If you are new to using credit, how often can you actually submit your credit card application without being labeled as high risk? This may not seem like an important question. However, applying quickly for many cards can harm your credit rating.
When you submit your application, the lender requests your credit file and credit rating number from one of the three major credit rating bureaus. This request appears in your credit file.
Choosing Credit Cards
Before you apply for credit cards you should obtain a copy of your credit report from the three major rating agencies. This will allow you to see what the lender learns about your personal spending habits. How often you apply for credit cards is part of the report in your file.
It is easy to get carried away with all the wonderful rewards and benefits offered by credit card lenders. However, there is no point in applying for credit cards you cannot qualify for. Many lenders today give an estimate of the creditworthiness necessary to be approved for certain credit card offers.
Multiple Applications Can Damage Your Credit Rating
Should you apply for credit cards by filling out every great offer you receive by mail or find online, the credit agencies will label you as high risk as it appears you are trying to generate multiple lines of credit.
In reality, you may be trying to qualify for the best offers you can find. You fill out many applications in the hope that one will approve you for a credit account.
If you know your credit rating is average, the question is not how often you should apply for credit cards. Instead it is which applications are likely to be accepted. If you apply for credit accounts that state “excellent credit required”, you will not be accepted if your credit rating is only average.
On your credit report there will be a detailed list of what you have applied for and any applications that are declined are also listed. The more applications you submit that are rejected, the more it looks as if you are just wildly trying to find money to spend.
Adding More Credit Cards
Each additional credit card account generates another open line of credit. If you have a good record of payment on your current accounts, adding a new credit card is not a problem.
If you have credit cards with debt that is just below the spending limit, you may not be approved for a new account unless you have an excellent credit rating.
This is easy to understand as lenders would see one or more credit cards charged to the limit and a consumer applying for more credit to enable more spending.
Replacing Credit Cards
How often should you submit your credit card application if you are seeking a lower APR or better terms? Again, apply only for the new credit card account that will provide what you need. Do not fill out multiple applications over a short period of time.
A good example is applying for a new account offering a 0% APR for the first six months to one year. If you have credit card debt on a high interest rate account it makes sense to transfer that debt to a card with lower finance charges.
Revolving Credit Card Accounts are Now High Risk Financially
Not long ago it was consider smart financially to transfer your debt every six months or so to a new 0% interest rate account. By doing so, you could pay off your debt over 2-3 years with no finance charges.
The problem with this approach is that experts advise consumer not to close credit cards accounts when they are paid off. Each time you transfer a balance to a newly created account you are adding to the spending limits available to you.
After two or three transfers, lenders will recognize the pattern and you will be denied due to “too much spending limit available”.
How often you should apply for credit cards depends on your personal needs and your credit rating. Submitting many applications in a short period of time is viewed by rating bureaus as a signal of someone with financial problems. You do not want to create this impression.
Apply for a new credit card only when you find a better offer or plan to transfer current debt to an account offering lower APR or an excellent introductory rate. I also recommend you to read our useful guide on how to consolidate your cards with ease!