The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Sunday, July 25, 2021

Pre-Approved Credit Cards By Issuer in 2021

Pre Approved Credit Cards By Issuer

credit card advice

Eric Bank
By: Eric Bank
Posted: July 21, 2021

Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines and are updated regularly.

In this review of pre-approved credit cards by issuer, we describe how to get a credit card with a minimum of fuss. We look at the pre-approval processes of six major card issuers: Capital One, Chase, Discover, American Express, Bank of America, and Citi.

While pre-approval does not guarantee final approval, it’s a pretty good indication that your credit card application will ultimately sail through, barring unexpected problems.

Credit card preapproval is a nice feature for all consumers but especially important to folks with bad, thin, or no credit. For this reason, we’ve included credit cards for those with less-than-excellent credit. In all cases, credit card pre-approval will not harm your credit score nor obligate you to complete the application process.

Pre-Approved Capital One Credit Cards

About 10.5% of the cardmember population have a Capital One credit card in their wallets. That’s approximately 62 million cards held by consumers who choose Capital One for its wide range of acceptable credit scores, around-the-clock customer service, and free services like Credit One and Eno (where you can get a virtual card number upon request).

Here are our top-ranked Capital One credit cards — you can click the See Details links to learn more about each offer.

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 $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Redeem on travel—including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% – 24.49% (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 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 for 15 months; 15.49% – 25.49% 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
N/A
15.49% – 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn a $500 bonus when you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere — with no limits or category restrictions
  • No annual fee
  • Rewards won’t expire for the life of the account
  • Redeem your cash back rewards for any amount
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
13.24% – 19.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
15.49% – 25.49% (Variable)
$0
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 for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
N/A
15.49% – 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

Capital One has set up a pre-approved credit card website that covers six of its most popular cards. You’ll receive a credit card pre-approval decision in seconds and can complete the application process without reentering any information.

Capital One allows you to own up to two of its credit cards at any one time, and it is the fourth-largest card issuer in terms of outstanding balances.

Pre-Approved Chase Credit Cards

JPMorgan Chase is the largest credit card issuer, with a market share of 16.6% and about 92 million cards in circulation. You can pre-qualify for a Chase card in just a minute or two, allowing you to find the right preapproved credit card offer without impacting your credit score.

Chase credit card marketing caters to cardholders with good to excellent credit, choosing not to compete for consumers with bad credit. Our favorite Chase cards are as follows:

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Review

at Chase’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.
  • 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 Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining 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

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 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 Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining 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
Chase Slate Edge℠ Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Receive a $100 bonus on your statement when you spend $500 in your first six months from account opening.
  • Lower your interest rate by 2% each year. Automatically be considered for an APR reduction when you pay on time, and spend at least $1000 on your card by your next account anniversary.
  • Raise your credit limit. Get an automatic, one-time review for a higher credit limit when you pay on time, and spend $500 in your first six months.
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 12 months
14.99% – 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Review

at Chase’ssecure website

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 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 12/31/21.
  • 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
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Review

at Chase’ssecure website

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

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 $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. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 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
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

This issuer stresses the synergies between its credit card and banking operations to attract and keep customers. In addition, the issuer has one of the most impressive loyalty programs, Chase Ultimate Rewards, where you can use reward points for travel and shopping.

Be careful not to get tripped up by the Chase 5/24 rule limiting you to no more than five credit or charge cards (from any issuer) opened within the last 24 months. This will shut down your preapproved offer in its tracks.

Pre-Approved Discover Credit Cards

Discover is both a credit card issuer and payments network, with an outstanding balance market share of 8.2%. Its cards are accepted at 99% of all locations that accept any credit card. You can obtain pre-approval for any of its cards by completing a short online questionnaire.

Our top-ranked Discover cards include offers for cash back, miles, and lengthy 0% APR promotions.

