You want to apply for a credit card without hurting your credit score but aren’t sure if it’s possible. The reality is that anytime you formally apply, the lender will do a hard credit pull or inquiry that could ding your credit score by a few points. However, you may be able to get preapproved first to view your approval odds, so you’ll know if it’s sensible to apply or move on to other options.
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What is a Preapproved Credit Card Offer?
A preapproved credit card offer is generated when you visit the credit card issuer’s website, input a few key details, and they screen your credit profile.
Preapproved vs. Prequalified Credit Card Offers
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there’s a difference between preapproved and prequalified credit card offers. Unlike preapproved credit card offers, prequalified offers result from creditors reviewing your financial and credit history and predicting that you have a solid chance of qualifying if you apply. Still, there are not as strong as preapprovals since the credit card company hasn’t yet pulled your credit profile.
Do Preapproved Credit Card Offers Hurt Your Credit?
No. Credit card companies only conduct a soft credit pull or inquiry that doesn’t impact your credit score when determining if you’re preapproved. But if you decide to move forward with the application process, a hard inquiry can slightly drop your credit score, but the effect lessens over time.
How to Get Preapproved for a Credit Card
You can spend hours browsing the web for credit cards that may work for you, but there’s an easier way to get preapproved. Consider using Experian CreditMatch, an online tool that lets you view personalized credit card and loan offers without hurting your credit score.
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Improve Your Credit Score to Get Better Offers
You can also work towards improving your credit score to make your profile more attractive to creditors and lenders. There are several ways to do this, including:
- Making timely payments on all your accounts.
- Bringing any past-due accounts current.
- Keeping the utilization on your credit card accounts at or below 30 percent – 10 percent is even more ideal.
- Maintaining a healthy mix of revolving and installment credit.
- Refraining from closing old credit accounts.
- Only applying for new credit as needed.
If you signed up for a free Experian account, it also includes an assortment of tools and resources to help you keep tabs on and improve your credit health. As a part of the free membership, you’ll get free credit monitoring, monthly Experian credit report and score updates, credit score tracking and FICO Score alerts.
You can also take advantage of Experian Boost to potentially raise your FICO score for free. Here’s how it works:
- Step 1: Sign up for a free Experian account.
- Step 2: Link the bank account that you primarily use to pay bills.
- Step 3: Select the eligible accounts with positive payment history that you want Experian to include in your credit profile.
- Step 4: Boost your credit score and view your results right away.
If you haven’t yet already done so, sign up for a free Experian account today. It’s fast and simple, and you aren’t required to put a credit card on file. Or you can access your free report and score if you’d prefer not to register for an account.