How Many Credit Cards Can You Apply for at Once?

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How Many Credit Cards Can You Apply for at Once

Jumping into credit cards is kind of like walking into a candy shop — loads of choices and not enough time to try them all. But hey, just like gobbling down too much candy can give you a tummy ache, going overboard with credit card applications can mess with your finances. So, what’s the deal? How many are too many, and where’s that perfect balance for keeping your credit in check? Read on to learn how many cards you can apply for at once. 

Meanwhile, you should know that building a good credit score takes time and effort, but it’s definitely achievable. MoneyLion can help you achieve this! Our app offers tools and resources to help you manage your credit and help build a brighter financial future. You can also check the various debit and credit cards below that meet your requirements.

MoneyLion can help you explore a wide variety of credit card options tailored to different needs and preferences.

Understanding how many credit cards you can apply for at once

You are allowed to apply for numerous credit cards. There’s no strict rule stopping you from submitting several applications. However, each application could temporarily lower your credit score because of the hard inquiries lenders make to check your credit history.

Typically, a hard inquiry might lower your credit score by a few points, but the impact is temporary, usually affecting your score for up to a year, even though the inquiry remains on your credit report for two years.

When should you apply for multiple credit cards?

Applying for multiple cards might be a good idea in certain scenarios. For instance, if you’re looking to increase your available credit or you’re interested in diversifying the rewards and benefits you receive, such as cashback, travel miles, or hotel points. Just make sure you’re also considering the impact on your credit score and managing your new credit responsibly.

How often should you apply for credit cards?

In the world of credit cards, experts generally recommend waiting six months between applications, according to CNBC. This might seem like a wait, but there are two smart reasons behind it.

First, applying for too many cards in a short period can make you appear credit-hungry to lenders. Think of it like applying for every job opening you see – it might raise some eyebrows. Spreading out your applications shows you’re a responsible borrower, not someone desperately seeking credit.

Second, each application triggers a hard inquiry on your credit report. Although a single inquiry usually has a small impact, several clustered together can add up and result in a noticeable drop. While a few might not be a big deal, a bunch clustered together can bring your score down. Waiting between applications allows these inquiries to “age” on your report, just like those school marks eventually fade. This means they have less impact on your overall credit score.

Building good credit can help unlock a world of financial benefits, like qualifying for better interest rates on loans and mortgages. If you’re looking for a way to build or improve your credit, join MoneyLion WOW membership and apply for up to a $1,000 Credit Builder Loan with a competitive rate and no hard credit check*.

Pros and cons of multiple credit card applications

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to building your credit with credit cards. Applying for new cards can offer some great advantages, but there are also potential drawbacks to be aware of. 

Advantages of applying for multiple credit cards:

  • Unlock rewards and benefits: Many cards offer enticing rewards programs, like cashback on purchases, travel rewards points you can redeem for flights or hotels, or even extended warranties on your purchases. Having a variety of cards allows you to maximize rewards based on your spending habits.
  • Improve your credit utilization: This refers to the percentage of your available credit limit that you’re actually using. Keeping your balances low across all your cards contributes to a healthy credit utilization ratio, a major factor in your credit score.
  • Increased access to credit: With more cards comes a higher total credit limit. This can be helpful in emergencies or for making larger purchases you’ve been planning for.

Disadvantages of applying for multiple credit cards:

  • Hard inquiries can hurt your score: Each time you apply for a card, a hard inquiry is placed on your credit report. While a single inquiry might not cause a significant dip, multiple inquiries in a short period can lower your score.
  • The temptation to overspend: Having easy access to credit can be tempting, especially if you’re not disciplined with your budget. Juggling multiple cards and payments can lead to overspending and potential debt.
  • Annual fees: Some cards have annual fees, which can outweigh the benefits if you’re not strategic about your choices. Consider if the rewards and perks justify the annual cost.

Alternatives to applying for multiple credit cards

Before hitting the apply button on multiple credit cards, you’ll want to explore some alternative strategies that can also give your financial health a boost.

Prioritize paying off existing debt before considering new credit

One powerful strategy is to focus on paying off any current debts before applying for new credit. This isn’t just good for your peace of mind, it also has a double benefit for your credit score. First, it improves your credit utilization ratio (the amount of credit you’re using compared to your limit), which is a major factor. Second, it reduces the interest you pay over time, freeing up more cash.

There are two popular methods for tackling debt:

  • The Avalanche Approach: Focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. This saves you the most money in interest charges overall.
  • The Snowball Method: Pay off the smallest debts first, regardless of interest rate. This can provide a motivational boost as you see debts disappear quickly.

Consolidate existing debts with a personal loan

If you’re juggling multiple debts, consolidating them into a single personal loan can simplify your finances. This could potentially snag you a lower interest rate than your current credit cards, saving you money and making payments easier to manage. Instead of juggling multiple bills, you’ll have one monthly payment, thus reducing the chance of missed payments that hurt your credit score.

Use a balance transfer credit card 

If you’re drowning in high-interest credit card debt, transferring the balance to a card with a lower interest rate, or even a 0% introductory rate, can be a smart move. This lets you pay down the debt without the interest burden growing, especially during the promotional period. 

Just be sure to factor in any balance transfer fees and the standard interest rate that kicks in after the intro period is over. This strategy works best if you’re confident you can pay off the transferred balance before the promo period ends.

Smart steps to save your credit score

There’s no magic number for how many credit cards are “too many.” The key is to be strategic and consider your needs. Think about your financial goals, spending habits, and creditworthiness before applying. Spreading out your applications allows you to reap the rewards and benefits while minimizing the impact on your credit score.


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

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how long you should wait to apply for another credit card after approval. Generally, waiting six months between credit card applications is a good idea. This helps reduce the impact on your credit score and shows lenders you’re not desperate to build new credit. 

Can applying for multiple credit cards at once increase my chances of approval?

Applying for multiple credit cards at once doesn’t necessarily increase your chances of approval. In fact, it might have the opposite effect. Lenders see multiple applications in a short period as a sign of financial distress or high risk. 

Will applying for multiple credit cards at once affect my credit utilization ratio?

Yes, applying for multiple credit cards at once can affect your credit utilization ratio but the impact can vary depending on whether you are approved and how you use the new credit. If approved for multiple cards, your total available credit increases, which could lower your overall credit utilization ratio if you don’t increase your spending. 

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