2018 Guide: How to Get Pre-Approved & Pre-Qualify for Credit Cards

How to Get Pre-Approved & Pre-Qualify for Credit Cards

credit card advice

Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Posted: May 24, 2018
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.

Of all the nonsensical concepts in the world of consumer credit, perhaps one of the least intuitive is that it can actually harm your credit score when creditors pull your credit. I mean, the very reason we have credit reports is for creditors to check them, right?

Right. But that’s not the whole story. In the eyes of future lenders, each one of those hard credit inquiries represents more than just a request for a new credit card or loan. To them, each hard credit pull is actually a potential attempt to take on more debt — debt that could keep you from repaying your new creditors.

This concept can be especially damaging when shopping for the perfect credit card. Not only will each card have its own credit qualifications, individual issuers may also have their own meticulous requirements (think Chase’s 5/24 rule) that can leave you rejected despite killer credit scores. You do have an option to avoid the sting of wasted credit inquiries, however: credit card pre-qualification.

Get Approved For: Air Miles | Cash Back | 0% Intro APR | 0% Balance Transfer | Business | Student | Fair Credit | Bad Credit

How to Find Credit Card Pre-Qualification Offers

Credit card pre-qualification, also called pre-approval, is a great way to get a feel for your chances of being approved by a particular issuer. Rather than filling out a complete credit application for a specific card, which will automatically result in a hard credit pull, credit card pre-qualification involves a less formal look at your credit.

In fact, the key to credit card pre-qualification lies in the fact that there are actually two types of credit inquiries: hard inquiries and soft inquiries.

Screenshot of Chase Pre-qualification Page

Pre-qualifying for a credit card can give you an idea of your chances for approval without impacting your credit score.

Hard inquiries are the ones that do the damage, visible to anyone who checks your credit report and nipping at your score like biting flies. Hard credit inquiries are generally initiated by the consumer when applying for a credit line, such as credit card or charge account.

Soft credit inquiries, on the other hand, can be initiated by the consumer — such as checking your own credit or applying for insurance — but they don’t have to be. Any business with a legitimate need to review your credit can access it without your authorization. While soft inquiries are typically recorded on your credit report, they are only visible to you, and they won’t impact your credit score.

Credit card issuers use soft credit pulls to get a general idea of your creditworthiness, sort of like an estimate. They then use that estimate to match you with the credit cards for which you are most likely to qualify. Pre-qualifying for a particular card doesn’t guarantee you’ll be approved for that card if you apply, but it does mean the odds are in your favor.

Most major issuers provide a means of checking for pre-qualification offers online. The process typically requires your name, address, and the last four digits of your Social Security number. While some third-party sites will automatically check for pre-qualification offers from multiple issuers, you’ll need to check with each issuer individually if doing it yourself.

In addition to checking online for credit card pre-approval offers, consumers over the age of 21 are likely to find the occasional unsolicited credit card offer in the mail. These offers can be particularly lucrative, as they often contain exclusive signup bonuses or low-interest deals. You can respond directly to a mailed pre-qualification offer, or head online with your offer code to apply online.

Another common way of discovering credit card pre-qualification offers is to head into your local bank branch and requesting a search for offers from the friendly teller behind the counter. The vast majority of big banks provide credit cards, and they’re typically extremely interested in offering those credit cards to existing members.

In most cases, you’ll be asked to select which type of credit card (cash back, student, bad credit, etc.) for which you are most interested in pre-qualifying. Consumers with good credit will often be pre-approved for more than one credit card, so you’ll likely need to make some choices about which card you’d like to formally apply for out of your options. Remember, each application can result in a hard credit pull, so only apply to one card at a time.

Pre-Qualify for an “Air Miles” Credit Card

The card of choice for anyone with a bit of wanderlust are credit cards offering airline miles. They can be a fantastic way to make your next trip more affordable — or downright free. Choosing between miles rewards programs will generally come down to how you like to earn your miles, and how you like to spend them. Each card will have its own earning rate, and some cards award bonus miles for travel-related purchases.

