Most of us have become accustomed to receiving pre-approved and pre-qualified credit card offers in the mail.
Sometimes, these “specialized” offers don’t seem so special when you keep seeing the same offer over and over again in the same shiny envelope. But we recommend you not always overlook those credit card offers in the mail — sometimes there can be great opportunities in your mailbox!
However, we also want you to know that there are faster (and in some cases more specialized) credit card offers that can instantly be found online. Did you know many banks allow you to check your pre-qualified or pre-approved card offers directly on their websites?
Today, we’ll tell you where you can easily go check, and what to expect when searching for pre-qualified offers from some popular banks.
Table of contents
- What’s the Difference Between Pre-Qualified & Pre-Approved Credit Cards?
- Banks That Have Pre-Qualified or Pre-Approved Offers Online
- Final Thoughts
Table of Contents
- What’s the Difference Between Pre-Qualified & Pre-Approved Credit Cards?
- Banks That Have Pre-Qualified or Pre-Approved Offers Online
- Final Thoughts
What’s the Difference Between Pre-Qualified & Pre-Approved Credit Cards?
Credit card companies like to advertise their products to potential customers, and most of the time that includes language like “pre-approved” or “pre-qualified.”
But what’s the difference? Does that mean you’ll automatically get approved for the card?
The short answer is no.
Often, banks are observing potential customers’ credit profiles on a regular basis by conducting “soft pulls” of your credit. Soft pulls do not affect your credit score, but they do give banks the information they need to determine whether you’d be qualified for their credit card products.
If they like what they see based on a soft pull, it’s likely they’ll target you with advertisements saying you are “pre-qualified” for their products.
In contrast, pre-approved offers usually come when you’ve authorized the bank to conduct a “hard pull” on your credit report, which gives them all the detailed information in your credit profile and will affect your credit score.
You may also receive these offers if you’ve had a long and established relationship with a bank, or have recently applied for credit and the bank already has a recent copy of your credit report.
With both offer types, it’s important to remember that there is never a guarantee. All credit cards still require you to complete an application, and the banks will most likely look at your credit profile in detail during that process.
We highly recommend that you understand your credit score and what’s in your credit report before deciding to apply for a new credit card. A higher score will lead to better pre-qualified or pre-approved offers!
Be sure to always research and understand any credit card offer in detail before deciding if it’s the right one for you.
Banks That Have Pre-Qualified or Pre-Approved Offers Online
Here we will show you the most popular banks that allow you to check your pre-qualified or pre-approved offers instantly online!
If you’re in a rush to find that a credit card that’s suitable for your needs, such as the need to make a large purchase as soon as possible, see our post on cards for an instant approval.
Or…use the “CardMatch Tool” — which shows you personalized card offers based upon your credit score.
You can see these offers without pulling your credit.
Capital One (Easy Rewards System)
|Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card - This is an excellent card for those looking to earn 10x miles per $1 across thousands of hotels. With a 20,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $200) after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months and no annual fee, it's a strong choice.|
|Capital One® Platinum Credit Card - This is an ideal card for those with no credit history or a low credit score, which means an easy approval. Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time. This card has no annual fee.|
|Capital One® Quicksilver®One® Cash Rewards Credit Card - Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases and get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time. An excellent card for those with no credit history or a low credit score. The annual fee is $39.|
Update: These are currently the best pre-approved offers available.
There aren’t many credit cards being advertised on Capital One’s front page, but you can find the Credit Card section in the first spot on their top menu bar.
Hover your mouse over that section to reveal a drop-down menu where you can get pre-qualified offers for you or to respond to a mail offer.
To see if you’re pre-qualified, you will need to take Capital One’s “Questionnaire,” which asks for a bit more personal information than the others. This one requires you to provide your full social security number!
That might make you think Capital One would conduct a hard pull on your credit report. However, you’ll agree to a disclaimer when submitting this questionnaire that states you “understand this is not a credit card application.”
