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Q: How long should I wait in between opening new credit cards? I don’t want to hurt my credit. But I do want to take advantage of some new offers.
A: You should be conservative in the number of times you open a new credit card account for a number of reasons.
To begin with, each time you do so it shows up on your credit history as a new, open account. Even if you never use the card you have just recently applied and been approved for, it is still going to show up this way.
Also, applying for and opening new credit accounts do not make your credit history look better. In fact, it may have little, if any, positive impact on your FICO score. It may even serve to lower it, for the same reason mentioned above.
If creditors feel that you have too many open accounts, this may affect their decision in extending you more credit or raising a line of credit amount.
Applying for and opening new credit card accounts is not a way to make you look less like someone just building a credit history. Again, creditors will not necessarily see this; what they will see is all those open accounts, and, again this may affect their decisions concerning loan opportunities.
Only apply for and open new credit accounts as you need to.
If you do not have a legitimate reason for opening a new credit card account (for example, keeping business and personal finances separate) then don’t open one just for the sake of doing so.
Often, chasing the latest credit card welcome offer can lead you to lowering your credit score and encourage excess spending. At that point, you are no longer using credit as a tool. Credit is using you to enrich banks and shops.
To learn more about how your credit score is computed, and how to improve it, please check out our Credit Score Page.