Pre Approved MasterCard? It’s Not What You Think

mastercard logo with approved stamp over itQ: Last week I had received a pre approved credit card offer in the mail, it was for a Mastercard. I think it was accidentally thrown away by myself or my wife, but I had wanted to apply. Where can I find pre approved Mastercard offers?

A: These offers are probably not what you think they are! Let me explain…

(1) Pre-approval is very misleading!
You can’t be “pre approved” for a credit card. You are either approved or denied and there is no in-between stage. Just because you received a pre approved MasterCard application, it doesn’t mean you will actually be approved for that card. The truth is “pre-approved” applications are treated like any other card application – the approval decision is not made until after you submit.

The reason card issuers use the term “pre approved” is because it makes the offer sound more special (as if it’s different than the other junk mail you get). You receive offers for pre approved credit cards because your name and address showed up on some bulk mailing list and the bank suspects you might be a match for the card. These bulk mailing lists are purchased from credit agencies and other sources.

(2) MasterCard doesn’t issue credit cards!
You may be surprised to learn that MasterCard and Visa don’t even issue cards… they are only payment processing networks. The issuing bank (like Citi, Bank of America, etc) handles everything related to your account. If a card is a MasterCard, all that means is that that when you swipe the card, the transaction is processed through MasterCard’s payment network.

Were you interested in the so called pre approved MasterCard because of what it offers? Or only because it was a MasterCard? Because there is really no reason to choose Visa over MasterCard (or the other way around) since all they signify is the payment processing network. Instead what you really want to focus on is the bank that issues the card and what benefits come with it. For example, a Chase MasterCard is completely different than a Citi MasterCard.

What should you do?
There’s no reason to pay special attention to a pre approved application for any credit card. Remember, they don’t mean you will be approved! The term “pre approved” is nothing but a marketing trick.

For this reason, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one so called pre approved offer you got in the mail. Instead, you should check out reviews and pick whatever one is best for you. Our site has hundreds of different credit card reviews to help you do just that!

Compare credit card reviews for MasterCard & Visa

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Lonell Abrams

How long does it typically take to receive a card after being approved?

I always wondered how these “pre approved” offers work, thanks for explaining.