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  • Writer's picturePoints By J

What is Credit Card Pre-approval?

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

Q: "I want a great travel credit card, but I'm not sure if I'll be approved. Should I go for it?"


A: May I introduce you to the credit card pre-approval process?


What is credit card pre-approval?

It is a preliminary assessment by card issuers to determine if you meet their initial criteria for a credit card. It's important to note that pre-approval does not guarantee that you will be approved for the credit card, but it indicates that you are likely to meet the issuer's basic eligibility requirements based on certain criteria.


Several top travel credit cards offer a pre-approval process.


Typical steps involved in the credit card pre-approval process:

  1. Soft Credit Inquiry: When you are pre-approved for a credit card, the issuer performs a soft credit inquiry (also known as a soft pull) on your credit report. This type of inquiry does not impact your credit score and is used to assess your creditworthiness without your explicit application.

  2. Assessment of Criteria: The credit card issuer reviews your credit history, income, and other relevant financial information to determine if you meet their initial criteria. This may include factors such as your credit score, income level, and existing debt.

  3. Pre-Approval Offer: If you meet the issuer's criteria, they may send you a pre-approval offer. This offer typically includes details about the credit card, such as the credit limit, annual percentage rate (APR), and any promotional offers or benefits.

  4. Accept or Decline: You can choose to accept or decline the pre-approval offer. If you decide to accept, you will typically need to complete a formal credit card application. Keep in mind that even if you accept the offer, approval is not guaranteed. The issuer will conduct a more thorough review of your application, including a hard credit inquiry, before making a final decision.

  5. Final Approval: After you submit a formal application, the issuer will conduct a more comprehensive credit check, which involves a hard credit inquiry. They will assess your creditworthiness and other factors before approving or denying your application.

Be sure to read any pre-approval offer carefully and understand the terms and conditions, including any fees, interest rates, and rewards associated with the credit card.


Pre-approval can be an incredibly useful way to gauge your eligibility. However, it doesn't guarantee approval, and the final decision depends on the issuer's evaluation of your application. If you're interested in the card, make sure to complete the application accurately and honestly to improve your chances of approval.


What is credit card pre-approval
The pre-approval step can help prevent you from applying for a card that's not likely to be approved

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