Credit Cards Offering Pre-Approval or Pre-Qualification – Forbes Advisor


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Applying for a new credit card can come with some anxiety. Will you receive an endorsement? Will the APR be low enough? What will your credit limit be? In addition to the unknowns, issuers make extensive inquiries into your credit report(s) when assessing your creditworthiness. By pre-applying for a credit card, much of the uncertainty can be avoided. Most card issuers offer pre-approval or pre-qualification, allowing applicants to see if a card’s approval is likely without committing to a formal application.

Applicants can shop and complete as many pre-approval requests as they wish. Pre-approvals generally don’t hurt credit because issuers perform soft credit checks to determine eligibility. Once the applicant decides to apply, the issuer will proceed with a formal credit application before making a final decision.

Receiving pre-approval for a card does not guarantee that the issuer will give final approval with the terms originally offered. That being said, you’ll usually have a good chance of getting what you’re looking for if you submit a formal request within the pre-approval window.

Find the best credit cards for 2022

No credit card is the best option for every family, every purchase or every budget. We have selected the best credit cards so as to be the most useful for the greatest number of readers.

Credit card pre-approval vs pre-qualification

Card issuers may sometimes use the terms pre-approval and pre-qualification interchangeably. Both mean that an issuer reviews your personal and financial information beforehand to determine if you are eligible for a credit card offer.

The difference is that a prequalification tends to be a simple review of your credit history using basic details like name, address, and social security number. A pre-approval can go further by performing a soft credit check and analyzing financial information such as annual income and monthly bill payments.

A pre-approval or pre-qualification offers potential rates, terms, and individualized card benefits for the applicant. No matter what the issuer calls it, pre-approvals or pre-qualifications do not guarantee a final offer. If you are declined during this process, you can try applying with another card issuer without hurting your credit.

Credit cards offering pre-approval

Most major credit card issuers in the United States offer pre-approval or pre-qualification for at least some of the cards in their queues. Each issuer requires different information from the applicant, ranging from name and email address to income and housing status.

Not all credit cards are eligible for pre-approval. Here are some of the best card deals we’ve seen on the market:

Capital one

Capital One requires your name, date of birth, social security number, and the type of card you want, among other personal information:


Discover asks for name, social security number, annual income, monthly bill payments, housing status and more:

American Express

American Express requires a home address, annual income, and the last four digits of your Social Security number:

Bank of America

Bank of America requires your name, date of birth, the last four digits of your Social Security number, and the type of card you want:


Chase no longer offers an online pre-approval request, but logging into your Chase account may allow you to receive an offer based on your existing relationship with the bank or you may receive offers by mail.


Citi asks for your name, address, last four digits of your Social Security number, and the type of card you want:

Issuers that allow you to prequalify for credit cards

Most major card issuers in the United States offer pre-approval for a selection of cards, including Citi, American Express, Discover, Bank of America, and Capital One.

If your preferred card issuer isn’t listed here, contact the company by phone or email to ask if they have any pre-qualification offers.

What is pre-approval?

Pre-approval means that a credit card issuer has reviewed your credit history using a soft credit check to determine if you qualify for a credit card. Soft credit checks do not affect your credit, while hard credit checks show up in your credit history and may lower your score slightly. If you decide to submit a formal application for a credit card, the card issuer will most likely conduct a thorough credit check before making a final decision.

Pre-approval offers are not guaranteed and sometimes these offers expire. For example, Discover’s pre-approval offers are valid for seven days (candidates can request a new pre-approval offer if they pass the initial pre-approval period).

How to get pre-approved or pre-qualified for a credit card

The first step in getting pre-approved for a credit card is to access the card issuer’s pre-approval tool on their website and fill in the required information. Each issuer may require different information, so it is best to be prepared. Have your personal and financial information handy such as your social security number, annual income, monthly bill payments and housing status.

Pre-approval offers may be mailed to your address, in which case you can respond by phone or by entering your offer number on the card issuer’s website. The covering letter will contain detailed instructions on how to apply.

Online pre-approvals are done in seconds. The issuer’s website will tell you which cards you qualify for, sometimes including rates, credit limit, and APR. From there, you can complete an official application.

If you are declined, the card issuer will likely provide reasons for their decision. Use this information to improve your creditworthiness and try again in a few months. You can also move on and request pre-approval from another card issuer.

Find the best credit cards for 2022

No credit card is the best option for every family, every purchase or every budget. We have selected the best credit cards so as to be the most useful for the greatest number of readers.


Applying for pre-approval on a card issuer’s website is a relatively easy way to determine which cards you might be eligible for. Pre-approval or pre-qualification allows you to shop among card issuers without affecting your credit score. Sometimes the card issuer may even share your potential credit limit and APR. Keep in mind that pre-approval offers are not final. If you miss the pre-approval window or your financial situation changes, the card issuer may decline your official request.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How does pre-approval hurt credit?

Card issuers run a soft credit check for pre-approval, which means your credit won’t be affected. Submitting a formal application will result in a rigorous credit check that will show up on a credit report and may cause your score to drop temporarily.

How to find pre-approved credit cards

Go to any card issuer’s website and look for their pre-approval or pre-qualification tool.

Can you be refused after pre-approval?

Yes, it is possible to be denied a credit card even if it is pre-approved for the same card. This is especially likely to happen if you apply after the pre-approval period or if your financial situation changes.

How to Pre-Qualify for Chase Cards

Chase doesn’t offer a pre-approval tool, but you can check the “offers for you” in your current Chase account to see if any offers appear.


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