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.
  • #1 Most Trusted Credit Card according to Investor’s Business Daily.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 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 will automatically match 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
Discover it® chrome Review

at Discover Card’ssecure website

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • 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. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn cash back on your next road trip with 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. Based Customer Service available any time.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
11.99% – 22.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent
Discover it® Student chrome Review

at Discover Card’ssecure website

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • 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! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • Earn rewards while building your credit history that can help you after graduation. And, get your free Credit Scorecard that includes your FICO® Credit Score and important details that help make up your score.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Refer-a-Friend: Once you become a Discover it® Student cardmember, you can earn a statement credit each time you refer a friend and they’re approved. Over half a million students got Discover Cards from their friends’ recommendations.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
12.99% – 21.99% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit
Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card’ssecure website

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • 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! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • 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.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • Earn rewards while building your credit history that can help you after graduation. And, get your free Credit Scorecard that includes your FICO® Credit Score and important details that help make up your score.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Refer-a-Friend: Once you become a Discover it® Student cardmember, you can earn a statement credit each time you refer a friend and they’re approved. Over half a million students got Discover Cards from their friends’ recommendations.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
12.99% – 21.99% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit

Discover cards are popular because they never charge an annual fee and offer a first-year Cashback Match or Mile-for-Mile Match to a new cardmember. They also attract thousands of students each year with two different credit card offerings just for them. You are allowed to own up to two Discover credit cards at the same time.

Pre-Approved American Express Credit Cards

American Express has the fifth-largest market share — 10.4% of outstanding balances — and is the third-largest credit card payments network, behind Visa and Mastercard. Originally an issuer of charge cards, it now also offers a full roster of credit cards — including the infamous Amex Platinum Card — for consumers and businesses.

Its best offerings include a mix of no-, modest-, and high-annual-fee cards, as well as its legendary, invitation-only Centurion Card.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

CATEGORY RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn up to $400 Back in the form of statement credits: Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back – plus, earn $200 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the 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.
  • Access to Global Assist® Hotline – 24/7 medical, legal, financial and other select emergency assistance and coordination services
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable APR applies
  • $0 intro annual fee, $95 annual fee thereafter
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
13.99% – 23.99% Variable
$0 intro; $95 thereafter
Excellent Credit
Business Platinum Card® Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

CATEGORY RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of card membership
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, 1.5X points on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more (that’s an extra half point per dollar) up to 1 million additional points per calendar year, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases
  • Select one qualifying airline and get up to $200 in statement credits each calendar year for baggage fees and other incidentals charged by the airline to your Business Platinum Card®
  • Access to more than 1,300 lounges across 140 countries and counting with the American Express Global Lounge Collection®
  • Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of an eligible fare and get 35% of those points back, up to 500,000 points back per calendar year
  • $595 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A (Charge Card)
$595
Excellent
The Platinum Card® Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

CATEGORY RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership
  • Earn 10X Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases on your new Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or with 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 eligible purchases. Terms apply.
  • $200 annual hotel credit, $200 annual airline fee credit, $25 monthly Equinox credit, $15 monthly Uber cash credit, $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, and more.
  • Platinum Card Members have unlimited complimentary access to all locations of The Centurion Lounge
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A (Charge Card)
$695
Excellent
American Express® Gold Card Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

CATEGORY RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • 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 on restaurants, 3X points on flights when booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, and 1X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • 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.
  • Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees, like checked bags and in-flight refreshments, are charged by the airline to your Gold Card account
  • $250 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A (Charge Card)
$250
Excellent
American Express® Green Card Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

CATEGORY RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 6 months of card membership
  • Earn 3X points on restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and 3X points on transit and travel — all other purchases earn 1X point per $1 spent
  • Receive up to $100 per calendar year in statement credits, when you pay for your CLEAR membership with the American Express® Green Card
  • Use the American Express® Green Card to purchase lounge access through LoungeBuddy and receive up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $150 Annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A (Charge Card)
$150
N/A

Each American Express card may offer a pre-qualification process to see which cards you’re eligible for. As a result, you may be offered personalized deals, such as a higher signup bonus or lower APR. At one point, you could own five each of their credit cards and their charge cards, but reports indicate Amex tightened up to just four lending products per customer in 2020.

Pre-Approved Bank of America Credit Cards

With more than $94 billion in outstanding balances and an 11% market share, Bank of America is the third-largest credit card issuer in the United States. You can get a BoA pre-qualified credit card without having a checking or savings account with the bank (although it couldn’t hurt).

BoA offers a wide variety of solid credit cards, including many co-branded ones.

