Can you apply for multiple credit cards?

Learn about applying for multiple credit cards at the same time, how it could impact your credit scores, and more.

With so many credit cards out there, it might be hard to choose one. Plus, you might not know which cards give you the best chance of being approved. 

You could apply for multiple credit cards at the same time. But it’s worth keeping in mind that it could affect your credit scores. Read on to learn more about how multiple credit card applications can affect your credit and what you can do to minimize the impact.

How applying for multiple credit cards at the same time might affect your credit scores

Whether you’re trying to build or rebuild credit or earn rewards, it may be tempting to apply for multiple credit cards at once. 

After all, it’s common to get multiple rate quotes on other types of credit—including auto financing and mortgages—to find the best deal. And if you shop around for auto loan or mortgage rates over a short period of time, it might not affect your credit score much at all.

That’s because, as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) explains, “When lenders offering the same type of loan request your credit score(s) within a time span ranging from 14 to 45 days, it will only count as a single inquiry, depending on the credit scoring model used.”

With credit cards, however, each application could result in a separate hard inquiry. As FICO® explains, a hard inquiry may temporarily lower your credit score—typically by just a few points. But multiple hard inquiries over a short period of time could have more of an impact on your credit.

Why? Because, as the CFPB explains, “If you apply for a lot of credit over a short period of time, it may appear to lenders that your economic circumstances have changed negatively.” So, the CFPB recommends applying only for the credit you truly need.

Keep in mind that there are multiple credit scores and scoring models. And scoring companies like FICO and VantageScore® have different versions of their own scores. So you might see slight differences in your score depending on which model was used.

Can you apply for multiple credit cards from the same credit card issuer?

Whether you can apply for multiple credit cards from the same credit card issuer depends on the issuer and its policy. Since credit card issuers set their own policies, the answer might differ from issuer to issuer. And the answer might also depend on how many cards you’re applying for at once.

Still, there are reasons people might consider having multiple credit cards from the same issuer. For example, it could give you access to rewards and perks that come with different types of credit cards—as long as you use the cards responsibly.

Just keep in mind that too many applications over a short period of time can affect your credit scores. And having multiple credit cards means keeping up with more than one monthly credit card bill. 

Can you apply for the same credit card twice?

Remember: Credit card issuers set their own application policies. So whether you can apply for the same credit card twice depends on the issuer and its policy.

If your application is denied, you have the right to know why. As the CFPB explains, “The creditor must tell you the specific reason for the rejection or that you are entitled to learn the reason if you ask within 60 days.”

And if you’re able to improve your creditworthiness, you might be able to successfully reapply in the future.

How long should you wait between credit card applications?

There’s no rule for how long to wait between credit card applications. But waiting between applications can help protect your credit score from the negative effects of multiple hard inquiries. However, don’t forget that other factors can still affect your credit score in the time between applications.

Improve your chances of approval before you apply

Each credit card application can impact your credit—whether you’re approved or not. That’s why it makes sense to apply only for credit that you need and that you have a good chance of being approved for.

Before applying for a credit card, here are some best practices to help you get approved:

  • Start good credit habits early. Responsible behavior like keeping your balances low and avoiding late payments can help you build your credit. And credit card companies will likely look at your payment history when they consider your application.
  • Know your credit score and history. Lenders look at your credit information whenever you apply for a credit card. And a good credit score and a positive credit report could mean you’re more likely to get approved.
  • Consider your debt-to-income ratio. Your debt-to-income ratio is a simple comparison of how much you owe and how much you earn. Understanding this balance can help you apply for a reasonable amount of credit so that you don’t end up with monthly payments you can’t afford.
  • Check whether you’re pre-approved. Pre-approval or pre-qualification can help you compare options and find the right fit. And with pre-approval from Capital One, you can find out whether you’re pre-approved for some of Capital One’s credit cards before you even apply. It’s quick and only requires some basic info—and it won’t hurt your credit score.
  • Understand that building credit takes time. Whether you’re rebuilding your credit or establishing credit for the first time, there are no shortcuts. Building credit takes time and responsible financial behavior.

Why it’s important to monitor your credit

Monitoring your credit is important when you’re applying for a new credit card. And it’s just as important after you have your new card. It helps you stay on top of the factors that impact your credit scores.

One way to monitor your credit is with CreditWise from Capital One. CreditWise gives you free access to your TransUnion® credit report and weekly VantageScore 3.0 credit score—without hurting your score. And with the CreditWise Simulator, you can explore the potential impact of your financial decisions before you make them.

CreditWise is free and available to everyone—even if you don’t have a Capital One account.

You can also get free credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus—Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion. Just call 877-322-8228 or visit to learn how.

Learn more about Capital One’s response to COVID-19 and resources available to customers. For information about COVID-19, head over to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Government and private relief efforts vary by location and may have changed since this article was published. Consult a financial adviser or the relevant government agencies and private lenders for the most current information.

We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

Your CreditWise score is calculated using the TransUnion® VantageScore® 3.0 model, which is one of many credit scoring models. It may not be the same model your lender uses, but it can be one accurate measure of your credit health. The availability of the CreditWise tool depends on our ability to obtain your credit history from TransUnion. Some monitoring and alerts may not be available to you if the information you enter at enrollment does not match the information in your credit file at (or you do not have a file at) one or more consumer reporting agencies.

The CreditWise Simulator provides an estimate of your score change and does not guarantee how your score may change.

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