The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Saturday, January 29, 2022

18 Credit Card Pre-Approval Links

Credit Card Pre Approval Links

credit card advice

Adam West
By: Adam West
Updated: June 8, 2021
Advertiser Disclosure

Shopping for a credit card isn’t quite as exciting as going shopping with a credit card — but you can’t do one without the other. And both require a bit of research and rational thinking if you want to avoid making a bad financial decision that could haunt you for years.

Thankfully, many major credit card issuers offer pre-qualifying applications that make it easier to narrow your choices and limit the hard inquiries placed on your credit report. And what’s even better, pre-applying for a credit card using one of these applications won’t hurt your credit rating. So, let’s take a look at a wide range of credit card pre-approval links from some of the most well-known issuers in the U.S. Our list also includes credit cards with consumers in mind who have less-than-stellar credit.

Bad Credit OK | Chase | Discover | Capital One | Bank of America | CitiFAQs

Credit Card Pre-Approval for Bad Credit

If you have bad or no credit, pre-qualifying for a credit card may be the most important part of your research process. That’s because every official credit card application you submit places a hard inquiry on your credit report. These inquiries signal to lenders that you’re looking for a loan or line of credit.

That may seem harmless enough, but if you accrue several of these marks on your credit file, lenders may see you as a higher credit risk.  Each inquiry can bring your credit score down — and a lower credit score makes it even harder to qualify for a credit card.

Most credit scoring models will absorb two or three hard inquiries on your credit report over a two-year period. But more than that will affect your score.

Hard Credit Inquiry vs. Soft Credit Inquiry

On the other hand, a prequalifying application only uses a soft inquiry, which doesn’t affect your credit score and will give you a better idea of the cards you may qualify for.

Several credit card issuers work with consumers who want to improve or establish their credit score. Thankfully, many also offer pre-qualifying applications to make the approval process faster and less painful.

Capital One, for instance, includes its entry-level cards in its pre-qualifying application. The family of Milestone credit cards also offers a similar application that can link your credit score with any of its five cards that might suit your needs.

Indigo also offers an assortment of credit cards that consider applicants with damaged credit. Its pre-qualifying application makes it easier to find the best card for your spending needs.

Check out our top options below for more cards that make it easier to rebuild — or establish — your credit profile.

PREMIER Bankcard® Mastercard® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Don’t let a low FICO score stop you from applying – we approve applications others may not.
  • You don’t need good credit to apply.
  • Just complete the short application and find out in 60 seconds if you’re approved.
  • When you need assistance our award-winning US-based Customer Service agents are there to help.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Issuer Website
See Issuer Website
Fair/Poor
PREMIER Bankcard® Grey Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • You don’t need good credit to apply.
  • We help people with bad credit, every day.
  • Just complete the short application and find out in 60 seconds if you’re approved.
  • You can build* or rebuild your credit: apply for a PREMIER Bankcard credit card, keep your balance low, and pay all your monthly bills on time.
  • Don’t let a low FICO score stop you from applying – we approve applications others may not.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
  • *Build credit by keeping your balance low and paying all your bills on time every month.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Issuer Website
See Issuer Website
Fair/Poor

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual or hidden fees, and you can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Building your credit? Using a card like this responsibly could help
  • Put down a refundable $200 security deposit to get a $200 initial credit line
  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

+ See More Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Credit Card Pre-Approval for Chase

U.S. consumers charged more than $739 billion to Chase credit cards in 2018 — the second-highest purchase volume of any issuer in America.

Many use Chase cards because of the ultra-attractive Chase Ultimate Rewards program, which gives cardholders a wide array of rewards options that range from travel to cash back and merchandise. Here are the issuer’s three most popular rewards cards, along with links to each card’s easy online application:

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.99% - 23.74%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.99% - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 03/31/22.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

+ See More Chase Cards

But Chase has notoriously high standards for approval, which make pre-qualifying a smart decision. Like most issuers, Chase offers a simple pre-qualifying form to help you in your research.

After supplying a few basic pieces of personal information, Chase will show you if you pre-qualify for any of its cards, and which cards may work best for you.

Not only will you need good-to-excellent credit for Chase to consider your application, but you’ll also have to pass the issuer’s 5/24 rule. This states that if you have opened five or more new bank card accounts (credit or charge cards) within the last 24 months, you’ll most likely receive a rejection when applying for a new Chase credit card — even if you otherwise qualify.

But if you pass through all of these checkpoints, you may find yourself one step closer to adding one of our top-rated cards, listed below, to your wallet.

Credit Card Pre-Approval for Capital One

Capital One is among the most prolific credit card issuers in America, with more than 62 million cards in circulation. But just because everyone seems to have a Capital One card doesn’t mean the credit card company approves every applicant.

Instead of blindly applying for any Capital One card, you’re better served if you pre-qualify for one of the issuer’s offerings. The brief application requires basic information to identify the applicant — name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number.

