You should understand your chances of approval before applying for a credit card.
The fact that you need credit to qualify for credit might be the most frustrating credit-related dilemma, but there’s a close runner-up: The only way to know whether or not you’ll be approved for credit is to apply, but too many applications for credit can tarnish your credit score.
When you apply for a credit card, the issuer will perform a hard pull on your credit report to decide whether or not you’re a risky borrower. These hard pulls show up on your credit report and remain there for two years, and they’re factored into your FICO® Score under the “new credit” category, which makes up 10% of your credit score. Luckily, this is one of the least important categories, so one or two recent credit card applications may only cause a credit score decrease of a few points, if any at all. The decrease is also temporary, as new inquiries only affect your credit score for one year.
However, sending out more than a couple of applications in a short period of time — within six months or so — can lower your score more drastically. On top of that, too many recent inquiries on your credit report is a red flag to many lenders, as it’s common for people in severe financial trouble to apply for lots of credit.
This explains why it’s important to make sure you’ve got a good shot of approval before…