Some questions don’t have a straight answer. This question is one of them.
There is no one size fits all answer to this question of what effect opening a new credit card will have on your credit score. But here in this post, I will go through the different points involved in opening a credit card so that you know what to consider regarding how much of an effect a new credit card will have on your credit score.
The credit inquiry
Every time you apply for a credit card, the bank will want to pull your credit report to see your credit history, credit score, etc. This is called a credit inquiry. A credit inquiry will show on your report for the next two years. It makes no difference if you get approved for the credit card or not. Before lenders approve you for credit they want to see how many times you tried to apply for credit in the past. No one likes to lend money to someone who is running around town and asking every bank for a loan.
FICO and VantageScore will slightly lower your credit score after you make a credit inquiry. It will pretty much go back up after about one to two months. But too many credit inquiries may affect your score more. It is not recommended to have more than 2-3 credit inquiries in a 6 month period.
Please note that most banks will only pull one of the three credit bureaus, so if you apply for a Chase credit card, Chase will pull your Experian credit report and when you apply for a Barclay credit card, Barclay will pull your Transunion report. Even though you applied for two credit cards, you then still only have one credit pull on each of your credit reports (Capital One is the only large issuer that does pull all three credit bureaus.)
You can research which credit bureau each credit card pulls here.
There are also some banks that will only pull your credit score once per day even if you apply for multiple cards with them on the same day. You can check out the list here.
The average effect of a credit inquiry: 5-10 points
The new credit card on credit report
Once you get approved for the credit card, the new account will eventually get reported to the credit bureaus (depending on the bank it can sometimes take about 30 days). Once your new account gets reported, your credit will get another blow, because now you have opened a new account. Credit models will lower your score until they see that you prove yourself capable of handling the new credit.
New credit does not affect everyone equally. Someone who has fewer open accounts or a lot of new accounts will get more affected by a new credit card than someone who has a lot of good standing, old accounts.
The average effect of a new credit card on credit report: 10-20 points
Average Age Of Credit
There are a lot of credit blogs and credit analysts that claim that one of the things credit models will look at is your average age of credit. For example, if you have one credit card that is 5 years old and one card that is 2.5 years old then your average age of credit will be 3.25 years. But now if you open a new card then the new card will bring down your average age of credit to 2.5 years which may result in a lower credit score. I personally never found this to be true (read more about this here), so even though I do agree that as long as the new account is new (less than 6 months) your score will be affected by the new account, I still believe once six months pass your score will be back to the same or even higher than it was before, regardless of what your average age of credit is now.
Before opening a new credit card account consider the following:
1) Your score will go down by a few points when you apply as a result of the credit inquiry. This will occur no matter if you get approved or not. This effect will last for one to two months.
2) Once you get approved, your score may get hit as a result of having a new account on your credit report. This effect will last for up to six months.
3) There is a theory that your score may also get affected as a result of a now lower average age of credit, but I personally dispute this theory (I’m allowed to, right?)
One more thing you may want to consider before applying for a new credit card is that by using our credit card links on our website you are significantly supporting this great blog. So thank you from me and from all other readers!
Let us help you find your next best card!
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment and I will respond.