The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Are There Credit Cards That Use Experian for Approval?

Credit Cards That Use Experian

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: March 19, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

In a world where consumer data is a legitimate commodity, nearly every company seems to track and trade in your personal information. But few companies have been in the information business quite as long as the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

These three companies have massive databases full of details about the credit and payment history of millions of Americans — most of it voluntarily reported by the creditors and lenders with which we do business every day.

Given that each credit agency is an independent entity, they’re not obligated to share most types of information, and each may possess a unique dataset for any given consumer. Since creditors can pull information from any one (or all three) of the bureaus, the specific bureau could impact whether your application is approved. Perhaps your credit score is slightly higher through Experian than it is through Equifax and you’re wondering if there are any credit cards that use Experian exclusively. Unfortunately, issuers don’t rely on any single bureau for all their information. Read on for more information.

No Issuer Pulls Exclusively From Experian

When you apply for a new credit card, the issuer will likely check your credit profile to determine whether to approve your credit application and, if so, what type of credit line and APR to offer. Basically, everything about your new card hinges on what’s in the specific credit report(s) that the issuer evaluates.

Since each report can show different things, being able to pick and choose which report an issuer uses would be ideal — but, unfortunately, it’s effectively impossible.

Logos for Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion

To start, while some issuers will only request a report from a single bureau, others may request two or even all three bureau reports. Moreover, credit card issuers are notoriously unpredictable when it comes to which bureau(s) they query for a particular application, and no single issuer exclusively uses any particular bureau, including Experian.

Some data suggests that your state of residence may be a factor in which bureau is used, but even that can vary by issuer and even by the specific card. And though some consumers have found success freezing a particular credit report to prevent it from being queried, some issuers may reject you out of hand if they can’t get the report they want.

Credit Card Issuers that Commonly Use Experian for Approval

Although it’s not possible to accurately predict which credit bureaus will be queried as the result of a particular credit card application, we do have a few tools for making fairly educated guesses. Primarily, we have data points.

As with many industries, the credit card world has its share of dedicated fans who like to dive deep into the ins and outs. In this case, credit card forum participants and consistent commenters have given us a variety of data points on which reports were pulled for their personal credit card applications.

From the data points, it’s quickly apparent that, while no issuers are exclusive to any one bureau, many pull reports more heavily from one bureau over the others. We found five issuers that seem to predominantly rely on Experian credit reports for credit card applications.

Chase | Wells Fargo | Bank of America | Citi | American Express

Chase

A powerhouse in the credit card world, Chase issues many of the most popular rewards cards on the market today. Unfortunately, Chase also has some of the highest credit standards and some of the most rigid limitations on who can be approved.

The issuer is also all over the board when it comes to which bureau it queries for a credit report. Although the data indicates that Experian is more frequently used than the other two bureaus, a number of reports suggest multiple reports were pulled.

EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, 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
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • 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!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, 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
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
4.8
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 $750 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
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

Regardless of which bureau Chase checks, your application could be denied simply because you have too many new cards. Chase’s infamous 5/24 Rule means you will be automatically denied most Chase cards if you’ve opened five or more credit cards (from any issuer) within the last 24 months.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo’s history goes back to the days of the stagecoach so famously part of the bank’s logo. Modern-day Wells Fargo is one of the largest banks in the U.S., and the issuer has a number of popular credit card offerings designed to appeal to a variety of cardholders.

Although the data shows that Wells Fargo has a slight preference for pulling credit reports from Experian — approximately 47% of reported credit pulls — the bank also seems to pull from TransUnion fairly regularly, nor is it uncommon for Equifax to be queried for a report.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn 3X points on eating out and ordering in; gas stations, rideshares, and transit; flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals; and popular streaming services - all other purchases earn 1X points
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from account opening
  • No limit to points you can earn, and points don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Cell phone protection helps protect your cell phone from damage or theft
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
14.49% - 24.99%
$0
Good/Excellent
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases
  • Earn a $150 cash rewards bonus when you spend $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from account opening
  • Account protections such as 24/7 Fraud Monitoring, Alerts, and Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
14.49% - 24.99%
$0
Good/Excellent
Wells Fargo Platinum Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • Introductory 0% APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers (3% balance transfer fee applies)
  • Account protection features such as Zero Liability protection for promptly reported unauthorized transactions, alerts, and cell phone protection
  • My Money Map – tools to help you manage spending and create a budget with ease
  • Access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
16.49% - 24.49%
$0
Good

While Wells Fargo is one of the few issuers without known restrictions on how many cards you can have or how frequently you can apply for a new card, the bank is reported to restrict approval for some of its top cards to consumers who already have a Wells Fargo banking relationship.

Bank of America

Bank of America is often credited with the first mass-market consumer credit card, and the bank has maintained a foothold in the industry since those early experiments made history. While today’s Bank of America credit card lineup doesn’t have the same flash as some of its competitors, the bank still offers a little something for almost anyone.

