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

The terms “pre-qualified” and “pre-approved” are often used interchangeably when referring to credit cards, but there is a key difference between the two.

Pre-qualification is a quick and easy process that allows you to see if you might qualify for a credit card based on a soft inquiry of your credit report. This means that the lender will pull your credit report without impacting your credit score. During the pre-qualification process, you will typically be asked to provide basic information about your income, housing costs, and assets. The lender will then use this information to estimate your creditworthiness and give you an idea of whether you are likely to be approved for a credit card.

Pre-approval, on the other hand, is a more thorough process that involves a hard inquiry of your credit report. This means that the lender will pull your credit report with your consent, and this inquiry will temporarily impact your credit score. During the pre-approval process, you will typically be asked to provide more detailed information about your financial situation, including your employment history, debt obligations, and credit history. The lender will use this information to make a more informed decision about whether to approve you for a credit card.

Here is a table summarizing the key differences between pre-qualification and pre-approval:

Initiated byConsumerLender
Information requiredBasic informationDetailed information
Credit inquirySoft inquiryHard inquiry
Impact on credit scoreMinimalTemporary
Likelihood of approvalLowerHigher

We have many credit cards that you can check your pre-qualified status which is a “soft” inquiry and will not affect your credit score or show on your credit report as an inquiry. View these offers and more here.

In general, pre-qualification is a good way to get a general idea of whether you might qualify for a credit card. However, pre-approval is a stronger indicator of approval and can give you more confidence that your application will be approved.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind about pre-qualification and pre-approval:

  • Even if you are pre-approved for a credit card, there is no guarantee that you will be approved. The lender will still need to review your application in full and make a final decision.
  • Pre-qualification and pre-approval are not the same as being approved for a credit card. They are simply estimates of your chances of approval.
  • Getting pre-qualified or pre-approved for a credit card can help you shop around for the best interest rates and terms.
  • Pre-qualification and pre-approval can also help you avoid making too many hard inquiries on your credit report, which can lower your credit score.

Find out if you pre-qualify for a credit card here!

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