Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers: How to Get Qualified With Bad Credit

David Warner

David Warner

Financial Advisor

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Whether you are new to the credit industry or not – if you are looking for a new credit card, it’s important to be aware of all of your options. If you have not noticed already, there are dozens upon dozens of different credit card options- all in efforts by credit card companies to offer services to as many consumers as possible. The reality is, there are credit cards for everyone! From excellent credit to even no credit, companies have specialized and dedicated plans for everyone.

With that being said, there is one type of credit card and service offered by credit card companies that raises the eyebrows of consumers. Have you ever gone to check the mail and received a letter with the words: “URGENT”, “ONE-TIME OFFER”, or “YOU’RE APPROVED!”? Chances you have, because everyone nearly has. We are talking about the infamous pre-approved credit card offers. This type of mail can be incredibly exciting and, at the same time, frustrating or annoying, depending on how many you have received so far. Now, these offers and credit cards are often misconstrued, given their reputation.

So, in today’s article, we are going to dive into the depths of pre-approved credit cards and share some important tips and information. We will even discuss a few pointers to look out for and how to pick the best pre-approved credit card for you.

 

Topics Covered

What does it mean to be pre-approved?

Before jumping into any tips or recommendations, we think it’s important to cover the basics to ensure that you are fully prepared and knowledgeable. While it may seem like easy – many people are unaware of what pre-approved credit cards are and how they operate.  So, simply put, pre-approved credit cards are simply when a credit card company, based on pulling your credit report, believes that you have meet specific criteria for one of their credit cards. Now, first things first, before any readers panic – these are considered soft-pulls, or soft-inquiries. This is a frequent occurrence for credit holders around the United States and it will never hurt your credit score. In light of this, credit cards will send multiple offers to credit holders in attempt to get them to apply for that specific card. Keep in mind that, just because you were pre-approved in the mail does not mean you will be approved for that actual card or credit limit. Typically, these are marketing techniques to secure new consumers. There are some benefits that come with this mail-based pre approved credit card offers, such as competitive APRs and unique features.

There is also a newer form of pre-approved credit cards, all of which are done digitally. The difference between digital pre-approved credit cards and mail-based pre-approved credit cards is that consumers have to sign-up for the pre-approval process. Similarly, there is no hard inquiry or pull for individuals to get pre-approved for a credit card online. This gives you, the consumer, the opportunity to compare information and rates with other companies, a great tool. However, as we started to cover in this section, there are a few different things that credit card companies do not share about their pre-approved offers.

Pre-Approved Credit Cards

Advantages and Disadvantages of Preapproved Credit Cards

As with all credit cards, it’s important to consider all aspects before you are quick to sign up for just any deal. With that being said, with a greater understanding of what preapproved credit cards are, now we are going to explore some of the advantages and disadvantages that come with these credit cards.

Advantages

  • Preapproved credit cards give consumers and opportunity to glance at what they can anticipate if they so choose to sign up or apply for that credit card. From here, consumers can use this information to research and compare with other credit card company offers to secure the best deal.
  • Typically, preapproved credit card offers come with lower than average APR %; however, it’s vital to read the fine print before you are quick to jump on a deal. You won’t want to sign a contract for a preapproved credit card that has a starting APR of 3% and a go-to APR of 29.99% in 6 months.
  • Preapproved credit cards give consumers a glimpse at where they stand in the eyes of other credit card companies and the credit bureau.
  • If a consumer is rejected for a preapproved credit card, they have 60 days to request a free credit report.

Disadvantages

  • Preapproved credit cards may be seen as a marketing trap by credit card companies. Reason being, people who are unaware of how pre-approved credit cards work do not know that in order to receive the offer, one must apply, resulting in a hard credit pull and potentially rejection.
  • Preapproved credit cards typically offer great rates for minimal months; however, the moment those months are over, the card’s rates will skyrocket and can be detrimental.

