Have you been eyeing a Citi card but aren’t you sure if you qualify? You could consider requesting a preapproval offer from the issuer, which won’t impact your credit score.
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Imagine you’ve found the perfect credit card to add to your wallet. It comes with a generous welcome bonus or a long 0 percent APR balance transfer period to help you pay down existing debt. Sounds good, right?
You can take some guesswork and potential heartache out of the credit card application process by getting preapproved, or prequalified, for the card you want. Citi — and most major card issuers — can preapprove you for a card based on a soft pull of your credit, which doesn’t impact your credit score.
Keep in mind that the soft inquiry allows the card issuer the opportunity to review basic information in your credit report and determine your creditworthiness. If the credit card company preapproves you for a card, it’s not a guarantee of approval. You’ll still have to fill out a formal application, but at least you’ll know the odds are in your favor.
On the other hand, if the issuer declines your preapproval, you can save yourself the trouble of applying and avoid the credit-harming hard inquiry. Keep reading to learn more about getting preapproved for a Citi credit card.
How to get preapproved for a Citi credit card
At this time, you won’t be able to find preapproved offers for Citi through CardMatch™, our tool to discover which credit cards you prequalify for with most major credit card issuers. For some issuers, like Citi, the tool does match you with cards it thinks you would qualify for, but you’re not necessarily preapproved yet.
Still, if you’re looking to get preapproved for a Citi credit card, here are a few options:
Find pre-selected offers on the Citi website
Citi offers a prescreening tool that allows you to find out if you’ve been preselected for a Citi card. Like the CardMatch tool, the site asks you to complete a simple form that includes your name, contact information, the last four digits of your Social Security number and the type of credit card you want (rewards, balance transfer, low intro APR, cash back or no preference). Once you agree to the authorization terms, you can click “See My Offers.” Citi will immediately match you with any credit card offers that fit your credit profile.
Although credit card approval is never guaranteed, any offers you receive are likely to have higher approval odds. And, if you want to take advantage of one of the offers Citi recommends, you can apply right away.
Other ways to prequalify for Citi cards
Filling out the online form is definitely the easiest way to get prequalified for a Citi card — but it’s not the only one. You can also receive a prequalified Citi offer by snail mail.
If you live near a Citibank branch, you can also go in and ask for any offers in person. In some cases, Citi has been known to offer increased sign-up bonuses or other introductory offers when you apply this way.
Top Citi cards for prequalified offers
Why you should prequalify with Citi before you apply
You should consider prequalifying with Citi because it can give you a good idea of your chances of acceptance before you formally apply for a card. If you’re preapproved, your odds of actual approval are higher, so you’ll know if it’s worth it to proceed with the credit card application.
It requires less work from you
If you’re starting from scratch, researching the best credit cards on the market, you may end up forgetting to factor in whether you qualify for those cards. Rather than going through the trouble of filling out an application only to get rejected, prequalified offers narrow the huge pool of available cards to just a few. At that point, you can focus your research on the cards you’re preapproved for with the reassurance that you’ll likely qualify for one of them. Then, once you receive a preapproval, you can apply for the card directly.
Exclusive intro bonuses and perks
Sometimes, when an issuer emails or mails you a preapproved offer, it comes with an extra high intro bonus or additional perks that are not available to most consumers. The main reason is that the issuer wants you to apply for that card right away — essentially giving you a bonus for catching you at the right moment. We should note: Most of the time annual fees still apply, so make sure you do your due diligence in making sure the annual fee is worth it.
Soft pulls vs. hard pulls
The main attraction of preapproval offers or tools like CardMatch is that they only perform a soft pull (also known as a soft inquiry) to quickly check your credit score and credit report. Soft pulls don’t affect your score, so essentially you or the issuer could do as many as you want without bringing down your score, though they may appear on your credit report.
On the other hand, hard pulls (or hard inquiries) do affect your score, usually by five to 10 points. Through hard pulls, issuers fully review your credit report to see how risky you are to extend credit. You want to avoid hard pulls since they lower your score, and too many at once (usually through multiple credit card applications) may indicate to lenders that you’re financially distressed.
If Citi doesn’t prequalify you, at least you’ll avoid getting hit with a hard inquiry on your credit report to have your application denied. A hard inquiry can remain on your credit report for up to two years, although its impact on your credit may only last a year or so.
Opportunity to improve credit
If your preapproval request doesn’t result in an offer, that’s a strong indication that something is amiss in your credit history, credit report or other information you submitted in the preapproval process. If so, it’s a good idea to get copies of your credit report for free at AnnualCreditReport.com to find out what those issues may be.
You should carefully review your credit report to look for any erroneous or fraudulent information. Afterwards, you can dispute any errors you discover with the major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
If you suspect you didn’t receive a prequalified offer because your credit is too low, now is the perfect time to begin improving upon it. Start by making regular, on-time payments on your current card and clearing any debts you may have.
If you are worried about your credit card approval odds, prequalified offers are a valuable tool for finding the cards within your reach. Though Citi doesn’t offer quite as many of these promotions as other card issuers, you still have a chance to snag a top match.