The easiest way to see if you’re pre-approved for a credit card is to check a credit card company’s website. Most major issuers let you see which of their cards you’re pre-approved for by simply entering your name, address and the last four digits of your Social Security number into an online form. This includes American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover, just to name a handful.
You can also go to a bank branch and ask if they have any offers for you. Or a pre-approved offer for a store credit card could pop up when you’re shopping online. And finally, you might receive a pre-approved credit card offer in the mail.
Being pre-approved for a credit card does not mean you’re guaranteed approval if you decide to apply. But it does mean you have excellent odds. So, it’s good there are several ways to see if you’re pre-approved. We’ll explore each option in greater detail below.
How to See If You're Pre-Approved for a Credit Card
- Check your mail. Credit card companies send pre-approved offers to people they think are a good fit for a particular card, based on a preliminary credit check. The downside is that you have to wait for offers to come to you.
- Check online. Most big banks have a special page on their website that allows you to check whether you’re pre-approved for any of their cards. Unfortunately, you have to check issuer by issuer.
- Go to a branch. You may be able to get pre-approved for a credit card in person at a bank or credit union branch. You may need an existing relationship with the financial institution, though.
- Go shopping. When you shop at a store, whether online or in person, you might be told that you’re pre-approved for the retailer’s store credit card. Such cards can only be used at the retailers they represent. But they can help you save money and build credit just the same.
Issuers That Let You Check If You're Pre-Approved for a Credit Card
Every major credit card issuer mails pre-approved offers to potential customers, so you can expect to receive them periodically. But you don’t have to wait around for pre-approved offers to come to you. Most major issuers let you pre-qualify online. Only three of the 12 biggest credit card companies – Barclaycard, U.S. Bank and PNC – don’t offer this service.
These issuers let you see if you’re pre-approved for a credit card:
|Credit Card Company||Min. Credit Required for Pre-Approval|
|Bank of America||Bad|
|Chase||Good (limited for students only)|
All you have to do is go to an issuer’s pre-approval page and complete a very short form. Typically, you just need to provide a few pieces of personal info, such as your name, your address and the last four digits of your SSN.
Seeing if you’re pre-approved for a credit card requires only a soft pull of your credit. So you don’t have to worry about credit score damage.
By the way, you may see credit card companies refer to this process as checking to see whether you’re pre-qualified. Pre-qualify and pre-approve are often used synonymously, but technically, it’s pre-qualification when you check yourself and pre-approval when the credit card company takes the initiative.
What to Do After You See You’re Pre-Approved for a Credit Card
Once you see what cards you’re pre-approved for with one issuer, it’s a good idea to check for pre-approval with a few others. That way, you can compare the cards you’re most likely to get and apply for the one that best fits your needs. When you’re pre-approved for a card, you can apply for it right away, online, by mail or over the phone. Typically, you’ll get a special code to use so the application gets flagged as pre-approved.
You don’t necessarily have to apply for a card you’ve been pre-approved for to benefit from the process, either. The cards you’re pre-approved for can lead you to other offers you’re likely to get. For example, if you’re pre-approved for a card that requires fair credit or better for approval, you should have a good chance of getting other credit cards for people with fair credit, too. Comparing offers is the best way to find the best deal, and WalletHub’s personalized credit card recommendations can tell you which cards will give you high approval odds and will save you the most money.
Just keep in mind that when you choose to apply, the company will still have to do a hard pull of your credit, which will cause a temporary dip in your score. And just because you get pre-approved for a card doesn’t mean you’ll always be approved for an account. But the odds are definitely good.