 

What Credit Card Companies Don’t Share About Pre-Approved Credit Cards

Pre-approved credit cards can be quite tricky, which is why veteran credit holders tend to disregard or get frustrated with frequent pre-approved credit card offers in the mail. The whole idea of a pre-approved credit offer in the mail is incredibly misleading for many consumers as they tend to think that the offer is live and valid. However, credit card companies tend to not share that consumers may still get rejected and, in order to receive the offer, one must apply for credit card offers first, which means requesting a hard-pull or inquiry, effectively lowering your credit score. Reason being, when the company sent out the offer, they did a soft-pull of your credit report. Credit card companies will need to look closer at your credit history. Typically, when this happens, credit card companies provide consumers with a lower credit limit than mentioned on the offer, higher APRs, or potentially insanely high fees. It’s essential, as a consumer, to be aware of what is really happening before considering applying for any pre-approved credit card. Check out low interest credit cards for fair credit if that is the credit score category you’re in.

5 Important Factors to Consider Picking the Best Credit Card for You

With the information that you have at hand, it’s clear that a pre-approved credit card offer is like any other credit card – and it should be treated equivalently. Just because a company deems that you are qualified for a credit card does not mean it’s best for you until you have done the research and figured out what is the best credit card for you. To better help you out, we have created a short guide and questionnaire to help find the best possible credit card, whether pre-approved credit card or not.

1. What Is Your Credit Score / Strength of Credit Report?

Before you can learn what credit card is best for you, it’s important to figure out what your credit score is and the strength of your credit report. To find this information, you may request your annual free credit report. If you have already received in a few months ago, you may need to purchase an updated report. From there, we highly advise consumers to take the time to analyze their entire report to learn exactly what’s happening with their credit profile. Analyze every single line and area to ensure that it’s accurate and dated properly. If you notice any areas that are of concerned, don’t hesitate to dispute any claims. This will only help improve your credit score. Take a look at travel credit cards for bad credit.

2. Research Credit Cards Based on Score

With a clearer understanding of your credit report and credit score, you can effectively begin the researching process. This entails looking up different credit cards for your credit score. Whether you are in the 750+ bracket or below 600, there are dozens of different credit cards. Be sure to take the time to look at each different one. You will want to look at what credit limits the company offers, what their current fees and rates are, what is their APR, and the applicable benefits and features.

3. Read Pre-Approved Credit Offer

This step is all about reading the entire pre-approved credit offer, features, and contract. Typically, when a credit card company sends out pre-approved credit offers, they share with you all pertinent information, including interest rates, fees, APRs, limits, and other applicable information. Much of this information will most likely be found on the back page of the offer in the fine print. Before you are quick to jump on just any pre-approved credit offer, it’s important to move on to step number two as it will lead you to further research and analysis when judging what credit card is best for you.

4. Research Company Reviews

Based on the information that you have extracted thus far, you probably have a good idea of the different credit cards that you like and the companies that are intriguing. With that being said, a great method or tactic to employ when picking out the best credit card is to research company and credit card reviews. While some reviews may be biased – we suggest aiming for reviews that are in the middle. Typically, reviewers that stick between the 2-4 star range tend to be the most honest – minus the exaggerations.

5. Call Companies or Schedule Meeting

This may seem like a stretch to some readers; however, we highly recommend to consumers calling different credit card companies or scheduling meetings if a physical branch is easily accessible. The reason for this is that a credit card is valued financial decision and it’s important to select the best company for you. If you have problems with your credit card and need to speak with a representative, you will need to contact their customer service team or visit their branch. Are they friendly? Did they help you? Are they willing and able to answer your questions? By taking the first steps towards calling a credit card company that you are interested in or scheduling a meeting at a local branch – you will learn a lot about a company and make the decision process that much easier. At the same time, you will get a clearer picture of what reviewers were mentioning regarding customer service, a frequently underestimated component of credit cards.