This should tip you off that it will probably just be a soft pull. While it’s likely that Capital One will only conduct a soft pull for pre-qualification, it will certainly conduct a hard pull on your credit if you ultimately decide to apply for one of their credit cards.
American Express (Shows Card Numbers Instantly Upon Approval)
Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)
|Amex Credit Card (Personal)||Benefits & Info|
|American Express® Gold Card|
|American Express Cash Magnet® Card|
|Blue Cash EveryDay® from American Express|
Recommended Amex Cards (Business)
|The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express - This is a super simple card that earns you 2x points on business purchases up to $50,000 annually (then 1x). There's also no annual fee. For rates and fees of The Blue Business Plus, click here.|
American Express features a section on the front page of their website to help you “Find the Card that’s right for you.” You have the option to choose between personal cards, small business cards, and corporate card offers.
Here, we’ll focus on personal offers. First, you’ll see a small selection of credit card offers under “Featured Cards,” but these won’t be personalized.
To see your personalized offers, scroll down a bit more and you’ll see a section prompting you to “See If We Have Any Pre-Qualified Offers For You.”
It will ask you to provide some basic information to confirm your identity and the last 4 digits of your social security number. This will allow American Express to conduct a soft pull on your credit report and instantly create personalized offers just for you.
If you are already an American Express cardmember, you won’t even need to provide that information — American Express is already monitoring your credit profile.
All you need to do is log in to your account, and it will automatically display your personalized offers. It even shows you which cards you already have from the wide selection of cards offered by American Express.
American Express wants to make it quick and easy to help you find specialized offers to satisfy your financial needs online!
Hot Tip: American Express has been known to send some really special offers in the mail, especially for The Business Platinum Card® by American Express. Those require an RSVP code that can be entered if you choose to apply online.
CardMatch by CreditCards.com
If you don’t have a specific credit card that you are looking to find a pre-qualified offer for, then CreditCards.com would be a great place to start your search.
CardMatch is a great tool to see what type of pre-qualified offers are available to you with multiple banks. It’s basically a one-stop shop for pre-qualified offers!
CardMatch requires your basic personal information and the last 4 digits of your social security number. It also provides information on how to view your credit score for free.
After submitting your information, CardMatch will list available pre-qualified card offers for you from the following banks:
- American Express
- Bank of America
- Capital One
- First Premier Bank
There are lots of credit card offers from Chase, especially travel rewards cards, but it’s not as easy to find your specialized pre-qualified offers compared to other banks.
If you are already a Chase customer, finding your specialized offers is easy. All you need to do is log in to your account and click on the drop-down menu in the top left of your dashboard to select “Your Offers.”
This will take you to another page where Chase will provide information on some of their credit card products or services. The boxes that have a small green check mark are specially selected just for you, and mean you’re pre-qualified.
If you are not already a Chase customer, you have to go to a specific website and input some basic information to receive your pre-qualified offers. It does not appear to be easily found if you go straight to the Chase homepage.
The information you provide will allow Chase to conduct a soft pull on your credit, which won’t affect your credit score.
If you’re interested in what offers Chase has selected especially for you, just visit their pre-qualified offers page.
Hot Tip: Remember, many Chase cards fall under their 5/24 rule, which almost guarantees a denial on your application if you’ve applied for more than 5 credit cards from any bank in the past 24 months.
Bank of America
Bank of America also has a prominent spot on the front page of their website to help you “Choose the card that works for you.” But these are “featured” cards that are being heavily advertised to everyone, not personalized offers based on your credit profile.
To help you find your personalized offers or other credit cards offered by Bank of America, you will need to click “Credit Cards” on the upper menu bar of the website.
A larger drop down menu will feature all of their different credit cards bunched into categories. But before you start clicking, there is a box on the right side of the menu to get “customized credit card offers in less than 60 seconds.”
Once you’ve reached the customized credit card offer page, you will have the option of signing in or continuing without signing in.
If you’re already a Bank of America customer, you will instantly get your customized offers. All you need to do is log in and select what type of card you’re interested in.
