To boost your chances of getting a credit card, make sure you know your credit score and leverage prequalification tools.
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But what happens if you aren’t approved? Not only will you not receive the card you wanted, but your credit score can be damaged in the process – thanks to a hard pull on your report.
Before you apply for any credit card offer, you should carefully consider whether the card is best for you in addition to your approval odds. With a little bit of research and planning, you can boost your chances of being approved and finding a card that matches your lifestyle. Follow the steps detailed below to maximize your chances of getting approved for a credit card.
Know your credit score
The first step to applying for a credit card – before you even begin researching specific products – is to know your credit score. It is important to know where you stand in a lender’s eyes, so you can estimate how likely you are to be approved for a card. Then, you can take a look at products designed for your credit range.
There are plenty of free services available online to keep track of your score, and you can pull a full copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once per year on AnnualCreditReport.com. On the report, you’ll be able to visualize the factors that go into your score, such as your open accounts and payment history, to get a better idea of how you look to lenders.
Find a card that matches your credit range
Once you know your credit score and understand the factors that go into it from your credit report, you can identify what credit range you fall in. This plays a huge role in determining which cards you can qualify for.
Credit score ranges
Depending on which range you fall into, your likelihood of being approved for credit cards changes. Different card offerings are designed for different kind of customers, so by choosing a card that is built for cardholders in your credit range, you maximize your chances of being approved.
See Related: Comparing the various types of credit cards
Top cards for each range
|2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter|
1% cash back on all other purchases
|1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day||4% cash back on dining and entertainment|
2% at grocery stores
1% on all other purchases
Looking for cards that match your credit range? Check out our favorites below.
Check for prequalified offers
If you’re worried about your approval odds, you can check for prequalified credit card offers using tools like CardMatch™. That way, you’ll know if you qualify before you apply and trigger a hard pull on your credit.
Additionally, many issuers have tools on their websites that allow you to screen prequalified offers. Check out pages from each major issuer, linked below.
- Chase prequalified offers
- American Express prequalified offers
- Bank of American prequalified offers
- Capital One prequalified offers
- Citi prequalified offers
Consider building your credit before applying
If the card you were hoping for is just out of reach, you might be better off taking some time to build your credit score before you apply. You don’t want to risk applying and suffering a ding to your score, only to not be approved for the card.
See Related: 10 tips to improve your credit score in 2019
There are several steps you can take to build your credit score, but the most important things to do are make all your payments on time and keep your credit utilization low.
Ensure your application is competitive
When it’s time to actually fill out a card application, make sure your information is accurate and complete. When you list your estimated income, don’t forget to include any side money you earn.
Additionally, you should avoid applying for too many credit card offers at once. Beyond effects to your credit score from hard pulls, applying for too many cards in a short period of time signals to issuers that you are desperate for credit and a risky investment.
The most important thing you can do to boost your chances of being approved for a credit card is to do your research. You should make sure you know your credit score to determine which cards you qualify for and that the card’s benefits are best for you. Then, you can take advantage of prequalification tools like CardMatch to see what cards you can get before you apply. Just keep in mind that just because you aren’t prequalified for a card doesn’t mean you won’t be approved.