Why Did My FICO Score Drop After Getting a Credit Card and When Will It Recover?

Question from MM: I got a capitol one credit card a month ago, and my fico score dropped by 17 points (from 821 to 804) on that day because of the hard inquiry. Yesterday it dropped by another 17 points, no additional hard inquiries, no late payments, literally nothing has changed. Is this the norm? How long will it take to go back up (no late payments, always pay balance in full)? Thank you.


It’s not uncommon for your FICO score to drop slightly when you open a new credit card account. This is due to the hard inquiry that is made on your credit report when you apply for the card. According to FICO, a hard inquiry can lower your score by up to 5 points, but the impact can be more significant if you have a short credit history or few accounts.

Why Did My Score Drop Again?

The second drop in your score might be due to the decrease in your average age of credit accounts. When you open a new credit account, it lowers the average age of your accounts, which can negatively impact your credit score.

How Long Will It Take for My Score to Recover?

The good news is that the impact of a hard inquiry and a lower average age of accounts on your credit score is temporary. According to Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, hard inquiries stay on your credit report for two years, but their impact on your credit score diminishes over time.

Here are some steps you can take to help your credit score recover:

  • Make all your payments on time: Your payment history is the most important factor in your credit score. Making all your payments on time will help your score recover.
  • Keep your credit utilization low: Try to use less than 30% of your available credit. This shows lenders that you’re not relying too heavily on credit.
  • Don’t apply for new credit: Each time you apply for new credit, a hard inquiry is made, which can lower your score. Try to avoid applying for new credit until your score has recovered.

Remember, maintaining good credit habits is the key to a good credit score. Even if your score has dropped, it can recover if you manage your credit responsibly.

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