Capital One® Pre-Approval Cards? – (4 Secrets to Pre-Qualifying)

Capital One® Pre-Qualify (See if You’re Approved + 5 Top Offers)

credit card advice

Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Posted: August 1, 2016
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

On my 18th birthday, my mailbox became flooded with “pre-qualified” credit card offers from various issuers trying to get me to sign up for one of their cards. I didn’t necessarily know what pre-qualified meant at the time, but I sure knew what a credit card was, and I wanted one.

“Pre-qualified” simply meant the issuer (Capital One, Chase, Discover, etc.) had identified that I met a set of qualifying criteria for approval. Issuers find this information by working with credit bureaus to look at your credit reports, or by setting a requirement, such as a minimum credit score, and requesting a list of consumers who meet the requirement.

Maybe you’ve received an offer in the mail from Capital One, or maybe you’re interested in their popular rewards cards and would like see if you’re already approved. Let’s take a look at the four secrets you should know about pre-qualifying with Capital One:

60-Second Form | Getting Denied | Top 10 Offers | Opt Out of Mail

1. Capital One Has a 60-Second Pre-Qualify Form

Capital One makes finding out if you’re pre-approved super easy. As in, almost too easy.

By entering your name, address, date of birth, last four digits of your social, and selecting your credit level and the card benefit most important to you, Capital One will let you know if you’re pre-qualified in as soon as 60 seconds via the Capital One® Card Finder Tool.

Screenshot of Capital One Pre-Qualify Questionnaire

By entering your personal identifying information, you’ll know if you’re pre-qualified in less than a minute.

There’s no harm in seeing if you’re pre-qualified because it will not affect your credit score. You’ll then be presented with a list of offers you’re pre-approved for based on the information you entered.

See if you pre-qualify with the Capital One® Card Finder Tool.

However, being pre-qualified does not guarantee approval. The only way you’ll know if you’re approved for sure is by applying for a specific card (more on this later). Other factors, such as your income and how much debt you have, can still make or break a credit issuer’s lending decision.

2. Getting Denied Doesn’t Mean You’re Denied (Huh?)

Just as pre-qualifying doesn’t guarantee approval, not pre-qualifying doesn’t guarantee denial. Approval comes down to a few key factors, such as credit score, income, debt, and of course your history with credit cards. The pre-qualification process does not, nor can it, look at all of these factors without your consent, which is why all credit card applications require you to agree to a credit check, which will appear as an inquiry on your credit report.

But if you know your poor credit history and perhaps previous misuse of a credit card (maxing it out, missing payments, defaulting altogether) is what’s holding you back from being approved for a Capital One card, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be approved for any credit card at all — there are still plenty of highly-rated credit cards for bad credit available, some even with cash-back rewards.

When you use the card responsibly (making on-time payments and keeping a low credit utilization ratio), you can eventually work your way to a better credit score and perhaps even your favorite Capital One card.

3. Know for Sure by Applying for a Specific Card

If after filling out the questionnaire you’ve found you’re pre-qualified, congrats! But keep in mind that the answer you get from Capital One’s questionnaire doesn’t necessarily guarantee approval or denial. There are still hurdles to overcome even after you get pre-qualified.

If you instead would prefer a solid “yes or no” answer from the issuer, you’ll want to pick the card you want and apply for it directly.

Below are the top-rated Capital One offers as reviewed by our expert staff. Simply click the “Apply Now” button to go to a card’s official online application.

