Is it possible to apply for a credit card with a soft pull inquiry? This is a question that is frequently asked. Obviously, the fewer hard inquiries you have on your credit report the better. But can you really get a new card using only a soft credit check?
Usually not, but sometimes you can.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this topic, as it depends on card issuer’s somewhat fluid underwriting standards. More often than not, a hard pull will be done. But here a few times it might not always be the case.
1. CardMatch (checks across all major issuers!)
CreditCards.com has a new 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.
However, if you choose to apply for an offer for which you are pre-selected, then there likely will be a hard pull. But the good news is that since you were already pre-selected for it, the chances of getting approved are extremely high unless something has happened in the previous several months that could have degraded your credit.
I’ve had people test this with varying levels of credit (subprime, moderate, good and superprime) 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 2 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 signup bonuses which are higher than what the general public can get. That’s a choice feature.
2. Multiple account applications within a short period
Last year I applied for two different cards from Chase within a short period of time (if I recall correctly, it was within a 30 or 45 day window). And guess what? Only one hard pull from them showed up on my account. So I basically got a 2 for 1 special.
3. Capital One Card Finder Tool
This is a great service offered by Capital One that functions like the CardMatch tool mentioned above, except that it only features Cap One products. 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.
Written or last edited on May 20, 2015