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There's no limit to how many credit cards you can apply for in a day, but submitting multiple applications at once isn't necessarily a good idea. Applying for and opening several cards can result in hard inquiries and a lowered average age of accounts that can hurt your credit scores. And regardless of your credit score or income, credit card issuers may limit how many credit cards they'll approve at once.
When You May Want to Apply for More Than One Credit Card
In general, the reasons for wanting to apply for more than one credit card may fall into two broad categories—you're having trouble accessing enough credit, or you want to earn more rewards. This could be the case if:
- Your first application gets denied
- You want multiple cards' rewards and benefits
- You want to earn several intro bonuses
- You want to get two rewards cards that work well together
Regardless of the reason, it's best to take it slow, do your research and apply for one credit card at a time. There are times when it's OK to apply for more than one card, but there are a few things you should be aware of if you're considering submitting multiple applications in one day—or even within a few months of each other.
Why You Shouldn't Apply for Too Many Credit Cards in a Day
Applying for and opening multiple credit cards during a short period might not be a good idea because it can:
- Cause multiple hard inquiries: Each application may lead to a hard inquiry, which can hurt your credit scores. Hard inquiries can stay on your credit reports for up to two years, even if the credit card issuer doesn't approve your application, though they won't affect your scores after a year.
- Decrease the average age of your accounts: Every new credit card you get could lower the average age of all the accounts in your credit report. A higher average age of accounts can contribute more positively to your credit scores.
- Lead to overspending: It might be hard to meet the minimum spending requirements if you open several new cards with the intent of earning the intro bonuses.
- Impact your future applications: Card issuers may also deny applications if you've opened too many cards recently, including for cards from other issuers.
Multiple applications doesn't necessarily mean more approvals, either. Even if you get approved for your first card, you might not get a second. Some credit card terms and conditions pages explicitly state that you won't be eligible for a card offer if you've applied for a certain number of cards from the issuer within the last, say, 30 days.
To make an educated decision about whether submitting multiple applications in one day makes sense for you, be sure you understand the card issuers' rules as well as the potential impact on your credit scores. The best path forward may be to start with the card you want the most and reassess after you've had it for a few months.
Alternatives to Applying for Multiple Credit Cards
You also might be able to accomplish your goals without applying for multiple cards or hurting your credit:
- Call the card issuer if you're declined. If your first application gets denied, you could try calling the credit card issuer to ask if there's anything you can do to change the decision. For example, you might have been automatically declined because your credit reports were frozen and inaccessible. A temporary thaw could let the issuer review your credit and approve your application.
- Focus on improving your credit. You may also want to hit pause on the applications and try to improve your credit before applying. Using free tools like Experian Boost™† , making your payments on time and paying down current credit card balances can all help. You could also look for cards that don't require a good credit score and use them as part of your credit-improvement plan.
- Request a credit limit increase. If you need access to more credit, a credit limit increase on one (or more) of your current cards might be a solution. First, update your income information with the company if it's higher than you first reported. Also, read the terms carefully, as a credit limit increase request sometimes triggers a hard inquiry.
- Get prequalified, or answer a preapproval letter. Some credit card issuers let you get prequalified or preapproved for their cards without causing a hard credit inquiry. You can also review any preapproval letters you may have gotten in the mail recently. This could help you avoid submitting applications for cards that you likely won't get.
You can have a lot of credit cards and still have an excellent credit score. But limiting how often you apply can make it easier to qualify for intro bonuses without overspending and limit the negative impact on your credit scores.
Get Matched With Card Offers
If you want a new credit card, but aren't sure which one to get or which you'll likely be approved for, you can view personalized credit offers in the Experian CreditMatch™ marketplace. After logging in, you can get credit card offers based on your unique credit profile, and perform side-by-side card comparisons to review the options before you apply.