As a general rule of thumb, most people can safely apply for 2-3 credit cards every three months or so, as long as they're using the credit responsibly (i.e., paying off the balance every month).
If you get declined for having too many credit inquiries in the recent past, then it may be time to lie low for three months or so before applying for any more cards.
Maximizing credit card signup bonuses is a great way to rack up the points, and people often wonder how frequently you can apply for new credit cards.
This is a question that’s best answered through experience. But in general, I’d say the average among people who apply for many cards and chase the signup bonuses is to go for 2-3 new credit cards every three months.
Doing things in three-month cycles makes it easier to keep track, since the rule of thumb is to cancel after six months and reapply after another three. Moreover, deals tend to come and go on a quarterly basis, so there’s usually quite a few new offers worth pursuing every three-month cycle.
Some people are successful applying for cards more frequently than that, while others should tread lightly if they’re just starting out. It all depends on the robustness of your credit file as well – those who’ve maintained a longer overall credit history in Canada (5+ years) tend to have a much easier time getting approved for cards.
While 2-3 new cards every three months is a solid rule of thumb, you should take notice if you get declined for a credit card because of “too many inquiries” or a similar reason. That’s an indicator that the issuers think you’re exhibiting credit-seeking behaviour, which makes you a risky customer, so you should lie low for a few months before initiating your next credit card application.
Last updated 23 November 2018. Any questions? Contact me.