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Will opening a credit card affect my credit score?

Initially yes, when you apply for a new card there is a hard credit report inquiry that lowers your score—although the impact of opening a single new credit account is usually small.

Longer term, your credit score benefits from the new account; once your card is active, your total credit limit will go up, and your utilization ratio will likely drop, which helps raise your score.

Despite the relatively low effect of opening a single new card, you should avoid opening too many credit cards in a short period of time as it can have a more significant negative impact on your score. Typically, waiting 3-4 months between applications is a good best practice.

For more information on how credit scores work, check out our Credit Score 101 guide.