The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Thursday, December 8, 2022

21 Credit Card Pre-Approval Links

Credit Card Pre Approval Links

credit card advice

Adam West

Written by: Adam West

Adam West

Adam corresponds with finance experts to publish industry news coverage related to helping consumers achieve greater financial literacy and improved credit. He has more than 12 years of storytelling, editing, and design experience in print and online journalism and is most knowledgeable in the areas of credit scores, financial products and services, and the banking industry.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Florida. Today, she edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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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.

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 | Amex | Chase | Discover | Capital One | Bank of America | Citi | FAQs

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.

Surge® Platinum Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank'ssecure website

  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From Experian* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000* (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
See website for Details
24.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
See website for Details
See website for Details*
Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
4.4

OVERALL RATING

  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified with no impact to your credit score
  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Experian* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000* (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
See Terms
Bad, Fair, or No Credit
Indigo® Mastercard® for Less than Perfect Credit Review

at Indigo® Mastercard®'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
4.3

OVERALL RATING

  • Pre-qualify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • Mobile account access at any time
  • Fraud protection for stolen or lost cards
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.9%
$0 - $99
Bad, Poor Credit

+ See More Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Credit Card Pre-Approval for American Express

American Express is known for being an ultra-slective credit card issuer. You must have at least good credit to qualify for any of its cards — there are no student offers or cards for bad credit available. But you can check to see if you pre-qualify for any of its cards on its website in as little as 30 seconds.

Below are our experts top-rated Amex cards, all available to consumers with good to excellent credit:

The Platinum Card® Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CATEGORY RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 125,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly through airlines or American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Also earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.
  • $200 annual hotel credit, $200 annual airline fee credit, $25 monthly Equinox credit, $15 monthly Uber cash credit, $50 bi-annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, and more.
  • Platinum Card Members have unlimited complimentary access to all locations of The Global Lounge Collection, including 1,400 airport lounges across 650 cities.
  • Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status and Hilton Honors Gold Status. Enrollment required.
  • Choose among three card designs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.99% - 25.99% Pay Over Time
$695
Excellent
Blue Cash Preferred® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CATEGORY RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn $300 back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year on purchases (then 1%). Also earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • Earn 3% cash back on transit, including U.S. gas stations, taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
  • $120 Equinox Credit - Use your Blue Cash Preferred Card to pay for Equinox+ at equinoxplus.com and receive $10 in monthly statement credits. Enrollment required.
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable APR applies
  • $95 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
16.99% - 27.99% Variable
$95
Excellent Credit
American Express® Gold Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CATEGORY RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 6 months of card membership
  • Earn 4X Points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases. Also earn 4X Points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and 3X points on flights when booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. All other eligible purchases earn 1X point.
  • 0% Intro APR on eligible charges for 6 months from the date of account opening on purchases eligible for Pay Over Time, then a 18.99% to 25.99% variable APR .
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, Boxed and other participating partners. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • Delight your senses when you book The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel. Get a $100 experience credit to use during your stay. A minimum 2-night stay is required.
  • $250 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 Months
N/A
18.99% - 25.99% Pay Over Time
$250
Excellent

+ See More Amex Cards

American Express is also known for issuing charge cards, which are credit cards with no preset spending limit. These cards must be repaid in full each month, unless you select purchases to repay over time — with interest — in the app or on the issuer’s website.

Amex has lucrative signup bonuses and rewards card offers, not to mention a great lineup of business credit card options.

Credit Card Pre-Approval for Chase

Many consumers choose 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

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
20.74% - 27.74% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • 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 18.74% - 27.49%.
  • 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
18.74% - 27.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • 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 18.74% - 27.49%.
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
18.74% - 27.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+ See More Chase Cards

Chase has notoriously high standards for approval, which makes pre-qualifying a smart decision. But Chase recently changed its prequalification process.

It used to offer a standard prequalification form like most other card issuers. Now, the bank requires you to sign in to your Chase account to “Browse offers selected for you based on your relationship with Chase.” If you don’t already have a relationship with the bank, you can create an account and see which card offers it suggests, if any.

Not only will you need good-to-excellent credit for Chase to consider your application, (unless you’re a student, you may qualify for the Chase Freedom® Student credit card without a credit history) but you’ll also have to pass the issuer’s 5/24 rule. This rule 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 be rejected when applying for a new Chase credit card — even if you otherwise qualify.

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

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 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®
  • Enjoy two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges through our Partner Lounge Network
  • 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
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
$95
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 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Enjoy up to 6 months of complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • 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
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
17.99% - 27.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
$395
Excellent

+ 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

  • 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, and gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 15.74% to 26.74% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 months
0% Intro APR for 15 months
15.74% - 26.74% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good
Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • 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, and gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
0% Intro APR for 18 months
15.74% - 26.74% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • 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.
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 15.74% to 26.74% Standard Variable Purchase APR will apply.
  • Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 months
0% Intro APR for 15 months
15.74% - 26.74% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good

+ 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.

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Get a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back on your choice of one of the following six categories: gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services, or business consulting services and 2% cash back on dining on the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each year, 1% thereafter
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Get 75% more cash back on every purchase when you're a Preferred Rewards for Business Platinum Honors tier member. That means you'll earn 5.25% on your selected choice category, 3.5% on dining, and unlimited 1.75% cash back on all other purchases.
  • 0% on purchases for 9 billing cycles from account opening, then a variable APR applies
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 billing cycles
N/A
13.74% to 23.74% Variable
$0
Good

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 25,000 bonus points ($250 value) if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere
  • No blackout dates or restrictions apply, and points never expire
  • 0% introductory APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles, then a variable APR applies
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 billing cycles
0% for 18 billing cycles
16.24% - 26.24% Variable
$0
None/Limited

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your 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
  • 0% Introductory APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles (balance transfer fee applies), then a variable APR applies
  • Optional overdraft protection option helps prevent declined purchases, returned checks, or other overdrafts when you link your eligible Bank of America® checking account to your credit card. Transfer fees may apply.
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 billing cycles
0% for 18 billing cycles
16.24% - 26.24% Variable
$0
None/Limited

+ 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.

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

  • 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 17.74% - 27.74%, 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).
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% Intro APR Period 18 months on Balance Transfers
17.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 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
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 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
19.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 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 17.74% - 27.74%, 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
17.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

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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 may link you with several cards that you 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.

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.

Does Credit Card Pre-Approval Affect Credit Scores?

No, credit card pre-approval does not affect your credit scores. Credit card pre-approval is done through a soft pull of your credit report, which does not appear on your credit history.

If you decide to apply for the card after receiving pre-approval, you will obtain a hard inquiry, which will appear on your credit history and may affect your credit score for up to one year, but only by a few points. The fear of obtaining a hard inquiry isn’t reason enough to avoid applying.

That’s because the new credit limit you receive upon approval may improve your credit, so you may not feel any negative affects from the inquiry. An increase in the amount of credit available to you can help lower your credit utilization if you have other credit card debt, or it may broaden your credit mix if this is your first credit card.

The possible effects of obtaining a credit card are unique to each consumer’s financial situation, we can’t definitively say this or that will happen — it’s all based on your unqiue credit history.

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 By Receiving 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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