You’ll have the option to search for cards that can help you earn travel rewards, cash rewards, build or rebuild credit, and more!
If you are not already a customer, you will need to provide some personal information like name and address for them to perform a soft pull of your credit report. Then they will be able to offer you specific credit cards based on your interests and creditworthiness in less than 60 seconds!
Citibank makes it incredibly easy to find pre-qualified offers right on the front page of their credit card website.
You might need to scroll down a bit when you reach their credit card homepage, but that’s where you’ll find the link to get your pre-qualified offers.
This is another basic questionnaire that requires your name, address, last 4 digits of your social security number, and what type of credit card you’re most interested in.
After completing that and acknowledging that completing the form won’t affect your credit score, Citibank will provide their pre-qualified offers just for you!
If you received a pre-qualified offer in the mail, you can also look at Citi’s credit card homepage and find where to apply that offer there. All you’ll need to do is input the invitation number, and Citi will pull up your custom credit card application.
Check out our article for more information on the best Citi credit cards, including their benefits and perks.
You might not be too familiar with Credit One since they don’t offer travel rewards cards and only seem to offer a few different credit card products.
Credit One is an interesting option for those looking to build or improve their credit since they focus on providing services to people with bad credit.
Be aware that most credit card companies that focus on advertising their products to people with bad credit have extremely high interest rates and fees.
(Those with poor credit wanting to obtain a credit card may benefit from reading our best credit cards for bad credit article.)
The best way to be sure if a Credit One credit card is the right choice for you is to see if you have any pre-qualified offers.
All you need to do is go to their main website, and you’ll find an option to easily see if you’re pre-qualified for any of their products (or respond to a mailed offer.
There are a few additional questions that some of the other banks don’t ask, like total monthly income, phone number, and email address.
It’s important to note that when submitting the pre-qualification questionnaire, you’re acknowledging that Credit One can share certain information with third parties.
Credit One also requires your full social security number, but it guarantees that using the form will not affect your credit score.
Discover wants to help you determine what card you’re most qualified for. The best part about Discover is that it gives you 2 options: to see what cards you are pre-qualified for, as well as what cards you are pre-approved for.
Both forms ask for your basic information, but the pre-approved form does have quite a few more detailed questions — it almost resembles a full credit card application.
The good news is that neither of these methods will affect your credit score; but if you do decide to apply for one of their offers, then they will perform a hard pull on your credit.
Discover has a wide range of credit card options in their portfolio, including travel rewards, cash-back cards, and cards designed especially for students.
Both forms actually ask specifically if you are are a current student. This could be a great option for students to see if they would be pre-approved for one of the student credit cards and start building their credit history!
USAA does offer a few rewards credit cards that could be of interest to current USAA members. These credit cards mainly focus on cash-back and USAA Rewards™.
To become a USAA member, there are some specific qualifications you need to meet; these are mainly targeted toward members of the military and their families.
You must already be a member to check your pre-qualified offers with USAA, so checking these offers isn’t for everyone.
Wells Fargo doesn’t make it very easy to check your pre-qualified offers unless you already have a Wells Fargo account.
For current Wells Fargo customers, all you need to do is log in to your account and click the “Products and Offers” tab to find any pre-qualified offers that you would be targeted for.
Potential Wells Fargo customers have no way to see if they’re pre-qualified for any of these credit card offers. You’ll just have to apply and see what happens!
You don’t always need to wait for the mail to arrive to check on your pre-qualified offers from these popular banks. We hope this list gives you a good starting point to see what type of credit cards you qualify for.
Most pre-qualified or pre-approval forms you fill out will not affect your credit score at all. This is a risk-free way to see what type of cards may give you the best chance for a speedy approval!
It’s important to remember that even though you may be pre-qualified or pre-approved for a certain credit card, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll be approved if you decide to apply.
Luckily, these forms are easy to fill out, and they do offer a quick way to see what credit cards you are most likely to be approved for.
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