How Often Can You Apply for a Credit Card

By Jason Steele · April 15, 2024 · 7 minute read

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How Often Can You Apply for a Credit Card

If you are wondering how often you can apply for a credit card, the right pace will vary based on the person, their credit score, and the card issuer’s restrictions. While there’s no single hard number when it comes to that query, once every six months is a good pace.

If you have good credit, a more frequent pace can be fine. If you have poor credit, however, you might want to slow things down. Read on to learn the ins and outs of how often you can apply for a credit card.

How Applying for a Credit Card Affects Your Credit Score

If you want to apply for a new credit card, you may be concerned about whether applying for credit cards hurt credit score. Applying for a credit card can affect your credit score in a few ways, including credit utilization, new credit inquiries, the average age of your accounts, and your credit mix. Here’s a closer look.

New Credit Inquiry

There are two types of credit inquiries: hard versus soft credit inquiries. During a soft inquiry, which is also called a soft pull or a soft credit check, a credit card issuer will check your credit, but it won’t affect your credit score.

However, when you apply for a new credit card, the credit card issuer will probably do a hard credit check. Hard credit inquiries do negatively affect your credit score. Every hard inquiry can drop your credit score by up to five points. However, this impact won’t last forever. Hard inquiries remain on your credit report for up to two years but they can only impact your score for 12 months.

Credit Utilization

Credit utilization is the amount of revolving credit you are currently using divided by the total credit available to you. Credit utilization is usually expressed as a percentage. When you open a new line of credit, like a new credit card, your total credit limit increases, and your credit utilization ratio decreases. This can help build your credit score. Experts recommend keeping your credit utilization below 30%.

Credit utilization can affect your credit score. And if you are approved for a new card, when that credit limit is added to your current credit limit, your total maximum will likely increase, which can lower your utilization percentage.

Average Age of Accounts

The longer the average age of your accounts on your credit report, the higher your credit score will likely be for that category. When you open a new account, it will reduce the average age of your accounts. If you have established credit with multiple accounts that are several years old, a new account opening may not have a significant impact. If all of your accounts are new, adding additional new accounts may have a greater negative impact.

Credit Mix

Lenders like to see that borrowers have a variety of different types of credit. This shows that they can handle different types of payments. The impact of opening a new credit card has on your credit mix will depend on your current credit array. If you already have several credit cards, it may not impact your credit score much. If you don’t have any other existing credit cards, opening up a new credit card could improve your credit mix and therefore help build your credit score.

Recommended: How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?

How Often Should You Apply for a Credit Card

Now, about the question of how often you can apply for a new credit card: While there is no hard and fast rule about how often to apply for a credit card, some experts recommend waiting at least six months between credit card applications.

•   Those with poor credit may need to wait even longer between applications to maximize their chances of getting approved for a new credit card.

•   Those with excellent credit can probably apply for a new card more often, like every three months.

Why You Should Wait Before Applying

Here are some reasons why you should think twice and delay before applying for a new credit card:

•   If you don’t know how to use a credit card responsibly, you may want to consider waiting before applying for a credit card.

Worth noting: If you have bad credit from a maxed out credit card, you may want to work on building your credit score first. Some tips:

•   If your credit utilization ratio is high because you don’t have a high credit limit, you could try implementing the 15/3 credit card payment method. The 15/3 credit card payment method is when you make two payments each statement period instead of one. You pay half of your credit card statement balance 15 days before the due date on your statement, and then make another payment three days before the due date. This additional payment can help lower your credit utilization ratio throughout the month, which can also help improve your credit score.

•   Other reasons you may want to wait before applying for a credit card include if you’re buying or refinancing a home currently, since applying for a new credit card can result in a higher mortgage interest rate or potentially being declined from the mortgage altogether.

•   You should also evaluate the credit card benefits and welcome offer to make sure it is the right fit for you and the best offer that you can get. Credit card sign-up bonuses fluctuate throughout the year. Before applying for a credit card, you should do some research to see what the highest offer has been. If the current offer is significantly lower, consider waiting to apply for that card.

How Many Credit Cards Can You Apply for at One Time

Technically, you can apply for as many credit cards at once as you want. However, you likely won’t get approved for all of them. And you could trigger a slew of hard credit inquiries. So putting in a load of applications likely won’t be worth the negative impact on your credit score.

Credit Card Issuer Restrictions

How many credit cards you can apply for at one time will vary based on the credit card issuer. Each card issuer has its own rules and restrictions about applications. American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Discover, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo all have their own issuer restrictions regarding applications, cards and welcome offers.

Credit Card Tips

Once you have been approved for an additional credit card, you need to know how to manage multiple credit cards. Try these strategies to stay in good financial health:

•   Understand your obligations. There are several credit card rules to understand so that you maintain your credit score, while taking advantage of the credit card benefits. One of the more important ones is to always pay at least the minimum amount due on time.

•   When you are issued your credit card, it will have an expiration date. The credit card expiration date is usually three to five years after being issued. You can find the expiration date on the credit card itself. After the card expires, the issuer will usually give you a new card, as long as your account is still active.

•   However, what happens if you don’t use your credit card is that the issuer may close your account. So make sure you are using your credit card.

•   Also, make sure you are using your credit card responsibly. That means keeping an eye on your credit limit, your credit utilization ratio, and when your payments are due.

Recommended: What Is a Credit Card Expiration Date?

The Takeaway

How often you should apply for a credit card will depend on a variety of factors, like your credit history, the card issuer, the current offers available, and more. It can be wise to not apply for new credit cards more often than every six months. And once you have a new credit card, make sure to use it responsibly.

Whether you're looking to build credit, apply for a new credit card, or save money with the cards you have, it's important to understand the options that are best for you. Learn more about credit cards by exploring this credit card guide.


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

Some financial experts recommend waiting at least six months between credit card applications. However, there is no hard and fast rule about how often to apply for a credit card. It will vary depending on your credit score and the restrictions from the card issuer.

Do I have to wait six months to apply for another credit card?

Waiting six months between credit card applications is not a defined requirement. If you have poor credit, you may need to wait longer than six months between applications to maximize your chances of getting approved for a new credit card. If you have excellent credit, you can probably apply for a new card more often, like every three months.

How often can I apply for a credit card without hurting my credit?

Each credit card application results in a hard inquiry, which hurts your credit score temporarily. Keep that fact in mind as you consider applying.

Photo credit: iStock/Eva-Katalin

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.


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