Additionally, you’ll need to decide if you want a co-branded credit card or more flexible redemption options. Cards co-branded with a specific airline will often limit redemption to purchases made with that airline and its partners. Our favorite miles cards include programs that allow you to redeem your miles for travel on any airline — regardless of brand — and free from blackout dates.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • New! Earn 10 miles per dollar on hotels when you pay with your Venture card at hotels.com/venture; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
14.49% - 24.49% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Excellent Credit
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles.
  • Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates - fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
  • Redeem your Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
10.99% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+See More Cards for Air Miles

Pre-Qualify for a “Cash Back” Credit Card

The simplest of rewards programs, cash back rewards offer a percentage of your purchases back to you. These rewards are typically redeemable as a statement credit, gift card, or check. As with other rewards programs, the rate at which you earn cash back will vary by card, with particular spending categories often used to decide earnings rates.

The two most common types of cash back programs are a flat-rate percentage on all purchases, or a bonus rate for purchases that fit specified categories. If most of your usual spending falls into the bonus categories, this type of card can be extremely beneficial. Our favorite cash back cards include both program types, as well as some juicy signup bonuses.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good
Discover it® - Cashback Match™ Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Android Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 14.49%-26.49% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
14.49%-26.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Cards for Cash Back

Pre-Qualify for a “0% Intro APR” Credit Card

If rewards credit cards can be said to have a particular drawback, it’s probably that the interest fees from carrying a balance can easily engulf any savings from your cash back or points card. This is where introductory 0% APR offers come in handy. These credit card offers can provide cardholders with a year or more of interest-free card use, allowing you to carry a balance without paying interest for the length of the introductory period.

Your interest rate will increase to the default rate at the end of the introductory term, so that rate should be one of the factors you investigate before applying. Some of the best 0% APR deals will be for cards that also offer rewards, as you can still earn those rewards while enjoying your interest-free term. Our top-rated cards include options that don’t charge an annual fee, increasing the savings potential.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 16.65%-26.49% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card
  • Free access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
16.65%-26.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Cards for Intro 0% APR

Pre-Qualify for a “Balance Transfer” Credit Card

As awesome as 0% APR offers are for new purchases, what do you do if you already have a balance? Why, you find an awesome zero-interest balance transfer offer, of course. Providing the ability to transfer your balance to the new card and carry it for a year or more without being stuck paying interest fees, balance transfer card offers can save you a bundle on your balance.

Even better, you can still use your new card to make purchases, earn rewards, and enjoy the perks that come with credit card use. On the down side, the balance you transfer to your new card won’t earn you any rewards, and your interest rate will revert to the default rate at the end of your term. Our top picks offer 0% APR on both new purchases and balance transfers to really make the most of your card.

Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 16.65%-26.49% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card
  • Free access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • Convenient tools to help create a budget and manage your spending with My Money Map
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
16.65%-26.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Cards for Balance Transfers

Pre-Qualify for a “Business” Credit Card

Between the need for constant attention and the seemingly endless expenses, owning a business can be an awful lot like raising a child. Unlike an infant, however, your new business can take advantage of a rewards credit card to help extend your bottom line. Many business cards will even provide a lucrative signup bonus to sweeten the pot.

Checking for pre-qualified credit card offers can be particularly useful when shopping for a business card. This can be especially important if your business is young, as it likely has yet to establish its own business credit. In this case, your personal credit will be used by credit card issuers to determine the credit risk of your business. Our favorite business cards include options to earn cash back rewards on your business buys.

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Named "Best Rewards Card for Small Business Owners" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2017
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 12 months
14.74% - 20.74% Variable
$0
Excellent Credit

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 22.49% Variable
$95
Excellent Credit

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • 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 from account opening
  • Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
  • 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
18.49% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

+See More Cards for Businesses

Pre-Qualify for a “Student” Credit Card

For all that many adults would happily go back to their college days, being a student does have a number of drawbacks, including lacking the credit history and income that make it possible to get a credit card. Luckily, many card issuers understand the unique credit position many students find themselves in, and they have designed a variety of credit cards specifically for student applicants.

In addition to having more relaxed credit requirements, many student cards come complete with student-centric perks, such as bonus cash back for maintaining good grades. You can also get access to important credit tracking tools to make sure you start your credit journey on the right foot. Our top picks for student cards won’t charge you an annual fee, making them ideal starter cards.

