000 points after spending $4,000 at the within the first three months of account opening and a ton of travel perks. However, data suggests that you need a good to excellent credit score to be approved.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
$50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases and 1X points on all other purchases
Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. It’s $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
16.24% – 23.24% variable on purchases and balance transfers
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Foreign transaction fees
At the end of the line
Generally, it’s a good idea to wait about six months between credit card applications. Since applying for a new credit card will cause your credit score to drop slightly, multiple inquiries could result in a significant decrease. Also, filling out too many credit applications can be a red flag for issuers, so you’re more likely to be approved for a new credit card if you give it some time.
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Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of Select’s editorial staff only and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by any third party.