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. Plus, earn 2 points for every $1 spent on grocery store purchases – now through 12/31/21.
  • 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
Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards credit card Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • 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
12.24% to 22.24% Variable
$0
Good
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America’ssecure website

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening – which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere, every time, and no expiration on points
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees while earning points to use for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
  • Introductory 0% APR offer on purchases, then a variable APR applies
  • Preferred Rewards members earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 2.62 points for every $1 you spend, everywhere, every time.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% APR for 12 billing cycles
N/A
13.99% – 23.99% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good
BankAmericard® Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America’ssecure website

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then a variable APR will apply
  • An optional overdraft protection service is available to help 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.
  • No penalty APR. Paying late won’t automatically raise your interest rate (APR). Other account pricing and terms apply.
  • Access your FICO® Score for free within Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles
0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles (for balance transfers made in the first 60 days)
12.99% – 22.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

You can prequalify at the Bank of America website by entering your name, address, and the last four digits of your Social Security number. BoA will then present you with a list of offers, including the one it recommends.

If you want to continue, you can apply for any of the listed cards by completing a more extensive questionnaire.

Pre-Approved Citi Credit Cards

Citibank is the second-largest U.S. credit card issuer based on its $101 billion in outstanding balances and its 11.8% market share. Citi credit cards appeal to consumers who care more about low APRs and fees than fancy rewards.

Nonetheless, its roster of cards includes those offering 0% introductory APRs for eligible purchases, balance transfer transactions (including a 0% introductory APR balance transfer promotion), cash advances, and/or cash rewards on each qualifying purchase.

Normally, you can pre-apply for any Citi credit card without a hard credit inquiry that could hurt your credit profile. However, a recent check indicated that Citi is not currently offering pre-qualification, instead allowing you to make side-by-side comparisons of all its credit cards.

Screenshot of the Citi prequalification page.
Citi is not currently allowing applicants to prequalify for its cards.

It’s not clear if and when Citi will resume pre-qualified credit card processing.

How Do I Get Pre-Approved For a Credit Card?

Pre-approval is an initial step you can take to see whether it’s feasible to own a particular credit card. Unlike a formal application, credit card preapproval does not require a hard pull of your credit and, therefore, won’t drive down your credit profile.

Most of the major credit card issuers have at least one pre-approved offer, and the procedure is pretty much standard across the industry. You can kick off the process by supplying some basic data — name, address, Social Security number, email address — on a card’s prequalification page.

The card issuer will give you an instant approval decision after you submit your data. If you are pre-approved, you’ll be asked to enter more extensive information and submit to a hard credit check. On the other hand, if you are turned down, you may be offered an alternative card, although this is not standard practice.

It is only after you apply for a card that you’ll know the final decision. At that time, you’ll be offered a customized APR and credit limit. If all seems good, you can e-sign the credit card agreement and receive your new card in seven to 10 days.

Is Credit Card Pre-Approval Guaranteed?

A pre-approval decision is guaranteed, but the decision can go either way. Normally, the decision is instantly rendered, so you won’t be left waiting for an answer.

A positive response to your pre-approval request is clearly a step toward getting you your credit card, but it is not a guarantee of final approval. The difference is the amount of checking a card issuer performs when you fill out a formal application, or more precisely, the additional information gathered by the credit card company.

If the application is successful, it means that you meet the issuer’s standards for a particular card. But if a hard credit check uncovers disturbing details, it can result in a decline notice.

The list of problems that can derail your card application include:

  • A credit score below the card’s minimum.
  • A large amount of existing debt relative to your income.
  • Information that cannot be verified.
  • Indications of irresponsible behavior, including missed payments, collections, repossessions, and bankruptcies.
  • Previous debt settlements.
  • Previous felonies or civil judgements.
  • Previous negative experience with the issuer.
  • Already owning the maximum number of credit cards permitted by the issuer.
  • Failure to meet residency and/or age requirements.
  • Current military status.

Pre-qualification will not necessarily turn up any of these derogatory items, but even so, neither you nor the issuer is obligated to reach a final agreement.

Which Credit Card Companies Offer Pre-Approval?

Almost all issuers offer at least one pre-qualified credit card. This is especially true for cards designed to meet the needs of consumers with bad credit.

Screenshot of Capital One preapproval page.
Most issuers allow cardholders to see whether they prequalify before submitting an application.

Of the six credit card issuers reviewed here, all but one, Citi, has at least one preapproved credit card offer. But remember that a preapproved offer is an option that can be terminated at any time, as we saw during the COVID pandemic. Indeed, many issuers stopped accepting any new card applications during parts of the pandemic.

What Is the Easiest Credit Card to Get Approved
For?