 

From Helpful to Frustrating

As we discussed in the beginning of this article pre-approved credit cards can both be exciting and help and incredibly frustrating and annoying to some consumers. It’s clear that pre-approved credit card offers provide some unique benefits; however, after receiving the 10th or 15th notice in the mail, you may feel a bit overwhelmed, especially if you have already selected your new preapproved credit card. As a result, as a knowledgeable credit holder, you have the ability and power to request credit card companies to stop sending you mail.

One way that consumers can opt-out of receiving anymore mail on preapproved credit card offers, you can visit www.optoutprescren.com or call the company number at 1-888-5-OPT-OUT, or 1-888-567-8688.This is actually, as the website mentions, the official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry website -so that you know this is a trusted company. In doing calling this number of visiting the website, this will stop credit card companies from sending preapproved credit card offers for up to 5 years. However, if you are exhausted of preapproved credit offers, you may permanently opt-out of these notifications as well by filing a Permanent Opt-Out Election Form.

 

Verdict

When it comes to pre-approved credit cards, it’s important to always consider the options that are available to you. In our opinion, pre-approved credit cards can prove to be extremely beneficial and a great option for consumers. In fact, many consumers tout how great preapproved credit cards are and how they have helped improve their credit score ten-fold.

However, as a responsible credit-holder, it’s imperative to take the time to do proper research and treat a pre-approved credit card offer just like any other credit card. You must perform the proper research, look at specific information, like interest rates, fees, and features, and study what previous customers have said. The best way to approach any pre-approved credit card is with knowledge, confidence, and security that you know what’s best.

FAQ

General Pre-Approved Credit Card Questions

This section covers the general questions people have about pre-approved credit cards.

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How to get pre-approved for a credit card?

The most common way to get pre-approved is to request pre-approval at a company’s website. Most credit card companies offer the option to get pre-approved before you have a hard check on your credit.

What does pre-approved for a credit card mean?

Pre-approved for a credit card means that based on the information available, the company is confident that you’ll be approved if you apply for a card.

How to stop pre-approved credit card offers?

The best ways to stop pre-approved credit offers are to go to www.optoutprescreen.com or to call 1-888-567-8688 to opt out from offers.       

What is pre-qualified credit cards?

A pre-qualified credit card is one that the card issuer thinks you have a good chance at being approved for if you were to apply.

How to opt out of preapproved credit card offers?

You can opt out of pre-approved credit card offers from credit agencies by calling 1-888-567-8688 or by going to www.optoutprescreen.com

Why do I get pre-approved credit card offers?

You get pre-approved credit card offers because you haven’t opted out and the credit card companies think that you’ll likely get approved if you apply.

What is the best pre-approved credit card?

There’s no single best pre-approved credit card. We recommend using an online search tool to see what credit cards are best for someone in your credit situation.

What is the percentage of getting approved for pre-qualified credit card offer?

Although the industry doesn’t publish any specific numbers, the vast majority of pre-qualified credit card offers are approved on application.

What are the approval rates for a preapproved credit card?

The approval rates for pre-approved credit cards are very high, that’s what the pre-approval process is for.

How does signing up for preapproved credit card impact me?

Signing up for a pre-approved credit card impacts you the same way any other credit card would. Make sure to pay your bill every month and keep your balance low and it will help boost your credit score. Otherwise, your credit score will fall.

What happens when you accept a pre-approved credit card offer?

When you accept a pre-approved credit card offer the company will do a hard credit check to verify the information they used to base the pre-approval on. Once that’s done, you should get approved for your card.

Difference Between Pre-Approved and other types of Pre-Qualification

We’ll help you understand the difference between pre-approved offers and other types of pre-qualification in this section.

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What is the difference between prescreened and pre-approved credit card offers?

There’s not much of a difference between pre-screened and pre-approved credit card offers. It’s just a matter of marketing language.

What is the difference between pre-approved and pre-qualified for credit cards?

Getting pre-approved and pre-qualified for credit cards is functionally the same thing.

Finding and Getting Pre-Approved Credit Cards

This section answers the most common questions people have about finding and getting pre-approved credit cards

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What credit cards am I pre-approved for?