You can also choose which type of card most interests you — be it a travel rewards, cash back, or low-interest rate card. You don’t have to answer this question if you have no preference. Just remember that Capital One limits consumers to only two cards from the issuer, so if you already have a pair of the company’s cards, you’ll likely receive a rejection for any application you submit.

Capital One will let you know if you pre-qualify for any of its cards a few moments after submitting your application. You’ll see which card(s) match your credit profile and the benefits related to each offering.

By doing this, you’ll limit your applications — and research — to only the cards you’re likely to be approved for. You may receive approval for one of our top-rated Capital One credit cards — which offer competitive interest rates and rich rewards. Check them out below.

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • 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 won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 14.99%-24.99% variable APR after that
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 14.99% - 24.99% variable APR after that
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+ See More Capital One Cards

Credit Card Pre-Approval for Discover

Discover is one of the fastest-growing credit card issuers in America, thanks to its top-notch customer service ratings. Offering rich rewards is nothing new to Discover, as it was the first true rewards credit card when Sears launched the brand in 1986.

The issuer’s pre-qualifying application is a little longer than the average form. Discover asks about your current income, living situation, and bank account status, but the information helps the company decide which cards to match you with.

If the bank does approve you for one of its credit cards, you could end up reaping some huge rewards — like the ones offered by our top-rated cards below.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back in 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% Intro APR for 14 months
0% Intro APR for 14 months
11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent
Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • No annual fee.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
0% Intro APR for 18 months
11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles.  There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
  • Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee.
  • Redeem Miles to pay any part of your monthly bill, including your minimum payment.
  • Turn Miles into cash in any amount, any time. Or redeem as a statement credit for travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more with no blackout dates. However you redeem, Miles keep the same value. And Miles never expire.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 14 months
10.99% Intro APR for 14 months
11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent

+ See More Discover Cards

Credit Card Pre-Approval for Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the country’s largest financial institutions, which means the company has a pretty massive credit card customer base. The bank has more than 83 million cards in circulation as of 2018.

Bank of America doesn’t require a credit card applicant to have a checking or savings account at the institution — but the bank doesn’t discourage it either. The pre-qualifying application on the bank’s website allows you to sign in to your account to get automatic credit card offers.

If you don’t have an account with the bank, you can still fill out the form to see potential offers. These could include rewards cards and low-interest cards that offer all of the bells and whistles you’d expect in a credit card.

Check out our top-rated cards below to get an idea of what you may qualify for.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Introductory 0% APR for your first 15 billing cycles for purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening (balance transfer fee applies), then a variable APR applies
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 billing cycles
0% for 15 billing cycles
13.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 online bonus points (a $500 value) after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases
  • 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Flexibility to choose how you redeem your points – redeem for cash back as a deposit into Bank of America® checking or savings accounts, for credit to eligible Merrill® accounts including 529 accounts, as a statement credit to your credit card, or for gift cards and purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center
  • Get up to a $100 Airline Incidental Statement Credit annually for qualifying purchases such as seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight services, and airline lounge fees - automatically applied to your card statement. Also get up to $100 in Airport Security Statement Credits towards TSA Pre✓ ® or Global Entry Application fees, every four years.
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn and cash rewards don’t expire
  • 0% Intro APR for your first 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made within the first 60 days of opening your account. After that, a Variable APR that's currently 13.99% to 23.99% will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.
  • Preferred Rewards members earn 25%-75% more cash back on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 2.62% cash back on every purchase. Learn More About Preferred Rewards.
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 billing cycles
0% for 15 billing cycles
13.99% - 23.99% (variable)
$0
Good

+ See More Bank of America Cards

Credit Card Pre-Approval for Citi

While most credit card issuers arm wrestle with each other to see who offers the richest rewards, Citi has quietly built a reputation for offering cards that help consumers eliminate debt fast while reducing interest fees and other charges.

This is most evident in the Citi Simplicity® Card, which offers an unheard-of introductory 0% interest period on balance transfers, though a balance transfer fee will apply. If you have an existing credit card balance that’s only growing because of interest charges, Citibank may have the solution to help you knock the debt out faster and more cheaply. It also offers a modest introductory offer on purchases.

And Citi also has one of the easiest pre-qualifying applications to complete. Simply provide your name, address, and the last four digits of your Social Security number, and the bank will show you all of its cards that you may qualify for.

Those cards could include the popular offering above, or maybe another of our top-rated choices listed below.

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% Intro APR Period 18 months on Balance Transfers
13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No rotating bonus categories to sign up for – as your spending changes each billing cycle, your earn adjusts automatically when you spend in any of the eligible categories.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Citi will only issue one Citi Custom Cash℠ Card account per person.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% 15 months Purchases and Balance Transfers
0% 15 months Purchases and Balance Transfers
13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

Citi Premier® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 60,000 Points are redeemable for $600 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

+ See More Citibank Cards

Which Credit Cards Offer Pre-Approval?

