Best credit cards that offer preapproval for January 2022

 


You've likely received a "preapproved" credit card offer in the mail before and tossed it directly into the trash. Preapproved credit card offers are actually legitimate offers, though. Credit card issuers send a lot of these offers to people they've identified as good potential customers, either by running a soft credit pull -- that means accessing a limited portion of your credit history without impacting your credit score -- or by purchasing a mailing list from one of the three credit bureaus .


If you get one of these offers, it's fair to assume that your credit score and financial standing are strong enough to be approved, though this may not be the case every time. If you haven't been approached, issuers of these cards may let you check your eligibility first, before actually going through the process of submitting an application. Here are our recommendations of partner offers for the best credit cards that offer preapproval.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Card Highlights

Intro Bonus

Intro Offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

APR

14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Recommended Credit

Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more;

    3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service

    1.5% on all other purchases


Annual Fee

$0

Intro Purchase APR

0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Additional Details

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months

Balance Transfer Fee

Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Balance Transfer APR

14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Foreign Transaction Fees

3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Penalty APR

Up to 29.99%

Rewards & Redemption Details


    Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more;

    3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service

    1.5% on all other purchases


Our Take


With a long list of opportunities to earn cash back, the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card may be the best of the preapproval credit cards when you use your card for everyday purchases and want to maximize cash-back rewards. There's no annual fee to eat into your cash-back earnings, you can earn up to $300 in your first year with the welcome bonus (earned as an additional 1.5% cash-back on up to $20,000 in purchases for the first year), and 1.5% cash back is a competitive flat rate -- especially for a preapproval card.


Keep in mind that Chase credit cards may have a special 5/24 rule for applicants: It may not approve you if you've opened five new credit cards in the past 24 months, even if you're preapproved.

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Discover it® Cash Back

See Rates and Fees

Card Highlights

Intro Bonus

Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover.

Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

APR

11.99% - 22.99% Variable

Recommended Credit

Excellent/Good

Reward Rates


    Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.

    Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.


Annual Fee

$0

Intro Purchase APR

0% for 14 months

Additional Details

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0% for 14 months

Balance Transfer Fee

3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

Balance Transfer APR

11.99% - 22.99% Variable

Late Payment Fee

None the first time you pay late. After that, up to $40.

Foreign Transaction Fees

None

Rewards & Redemption Details


    Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.

    Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.


Our Take


The Discover it® Cash Back* credit card has no annual fee and minimal additional fees, even if you accidentally forget to pay your statement balance when it's due (payment forgiveness is granted the first time you miss a payment and they charge up to a $40 late fee each time after). You can maximize your rewards by timing big purchases to line up with this card's 5% cash-back rotating categories. And 1% cash back on all other purchases is a solid option, though not as good as our Chase Freedom Unlimited pick, especially if you can't risk getting denied for a higher flat-rate cash-back card. Discover does offer an Unlimited Cashback Match though, matching your cash-back earned -- dollar for dollar -- at the end of your first year.

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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Card Highlights

Intro Bonus

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel

APR

15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)

Recommended Credit

Excellent, Good

Reward Rates


    Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options

    Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.


Annual Fee

$95

Intro Purchase APR

N/A

Additional Details

Intro Balance Transfer APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Fee

$0 at this Transfer APR

Balance Transfer APR

15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)

Late Payment Fee

Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees

None

Penalty APR

None

Rewards & Redemption Details


    Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options

    Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.


Our Take


Travel rewards cards often come with perks like travel insurance, no foreign transaction fees and free trips when you exchange points or miles. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card* offers all of those -- and if you're approved, you could earn 60,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in your first three months of membership.


You'll earn miles with every purchase and Capital One will also give you a credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA Precheck, save on foreign transaction fees and have the ability to transfer the miles you earn to over 15 travel loyalty programs to redeem for hotel stays or flights.

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Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

See Rates and Fees Terms Apply

Card Highlights

Intro Bonus

Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

APR

13.99%-23.99% Variable

Recommended Credit

Excellent/Good

Reward Rates


    3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)

    2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores

    1% Cash Back on other purchases


Annual Fee

$0

Intro Purchase APR

0% on Purchases for 15 months

Additional Details

Balance Transfer Fee

N/A

Late Payment Fee

Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees

2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

Penalty APR

29.99% Variable

Rewards & Redemption Details


    3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)

    2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores

    1% Cash Back on other purchases

Our Take


American Express is particular about eligibility requirements, and applicants should have good to excellent credit. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers higher cash-back tiers for U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. It offers a fairly standard 1% cash back on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits. This card gives you the flexibility to pay off your balance in full each month or opt for Plan It® to set up a payment plan with no interest charges on qualifying purchases of $100 or more. You'll pay a fixed monthly fee instead. Overall, it's a decent card for those looking for an Amex card with no annual fee, but it offers lackluster benefits and rewards compared to other American Express cards.


Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

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BankAmericard® credit card

Card Highlights

Intro Bonus

$100 statement credit online bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

APR

12.99% - 22.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended Credit

Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Intro Purchase APR

0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases

Additional Details

Intro Balance Transfer APR

0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee (min. $10) applies.

Balance Transfer Fee

Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Balance Transfer APR

12.99% - 22.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Late Payment Fee

Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees

3%

Penalty APR

none

Our Take

The BankAmericard® credit card* doesn't offer perks and rewards typically found with other cards, but its standout feature is the long break it offers from interest -- 0% introductory APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and any balance transfers made in the first 60 days (12.99% to 22.99% variable APR thereafter). It also has no annual fee.

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Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Card Highlights

Intro Bonus

N/A

APR

26.99% (Variable)

Recommended Credit

Limited, Bad

Reward Rates

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Intro Purchase APR

N/A

Additional Details

Intro Balance Transfer APR

N/A

Balance Transfer Fee

$0 at this Transfer APR

Balance Transfer APR

26.99% (Variable)

Late Payment Fee

Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees

None

Penalty APR

None

Our Take


Individuals with less-than-stellar credit can have a difficult time finding a credit card. A secured card -- a card requiring a security deposit -- may offer no frills, but it's a good option to rebuild credit. While most secured credit cards require you to put the equivalent of the credit limit down, the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card* doesn't require a full deposit.


Although you may prequalify for an initial $200 limit, you may only need to provide a refundable deposit of $49, $99 or $200. As you establish a positive credit relationship with Capital One, your deposit may be returned to you. As for the low credit limit, Capital One will review your account after six months to consider a credit-limit increase.

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FAQs


What's the difference between prequalified credit cards and preapproved credit cards?


Preapproval and prequalification are similar. They both suggest you have good odds to get the card you applied for but that there are no absolute guarantees. Prequalified cards can mean that the issuer has found you are the type of consumer that's a good fit. Preapproval means the card company has taken a deeper look at your credit history and income and feels confident you'll receive an approval if you apply.

How does the preapproval process work?


Getting preapproved is typically done online. You'll need to provide your annual income and identifying information, such as your name and address, as well as the last four digits of your Social Security number. You'll receive personalized offers based on the card issuer's initial findings.


There is no commitment required during the preapproval process. Your credit score won't be affected either, since only a soft pull is performed on your credit. If you decide to move forward with an application, the card provider will do a hard credit check.

Am I guaranteed approval when preapproved for a credit card?


A credit card soft inquiry won't affect your credit, but doesn't do an in-depth search into your credit history. A preapproval isn't a guarantee that you'll be approved for a credit card when you apply. See it more as an invitation to apply with good odds of approval.


Jim Pendergast, senior vice president of altLINE, a division of The Southern Bank Company, explains, "You can be denied approval if you are preapproved on the website because the information has changed since the last time the credit bureau sent information. Credit reports change daily, so it's possible that the information is simply old. You can also be denied if you've changed your name. Finally, you'll most likely be denied when you display increasing debt or late payments."

Which credit card providers offer preapproval?

Not all credit card providers offer a preapproval inquiry form. Some card companies have their own version of a prequalification and mail out selective special card offers. In other cases, logging into your bank or card account will display preapproved card offers the typical person won't have access to. The following card providers offer preapproval or prequalification for consumers who inquire:


    American Express

    BB&T Bank

    Bank of America

    Capital One

    Chase

    Credit One Bank

    Discover

    Home Depot

    Lowe's

    Milestone

    Petal

    Regions Bank


Our methodology


CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash-back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles -- with the understanding that everyone's financial situation is different -- and the designated function of a card.


For cash-back credit cards, for example, key factors include the annual fee, the "welcome bonus" and the cash-back rate (or rates, if they differ by spending category). For rewards and miles cards, we calculate and weigh the net monetary value of a card's respective perks. And with balance transfer credit cards, we analyze specs such as the duration of the introductory 0% APR period and the balance transfer fee, while acknowledging secondary factors such as the standard APR and the length of time you have to make a balance transfer after you open the account.

Cards researched


    Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card

    Apple Card

    BankAmericard® credit card

    Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

    Best Buy® Store Card

    Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

    Capital One Platinum Credit Card

    Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®

    Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

    Chase Freedom Flex℠

    Chase Freedom Unlimited

    Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

    Discover it® Secured Credit Card

    Chime Credit Builder Visa® Secured Credit Card

    Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

    Discover it® Cash Back

    OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

    Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

    Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

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