In the crowded field of credit cards, the Chase family of cards stands out to many as containing some of the best rewards out there. Not only does Chase’s offering of cash back cards have solid rewards and good sign-up bonuses, but the Chase Ultimate rewards program has been lauded as one of the best for flexible travel rewards.
Unfortunately, top cards come with top qualifications, and Chase has fairly stringent credit requirements for most of its cards. If you’re unsure of your chances of being accepted for a credit card from Chase Bank, your best bet is to check for pre-qualification offers.
In the pre-approval process, credit card issuers perform a soft pull of your credit, which doesn’t register as an inquiry on your credit report (and, thus, has no impact on your credit score). While not a guarantee of approval, pre-qualification can be a good indicator of your chances.
Apply Directly for the Card You Prefer
Maybe you’ve received a letter in the mail telling you you’re pre-approved for a specific Chase offer, which can be a pretty telling sign that you’ll be approved. Still, the fastest way to know is to apply!
The offer you received may not be your best option, though. Your credit card search will likely come down to which card best fits your particular needs. Your choices will include cash back versus points, bonus categories versus unlimited, and rewards versus zero-fee balance transfers.
Best Cash Back Offers
Designed to be the go-to card in your wallet, the Chase Freedom and the Chase Freedom Unlimited are both exceptional everyday cards. Both offer a solid signup bonus with a minimum spend easily attainable for the average cardholder.
So, how to choose? Well, if a lot of your spending falls into a few common categories, such as groceries and gas, you should consider the Freedom. The 5% category bonus can really add up over the quarter, leading to big rewards.
For those whose spending defies categorization, the flat-rate cash back of the Freedom Unlimited may be the way to go. Either way, you won’t be stuck paying an annual fee.
Both the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards have similar requirements, so if you’re pre-approved for one, you will likely have a good chance of qualifying for the other card. That said, remember pre-qualification is not a guarantee of approval.
Best Points Offers
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is well sought-after by many a traveler for its great signup bonus and Ultimate Rewards points. When it comes to points programs, Chase Ultimate Rewards is ranked high on the list of many a travel blogger and credit card aficionado for its high-value points and flexible options.
In fact, with the right redemption strategy, Chase Ultimate Rewards can be worth as much as 1.25 cents per point. You can get even more value when you transfer to select airline partners.
Of course, when it comes to travel cards, branded can often mean better rewards, if you’re willing to sacrifice a little flexibility. The Marriott Rewards Premier credit card has a hefty signup bonus, as well as being a great way to quickly rack up the Marriott Rewards points.
Both of these cards require excellent credit to be approved, so make sure to check for pre-qualification offers to avoid a fruitless hard credit pull.
Check Online for Pre-Approval on the Chase Website
If you prefer to avoid a credit inquiry and know if you’re pre-qualified before you apply, you can hop online to Chase’s website. Chase has a dedicated page for checking for pre-qualification offers, and it can be done in minutes.
The pre-approval form is a basic six lines, asking for your name, address, and the last four digits of your Social Security number. Once you complete the form — and acknowledge you understand it is not an actual credit card application — you will be presented with any offers for which you may qualify.
Depending on your potential credit risk, Chase may not be able to offer you any pre-approval offers. This does not necessarily mean you will be automatically rejected if you apply for a Chase credit card — but it isn’t an encouraging sign.
Head to the Bank to Find Potential Offers
Another way to find out if you’re pre-approved for a Chase credit card is to simply ask the teller at your local Chase Bank branch. With over 5,200 branches across 26 states, the chances are good you have one nearby.
If you’re already a Chase bank member, you may not actually need to ask if you have any offers. Reports indicate that tellers will often mention a pre-approval offer during an unrelated transaction in an effort to increase applications.
The main impetus for some of those who check for credit card pre-qualification offers at the bank, rather than online, is the suggestion that applicants pre-approved through the bank can circumvent the 5/24 rule. Chase is infamous for thorough implementation of its 5/24 rule, which automatically rejects applicants who have received five or more new lines of credit within a 24-month period.
Opt Out of Pre-Qualification Offers
As you will likely find out not long after you start pre-qualifying, credit card issuers have long memories. The issuer will remember you expressed an interest in its products — and it will assume you’re still interested for the foreseeable future.
If you have the intention of regularly opening new credit cards to take advantage of rewards programs, or “churning” credit cards, you may want to keep the offers coming. Issuers will often provide exclusive terms or bonuses in mail offers that you can’t find online.
On the other hand, if you’re a bit tired of recycling credit card pre-approvals every week, you can choose to end it all — all the offers, that is. You can go online here to opt out of credit card pre-approval offers, or call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT.
Get on Your Way to Ultimate Rewards in No Time
If you decide to accept a pre-qualification offer, you will be asked to fill out a full credit card application. This application will result in a hard pull on your credit report, which can impact your credit score for several months. In addition, if you are offered more than one pre-qualified credit card offer from Chase, be sure you apply first to the one you want most. Some reports indicate applying for one pre-approved offer can make any additional offers disappear.
Whether you want a generous cash back card for everyday spending, the ultimate flexible travel experience with Chase Ultimate Rewards, or more Marriott Rewards than you can shake a digital stick at, Chase has something for you. The only downside is, they want you to be worthy — creditworthy.
Checking for pre-approval offers with Chase can be the best way to make sure you apply for the card for which you’ll most likely be approved. This not only can help save you from disappointment but can also help save your credit score from a futile hard credit pull. Always remember that pre-qualification doesn’t guarantee you’ll be accepted when you do apply, so consider your applications carefully.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.