When shopping for a credit card, you’re best served by looking at issuers that offer pre-approval applications instead of specific cards that do the same. That’s because an issuer’s application could link you with several cards that you may qualify for.

And like most things in life, there’s strength in numbers.

Take, for example, Capital One. By filling out the bank’s pre-approval application, you could receive several offers and then decide which one best matches your needs. If you go into your research with your heart set on one specific card, you increase the chance of being disappointed if you don’t qualify for that card.

Screenshot of the Capital One Pre-Qualification Application

Filling out Capital One’s pre-qualification form can show you which of the issuer’s cards you may qualify for.

Your best first step is to decide what matters most to you in a credit card. From there, you can decide which issuer offers the best options to fit your desires and attempt to pre-qualify with that bank.

If you’re looking for rewards, you may decide to pre-apply with Chase or Discover. If you need a good balance transfer card, or a card with a longer 0% introductory period, then you may want to consider Citi.

If you need an all-around card that offers good rewards with low rates and a strong network, then Bank of America may be for you. Whichever you choose, keep your options open.

What’s the Difference Between Pre-Approved and Pre-Qualified?

Both terms sound very different but have very similar meanings.

Once upon a time, pre-approved meant the credit card issuer reviewed a soft pull of your credit report and would offer you a credit card if you decided to apply. That’s no longer the case.

Credit card issuers purchase large batches of consumer data from credit reporting bureaus. They use their filters to decide which consumers might meet their minimum standards for approval. They may give specific criteria to the bureau and receive several thousand credit files that meet that criteria. That’s how they choose who receives those pre-approval letters in the mail.

Screenshot of Chase Pre-qualifcation Page

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

But they don’t actually guarantee approval — pre-approval is more of an invitation to apply for a credit card. It’s the issuer’s way of saying “You look like you might be a good match for our card. Feel free to apply, and we’ll see if we’re right.”

An issuer can’t guarantee approval, though, until they get to examine your full credit file. And that can’t happen until you apply.

So, even though you may think you’re pre-approved, the issuer could see something when it pulls your credit report that wasn’t visible before. And that could lead to a rejection or less attractive terms than what your pre-approval letter offered.

Still, many experts say that getting a pre-approval offer means you have around a 90% chance of receiving the card if you apply.

A pre-qualifying offer is very similar, but just as uncertain when it comes to approval. Credit card issuers send out millions of such letters each year, but only a percentage of the consumers who receive them will actually qualify for the card that’s offered.

That’s because the credit profile data used to determine pre-qualifications is far broader than the information used for pre-approvals. An issuer may purchase a batch of credit profiles, for example, with credit scores between 650 and 800 and send offers to everyone on the list.

Or, the issuer may apply a filter for consumers who haven’t had a late payment in the last three months. All of this information is useful, but not definitive.

Can You Be Denied a Pre-Approved Credit Card?

As stated above, pre-approval is far from a guarantee. Any offer you receive comes from the version of your credit file the lender viewed — which often happens a month or two before you receive the offer.

A lot can happen in two months. If you’ve experienced any major changes to your credit score during that time, it could greatly impact your chances of final approval.

Even if your credit report doesn’t change in that time frame, you could still find yourself with a rejection, despite the pre-approval. That’s because the issuer doesn’t always examine every part of the soft credit pull before sending you an invitation to apply.

FICO Credit Score Factors

These are the five factors that impact your credit score. If changes to any of these have occurred since the issuer last evaluated your file, you could face denial despite prior pre-approval.

For example, the issuer may look for consumers who haven’t missed a payment in six months. That could trigger tens of thousands of letters sent to consumers across the country. But when one applies, and the issuer sees that he or she has three maxed-out credit cards, it likely won’t end in an offer.

That’s why pre-qualifying applications are helpful — when used with caution. On one hand, it could help you avoid rejection when it comes time to officially apply for a card. On the other, it could give you a false sense of confidence that you’ll receive a specific card that you may not otherwise qualify for.

The best way to truly gain confidence in your credit report is to view it yourself. The government allows every consumer one free credit report each year from each credit reporting bureau. While these reports won’t show you your actual credit score, it will show you all of the vital information that credit card issuers see when reviewing your application.

Make certain that your reports are up-to-date and only display accurate information before applying for a new credit card. Think of your application as a blind date. The credit card issuer doesn’t know who you are or what you look like — but you can spruce yourself up a bit and look better by knowing where your credit report stands and doing what you can to improve it before presenting yourself to the bank.

Reduce Your Chances of Rejection Through Pre-Approval

Credit cards are like cookies. Cookies are yummy and easy to eat, but hard to put down. Credit card applications have a similar effect. If you’ve been rejected, you may feel tempted to apply for another card.

But, like cookies, the more applications you submit, the less satisfying the results. You can avoid collecting hard inquiries on your credit report by filling out a pre-qualifying application to the issuer of your choice. Not only will it give you a clearer picture of your finances, but it’ll keep those pesky inquiries at bay.

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