When you only apply for a pre-qualified credit card, you are protecting your good credit score by focusing on credit cards that you have the best chance of getting approved for. For everything you need to know about prequalification, keep reading. We’ve got you covered!
One of the best ways to find pre-qualified credit cards is to go directly to credit card company websites. Each bank offers multiple credit cards designed for a customer’s credit scoring range.
Prequalified means that you’ve been selected as potentially “qualified” by a credit card issuer for a particular card offer.
Usually, the issuer has done a soft pull on your credit score and found that you’ve met the certain criteria necessary to qualify for the credit card. This soft pull should not affect your credit score.
However, if you are prequalified for a credit card, you have an 80% to 90% chance of actually qualifying for the card. That is if you should go through the application process.
It’s worth adding that you don’t need to be prequalified in order to apply for a card—you can still be approved without prequalification. This process just gives you extra confidence before actually applying.
How to Get Prequalified For a Credit Card
There are several ways to get prequalified for a credit card. Here are the most common:
By far, the best option is to go to an issuer’s site and check for prequalification via their own checking tools. In most cases, this will take only a few minutes. Plus, you’ll be able to see if you qualify for a card offered by an issuer you already like.
In addition, some of our favorite credit scoring-checking websites also have prequalification tools readily available for you to use.
Issuers frequently send out credit card offers to people who have met their prequalification criteria already. As such, if you’re looking for your next card, open up your mail might be a quick and easy option. Of course, this method doesn’t offer much flexibility when it comes to what you’re preapproved for.
Many physical bank branches offer prequalification checks. Note that you may already need to be a member of the bank beforehand, however. Additionally, you might be able to go to a retail store and find out during check-out. That is, if you’re prequalified for that store’s co-branded credit card.
Banks with Pre-Qualified Credit Card Offers
Most major credit card issuers let anyone check online for prequalification:
Bank of America
Capital One Pre-Qualified Offers
Capital One has been innovating quite a bit lately. Their credit cards are designed to make a customer’s life easier. Although they have rewards and cashback programs, redemption is straightforward and simple.
And I love that there are no blackout dates when redeeming points for flights or hotel rooms.
HSBC Pre-Qualified Offers
HSBC does not allow you to check for pre-qualified credit card offers online. Instead, they mail pre-qualified offers to customers that meet the criteria that they are looking for.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare yourself ahead of applying for an HSBC credit card. HSBC requires good to excellent credit for their credit cards.
American Express Pre-Qualified Offers
With American Express, you can receive pre-qualified credit card offers online. There are two options to have Amex pre-qualify you – check without logging in or after you’ve logged in.
I tried both ways to have Amex pre-qualify me and received different results. I suggest that you do the same to expand your options.
Citibank Pre-Qualified Offers
Citibank also has pre-qualified credit card offers. When you go to their homepage, scroll past the log-in. You’ll find two links to Citi pre-qualify credit card offers. The first one for pre-qualified credit card offers and another if you’ve received a mailer with a personalized offer.
Chase Pre-Qualified Offers
There are two ways to discover which Chase pre-qualify credit cards are available to you. For existing customers, log-in to your account. Click the drop-down menu in the upper left corner of the page, and click on “Your Offers”.
Or you can go to Chase.com/pre-qualified to find Chase pre-qualify credit card offers.
Bank of America Pre-Qualified Offers
With Bank of America, you can get a pre-qualified credit card offers two ways. First, by signing into your account or, and by providing some personal information. For me, both ways yielded the same 4 pre-qualified credit card offers.
You may be wondering why you would bother checking if you’re pre-qualified for a credit card before you apply. There are several benefits for doing so:
No hard inquiry: You can gauge your chances of being approved for a credit card without a hard inquiry on your credit report. If you find you’re not pre-approved, you can save yourself the time spent applying and avoid potential damage to your credit score that could result from a hard inquiry.
Qualify for more rewards: Many times, consumers receive better rewards or credit card terms through pre-qualified offers than those available to the public.
Shop around and compare credit cards: You can compare offers in one place, either by using a specific card issuer’s pre-approval page or the CardMatch tool. Either way, you may find you’re eligible for credit cards you hadn’t thought of but that might work better for your needs.
Drawbacks of pre-qualified credit card offers
While the benefits we’ve listed above are good ones, it’s important to remember that pre-approved offers have drawbacks, too. The main drawbacks you should be aware of include:
Pre-qualification for a credit card doesn’t guarantee approval. Having a card issuer assert that you’re pre-qualified for one of their credit cards doesn’t mean you will be granted the card you want once they do a hard pull on your credit report and see your current credit, income, and debt details.
If you’re later denied for the card you were pre-qualified for, you’ll still have a hard inquiry on your credit report. You will have a new hard inquiry on your credit report as a result of your application regardless of what happens with your credit card application.
1. Will getting prequalified hurt my credit score?
In almost all cases, no. This is because issuers do a soft pull on your credit history, which does not impact credit scores. Note that actually applying for a card (which causes a hard pull) will affect your credit history.
2. Can I get prequalified if I have bad credit?
Yes. Different issuers have different requirements when it comes to prequalifying someone for a credit card. So just because you weren’t prequalified for a particular card doesn’t mean you won’t be prequalified for another one.
3. Is there a difference between being pre-approved and prequalified?
Yes, although the difference is very slight. If you’ve been prequalified for an offer, it means that your credit score likely falls within the recommended range. If you’ve been pre-approved, however, the issuer has targeted you more specifically for an offer.
4. Do I have to get prequalified before applying for a credit card?
No, becoming prequalified just gives you extra confidence before actually applying. You can still be approved for a credit card without being prequalified.
Prequalification processes can help give you peace of mind before applying for a credit card. They can potentially shield your credit score from an unnecessary hard pull. And save you the hassle, letting you focus on what matters—your business.
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