Editorial Note: We earn a commission on partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect the opinions or ratings of our editors.
If you’re researching credit products, you might find it makes sense to apply for multiple credit cards. Perhaps you are considering entering the Chase ecosystem and enjoying the synergies of owning a Chase Freedom Unlimited® card combined with a Chase Sapphire Preferred® card. Or maybe you’re starting to travel for work and are considering a hotel co-branded credit card, an airline credit card, and a premium travel card that offers lounge access.
In any case, is applying for several cards at the same time a good idea? Are there any advantages to doing this? How will this affect your credit score? Keep reading to find out.
Featured Partner Offer
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Up to 5 times the reward rate
Earn 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on meals and 2x on all other travel purchases, plusRead more
80,000 bonus points
16.24% – 23.24% variable
Excellent, Good (700 – 749)
What happens when you apply
Credit card applications generally follow a similar process of validation and (hopefully) approval. When you submit an application, you will be asked for identifying information such as your address, date of birth, and social security number. Once your application has been completed, it will go through several stages:.
First, a credit card issuer will check your application against their internal rules. Some banks have rules about how many applications they’ll approve you in a given time frame, or even how many credit cards you’re allowed to open in the previous 24 months. When you apply online for an American Express card, the issuer will verify your eligibility for a card’s welcome bonus and notify you via a pop-up window if you are not eligible for the bonus before processing your application. Often banks will check your request against their internal rules before processing your request.
Once your application passes a bank’s initial checks, the credit card issuer will pull one or more of your credit reports. The three major credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax and Transunion, all maintain separate credit profiles and generate their own scores for you based on their own algorithms and other proprietary data. Typically, banks will only verify one of these reports as part of your application process.
Generally, each credit report will contain the same information about your accounts and payment history, but one difference is that each credit bureau maintains a separate list of who has requested that specific credit report. When a bank retrieves your credit report for the purpose of processing a credit application, your credit report will show a credit application from that bank.
Finally, the credit card issuer will determine whether to extend you a new credit card and how much credit to extend based on a combination of your credit score, the amount of credit has already granted and your existing history with this bank. . Sometimes you will receive instant approval. Sometimes your request requires further consideration and you will receive the bank’s decision within a few days to a few weeks.
Related: How to Choose the Best Credit Card Pairs to Maximize Your Earnings
Some credit issuers combine credit drawdowns
One of the benefits of applying to multiple cards at the same time is that some credit issuing banks will combine your credit report requests into one request. If you’re looking to add more than one credit card from a bank in a short period of time, sometimes it can make sense to submit multiple applications on the same day. American Express, Chase, and Wells Fargo are known to combine multiple applications into one credit report request. Note that requests are only combined by bank; credit card applications with different banks always generate multiple applications.
Check your pre-qualification status or get pre-approved
Some banks allow you to check if you are pre-qualified or pre-approved for credit cards before submitting an application. If you’re unsure if you’ll have a good chance of being approved for a specific card, the card-issuing bank may offer you a chance to be pre-qualified or pre-approved without impacting your credit score.
American Express allows you to verify pre-qualified offers and Capital One allows potential new cardholders to be pre-approved for certain cards. Chase often pre-qualifies existing cardholders for new products. To find your Chase offers, go to the “Offers for You” menu after logging into your account on Chase.com. You can often get pre-qualified for credit cards by visiting a bank branch in person.
Pre-qualification is not a guarantee that you will be approved for a given credit card, but it can give you a pretty good idea of whether you will be approved once you submit your application.
Understand the impact of multiple credit applications on your credit
Applying for a credit card will generate serious inquiry on your credit report and the number of such inquiries on your report is a factor in calculating your credit score. This drop will likely only be a few points, but having a large number of recent inquiries on your report could signal to banks that you are a credit risk.
Unless you’re applying for a lot of credit cards, you shouldn’t worry too much about this drop. In the long run, applying for and using a credit card responsibly will likely boost your credit score because you’ll build an on-time payment history and increase the total amount of credit you have.
However, if you’re planning on applying for a mortgage or car loan in the near future, you might want to think twice about applying for a new credit card. If a small change in your score results in an increase in the interest rate, the rewards you get from your new credit card probably won’t be worth the increased interest you pay.
Beware of unwanted actions
An often overlooked risk of applying for a large number of credit cards in a short period of time is the risk to your existing banking relationships. Some banks are sensitive to existing cardholders submitting a large number of credit applications or increasing their credit amount too quickly. If a bank determines that you are at risk of default or fraud, they can quickly close all of your accounts. Many banks will even take away all the reward points you have accumulated if they close your accounts.
A bank probably won’t mind someone submitting two credit card applications at once, especially if it’s with another bank, but you might want to think twice about applying for five cards. in one day.
Related: The best credit card bundles for under $100 a year
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.
If you’re shopping for credit and find a few credit cards you’d like to open, it might be a good idea to submit your applications the same day. If you plan to apply for multiple credit cards in a short period of time, submitting your applications to the same bank on the same day can combine your credit applications.
Just be aware that some banks are sensitive to credit reports showing a lot of inquiries and the impact on your credit score could be greater if you don’t have a long established credit history.