Actually, I just went to Discover’s website and was researching their balance transfer policies and cashback cards. While there, they explained they do “pre-qualify” you for a card with a “soft” credit pull. If what they see meets their requirements, they give you an instant answer online after about 30-90 seconds. From there, they explain that you can then fill out an application, and give them the details of up to 3 accounts and their amounts that you’d like to pay off or down with a balance transfer (w/ a reduced 3% fee) at zero interest for 14 months. You list these in the order of which you want them to pay first, and depending on the credit line they give you, they’ll start with the first one and so on. That took me a while to fill out because I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting they’d give me a small credit limit, then I’d have to decide what to transfer. Plus, I’d not had time to pull my monthly 3-bureau credit reports before starting this process, so was kind of nervous feeling like I was flying blind and though my credit had been Good, lol, you just never know what can pop up on a credit report. Anyway, finished the tedious part and submitted it, the twirly round and round button spun for another 30 seconds or so… then I about fell out my chair and shreiked! OMG! They approved me and set my limit for four times what I asked!!! This was like 2am and I probably screamed so loud I woke my neighbors. Dear self, remind me not to sit outside on the balcony when applying for credit at 2am, lest my knee-jerk scream reactions wake my neighbors, lol. Anyway, my balance transfer request was for four figures and my new credit limit was four times that. So, MY experience… from four hours ago… is that yes, you can “pre-qualify” with a soft pull and if you don’t meet their standards, they’ll deny you at that point so it won’t affect your credit score (with a hard pull). I DO recommend you pull your credit report BEFORE applying for any credit card or loan, though. I watch all my FICO scores daily on Experian dot com, but only pull all three once a month, so that’s why I was wary to apply… because I’m a few days ahead of looking at all 3 sets of FICO scores and the ease with which Discover allows you to pre-qualify and then apply caught me offguard. Experian offers a free trial, in case you don’t pay to pull your real FICO scores monthly. Wallethub and Credit Karma etc are generally in the ballpark with Vantage scores, but FICO scores are FICO scores and that’s what you NEED to scrutinize before applying for cards and risking a rejection. Anyway, that’s my experience. Prequalify with soft credit bureau pull. Then decide if you’re sure enough of what they’ll see and what they can verify about you on your real credit reports before you apply. When you apply, be ready to give all the details and once you submit it, you’ll know in New York minute if you made the right and prudent choice to apply… or recklessly tanked your score. Just saying, KNOW you’ll be approved BEFORE you apply, then the only variable is what credit limit they’ll give you. Just my experience… FOUR HOURS ago. :)
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