There is no doubt that it’s easiest to get a secured credit card. The reason is simple: You must post a security deposit to guarantee that the credit card will be paid.

This removes the risk that the card issuer will have to take a loss on your credit account, making instant approval virtually automatic.

In almost all cases, the size of your security deposit will match your credit limit. After a period of on-time payments, the issuer may choose to increase your limit without requiring a further deposit, thereby converting your account to partially secured. Eventually, the issuer may refund your deposit and present you with an unsecured credit card.

If you have average credit or above, you should have no problem qualifying for most unsecured credit cards. But even if you have bad credit, certain unsecured cards are specifically designed for you. They usually include features like:

  • High APRs: Expect an APR above 25% if your credit is bad. APRs as high as 36% are possible.
  • Fees galore: Beyond the usual annual fee, these cards may charge a monthly maintenance fee, a signup fee, and fees for foreign transactions, extra cards, and even credit line increases.
  • Tight credit lines: An unsecured credit card offer with credit lines as small as $200 is possible. Eventually, you can expect your credit line to increase, though probably not dramatically.
  • Shorter grace periods: The grace period is an interval in which you do not have to pay interest on your card if your opening balance was zero. It extends from the last day of the billing cycle to the payment due date. Many credit cards routinely give you a 25-day grace period, but some cards for bad credit may cut the period to 21 days or eliminate it entirely.
  • Few amenities: Expect the card to offer no cash back or other rewards and few benefits. About the only common perk is $0 fraud protection coverage.

Student credit cards are also easy to get if you qualify as at least a half-time student at an eligible institution. These cards do not require you to have good credit or even any credit at all. In addition, many offer rewards and benefits that you wouldn’t necessarily expect.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, it may be hardest to get a business credit card. You usually have to personally guarantee a business credit card or recruit a cosigner.

Do Pre-Approved Credit Cards Hurt Your Credit?

Fortunately, the pre-approval process does not affect your credit profile in any way. At most, the issuer may do a soft pull of your credit history, which does not count against you on your credit report.

However, even when a preapproved credit card skates through the process harmlessly, don’t expect the same treatment if you formally apply for a card. At that point, the issuer is likely to perform a hard credit check (except if you are applying for a secured or student card).

Here’s the rub: Your FICO score is composed of several factors, of which is one, new credit, accounts for 10% of your overall score.

A credit bureau using FICO considers new credit, measured by hard pulls of your credit, to be a potential negative, especially when the credit bureau sees you making multiple attempts to get new credit within a relatively short period (i.e., six to 12 months).

The reason FICO dislikes new credit is that it may indicate financial distress. Your credit score may drop five to 10 points when a hard credit check occurs, and the damage can be worse if many hard checks occur within the same month or two.

Another negative occurs if your new credit card application is accepted. Fifteen percent of your FICO score stems from your credit history age — FICO rewards you for managing your credit accounts successfully over an extended period (i.e., seven years and more). By adding new credit accounts, you reduce your average credit history age, putting downward pressure on your credit score.

On the other hand, a new credit account can also help your score by decreasing your credit utilization ratio (your credit used divided by total available credit). FICO counts your amounts owed as 30% of your score, and it wants to see your CUR below 30%.

A new credit card increases your available credit and lowers your CUR, but only if you don’t use the new credit line. If you deplete your new credit and increase your debt, your CUR will increase and do further damage.

Here’s an example: Suppose you have available credit of $10,000 and have used $5,000 of it, giving you a CUR of 50%. You then get a new card with a $2,000 credit limit that you immediately exhaust. Your new CUR is now ($7,000 divided by $12,000), or 58.33%.

Had you kept the preapproved credit card on the shelf, your new CUR would have been ($5,000 divided by $12,000), or 41.67%. In support of your credit score, this would be the wiser choice.

Compare Pre-Approved Credit Cards By Issuer

Our review of pre-approved credit cards by issuer strongly indicates the card issuers’ desire to recruit new cardholders. By offering a pre-approval option with no negative consequences, issuers can start you on a journey that they hope will end in you getting a new card, making many eligible purchases, and financing those eligible purchases over multiple billing periods.

A pre-approved credit card is good for you too. It won’t hurt your credit score and keeps you from wasting time applying for a card that is beyond your reach.

You can use this review to identify the cards with pre-approval that interest you the most. Then, simply click on the APPLY NOW link to begin the pre-approval process that will, hopefully, get you the credit card you want.