Is it possible to apply for a credit card with a soft pull inquiry?
This is a common question because applying for a credit card is a bit of a gamble. If you’re rejected (because your credit isn’t good enough), you’ll still get hit with a hard credit inquiry that lowers your score and makes it harder to qualify for other cards.
Watching the mail for preapproved offers can help you aim for products you actually have a chance at getting, but who has time? Luckily, several services allow you to see your preapproved offers at a glance (with just a soft credit pull, which won’t damage your credit).
These soft-pull tools will help you browse offers you’re likely to get approved for. Remember: once you actually apply for the card, you’ll face a hard inquiry.
1. Capital One Card Finder Tool
This is a great service offered by Capital One that features Cap One products (a popular choice for those new to credit). You can see which offers you qualify for without it affecting your credit. While it may seem limiting to only see Capital One offers, they are one of the largest card issuers and have a wide array of card offerings – everything from high-end reward cards to secured credit cards. It can be a great place to start when you don’t know which level of card you might qualify for.
2. Chase’s Pre-qualified Offers tool
Chase is another issuer that offers a proprietary tool that lets you see your pre-qualified offers. You’ll need to provide your name, address, the last four digits of your Social Security number and some other info. Again, you’ll see only Chase offers, but the issuer has a wide swath of cards, from cash-back cards to perk-heavy rewards cards for travelers.
3. CardMatch (checks across many major credit card issuers)
CreditCards.com has a feature to match you with offers based on your credit score. Using this to check does not affect your credit because only a soft pull is performed.
I’ve seen this service tested with varying levels of credit (subprime, moderate, good and super prime) and the system results have been spot-on accurate. My friend with bad credit had no results available, but then my other friend with great credit was given two pages of offers.
Anyone can use this feature – regardless of your current credit level. And if you fall into the latter category you may be matched for exclusive sign-up bonuses that are higher than what the general public can get. That’s a choice feature.
Updated October 2016