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Do Credit Card Preapprovals Matter?

iQuanti: There's always some uncertainty with credit cards. Regardless, you can never be 100% sure of your chances if you're approved.

iQuanti: There’s always some uncertainty with credit cards. Regardless, you can never be 100% sure of your chances if you’re approved.

Fortunately, you can get a good idea of your approval chances by seeking out a credit card preapproval.

Below, we’ll cover credit card preapprovals in detail and show you why they’re important to get.

What are Preapprovals?

If you aren’t familiar with the term, you may not even know what preapproved means.

Credit card preapproval involves being prescreened for certain card terms without going through a formal application. You aren’t guaranteed to get these terms, but you know you have good chances.

Card companies run a soft inquiry — an informal credit check — to screen you. This is a less extensive look at your credit score and history, but it does not damage your credit.

Many card issuers send preapproval offers in the mail. These list the terms on the mailer and provide a code you can use to apply with the offer. Otherwise, some issuers have preapproval tools online.

Benefits of Preapproval

Getting preapproved for credit cards offers you a few advantages in your credit card search:

1. Avoid Hard Inquiries

Card companies run a soft inquiry instead of a credit-damaging hard inquiry to get you a preapproval. This spares you from running up hard inquiries while applying for credit cards — you’ll know which cards you have strong approval chances with.

2. Reduce Research Time

Many lenders send preapproval letters in the mail. They’ll show you terms you might prequalify for and offer you a code on the letter to redeem the offer. 

This can potentially reduce your research time if the offer is good enough.

Otherwise, using a prequalification tool online can cut your research time as well. If you get good enough terms from one prequalification, that helps you decide if you want to move forward with that card instead of continuing your search.

3. Potential Intro Bonuses

Some card companies may offer a 0% promotional introductory purchase or balance APR for preapproved applicants. This can help you make large purchases or consolidate/refinance debt.

Another bonus they may offer you is a signup bonus. These let you earn a sum of money — usually $150-300 — after spending a certain amount (like $3,000) in a certain time (like 3 months).

Yes, Credit Card Preapprovals Matter

Credit card preapprovals are fairly simple to get but offer several benefits. Mainly, they help you minimize your research time and spare your credit by reducing hard inquiries. At the same time, they offer you the chance to score some nice credit card bonuses.

With that in mind, don’t apply for the first credit card you find. Shop around for a few preapprovals, then weigh each one’s terms and perks before applying for the best one for your needs.

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