Whenever you apply for a credit card, the bank or card provider checks your credit by performing a hard inquiry, which is also known as a hard pull. Unlike soft inquiries, which have no impact, hard pulls can affect your score — though it only trims a few points, and your score will quickly recover.
However, some credit card companies use a prequalification or preapproval process, eliminating the lender’s need to run a hard inquiry on your credit report. Instead, lenders that offer preapproval processes check only the essentials by performing a soft inquiry.
When the lender determines your creditworthiness, you can decide to move forward with the application process or find a different card issuer. If you choose to continue, the lender will then run a hard inquiry.
This process gives you a better idea of your chances of approval, so you can determine if the hard pull is worth it. Depending on the credit card issuer, some may provide key details about their offer, such as your credit limit and APR, before you okay the hard credit check.
Preapproval offers are often temporary promotions, but you can find many card providers offering prequalification screenings at any given time. If you’re looking for a card with this feature, check out this list of the best credit cards with preapproval from NerdWallet.
OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card
The OpenSky card from Visa may be a secured credit card, but it’s one of the few that lets you open an account with no credit pull — even if you don’t have a bank account. You have to put down at least $200 to qualify, but that deposit also acts as your credit limit. If you pay your monthly statements on time and in full, you’ll receive an offer to upgrade your card and get your deposit back.
This credit card is great if you want to build your credit history or work on your score because the issuer reports your payment activity to the three major credit agencies. Plus, there’s only a $35 annual fee.
Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students
The Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students is among the best cards for students studying at home and abroad. It’s an excellent tool for young people with limited credit to build their history while earning rewards. This card offers a preapproval screening, but there is a chance for approval even for those with no credit.
The card provider sends your payment history to Experian and TransUnion, making it easier to build your credit. Plus, the Deserve EDU Mastercard gives you 1% cashback on everything, without an annual fee.
Petal 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa Credit Card
You can apply for the Petal 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa Credit Card prequalification screening. However, WebBank, the card provider, can go beyond regular FICO score to assess your creditworthiness by looking at your income, savings, and spending. If you are new to credit and haven’t built a history yet, it can be easier to get approved. This card has no annual fee and lets you earn rewards, too.
NerdWallet ranked the Upgrade Card third on its list of the best pre-approved credit cards because of its fixed monthly payments. By using a mix of features from credit cards and personal loans, this card makes it easier to follow your budget if you don’t pay your entire monthly balance. The card provider levies a fixed interest rate on the leftover balance.
Based on your creditworthiness, you get 24 to 60 months to make monthly installments. And if you pay off your balance early, you won’t get hit with a fee. This card also comes with unmatched transparency, as the issuer will let you know your possible credit limit during the screening process before you finish the application.
The creditor will also send your payment history to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion and has no annual fee.
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Do you have average credit but still want a credit card that rewards you on your purchases? Then look no further than the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. If your FICO score is 630 or higher, you can apply for the pre-screening process to determine if you qualify.
If you get approved, you can earn 1.5% cashback on everything, plus the opportunity to increase your credit limit within six months of opening an account — if you pay on time. The downside to this card is that it does have an annual fee, and there’s no welcome bonus like 0% APR.
- Lambarena, Melissa. “Credit Cards That Offer Preapproval Without a Hard Pull.” NerdWallet, 2 Nov. 2020, www.nerdwallet.com/article/credit-cards/credit-cards-that-offer-preapproval-without-a-hard-pull.