I've been thinking about applying for a new credit card or two, as I've been building up credit for awhile and basically all my hard pulls have fallen off of my credit report.

Given that COVID-19 is going around, what are the chances reasonably speaking that credit card companies have tightened their approval algorithms, or even stopped giving new credit entirely?

People are spending a lot less money now, but they're also earning less, so I don't know if they'll be pushed to put more or less on credit. Then again, interest rates have fallen, so it's cheaper for credit card companies to offer credit. Then there's the impact of stimulus and bailout legislation to come. All that's assuming credit card companies even change their barrier of entry with current events, which may or may not be a thing.

Anyone have any experience in this area or work in the industry and able to offer some insight?

  • 1
    Given that most of this is automated, you can probably apply and get credit without issue. I would disagree that people are spending less, and some people are actually earning more.
    – Pete B.
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 10:16
  • @PeteB. The fact that the process is automated is precisely the point. Credit card companies spend more on risk management than some countries, and it's easy to imagine that a credit card company would link their risk estimation systems to their credit decision algorithms Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 1:19
  • "They're also earning less". That's true in the aggregate, but credit is approved for individuals, not populations. If your income isn't down (significantly), I don't think it matters if others are unemployed. (If anything, that might help you, as credit card issuers want somebody to issue credit to. They don't make money off people not using credit.)
    – chepner
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 12:37

3 Answers 3


This is an interesting question; but it probably will have less of an impact on your chances of getting a credit card than your credit score and credit history.

You can check your score for free these days (I use www.mint.com from Intuit). Even if credit card companies are getting a little tighter with their lines of credit, that won't gum you up as much as your personal credit history.

  • We do allow direct links to other websites, as long as you do not put in affiliated links without warning others that you have affiliation. You can edit your response to put the full url in your answer. Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 19:49
  • But how much? That's the real question Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 16:55

Yes, there are a lot of banks that are tightening their approval for all credit products, including credit cards. I work in the Canadian industry and we've seen an overall decrease in the number of successful applications from various banks. It's likely safe to assume the same is happening in the United States.

That said, your credit score is constantly fluctuating, so even if it takes a bit of a hit from a denied application, you'll be able to bounce back as long as you continue using your card responsibly.

So it's good to be cautious with your applications since the bootstraps have certainly been tightened, but it's not the end of the world if you get denied. And it's not a complete shut-out either – I've been approved for a card during all this.


With number of credit card applications being reduced, it is general belief that there will be tighter control for credit card applications.

Personally, I would suggest you to avoid credit cards. I prefer debit cards over credit cards. Also, in this COVID scenario, credit card debt can easily skyrocket to higher debt. I would suggest you to not to buy credit card. If you buy credit card, avoid COVID times, due to uncertainty of job market.

The CFPB cited that this sharp drop in new inquiries could be due to a lowered demand for credit (people are spending less), or a drop in credit supply that may indirectly or directly raise consumers’ expectation of being turned down for credit.

In other words — consumers expect it will be harder to qualify for credit or a loan, given the number of banks scaling back on lending during the market’s current conditions.

Am I less likely to get approved for credit during the COVID-19 pandemic?

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .