How Long Should I Wait to Apply for Another Credit Card?

Updated on March 12, 2024

At a Glance

  • When applying for a new credit card, it is advisable to wait at least 90 days, and ideally six months, between applications to avoid negatively impacting your credit score.
  • Some credit card companies, like Capital One, enforce specific waiting periods, and multiple applications within a short period may raise concerns and lead to rejections.
  • Various credit card companies have their own restrictions on applications, such as Chase’s 5/24 rule.
  • Being cautious with the timing of applications is important, especially when considering other financial commitments like home loans or when rebuilding credit after previous issues.

Most credit card companies have partnerships with travel companies and grocery stores to provide cashback on different transactions you make. Of course, it’s not possible to claim too many of these rewards with just a single credit card. So you might be thinking about applying for another credit card to increase your chances of getting that free meal or discounted flight.

However, you might wonder whether you can apply for multiple credit cards without affecting your credit score. Let’s explore this in more detail so you know exactly what to do before you apply for another credit card.

How Often Should You Apply for a New Credit Card?

Credit card companies usually do not place limits on the number of credit cards you can apply for. However, applying for a credit card too often might affect your credit score, and you might even run into problems with credit companies. This is why it is advisable to wait at least 90 days to apply for a second credit card. If possible, letting a six-month period go by between credit cards would be ideal. 

Some credit card companies also place restrictions on the waiting period. For instance, Capital One requires applicants to wait at least six months before applying for a second credit card. 

Ethan Steinberg, a credit card expert for The Points Guy, suggests basing your timing of applying for a new credit card based on the company:

“If you’re one of those people who likes to apply for credit cards in batches of two to three at a time, you should try and do your Citi and Capital One applications first to minimize the number of recent inquiries on your report.”

Credit Card Application Process Length

Even if you have to wait before you can begin the application process for a second credit card, the good news is that the application process itself only takes a few minutes to be completed. You will also know whether your application has been rejected or approved in a matter of minutes.

If your credit card application has been approved, then it should take about ten days for your credit card to arrive in the mail. If you have applied for an Uber Visa card, an Apple Card, or any other instant use credit card, then you will be able to use these credit cards as soon as you get the approval.

If the lender has rejected your application, then the lender is required to submit an explanation for the rejection. This explanation, commonly known as an “adverse action notice,” will take about ten days to arrive in your mail. You can use the adverse action notice to understand why your application was denied and build up your credit score before applying again.

Why You Should Consider Waiting

Waiting between credit card applications is always a smart move. Why? Well, there are two main reasons why you should consider waiting before your next credit card application.

Keep Your Credit Score in Check

Every time you apply for a new credit card, your credit card lender will conduct a credit inquiry into your report. And each time a credit inquiry is performed, your credit score is going to take a hit.

However, if you wait between credit card applications, you will allow enough time to pass by for your credit score to bounce back again. But if you continue to apply for credit cards within a short period, then your credit score is definitely going to be affected. Lenders will take this as a sign that you might be planning on taking on a lot of debt, and as a result, your credit card application might be rejected.

Credit card issuers may also limit the number of credit cards you can open within a short period. If you have already opened multiple credit cards within a certain period, then your credit card lender might automatically reject your application.

Credit Card Companies With Application Restrictions

As we have already mentioned, Capital One is one company that requires cardholders to wait at least six months before putting in an application for a second credit card. But Capital One is no exception for credit card companies and their restrictions on multiple credit card applications. Let’s take a look at some other credit card companies that have restrictions on applications.


One of the most well-known restrictions on credit card applications is Chase’s 5/24 rule. This rule restricts you to only five new credit cards within 24 months.


You need to wait at least eight days before you can apply for a second credit card at Citi, and you cannot apply for more than two credit cards within 65 days. You are also required to wait at least 90 days for a second business credit card.


Discover cardholders can only apply for one credit card every year. You also cannot apply for more than two credit cards at a given time.

American Express

Cardholders cannot apply for more than two credit cards within a 90-day window at American Express. They also cannot have more than four credit cards and ten Amex charge cards.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo also requires cardholders to wait at least six months before applying for a second one.

Bank of America

Bank of America enforces a 2/3/4 rule on credit cards. What does this mean? Well, these numbers refer to the number of credit cards you can apply for within periods of 30 days, 12 months, and 24 months. Specifically, you can apply for two credit cards within 30 days, three credit cards within 12 months, and four credit cards within 24 months, respectively.

Considerations When Thinking About Another Credit Card

While obtaining multiple credit cards might increase your chances of getting cashback and rewards, they might also increase your chances of getting into trouble with credit card companies.

Too Many Applications Suggest Risk

Credit card companies usually flag multiple applications in a short period as a signal for financial distress. If you apply for too many credit cards within a short period, most credit card companies assume you are either buried in debt or will soon declare bankruptcy.

Certified Fund Specialist, Marion G. Cuff, explained that “too many inquiries on your credit report in a short time can also make lenders suspicious. Loan officers may assume that you’re being turned down repeatedly for credit or that you’re up to something—going on a shopping spree, financing a bad habit, or borrowing to pay off other debts.”

Why You Should Be Overly Cautious

There are a few times when you need to be extra cautious when it comes to the timing of your credit card applications. For instance, if you’re thinking of taking out a home loan, you should ideally wait at least six months between credit card applications so your credit score is optimal.

It is also a good idea to wait at least six months between multiple credit card applications, especially if you have bad credit or limited credit on your report. The same goes for situations where you are trying to rebuild your credit score after a spot of trouble.

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Now that you know all of the restrictions and limitations placed on applying for multiple credit cards within a short period, you will hopefully be able to make a more informed decision before you send in that second or third credit card application. Good luck!

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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