Well, almost anyone with a decent Experian profile, that is. As the data shows, Bank of America pulls an Experian credit report more than 80% of the time, with the occasional double-up with a pull from one of the other two bureaus.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.7/5.0
  • 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Enjoy a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Introductory 0% APR for your first 12 billing cycles for purchases and balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening (balance transfer fee applies)
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
13.99% - 23.99%
$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 unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Enjoy the 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 Edge® and Merrill Lynch® 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • $95 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99%
$95
Good/Excellent
Business Advantage Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
4.6/5.0
  • 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
  • Earn 2% cash back on dining, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Get a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening
  • 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 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 months
N/A
12.24% to 22.24%
$0
Good

As with most issuers, Bank of America has a few application rules in place to limit the number of cards you can obtain. Specifically, the bank will only approve two cards per rolling two months, three cards per 12 months, and up to four cards in any given 24-month period.

Citibank

Citi’s banking roots go back more than a century, and the issuer has held a major role in the credit card market for decades. Although Citi doesn’t have quite as many top-tier rewards cards as some of its competitors, the bank has a number of popular picks, including several of the top rewards cards.

Looking at the data points, reports show that Citi can pull from any of the three bureaus — and frequently pulls from more than one. That said, more than 52% of reported pulls were from Experian. Many reports also indicated Equifax pulls, though many of these were in conjunction with an Experian credit report inquiry.

Citi Premier Card

The Citi Premier Card is a popular travel card for its broad bonus rewards travel category that includes all of the typical expenses, like airfare and hotel stays, as well as gas station purchases.

Citi Premier Card

  • Earn 3X points per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases, including gas stations
  • Earn 2X points per $1 spent on dining out and entertainment
  • Pay no annual fee the first year, then $95

This card also has double rewards on dining, as well as a somewhat uncommon entertainment bonus rewards category that allows cardholders to earn double points on everything from concerts to sporting events to museum visits.

CITI® RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn cash back twice. 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 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.
  • 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 a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 23.99% (variable)
$0
Excellent/Good
CITI® RATING
★★★★★
4.7
OVERALL RATING
4.7/5.0
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, 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
0% for 12 months
0% for 21 months
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

While Citibank doesn’t have any official limits on how many Citi cards you can have, the issuer does limit applications to once per week and two per every 60 days. If you apply more frequently, you will likely be denied automatically.

American Express

One of the very first consumer credit card companies, American Express still reigns as a top card issuer, both in terms of the number of cardholders and its high marks for customer satisfaction. Amex has a number of extremely popular rewards cards, though the issuer is known for its high standards.

According to the data points, it seems that Amex almost exclusively pulls Experian credit reports — almost, but not quite. Approximately 95% of reports include an Experian pull, though some reports indicated the issuer also pulled Equifax or TransUnion reports (and, sometimes, all three).

Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the top consumer travel credit cards on the market, and it’s not due entirely to its rewards. This card can have significant value to many consumers thanks to its copious benefits — which is important considering its massive annual fee.

American Express Platinum Card

  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points per $1 on flights/hotels booked directly with the airline/hotel or amextravel.com
  • Receive up to $200 annual airline fee credit
  • Pay a $550 annual fee

Some of this card’s most popular perks include airport lounge access, including the prestigious Amex Centurion lounges, as well as elite hotel status with both Hilton and Marriott Bonvoy hotels. Cardholders are also eligible for a variety of travel protections as well as several monthly and annual credits for travel-related purchases.

American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card is a highly competitive everyday rewards card, offering 4X points per dollar on both dining and groceries (limited to U.S. purchases, $25,000 annual cap on bonus grocery spend).

Graphic of Amex Gold Card

  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points per $1 at US restaurants and grocery stores
  • Receive 3X points on flights booked directly with the airlines
  • Pay $250 annual fee

While this card does have a fairly hefty annual fee, its high rewards rates can help offset the cost for heavy spenders. Plus, the card offers several spending credits that can be valuable for those who can maximize them.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of the best everyday cards on the market; its 6% cash back on groceries (category cap of $6,000 a year) is beat only by its sibling, the Gold Card. Plus, the card also offers 3% cash back on gas, a competitive rate across the board.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6k a year) & on select U.S. streaming services
  • Earn 3% cash back on U.S. gas station and transit purchases
  • Pay a $95 annual fee

Although the annual fee may be intimidating to some, even a modest spend of $31 in qualifying grocery purchases would earn enough cash back to offset the annual fee, making the rest of your rewards pure earnings.

In addition to checking your credit reports, American Express will also evaluate your history with them and your current Amex cards. In some cases, you may be automatically turned down for a new Amex card based on your existing Amex relationship.

All Three of Your Credit Reports Are Equally Important

The information on your credit reports can be a vital part of your personal finances. Good credit can make it possible not only to obtain new credit, but also to obtain affordable credit.

But, not all credit reports are the same. The information on each of your credit reports can vary based on which bureaus receive reports from your creditors, as well as which bureaus previous lenders have queried in the last two years.

Since you can’t always accurately predict which credit report — or, in many cases, reports, plural — will be used to evaluate your credit risk, it’s best to ensure you maintain all three of your credit reports to the best of your ability.

You should also endeavor to check all three of your credit reports on a regular basis to look for mistakes, outdated information, or potentially fraudulent accounts. While you can purchase your credit reports at any time, you are also entitled to one free credit report from each bureau once a year through AnnualCreditReport.com.

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