How To Find Out If You Are Prequalified For A Credit Card
Before applying for a credit card and initiating a hard pull on your credit, it can be helpful to find out if you're prequalified. Find out what it means to get prequalified for a card, and how to do it.
So you’ve decided your business needs a new credit card. However, you’ve heard that the credit card application process can cause your credit score to take a hit, and since credit history can impact your business’s ability to make financial moves going forward, you don’t want to apply for a card unless you’re confident you’ll be approved.
Luckily, many issuers offer checks to see if you’re prequalified for their credit card offers. This gives you an indication as to which cards you should apply for. Once you’ve selected a card from among your prequalified credit card offers, you can start the full application process with greater confidence.
For everything you need to know about prequalification and prequalified credit cards, keep reading. We’ve got you covered!
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What Does “Prequalified” Mean?
Prequalified means that you’ve been selected as potentially “qualified” by a credit card issuer for a particular card offer. Typically, the issuer has done a soft pull on your credit score and found that you’ve met the minimum criteria necessary to qualify. This soft pull should not affect your credit score.
In some cases, you may also be deemed prequalified because an issuer bought your information via a marketing list from a credit bureau. In this case, the issuer may check if you are on their list to see if you are prequalified.
When you prequalify for a credit card, it’s still not a 100% guarantee—your chances of actually qualifying for the card are around 80% to 90% should you go through the application process. What’s more, you don’t need to be prequalified in order to apply for a card. You can still be approved without prequalification, but prequalification does mean your odds of qualifying are greater.
Note that by actually applying for a card, the issuer will likely perform a hard pull on your credit history. This will show up on your credit report. In most cases, a hard pull won’t be a long-term issue, as having a credit card should only help your credit into the future (assuming you follow the best practices for a credit card). However, you should avoid applying for too many cards in quick succession, because frequent hard pulls in a short span may lower your credit score.
Preapproved VS Prequalified
Is there a difference between being “preapproved” for a credit card vs. being “prequalified” for one? According to credit bureau Experian, while some creditors use the two terms interchangeably, “preapproval” tends to mean that the assessment was a bit more thorough and is based on more information than “prequalification.” In these instances, preapproval is a somewhat more reliable predictor of success, though it’s still not a guarantee. Neither preapproval nor prequalification means that a hard inquiry has been performed.
How To Get Prequalified For A Credit Card
There are several ways to get prequalified for a credit card. Here are the most common:
- Online: By far, the best option is to go to an issuer’s site and check for prequalification via their own checking tools. In most cases, this will take only a few minutes. Plus, you’ll be able to see if you qualify for a card offered by an issuer you already like. In addition, our favorite free credit score websites also have prequalification tools readily available for you to use.
- By Mail: Issuers often send out credit card offers to people who have already met their prequalification criteria. As such, if you’re looking for your next card, simply opening up your mail might be a quick and easy option. Of course, this method doesn’t offer much flexibility when it comes to what you’re preapproved for.
- In-Person: Many physical bank branches offer prequalification checks. You may need to be a member of the bank beforehand, however. Additionally, you might be able to go to a retail store and find out during check-out if you’re prequalified for that store’s co-branded credit card.
Most major credit card issuers let anyone check online for prequalification:
- American Express
- Bank of America
- Capital One
- Credit One
- US Bank
- Wells Fargo
Other issuers—like Synchrony Bank or USAA—either don’t have an online prequalification service or only let current members check online.
How To Improve Your Chances Of Getting Prequalified
Essentially, there’s just one way to boost your chances of prequalifying for a card, and it’s the same thing that helps your chances of ultimately qualifying for a card: take steps to boost your credit score. This means doing the following:
- Pay your bills on time
- Pay down your debt as much as possible
- Check your credit report for errors and dispute any errors you find
- Don’t apply for too many credit cards at once
FAQs About Prequalified Credit Card Offers
Prequalification processes can help give you peace of mind before applying for a credit card. They can potentially shield your credit score from an unnecessary hard pull and save you some hassle, letting you focus on what matters: running your business.