You’ll need to go to a credit card search service or credit reporting agency to find out what cards you’re pre-approved for.

How to get pre-approved credit card offers?

The best way to get pre-approved credit card offers is to tell the major credit monitoring agencies that you want to be considered for them.

What credit cards do I prequalify for?

You’ll need to check with a credit card search service or the major credit bureaus to see what cards you prequalify for.

How to find pre-approved credit cards?

The best way to find pre-approved credit cards is by using the three credit reporting agencies or credit card websites to tell credit card companies you’d like to be considered for pre-approved offers.

What do I do if my child is getting preapproved credit cards?

You should destroy the offers your child is getting and check their credit history to ensure no one has stolen their identity. You should then report your child’s minor status to the credit reporting agencies.

How often should you check if you are pre-approved for credit cards?

That depends on how often you want to get a new credit card. Most people benefit from reducing the number of active credit cards they carry.

How can I apply for a credit card if I’m already pre-approved?

If you’re already pre-approved for a credit card you still need to apply to get final approval. Final approval requires a hard credit check.

How do I sign up to get pre-approved credit card offers?

You can sign up with the credit reporting agencies, credit card companies, and credit card search services to get pre-approved credit card offers.

What should a person do if he receives a pre-approved credit card and does not want it?

The best thing for you to do if you get pre-approved credit card offers is to opt out by going to www.optoutprescreen.com.

What are the chances of getting approved for a credit card if you can't be pre-qualified?

It depends on the reason you can’t be pre-qualified. You’ll need to talk to the company in question to see what your chances are for getting final approval.

Where to get preapproved for a credit card with balance transfer?

Credit card search services and websites can help you find balance transfer cards that offer pre-approval.

How do you receive a preapproved credit card?

You can receive a pre-approved credit card by applying for an offer you receive and then getting final approval.

Why am I not getting pre-approved for credit cards?

There are lots of reasons you might not be getting pre-approved for credit cards. Your credit score could be low, or you could be on an opt out list. Companies might not know you want to be considered.

Pre-Approved Credit Cards, Credit Scores, and Credit Reporting

We’ll answer the most common questions people have about pre-approved credit cards and credit scores in this section.

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Why am I getting pre-approved credit cards when my credit is bad?

Just because your credit is bad doesn’t mean that there aren’t any companies willing to give you credit. You should just expect to pay much higher rates and fees to get credit.

Why would a credit card company who preapproved me then pull a hard credit report?

A company needs to do a hard pull after pre-approval to make sure the information they based their pre-approval on is correct.

What credit card can I get pre-approved for without affecting credit score?

You should be able to get any pre-approval without affecting your credit score – pre-approved means that you’re approved after a soft look at your score. You won’t get a hard pull unless you apply.

What credit cards can you get a preapproval with no hard inquiry?

You can get pre-approved with no hard inquiry for most credit cards. However, you’ll get a hard inquiry for final approval for any credit cards.

What are pre-qualified credit cards who report to all 3 bureaus?

All credit cards report to all three credit bureaus. Any pre-qualified credit card will work for you here.

How to get a preapproved credit card for poor credit scores?

You can get pre-approved credit offers even for poor credit scores by telling the credit reporting agencies that you want to be considered for pre-approved offers.

Specific Pre-Approved Offers and Cards

This section covers questions about specific pre-approved offers and cards.

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How to get pre-approved for a Sam’s Club credit card?

The best way to get pre-approved for a Sam’s Club credit card is to go to their website and see if the company offers pre-approval as an option. If they offer it, just take the offer.

How to get pre-approved for Victoria Secret card?

You can get pre-approved for a Vitoria Secret card by selecting the option to use the card at checkout. Follow the prompts and if you’re pre-approved you’ll be told what your initial limit is.

How to get pre-approved for Chase credit card?

The best way to get pre-approved is to search for the guidelines for pre-approval. Make sure you have the right credit profile and income, and then check the Chase website or go to any branch to get pre-approval.

