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Finding the best credit card for your needs can help if you get it at the right time. In fact, timing your credit card application well could actually result in gaining more value from your credit card.
For this reason, the holiday season presents some unique advantages for new credit card applicants. If you’re interested in why you might want to apply for a credit card during the holidays, here’s more information on why this strategy could be a good idea.
Does it matter when you apply for a credit card?
Trying to time a credit card application to the ideal moment not only means your approval odds could increase, but you could also increase the likelihood that you’ll gain more benefits from your new credit card. Here are some aspects to consider when timing your credit card application:
Is your credit score high enough?
If your credit score isn’t high enough for the card you are applying for, you won’t get approved, and you could also suffer a hard inquiry to your credit profile without the reward of a new card. Hard inquiries can lower your credit score temporarily, so it’s not worth the hit if your application won’t get approved.
If you’re looking for a credit card that matches your credit profile, you can use our CardMatch tool to find credit card offers you’ll most likely be approved for. With this tool, you won’t have to worry about a hard inquiry. Instead, this tool will do a soft inquiry to match you with any prequalified offers you may be eligible for, as well as matches for your credit profile.[H3] Do you have a big purchase coming up?
If you’ve got a big purchase coming up, a new credit card could come in handy in a couple of ways. First, many credit cards offer sign-up bonuses if you meet a certain spending requirement within a specified timeframe after opening your account. Second, some credit cards have 0 percent introductory APR offers where you won’t have to pay interest for a set amount of time on purchases, balance transfers or both.
Sometimes, you may find a credit card with both a welcome bonus and an introductory APR. If you’ve got a big purchase on the horizon, you could benefit from both extra cash and the ability to pay off the purchase over time. Plus, you might earn ongoing credit card rewards in the process.
Do you need another credit card?
Ideally, you should only get a credit card if you have a need for it. Having too many cards to manage could cause money struggles for some people and could result in overuse or mismanagement. And if your credit card has an annual fee, you could be adding unnecessary costs on top of adding an extra card to the mix.
What’s the benefit of applying for a credit card during the holiday season?
Credit card rewards and benefits
Since you will likely spend more money during the holiday season, there are plenty of opportunities to make a credit card work to your advantage. In addition to using your holiday spending to earn a welcome bonus and rewards, you might have access to other benefits like statement credits and card perks.
For instance, The Platinum Card® from American Express card offers an up to $100 annual credit for Saks Fifth Avenue ($50 for January through June and $50 for July through December) and up to $155 per year in Walmart+ monthly membership credits. It also comes with an incredible number of travel credits and perks, like airport lounge access, up to $200 in airline fee credits and up to $200 in Uber Cash ($15 per month, plus an extra $20 in December).
For example, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ currently offers a 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers (19.74 percent to 28.49 percent variable APR thereafter; an intro balance transfer fee of 3 percent (minimum $5) applies within the first 60 days). The Freedom Flex also comes with ongoing rewards and a welcome offer — you can earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within the first three months of account opening.
Although it can be incredibly difficult to anticipate when card issuers will offer boosted sign-up bonuses and other promotions, there’s a good chance that you’ll find something of value toward the end of the year. For instance, Chase often adds limited-time offers during the holidays for discounts on certain products and gift cards.
Then, rotating bonus category cards often feature popular retailers like Amazon or Walmart as their fourth-quarter categories. Store credit cards are also known to offer special discounts and promotions for shoppers during the holiday season.
The bottom line
Applying for a new card during the holidays could benefit you if you’re looking to save money through rewards, bonuses and promotions while garnering some extra time to pay down purchases. The great news is that there are plenty of rewards cards that can help you access one or more of these benefits. Finding the best credit card for your goals during the holiday season is just a matter of researching and applying for the one that works best for you.