Excessive Inquiries Hurt Your Score
Applying frequently for lines of credit will lower your FICO score. As these inquiries age, their impact on your score diminishes. Although the impact on your FICO score is minimal (approximately five points per inquiry), in a creditor's eyes, a person who constantly applies for credit is a potentially high-risk customer who may be in financial trouble.
Inquiries Don't Show Up Instantly
Credit inquiries sometimes take a week or longer to show up on your credit reports. Theoretically, you could apply for 12 credit cards in one day and none of the creditors would know about the other inquiries that day. Of course, your FICO score would take a major hit when the 12 inquiries are factored into your score 30 days later. And you would have a very hard time getting approved for a loan or other credit with that many fresh inquiries on your reports.
If you absolutely must have two more credit cards and you are going to apply anyway, apply for both on the same day rather than a few weeks apart. But proceed with caution: If you have not applied for credit in the past six months—and your credit report is generally positive—you have a good chance of being approved. The first application will not adversely the second. But if you wait a week before applying for the second card, you may be denied for having "too many recent inquiries" in the creditor's eyes. Even if you have excellent credit, you must weigh the long-term effect of multiple inquiries versus the short-term "high" of being approved for new credit cards on the same day. If it's worth it, do it.
Bruno Fuerte has worked as a writer, editor, manager and internal communications specialist since 1989. His work can be found in "Journal and Courier," "The Times," "Orlando Sentinel" and "The Miami Herald." Fuerte is a graduate of Purdue University, with a Bachelor of Arts in communication.