Many consumers use credit cards for everyday purchases. You don’t have to worry about overdraft fees and can build your credit by repaying your debt. Applying for a credit card can feel exciting as you think about your purchasing power and rewards. Applying for a credit card at the right time can help you get lower interest rates and better rewards without creating unnecessary challenges for yourself.
When to apply for a new credit card
Are you wondering if now is the right time to apply for a credit card? These signs indicate that it might be a good time to get a credit card.
Pre-qualified consumers can get approved without a hard inquiry on their credit reports. A hard inquiry will reduce your credit score by a few points. This inquiry causes some people to delay their credit card application, but with this risk no longer posing a threat, it makes sense to apply for a credit card.
You’ve got good credit
Most people use credit cards to establish good credit before getting a loan. When you get a credit card with no credit or bad credit, you will have higher interest rates. After building your credit over time, you can apply for another credit card (or your first) to qualify for lower interest rates and better rewards programs.
You want to build credit
A credit card is one of the easiest ways to start building credit. Not everyone has enough money to afford a mortgage or auto loan. Credit cards give 18-year-olds a viable way to build their credit. Increasing your credit now and maintaining a favorable credit/debt ratio will help you qualify for mortgages and auto loans. You can even get higher loan amounts and lower interest rates if you have a high credit score.
You can access a welcome offer
Credit card companies often provide welcome offers to encourage consumers to use their products. Getting free rewards points or 0% APR for a limited time gives you a head start with your credit card.
When to be cautious for applying for new lines of credit
It’s not always good to apply for a credit card. Applying at the wrong time can create financial challenges and slow your progress on major milestones. You should think twice about applying for a credit card if any of the following applies.
Your finances aren’t in great shape
A credit card helps you afford more goods and services, but debt and high interest rates can devastate your finances in the future. The monthly payments will grow, and your credit score will take a hit. A credit card isn’t the right solution for shaky financial health. It can amplify existing problems.
You can only afford the minimum monthly payment
Making the minimum monthly payment will keep your account in good standing, but the debt will snowball. Not extending beyond the minimum payment will make it more difficult to get out of debt.
You’re planning on getting a mortgage
Most people need financing to purchase a home. Mortgage lenders will look at your credit score before giving you a loan. Even if you qualify, a high credit score is still valuable, as it can lower your interest rate. When you apply for a credit card, you usually get a hard inquiry. A hard inquiry will reduce your credit score by a few points, which can hurt your approval odds. Even if you get approved, you may end up with a higher interest rate.
What to know before opening a new credit card
A credit card offers rewards and extra funds. You should assess your ability to repay credit card debt before opening a new card. Credit card debt can increase your credit score if you pay on time, but late payments will lead to more debt and bad credit. Credit cards have high interest rates, which makes debt more difficult to pay off once the snowball starts.
Applying for credit cards will trigger hard inquiries, events that lower your score in the short term. This decrease isn’t a big deal if you are not applying for loans, but if you want a mortgage or auto loan, the hard inquiry can hurt your approval odds and interest rate. A credit card is a useful financial product, but make sure you apply when the time is right.
Get Started with Your Credit Card
Most people use credit cards to strengthen their credit and make it easier to buy goods and services. A credit card used responsibly can improve your financial health and unlock several perks. Applying within the right time frame will ensure your credit card application does not impact your other financial ambitions.
Should I get another credit card?
Some people get another credit card to capitalize on lower interest rates and the welcome offer. You shouldn’t apply for too many credit cards, but some people may benefit from getting another card.
When should I apply for a credit card?
You might apply for a credit card if you want to build credit, are financially healthy, and do not have any mortgage or auto loan applications coming up.
How to get another credit card?
You can shop around and find a credit card issuer that provides the best rewards, interest rates, and policies that align with your objectives.