When is the best time to apply for a credit card – Forbes Advisor

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No season is necessarily best for credit card applications, but a number of personal financial situations and other factors affect when you should (or shouldn’t) apply for a new credit card.

Before you apply for a new card, it’s important to do your due diligence on which types of cards are best for your financial situation. Credit cards have different qualification requirements and benefits that you should be aware of before making the decision to apply.

Reasons to apply for a new credit card

Sometimes having a credit card already in your pocket can provide a huge advantage. Other times, applying for a credit card as part of a financing plan or other money move can be much more advantageous. What’s right for you will depend on how you plan to use the card and your financial and credit situation.

Carry a high interest balance

If you have a balance on a high-interest credit card, other cards can help you save time with a balance transfer. You can ease the burden of paying a high interest rate on an outstanding balance by applying for a card that offers a lower regular APR or, perhaps more helpfully, a low or 0% introductory APR for a limited period.

Several factors should be considered before attempting a balance transfer. The first should involve looking at your chances of being approved. Traditionally, credit card companies issuing cards with the best balance transfer offers look for applicants whose credit scores are in the “good” or best range. So, to have the best chance of being approved, an applicant must maintain a credit score above 700. If you don’t know your prime score, don’t worry, there are several ways to check your credit score for free .

Performing a balance transfer also usually involves a balance transfer fee, so you should carefully consider whether a reduced APR or an introductory APR period will actually save you money. If you can pay off the balance within a few months, the balance transfer fee may outweigh the interest charges. However, if you need a longer period to pay off what you owe, a balance transfer can often save you money despite the fees.

A balance transfer calculator can help you determine if transferring balance from one card to another is right for you. The best balance transfer credit cards have long introductory APR periods, but always remember that a regular APR applies at the end of a balance transfer period.

Make a big purchase

A 0% APR credit card can help you finance large purchases without interest over a period longer than a single billing cycle, but just be prepared that you have to make the purchase within a certain time frame at from the opening of the account. You can use a card like this to make the purchase and then use a promotional period of 0% interest to pay it off, but beware when the introductory 0% period ends a regular APR will applies to outstanding balances.

Credit cards typically charge double-digit APRs, which can add up quickly if you have a balance. The interest-free period of a 0% introductory APR offer allows you to repay the purchase over time without incurring significant interest charges that would make the purchase more expensive. The best 0% APR credit cards on the market have long introductory periods, often offering more than a year without interest.

Construction or repair loan

Credit cards also offer relatively simple opportunities to build or repair credit. Compared to other larger types of loans, such as car loans or home loans, credit cards are generally much less important to lenders. Whether you’re new to the world of credit and need to start fresh, or you have damaged credit, the right credit card can help.

Secured cards and cards designed specifically for students are good choices in these situations and can help establish a healthy credit history, showing lenders your reliability as a borrower.

Building credit with a credit card can pave the way to better credit cards, with more rewards and premium perks, and can also help prepare you for other types of borrowing . When you’re ready to buy a car, a house, or borrow money to start a business, the credit history established with a credit card can make or break a lender’s decision.

What is a good credit score?

It’s no surprise that it’s easier to get approved for credit cards with attractive rates and terms if you have a good credit rating. A credit score represents to a lender the risk of a borrower defaulting on a loan. Therefore, it would be beneficial to wait until your credit score and credit reports are in good shape before applying for a new credit card, especially cards with long intro APR periods or cards with great rewards programs.

According to FICO, the most widely used credit score model, the credit score ranges are as follows:

  • Exceptional: 800 to 850
  • Very good: 740 to 799
  • Good: 670 to 739
  • Fair: 580 to 669
  • Poor: 300 to 579

If you’re dealing with poor or fair credit, there are many steps you can take to improve your credit score. The first and most crucial is paying your bills on time each month, as this is the most important factor that affects your credit score.

You can also reduce your overall credit utilization, which is the amount of your overall credit limit that you actually use. A third useful tip that could give your score a boost is to check your credit report regularly and correct any errors you notice.

If these steps aren’t enough for your situation, try building your credit with a secured credit card.

Are pre-approval or pre-qualification offers helpful?

Receiving pre-approval or pre-qualification for a credit card can help you gauge the likelihood of being approved when you apply, but it’s not a guarantee. Lenders can find your information on lists of reliable consumer credit bureaus and send you offers after performing soft checks on your credit report.

These pre-approval offers can sometimes be more lucrative than those available to the general public, so if you’re interested, keep an eye on your inbox or mailbox and respond quickly to offers that interest you.

Issuers like American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Citibank, and Discover let you check online if you’re prequalified.

What happens if I apply for multiple credit cards?

Each time you apply for a credit card account, an in-depth investigation is carried out on your credit file. Every serious inquiry hurts your credit score a little. In some cases, a cumulative effect may apply where multiple inquiries are made within a short period of time.

While there isn’t necessarily a specific wait time for applying for another card, it’s important to weigh the trade-off between presenting multiple offers and maintaining a good credit score, so we recommend wait at least 90 days between applications for best results. results.

Can I request credit cards that I have closed?

Yes, you can apply for credit cards that you have previously closed. You will need to reapply and generally will not receive any preferential treatment as you previously held the card.

Some issuers may prevent you from claiming a welcome bonus again due to your former account ownership. Also, your previous account should have been in good standing when it was closed, otherwise the issuer is unlikely to approve your new application.

Find the best credit cards for 2022

No credit card is the best option for every family, every purchase or every budget. We have selected the best credit cards so as to be the most useful for the greatest number of readers.


Although the open season for credit card applications is year-round, your financial situation or credit standing may dictate when you should apply for a credit card. If you need to transfer a balance or fund a large purchase, you might want to do that on a new card with new 0% APR introductory periods. However, if you recently applied for a credit card, you may want to wait a while before reapplying.

Pre-approval or pre-qualification offers for cards with larger than average welcome bonuses can also present good opportunities to apply for a new card. Just beware of the credit consequences if you apply for new cards too often, and always carefully read the terms and conditions of any account you sign up for.

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