I’ve opened more than a dozen credit cards and figured out exactly how opening a card for the bonus affects my credit

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.New credit cards temporarily lower your credit score, but using them responsibly can raise your credit score in the long run. Sign-up and welcome bonuses can be a good incentive to open a card, but otherwise a card you open for a points or miles bonus behaves the same as any other card. Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories. Reading Chris Guillebeau’s popular blog, The Art of Non-Conformity, I found that signing up for credit cards and earning bonuses is a quick path to free and discounted travel. But as a former bank manager, I knew there would be costs on my credit report if I went on a card-opening spree. I got my first card specifically for rewards. It was a British Airways Visa Signature Card, and I took home a huge bonus (no longer offered) worth enough for a trip to London, Paris, and Amsterdam. In the years since, I’ve opened more than a dozen credit cards and added quite a few lines to my credit report. Over time, I’ve found opening cards for the welcome bonuses helps — not hurts — my credit. But that’s because I’ve kept my balances low, made my payments on time, and avoided borrowing more money than I can repay. The welcome bonus can be a good reason to choose a card in the first place, but ultimately any card you open should be used responsibly. What happens to your credit when you apply for a new credit card When you apply for any new credit account, the lender will want to know your
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