I applied for a credit card but was turned down. Can I apply for a different card, or do I have to wait?

Written by
Geoff Williams
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Q: I applied for a credit card but was turned down because the bank owns three of my credit cards, and I was told they had offered me the maximum amount of credit allowed. Can I apply for a different card at another bank, or do I have to wait? And will this hurt my credit? I am never late on payments.

A: Yes, you can apply for a different credit card at another bank, and you may even be accepted for it. Your bank’s rules only govern how much credit that bank can offer you, not what other banks can offer you. But most banks follow similar guidelines to determine how much credit to offer you based on your income. The real question is, do you really need a fourth credit card?

You’re making payments on time, but I have no idea if you’ve maxed out your three cards, or if you always pay the balance off every month, or if you’re somewhere in between–so take my advice with a grain of salt. But banks sometimes do know what they’re doing, and their refusal might be a sign that they think you’re reaching a point in which you’re going to become overextended.

If you’re unable to pay much more than the minimum payments on your three cards, even if you’re always paying on time, you may be overextended. In that case, getting yet another credit card might be the worst thing you can do, and you should get your existing debt under control before applying for anything else and getting deeper in debt.

But if you’re not carrying debt, or you’re steadily chipping away at it, one option is for you to transfer all your balances to a new zero-APR credit card. With your excellent on-time payment history, you may qualify for one of the best balance transfer offers and save significant money on interest.

Now, if you’re denied, the good news is that it won’t impact your credit score at all. Your potential lenders will only know that you applied for another credit card. Generally, applying for a single credit card won’t hurt your credit score. But if you apply for a lot of credit cards all at once, in the hopes that one of them will accept you, that makes you look bad with lenders, and your credit score will show it. So apply judiciously, one at a time, and only for credit cards that you really want. Good luck!

Geoff Williams
CardRatings Contributor

Geoff is a freelance journalist and has been since the 1990s. He specializes in personal finance and small business issues and has seen his work published with numerous news outlets including The Wall Street Journal, CNNMoney.com, Reuters, The Washington Post and Consumer Reports....Read more

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