This might seem to go against the advice to keep your utilization ratio low, so here’s where you have to be strategic. “If you apply for a lot of new credit it hurts your score,” says Karen Carlson, director of education at InCharge Debt Solutions. The inquiry itself has a slight negative impact on your score, and opening a bunch of new accounts in a short time could be a red flag for lenders, especially if you’re gearing up for a major purchase like a house or a car. ”It makes you look like you need money and you’re desperate for credit,” Carlson says. But if you have the opportunity to get a good card with a high limit, even if you don’t anticipate using much of the available credit, go for it. What you don’t want to do is apply for a bunch of new cards, or sign up for a store credit card you don’t plan to use in the future to get the sign-up discount.