Good Credit | Fair or Limited Credit | Small Business

Best Capital One Cards for “Good Credit” (700+ Credit Score)

Having a good credit score means that you qualify for the very best rewards and interest rates — that’s how banks choose to reward borrowers who’ve exemplified they know how to manage credit well. Here are the top cards Capital One offers to applicants with good credit:

EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of approval, equal to $400 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles don't expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
13.24% - 23.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $59 after that
Excellent, Good Credit
EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months of approval, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 12.24%-22.24% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Miles don’t expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
12.24% - 22.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good Credit
EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • One-time $100 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months of approval
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back doesn’t expire and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 13.24%-23.24% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR for 9 months; 13.24%-23.24% variable APR after that; a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 months
0% for 9 months
13.24% - 23.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good Credit
EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★
4.1
OVERALL RATING
4.1/5.0
  • 5% Earnings on your first $5,000 in purchases every year. Unlimited 2% Earnings on every purchase after that. Redeem Earnings toward the purchase or lease of a new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle.
  • No annual fee, no redemption limits, no Earnings expiration, no foreign transaction fees. Save even more when you combine your available Earnings with most current GM offers and incentives.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months, then a 13.15% – 23.15% variable APR on purchases will apply
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
13.15% - 23.15% (V)
$0
Excellent/Good Credit

+ See more offers for good credit

Best Capital One Cards for “Fair or Limited Credit” (Credit Score < 700)

Even with a lack of a solid credit history, you can earn rewards similar to those offered by cards for good credit applicants, but you’ll pay more for them in the form of interest. This means, when possible, you should pay your balance in full each month to avoid paying interest altogether. Of course that holds true for all cards, and doing so will help build your credit score up faster than if you keep a balance and only make the minimum payment each month.

Here are the top cards for those who lack a lengthy, positive credit history:

FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.5/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back doesn’t expire and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 23.24% variable APR after that
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 months
0% for 9 months
23.24% (Variable)
$39
Average, Fair, Limited Credit
FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
3.8/5.0
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited Credit
FAIR CREDIT RATING
★★★★★
4.5
OVERALL RATING
4.2/5.0
  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
  • There’s no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, and rewards don't expire
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Pay no annual or foreign transaction fees
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
20.24% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited Credit

+ See more offers for fair credit

Best Capital One Cards for “Small Business”

Besides offering a wide variety of consumer cards, Capital One also serves the financing needs of small businesses with its selection of business-only cash back and air miles cards. Below are our top choices from the issuer’s small business credit card offers

BUSINESS CARD RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
  • Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months of approval
  • Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that
  • Rewards don't expire, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount, anytime
  • Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $59 after that
Excellent, Good Credit
BUSINESS CARD RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn 1.5 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day
  • Plus, a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of approval
  • Miles don't expire, and there are no categories to limit where or what you buy
  • Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 13.24%-21.24% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • Get online Quarterly and Year-End Summaries
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 months
N/A
13.24% - 21.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good Credit
BUSINESS CARD RATING
★★★★★
4.5
OVERALL RATING
4.5/5.0
  • Enjoy no annual fee
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Build business credit with responsible use
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Enjoy business benefits including Year-End Summaries, employee cards at no extra cost, and experienced small business customer service
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
23.24% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited Credit

+ See more offers for businesses

4. Opt Out of Pre-Qualification Offers

Once you select the card you want, apply, and are approved, that doesn’t mean the pre-qualification offers will end — oh no, my friend, it’s never that easy. I used to receive so many offers in both my inbox and mailbox each week from so-and-so bank to the point where I eventually Googled a way to figure out how to make it stop. Granted, it’s not exactly the worst problem to have, clearly there was something within my credit profile that lenders liked.

But if you’re like me and considered these offers “junk mail” and threw them in the trash, or just clicked the “Delete” button, you can opt out online here. Or, you can call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688).

Just think of all the trees you might be saving, let alone your own peace of mind.

So, What’s in Your Wallet?

While the 18-year-old me initially loved the idea of getting credit card offers in the mail, it didn’t take long before I decided to take my credit card search online. And believe me, I’m better off for it.

If you’ve made a similar decision, hopefully this guide will help you better navigate the road to pre-approval with Capital One and the issuer’s many great credit card offers. Unlike most other issuers, Capital One offers a fairly straightforward pre-qualification process, making it that much easier to apply for and receive the rewarding credit card you’ve been looking for.