How long does preapproval take for Chase credit cards?

It usually doesn’t take very long to get pre-approval decisions for any credit card. The company’s automated processes should get you an answer within 5 minutes.

How to get pre-approved for the Amazon credit card?

As of this writing Amazon doesn’t have a pre-approval process in place for its credit cards.

How to know if I am pre-approved for an American Express credit card?

The best way to find out if you’re pre-approved for an American Express card is to go to their website and follow the prompts for pre-approval.

How long is the pre-approved for the American Express Platinum Card offer until?

It’s hard to say how long the specific offer you’re asking about will last. However, American Express has frequent pre-approval offers.

How long does it take to hear from pre-approved Meijer credit card?

Meijer credit card pre-approval should only be a matter of a few minutes once you’ve asked for it.

What does pre-approved mean for a Mercury credit card?

Pre-approved for a Mercury credit card means that the company thinks you’re likely to get full approval if you apply for the card.

What are the chances for getting a pre-approved credit card from BoA?

The chances of getting pre-approved for BoA credit cards depend on your particular credit profile. However, the great thing about pre-approval is you can check it without impacting your score.

How to get pre-approved for a Citi Sears card?

The best way to get pre-approved for a Citi Sears card is to go to Sears website or Citi’s website and follow their instructions to get checked for pre-approval.

Am I prequalified for Discover It?

The best way to find out if you’re prequalified for the Discover It is to go to Discover’s website and follow their pre-qualification prompts.

How much is the credit limit for pre-approved Discover It card?

The credit limit for the pre-approved Discover It card depends on your credit and income information when you actually apply.

What does your income have to be to get pre-approved for a Discover Travel card?

Discover doesn’t list a minimum income to get pre-approved for a Discover Travel card.

How to see if I pre-approved for Newegg credit card?

You can see if you’re pre-approved for the Newegg credit card by going to their website or one of their stores and following the pre-approval process.

What store credit cards am I prequalified for?

The major credit reporting agencies and credit card search sites can help you understand what stores credit cards you’re pre-qualified for.

How does Capital One preapprove credit cards?

Capital One doesn’t publish their pre-approval process. However, it involves a combination of public records, soft credit checks, and income verification.

How to tell if you are preapproved for a Venture One rewards card?

You can check your pre-approval status for a Venture One rewards card on Capital One’s website.

What cards am I preapproved for at US Bank?

You’ll need to go to a US Bank branch of search online to get an idea of what cards you’re approved for at US Bank.

How to get pre-approved for a Children’s Place credit card?

You can get pre-approved for a Children’s Place credit card at any Children’s Place store or through their website.

How to get pre-approved for First Premier credit cards?

You can use First Premier’s website or popular credit card search tools to start the pre-approval process for a First Premier credit card.

How to know if you are pre-approved for Barclay credit cards?

You can find out if you’re pre-approved for a Barclay credit card by going to their website and following the pre-qualification process.

How was I preapproved for a BJ’s credit card?

You were pre-approved for a BJ’s credit card because public credit score and income information lead BJ’s to think that you’ll get full approval if you apply.

How to get pre-approved for department store credit cards?

You can get pre-approved for department store credit cards on the website of the specific department stores that you’re interested in or at their brick and mortar locations.

Other Pre-Approved Credit Card Questions

This section covers questions about pre-approved credit cards that don’t fit into our other categories. Check here if you can’t find your question elsewhere.

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What happens if your pre-approved credit card expires?

As long as you’re current on your account your credit card issuer should renew your account and send you a card with a new expiration date.

What if someone steals a pre-approved credit card?

You can handle the theft of pre-approved credit cards the same way you would with any other cards. Put a freeze on your credit report and make sure to monitor your accounts for fraudulent activity.

David Warner

David Warner

Financial Advisor - Best.CreditCard

David is our in-house financial advisor with years of experience in the credit card industry. He became interested in credit cards after working for several years at a major bank. He holds a Masters Degree in Finance.