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What Does Pre-Approved Mean for a Credit Card?

Karen Stevens

Oct 24, 2022 6 min read

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What does pre approved mean for a credit card?

Have you ever received a pre-approved credit card offer in the mail and thought “When did I apply for this?” To get pre-approved you don't need to fill out any applications – companies sometimes send out these offers to pre-screened applicants, and, if you’re on the hunt for a new card, it could be an excellent way of saving you time and money. 

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of pre-approved credit cards, how you can get one, and what the difference is between pre-approved and pre-qualified cards.

What is a Pre-Approved Credit Card?

A pre-approved credit card is a credit card that has been approved by the issuer in advance, before an application is submitted. This means that the credit card issuer has already done a soft check on your credit history and other criteria and has determined that you meet their requirements for approval.

A pre-approved credit card can be a useful tool for building credit, as it shows that the issuer is willing to extend credit to the applicant. However, it is important to remember that pre-approval does not guarantee approval for the card, and that the applicant may still be declined if they do not meet the issuer's credit criteria.

Pre approved offer

How Does it Work?

Typically, these offers come in the mail as a prescreened offer from a credit card company. You might after get an offer over the phone. 

Sometimes this happens if you’re already with a credit card provider and they roll out a new card. They may offer it to you since you’re already on their list. Or one of their affiliate partners may reach out to you with a new deal. 

If you are interested in the offer, you can simply fill out the application and submit it for review. If you are approved, you will receive your new credit card in the mail within a few weeks.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you receive a pre-approved credit card offer in the mail:

  • First, make sure that you read the fine print carefully. These offers often come with special terms and conditions that you will need to be aware of.

  • Second, remember that just because you are pre-approved for a credit card does not mean that you are guaranteed approval. The credit card issuer may still require additional information from you before they grant you the credit limit that you request.

  • Finally, keep in mind that a pre-approved credit card offer is not the same as a balance transfer offer. If you are interested in transferring your balances from other cards to a new card, you will need to apply for a balance transfer credit card instead.

Pre Qualification

What Are The Benefits of Pre-approved Credit Cards?

A pre-approved credit card has the potential to save you time and money in the long run.

Gives you an idea of your credit limit

You will know your credit limit when you are pre-approved for a credit card. This is important because you can compare with other cards and choose the best offer. 

May come with perks and rewards

Many credit cards offer cardholders perks, rewards and sign-up bonuses. These can include things like cash back, points, or even travel miles. If you are pre-approved for a credit card, you may be able to take advantage of these benefits right away.

Saves time

Getting pre-approved means you won’t waste time and energy applying for cards you’re not going to get approved for. 

You can compare offers

One of the benefits of pre-approved credit cards is that you can compare offers. When you are pre-approved for a card, you will typically receive information about the credit limit, APR, and rewards. This is important because it allows you to compare with other cards and choose the best offer for you.

You may have a higher chance of getting the card

If you are pre-approved for a credit card, it means that the issuer has already checked your credit score and found that you meet their criteria for the card. This doesn’t guarantee that you will get the card, but it does increase your chances. While you’re not 100% guaranteed to get approved for a card if you’re pre-approved, it is very likely. 

You may be able to take advantage of these benefits right away

If you are pre-approved for a credit card, you may be able to take advantage of the benefits right away. For example, if you are approved for a cash back credit card, you may be able to start earning rewards immediately.

Many credit card companies

What is a Pre-qualified Credit Card?

To get pre-qualified for a credit card, you reach out to a credit card issuer and provide them with financial and credit information. Once you've been pre-qualified, you may be able to choose from a selection of credit card offers. However, being pre-qualified does not guarantee you will be approved for the card if you apply. 

Getting pre-qualified for a credit card is a great way to see which cards you may be eligible for without damaging your credit score.

What is the Difference Between Pre-Approved and Pre-Qualified?

What is the difference between pre-approved and pre-qualified credit cards? It depends on who approaches who first. Typically, for a pre-approved card the provider will reach out to you, while for a pre-qualified card, you would reach out to the credit card company about a card you’re interested in.

Preapproved credit card offer

How Do You Get Pre-Approved For a Credit Card?

Since the credit card issuer has already pre-screened you and decided that you match their criteria for a specific credit card offer, you don’t have to take any action to get yourself pre-approved. In this case, you don't need to go through a formal application process to learn that you meet those criteria. 

If you're pre-approved for a credit card, it means the issuer is confident you'll be approved for the card if you decide to formally apply. However, being pre-approved for a credit card doesn't guarantee you'll actually get the card.

Getting pre-approved for a credit card can give you a head start in the application process and may increase your chances of being approved.

Do Pre-Approved Credit Cards Affect Your Credit Score?

Pre-approval for a credit card does not impact your credit score. However, when you actually apply for the card, the issuer will do a hard pull on your credit report, which can temporarily lower your score by a few points. The more cards you apply for, the more credit checks the companies will have to make and the lower the score will be, so consider carefully before you apply for a number of cards. 

Pre approval affect

The Bottom Line

Pre-approved credit cards can be a great way to save time and money. They can give you an idea of your credit limit, provide peace of mind, come with perks and rewards, and save you time pursuing cards you won’t get approved for. However, it is important to remember that being pre-approved for a credit card does not guarantee you will actually get the card. Be sure to carefully consider all your options before you apply.

Karen Stevens
Karen Stevens
 | 
Personal Finance Writer

Karen Stevens is a personal finance and business writer with experience across industries from travel to tech. She believes personal finance should be accessible to everyone, and is always on the hunt for that next money-saving hack.

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