Discover Card Pre-Approval — (How to Pre-Qualify & 4 Best Offers)

Discover Card Pre-Approval — (How to Pre-Qualify & 4 Best Offers)

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Posted: September 28, 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.

The modern era is a lovely place, full of technology and convenience. Vacuums run themselves, the sofa plugs in, and there are televisions in the refrigerators. With all this digitization, it’s hardly shocking that just about everything hits our inboxes instead of our mailboxes.

So what’s the surprising part? Anytime I check the mail, there always seems to be at least one letter from a credit card company. These pre-approval offers and pre-qualification notices are forever showing up, enticing me to apply for a shiny new credit card.

Whether you’ve received your first Discover card pre-approval offer or your 50th, you may not know what pre-approval actually is — or what to do about it. Use the navigation to learn more about pre-approval, how to check your status, and what to do after you pre-qualify.

What it Means | Determine Status | Top Offers (4) | Denial Options | Opt Out

What it Means to Pre-Qualify

The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows credit bureaus to give the information of its consumers (namely, anyone with credit) to the various credit card companies, like Discover. The people at Discover then filter the information by various factors — such as the length of credit history, or general credit score range.

If they determine you fit the filter criteria, indicating you may be a good candidate for one of their cards, you’re considered to be pre-approved, or pre-qualified. You can likely expect to see a letter in the mail. Really, that’s it.

The thing to keep in mind about pre-qualification is that it’s a form of direct advertising, one that signifies you fit the general credit demographic for a certain card. It is not a guarantee of approval — or rejection — for that card. You still need to apply for the card, and meet other qualifications (like income), before you’ll actually receive any credit.

How to Check Your Pre-Approval Status

If you have been watching your mailbox for a pre-qualification offer and been coming up empty, you can take it online to the Discover “Find My Offer” tool. The only information you need to input is your name and Social Security number, indicate if you’re a student, then click “Find My Option.” Discover will display all of the cards for which you’re considered to be pre-approved.

Use the Find My Offers Tool to Check For Pre-Qualification Offers From Discover

Checking for pre-approval offers through Discover’s website is nearly instantaneous, and you don’t need to worry about the impact to your credit score because there’s no hard pull to check your pre-qualification status, so there is no effect on your credit.

From Pre-Qualified to Approved: Start with the Right Card

In many ways, which Discover card you choose to apply for will be the deciding factor when it comes to getting approved. If you are a student with a limited credit history, you should know ahead of time that you are unlikely to qualify for a prime rewards card aimed at people with good to excellent, established, credit histories. Check to see which of Discover’s top cards fit you — and your credit.

Best Discover Card for Cash Back Rewards

One of the best reasons to have a credit card these days is to cash in on the cash back (and other rewards). Discover’s best bonus rewards card offers big rewards in a new category every quarter, including gas and groceries, as well as a flat-rate bonus on everything else. Your cash back never expires, and you can redeem your rewards at any time.

Discover it® Cashback Match™ Review

at Discover'ssecure website

DISCOVER® RATING

★★★★★

5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Our Take: "One of our favorite cards, with long 0% intro APRs, low ongoing APRs, awesome cash back rewards, and lots more.
  • 5% cash back in categories that rotate quarterly, up to $1,500 per quarter when you sign up for the quarterly bonus
  • 1% cash back on all your other purchases
  • Matches the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year (only for new cardmembers)
  • No limit to the amount of cash back that can be matched"
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
14 months
0%
14 months
11.24% - 23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Cash Back Rewards Cards

Best Discover Card for Airline Rewards

When you know that you’re going to be using your credit card rewards for your next big flight, you should opt for the airline rewards card. You’ll usually get more bang for your bonus buck if you use miles to purchase your next ticket instead of redeeming for cash and buying one. Learn more about Discover’s top airline rewards card below.

Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card Review

at Discover'ssecure website

DISCOVER® RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Our Take: "If you're looking for a card that gives you air miles, your search is over. This card helps you earn free flights with multiple airlines, awards very generous bonuses, and offers a low APR to boot.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar spent
  • Cover travel costs by redeeming the miles in any amount for a statement credit
  • Fly any airline, any time
  • No blackout dates
  • At the end of your first year, the card automatically matches the miles you've earned (only for new cardmembers)"
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
14 months
10.99%
14 months
11.24% - 23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Airline Rewards Cards

Best Discover Card for Balance Transfers

The interest rates on a credit card can really add up after a while if you carry a balance on your card. In that case, you should look into a good balance transfer card, like our pick from Discover. The introductory offer includes zero interest on your transferred balance as well as new purchases, though lengths vary. You also get great cash-back rewards, including quarterly bonus categories.

Discover it® 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer Review

at Discover'ssecure website

DISCOVER® RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Our Take: "With a ridiculously good deal on balance transfers, low APR's, and a generous cash-back program, we can see why this card is so popular.
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 5% cash back in categories that rotate quarterly, up to $1,500 per quarter when you sign up for the quarterly bonus
  • 1% cash back on all your other purchases
  • Matches the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year (only for new cardmembers)
  • No limit to the amount of cash back that can be matched"
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
6 months
0%
18 months
11.24% - 23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Balance Transfer Cards

Best Discover Card for Students

As a student, it can be hard to get started in the credit world, but Discover has a card just for you. The student card offers the same perks as any other Discovery card, such as reporting to the credit bureaus and cash back rewards. It also has the benefit of giving you your FICO score on each statement, letting you track you growing credit.

Discover it® for Students Review

at Discover'ssecure website

DISCOVER® RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Our Take: "The lack of fees, combined with great perks like cash back and free credit score tracking, make this credit card a solid deal for college students.
  • 5% cash back in categories that rotate quarterly, up to $1,500 per quarter when you sign up for the quarterly bonus
  • 1% cash back on all your other purchases with no limits
  • No annual fee
  • $20 cash back each year your GPA is 3.0 or higher (maximum 5 years)"
 
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
6 months
10.99%
6 months
13.24%-22.24% Variable
$0
Fair Credit

+See More Student Cards

Don’t Be Discouraged By Denial

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t qualify — or pre-qualify — for an offer from Discover; you still have a few options to try. The first is the reconsideration line, a designated telephone number for customers who believe there may have been a mistake on their application, or otherwise wish to appeal their denial. To appeal your Discover rejection, contact:

888-676-3695

An appeal that is denied due to your credit may mean you need to try applying for a credit card designed specifically for those with poor credit. These cards have more forgiving standards, though they may have lower limits or higher interest rates. Responsibly using a credit card can increase your credit score over time and may help you become eligible for a Discover card in the future.

If Pre-Qualification Offers Aren’t For You

If you’re tired of seeing pre-approval offers in your otherwise pristine mailbox, or already have the Discover card you’ve always wanted, you can choose to stop receiving them. Do not just throw out these letters — they’ll just keep coming, like a science fiction monster. Instead, you need to officially opt out of the offer program. Opting out is a simple process, and you can opt-out online or call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688).

Remember that pre-qualification offers can be a good way to gauge your ability to get approved for a credit card, without impacting your credit. You may wish to stay in the program or at least check for your offers online, so you can know all of your credit card options.