The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Friday, October 7, 2022

2022 Guide: How to Get Pre-Approved & Pre-Qualify for Credit Cards

Pre Approved Credit Cards

credit card advice

Ashley Dull

Written by: Ashley Dull

Ashley Dull

With more than a decade of experience as a content manager and marketer, Ashley has specialized in finance coverage since 2015. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media campaigns. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among others.

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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.

See full bio »
Advertiser Disclosure

Pre-approved credit cards offer an opportunity for those with marginal credit scores to get an idea if they will be able to open a new line of credit without the ensuing credit score hit of a hard inquiry.

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

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

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

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

How to Find Credit Card Pre-Qualification Offers

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

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

Screenshot of Chase Pre-qualification Page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pre-Qualify for an “Air Miles” Credit Card

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

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

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
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
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

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 14.99% to 25.99% Standard Variable Purchase APR will apply.
  • NEW! 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
14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

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 Cards for Air Miles

Pre-Qualify for a “Cash Back” Credit Card

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

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

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

  • 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 17.24% - 25.99%.
  • 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
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

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.
  • For a limited time, earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.
  • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.99% - 26.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% Intro APR Period 18 months on Balance Transfers
16.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

CASH BACK 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
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • 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
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 17.99%-27.99% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
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

+See More Cards for Cash Back

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

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

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

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • Start off strong with 0% Intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. A variable APR of 17.24% - 25.99% on balance transfers and purchases after the introductory period ends.
  • 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.
  • All for no annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Slate Edge℠ card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 18 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 18 months
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.7

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 17.24% - 25.99%.
  • 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
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.7

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
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • 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
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 17.99%-27.99% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
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

+See More Cards for Intro 0% APR

Pre-Qualify for a “Balance Transfer” Credit Card

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

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

Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
5.0

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, 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.
  • NEW! 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
14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Start off strong with 0% Intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. A variable APR of 17.24% - 25.99% on balance transfers and purchases after the introductory period ends.
  • 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.
  • All for no annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Slate Edge℠ card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 18 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 18 months
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • For a limited time, get a special 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles. After that, the APR is variable, currently 15.99%-25.99%.
  • Enjoy Cellphone Protection Coverage of up to $1,200 annually when you pay your monthly cellphone bill with your card
  • View your credit score anytime, anywhere in the mobile app or online banking. It's easy to enroll, easy to use, and free to U.S. Bank customers.
  • Fraud Protection detects and notifies you of any unusual card activity to help prevent fraud
  • Choose your payment due date
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 20 billing cycles
0% for 20 billing cycles
15.99% - 25.99% Variable
$0
Excellent Credit

+See More Cards for Balance Transfers

Pre-Qualify for a “Business” Credit Card

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

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

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
  • No Annual Fee
  • Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn rewards faster with employee cards at no additional cost. Set individual spending limits for greater control.
  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A 12 months
15.49% - 21.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for the first 12 months; 18.99% - 26.99% variable APR after that
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere — with no limits or category restrictions
  • No annual fee
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account
  • Redeem your cash back rewards for any amount
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
18.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
$0
Good

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account
  • Transfer your miles to 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Redeem your miles instantly for any travel-related purchases, from flights and hotels to ride-sharing services
  • Fly through security with one statement credit for either the $85 TSA PreCheck® application fee or the $100 Global Entry application fee
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
23.99% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

+See More Cards for Businesses

Pre-Qualify for a “Student” Credit Card

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

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

Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

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! 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.
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • No annual fee and build your credit with responsible use.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 15.99% - 24.99% applies.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
15.99% - 24.99% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn $100 when you spend $100 in the first three months
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Enjoy no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees
  • Lock your card in the Capital One Mobile app if it's misplaced, lost or stolen
  • Earn up to $500 a year by referring friends and family when they're approved for a Capital One credit card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.99% - 27.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), with 1% on all other purchases
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn $100 when you spend $100 in the first three months
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Enjoy no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees
  • Lock your card in the Capital One Mobile app if it's misplaced, lost or stolen
  • Earn up to $500 a year by referring friends and family when they're approved for a Capital One credit card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.99% - 27.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

+See More Cards for Students

Pre-Qualify for a “Fair Credit” Credit Card

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

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

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Help build your credit through responsible use of a card like this
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
28.49% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or limits to how much you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account. It's that simple
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
  • 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
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
28.49% (Variable)
$39
Average, Fair, Limited
Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card Review

at Fortiva'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • With the Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card, you earn up to a 3% cash back reward
  • Make contactless payments through Mobile Wallet
  • Periodic Credit Increase Reviews
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Equifax†
  • † Your credit score will be available in your online account 60 days after your account is opened. (Registration required) The free VantageScore 3.0 credit score provided by Equifax is for educational purposes only and may not be used by The Bank of Missouri (the issuer of this card) or other creditors to make credit decisions.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% OR 36% (V)
As low as $85
Fair

+See More Cards for Fair Credit

Pre-Qualify for a “Bad Credit” Credit Card

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

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

Fingerhut Credit Account Review

at Fingerhut'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
4.3

OVERALL RATING

  • Easy application! Get a credit decision in seconds.
  • Build your credit history – Fingerhut reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • Use your line of credit to shop thousands of items from great brands like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Not an access card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Issuers Website
$0
Poor Credit

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Building your credit? Using the Capital One Platinum Secured card responsibly could help
  • Put down a refundable security deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 initial credit line
  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
28.49% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad
Total Visa® Card Review

at Total Card'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
4.3

OVERALL RATING

  • Total Visa active cardholders get exclusive access to free Credit Monitoring powered by TransUnion!
  • Checking Account Required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine Visa credit card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Terms
See Terms
Fair, Bad Credit

+See More Cards for Bad Credit

You Can Opt-Out of Pre-Approval Offers

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

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

Screenshot of the Opt Out Homepage

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

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

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CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across CardRates.com (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.