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How to Get Pre-Approved for Credit Cards Without a Hard Pull and Why It Matters

Irina Tsymbaliuk
How to Get Pre-Approved for Credit Cards

Credit cards offer a variety of benefits and come in various forms. That makes the selection process somewhat daunting. It becomes incredibly challenging when uncertainty about qualification criteria comes into play. Fortunately, you can secure pre-approval for an array of cards without the risk of a hard pull lowering your credit score.

The main steps to take for credit card pre-approval include the following:

  • Check your credit score;
  • Choose cards that appeal to you and are suitable for your credit score range;
  • Visit the official website of the card issuer and fill out the pre-approval form with your basic information.

In this article, you can learn more details about the pre-approval process and what you should consider.

Why Is It Important to Check Your Credit Score?

Why Is It Important to Check Your Credit Score?

Before you take steps to be pre-approved for a credit card, you should check your credit score so you save time. If you discover that you have a lower credit score, you will want to apply for pre-approval only for cards that are compatible with it. Also, when you know your score, you can take measures to improve it.

Get Your Free Credit Report

Every person can get a credit report for free from three major credit bureaus once a year. You can do it at the official website — AnnualCreditReport.com.

Another source you can use to get credit scores and reports for free from Equifax and TransUnion is Credit Karma. This service's advantages include not having to provide a card for registration and being updated every week.

Improving Your Credit Score

If your credit score isn’t where you’d like it to be, there are things you can do to improve the situation:

  • Make timely payments. If you struggle with keeping track of monthly bills, you should set up due-date alerts or even automatic payments in your bank account.
  • Reduce your credit use. Another essential thing to do is reduce credit utilization to 30% or less of the total limit. If you can, aim for 10% to improve your score in shorter terms.

Compare Credit Cards and Find the Best One

Compare Credit Cards and Find the Best One

To choose credit cards that offer pre-approval, you need to compare available options. You can easily do that with the help of online tools like Card Match.

Consider these factors during your research:

  • Type of card you want — with cash back, rewards, travel points or other features;
  • Presence of any annual and transactional fees;
  • Whether you need a balance transfer card;
  • Whether your credit score matches a card.

Here, you can take a look at some of the popular card options that offer pre-approval without a hard pull.

Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa Card

This is a great option for fixed monthly payments. If you don’t fully pay off a bill, a fixed interest rate will be charged on the remaining balance. When you prequalify for a card, you will see your possible credit limit. This card rewards you with 1.5% cash back, and it comes without any annual fee.

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card

You are welcome to apply for this Capital One card with an average credit score. It should be noted that you can prequalify for it only on Capital One’s website. The card has a $39 annual fee and offers 1.5% cash back on purchases. After six months, card owners may be considered for a credit limit increase if they stick to timely payments.

OpenSky Secured Visa Card

This is one of the most unique options when you decide to get pre-approved. The reason is that this card not only doesn’t require a hard inquiry, but you also don’t even need a bank account.

As it is a secured card, you are required to make a minimum deposit of $200, which will be your credit limit. The money is returned if you decide to get a different card, and your payment history is good. There is also an annual fee of $35.

How to Submit an Online Pre-Approval Request?

How to Submit an Online Pre-Approval Request?

To submit a pre-approval request, you need to go to the card issuer’s website and find a corresponding form. Usually, the only information you’re required to provide includes:

  • Full name;
  • Birth date;
  • Address;
  • SSN (whole or last 4 digits).

To boost your likelihood of receiving pre-qualified credit card offers, consider this strategy:

  • Apply only for cards that match your credit score. If improving your score isn’t an option due to time constraints, narrowing your applications to cards that suit your profile can help you avoid the frustration of rejections.
  • Choose a secured card. The credit score requirements for such cards are lower, as they are designed to help build credit.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Pre-Approval Offers

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Pre-Approval Offers

Once you have sent your pre-approval requests, you will get offers if you meet the criteria. If you have several pre-approved cards, and you don’t know which one to choose, consider the following:

  • Decide how often you will use a card and whether fees are justifiable;
  • Think about where you shop most often and which rewards correspond to your purchases;
  • Take a look at any additional charges, including international ones, if you plan to travel;
  • Carefully compare the APR of cards.

You have to keep in mind that when you proceed with the offer, a hard pull will be performed, so your credit score will be affected temporarily. For this reason, you should choose wisely.

Final Thought

Credit card pre-approval is a straightforward way to check your probability of getting a certain card. The best thing about this process is that your credit score is not negatively affected, which is particularly important for those who have average or lower scores.

In the majority of cases, you can send a pre-approval request online, and you only need some basic information. Checking whether you will be pre-approved for credit cards is a good idea, as you will quickly narrow down your choices without the risk.


What is a hard pull?

A hard pull is a request sent by a creditor to check your credit report and determine your creditworthiness. It is typically sent in response to an application for a loan. A hard inquiry temporarily lowers your score by a few points.

How long does it take to get pre-approved for a credit card?

On average, pre-qualification for credit cards will take up to 7–10 days. Occasionally, it can also happen almost instantly, but it is best to be prepared to wait for some time.

Can I still apply for a credit card if I have bad credit?

Yes, you can prequalify for credit cards even with bad credit. To increase your chances of getting a card, choose options designed for those with lower scores, such as secured ones.