Timing Is Everything: When Is The Best Time To Apply For A Credit Card? Expert Advice Inside

Credit Cards1 year ago
Person using their smart phone to apply for credit

When you are applying for a new credit card, you can be forgiven for feeling a little anxious. Having your application rejected can mess up your financial plans, affect your credit history, and mean that you have to find new ways to source funds. But, if you manage to apply for your credit card at the right time, when you are in the right financial circumstances you can increase your chances of being approved for the card of your choice.

The best time to apply for a new credit card depends on your financial status and plans, when you are in a strong position, then naturally your chances of being approved will increase. Do not be tempted by promotions from providers to apply for a card when you are not ready.

There are a variety of factors which can affect your creditworthiness, including your current credit score, credit card debt, payment history, and card utilization ratio.

Below we will talk you through the factors you need to consider to making the best use of a new credit card, how to take advantage of 0% APR offers, and make the best of introductory benefits.

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Make Sure You Are Applying For the Right Card for You

Before you do anything, your first goal should be to do a complete assessment of your current financial status, your goals, and what you need from a card. Applying for a premium card with a high annual fee when you have a poor credit score or no credit history.

Making sure you are applying for a credit card that matches your current incoming and outgoing finances and credit score is the first step in increasing your chances of being approved.


The Best Times to Apply For a New Credit Card

Do You Have a Good to Excellent Credit Score?

A healthy credit score ranging from 670 to 850 points will increase your chances of credit card approval, and you may also benefit from more favorable APR rates once approved. A lower credit score will make it harder for you to successfully apply for a card, and the cards that are available will be basic secured credit cards with few benefits and features.

If you need to apply for a new credit card, it is always better to spend some time to build your credit score. Paying your bills on time, paying off outstanding debts, and checking your credit report history for mistakes with Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion are all proactive ways to start upping your score.

You should also make sure to space out a few months between credit card applications to improve your chances of approval. If you don’t take wait for the right time to apply, a build up of hard enquiries could put off further card issuers from considering you.


Can You Apply For Preapproval?

Credit card providers will sometimes send mailouts to desirable customers telling them they have been preapproved for a card they are offering. Although these is no 100% guarantee that you will be approved, your chances are increased as you have already been pre-screened as a suitable candidate by the bank.


Do You Currently have a Balance on a High-Interest Card?

If you are already a credit card holder on a high interest card and are carrying a balance, then now may be a suitable time to apply for a new card which allows balance transfers.

You should ideally apply for a card which offers an introductory period offer of 0% APR for the first year or more. If you can pay off the balance within the stated period, then you could save quite a bit in interest on the debt you are carrying on your current card.

To make sure that this method makes financial sense for you, you should use a balance transfer calculator to make sure that you have a definite and achievable plan for paying back your balance before interest rates are applied.


Do You Need to Make a Big Purchase Soon?

Are you planning to make a substantial purchase in the upcoming months? Applying for a new card may help you to avoid paying the interest you would face on your current card.

A lot of credit card issuers try to tempt new applications by offering introductory APRs of 0% to new customers. This period usually lasts for 12 to 18 months. If you can pay back the amount lent within this period, you could make a pretty decent saving on the monthly interest you currently face.

Lots of card providers also offer generous rewards points bonuses if you manage to spend a minimum amount within the first three months of owning the card. Depending on the credit card offers, these sign up bonus points could translate into hundreds of dollars off of your travel costs that year.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, will reward you 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within the first three months. That has a value of $750 to be spent on future travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards hub.

So, if you are planning on making a large purchase, then it may make financial sense to apply for rewards credit cards with benefits like those above. You can save on interest costs, and even net a discount on your vacation or business trips that year.

If you are not planning on investing in any large items in the near future, then you can time you new card with periods of the year when you anticipate spending the most, such as the holidays.


Do You Have a Friend or Family Member Who Can Refer You For the Card?

If you know someone who already has the card you will be applying for, they may be able to send you a referral link to apply for the card.

Although this will not increase your chances of approval, these links usually come with bonuses for either the refer or referee (or both). This could be in the form of cash back, rewards points, or airmiles after you start spending with the card.

However, you should never apply for a card based purely on a referral link or recommendation from a friend or family member. Make sure you do your research and that the card you are applying for is the absolute best fit for you and your financial status.

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