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Prequalify for credit cards without affecting your credit score

Find out your chances of credit card approval before you apply.

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Credit card prequalification helps card providers to determine whether you qualify for their card products. Typically, the card provider will check your credit information using a soft pull, which unlike a hard pull, doesn’t affect your credit score.

Keep in mind, prequalification only shows your chance of approval. Even if you prequalify, your credit card application can still be denied. Here’s how to prequalify depending on your card provider.

How to prequalify for a credit card

The process varies between card providers, but in general, here’s how to request prequalification:

  1. Visit the provider’s website and navigate to the prequalification page.
  2. Fill out the application form with your personal information.
  3. Choose a credit card you wish to prequalify for, if possible.
  4. Review the form and submit.
IssuerPrequalificationRequired information
American ExpressYesFull name, address, last four digits of your SSN, income (optional)
Bank of AmericaYesFull name, address, date of birth, last four digits of your SSN, and the type of card you want such as rewards or balance transfer
BarclaycardNoN/A
ChaseYesFull name, address, last four digits of your SSN
CitiYesFull name, address, last four digits of your SSN, the type of card you want (But you can’t prequalify online)
Capital OneYesFull name, address, email, date of birth, your full SSN, employment status, and annual income
DiscoverYesFull name, address, birth date, full SSN, student status, number of bank accounts you already have, housing status, income, and the card benefit you want
HSBCYesFull name, address, birth date, email and full SSN
USAAYesYou need to be a member to see prequalified offers
Wells FargoNoN/A

How to increase your chances of prequalification

Before you request prequalification, you can increase your chances of application approval with these three tips:

  • Check your credit score. There are many ways you can check your credit score for free, including accessing your score from one of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. Having at least a good credit score of 670 or higher is required to get most credit cards.
  • Always pay your bills on time. Payment history is an important factor affecting your credit score. Make sure you pay all your bills on time to increase your credit score.
  • Keep utilization ratio low. This is the ratio between your available credit and your debt. Rule of thumb is to keep it below 30% to have a positive impact on your score. If your current utilization rate is higher than 30%, try to lower it down before you request prequalification.

What’s the difference between prequalification and preapproval for credit cards?

A common difference between prequalification and preapproval is in how thorough the provider has checked your finances. During a prequalification, a provider typically just looks at your basic finances and may perform a soft pull on your credit score. Think of a prequalification as an invitation from the provider to see if you’re more qualified.

The preapproval process tends to look at more details of your finances and may prove a better indication of your approval odds. Preapproval offers are also often sent by the provider to the consumer, rather than the consumer seeking out their prequalification offers. Either way, neither prequalification or preapproval guarantees you’ll actually qualify for the card.

Some providers tend to use these terms interchangeably as well, so don’t sweat it if you get a prequalified offer instead of a preapproval offer or vice versa.

Why prequalification doesn’t affect your credit score

When you apply for a credit card, the card provider will make a hard pull on your credit, which will cause your credit score to drop by around five points.

On the other hand, prequalification has no effect on your credit score because the card issuer makes a soft pull on your credit. Consider this a simple glance at your credit score that helps the card issuer determine if you’re a good fit for a certain credit card.

How to check on your prequalification status

Sometimes you may not get an instant answer on your application. In this case, you can check your prequalification status by calling the card issuer.

IssuerPhone number
American Express800-567-1085
Bank of America866-695-6598
Chase888-338-2586
Citi888-201-4523
Capital One800-752-5493
Discover800-347-3085
USAA800-531-8722

Compare credit cards from brands that offer prequalification

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$95
Perfect for families: Get up to 6% on everyday purchases and a welcome offer worth $250. This heavy-hitter rewards card has uncontested value. Rates & fees
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
20% at Amazon.com up to $200 back in the first 6 months, 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
This everyday cashback card is ideal for Black Friday and holiday shopping with 20% back at Amazon.com up to $200 back in the first 6 months. Rates & fees
Chase Freedom Flex℠
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
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Bottom line

Prequalification can be a powerful tool when looking to acquire new credit cards without affecting your credit score. Keep in mind, each card provider has its own prequalification process, so make sure you compare all credit cards until you find the right card for your needs.

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