Discover it® for Students Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
14.49% - 23.49% Variable
$0
Fair
Discover it® chrome for Students Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter - no sign-ups needed. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
14.49% - 23.49% Variable
$0
Fair

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

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
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Get a head start and build your credit with responsible use
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

+See More Cards for Students

Pre-Qualify for a “Fair Credit” Credit Card

Typically referring to credit scores in the mid-600s to about 700, fair credit generally indicates someone who is building — or rebuilding — their credit. While fair credit won’t earn you the pick of the litter that having excellent credit would win, you’ll still have a fair number of options (pun intended) from which to choose.

If you’re unsure of your approval chances due to a middling credit score, remember to check for pre-qualification offers. Perhaps the best thing about having fair credit is that it’s not bad credit, and you won’t be relegated to the subprime card market. Instead, those with fair credit can usually enjoy entry-level cards from major issuers, including options for earning cash back rewards as offered by some of our favorite fair-credit picks.

Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® for Rebuilding Credit Review

at Credit One'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Find out if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score
  • Eligible purchases earn 1% cash back rewards automatically, terms apply
  • Get a credit line between $300 and $3,000 based on your credit history
  • Looking for more credit? Get credit line increase opportunities, a fee may apply
  • Choose your monthly payment due date for added convenience, terms apply
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 25.49% Variable
$0 - $99
Fair

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

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Earn cash rewards without signing up for rotating categories
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • No limit to how much cash back you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$39
Average, Fair, Limited

+See More Cards for Fair Credit

Pre-Qualify for a “Bad Credit” Credit Card

Whether due to missed payments, a defaulted account, or even bankruptcy, when your credit score has fallen to the low-600s or below, most issuers will consider you to have bad credit. This means you represent a high credit risk and will likely need to select either a secured credit card — one that requires an initial security deposit — or an unsecured subprime credit card.

Although they don’t require a deposit, subprime cards will likely charge higher interest rates than other cards charge, and will often come with additional fees. Make sure your new card reports your credit behavior to all three credit bureaus, as our top picks do, so your new credit card can be used to build your credit.

Fingerhut Credit Account Review

at Fingerhut'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Fingerhut offers more than 500,000 items including the brand names you want like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Fast, easy online application process and a quick decision
  • Take advantage of low monthly payments if you apply and are accepted for a Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank, who determines eligibility and qualifications for the terms of credit
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Issuer Website
$0
Poor Credit

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad
Credit One Bank® Visa® with Free Credit Score Tracking Review

at Credit One'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • See if you Pre-Qualify in less than 60 seconds—without affecting your credit score. It's fast, easy, and secure.
  • Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV. Terms apply.
  • This is a fully functional, unsecured credit card—not a debit card, prepaid card, or secured credit card with deposit requirements.
  • Credit One Bank automatically monitors every account for credit line increase opportunities each month. We'll notify you as soon as you're eligible for a higher credit line. A fee may apply.
  • Take advantage of free online access to your Experian credit score and credit report summary so you can track the key factors impacting your credit health. Terms apply.
  • Zero Fraud Liability protects you if your card is ever lost or stolen. Rest easy knowing you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 25.49% Variable
$0 - $99
Poor Credit

+See More Cards for Bad Credit

You Can Opt-Out of Pre-Approval Offers

However nonsensical it can be, each credit card application you send out can shave several points off of your ever-important credit score. Credit card pre-qualification can be the best way to estimate your approval odd and may help save you — and your credit score — from the sting of credit card rejection.

As helpful as pre-approval can be, of course, you may get tired of receiving a new offer in the mail every month once you’ve found your new card. If you’re not interested in getting the latest unsolicited credit card deals and offers, you can opt-out of pre-screened offers in several ways, depending on the duration for which you plan to opt-out.

Screenshot of the Opt Out Homepage

Anyone can opt out of receiving credit card pre-qualification letters online or by phone.

To opt-out of pre-screened offers for a period of five years, you can either call the toll-free opt-out phone number: 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688), or go online to the official Consumer Credit Industry opt-out page. To opt-out permanently, you’ll need to return the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form, which can be obtained through the official opt-out website.