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  1. #1
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    Default What are prescreened credit card offers, a sure thing?

    Hello all,

    My question is about prescreened credit card offers. I've been getting several in the mail lately, and I'd like to hear your thoughts on them. Several websites say they're a near "sure thing," which is really what I'm looking for.

    I don't have much credit history, and my score sucks because of it. My name is on my parents CapitalOne card, but I don't have any myself. I have student loans and a car loan that I've paid on time every time, but no credit cards. I make $100k a year, my fico is like 650ish, and I have ~$50k in student loans. I really want to improve my credit score, so I want to get a card.

    The offers are for chase slate, citi diamond preferred, and amex gold. All say prescreened, selected to apply, etc. I don't want to hurt my score by applying and getting denied, so what are my options?

    Thanks in advance!
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  2. #2
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    Just because they are sending you offers does not mean it's a sure thing, or near a sure thing. Don't apply for one of these cards just because they sent you a pre-approval in the mail. If I were in your shoes I'd go to your local bank/credit union where you have a checking and possibly a savings account, and see about getting a card with them. After 6 months or so of low utilization and on time payments, your score should look better and you can apply for a better rewards card if you wish. What card do you want?
    Amex Platinum
    Amex BCP 15K
    Amex SPG 5K
    Barclaycard Arrival Plus WEMC 5K
    Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Sig 23.5K
    Credit Union Visa Platinum 10K
    Discover IT 5.75K
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the advice. I've got a checking/savings with chase totaling ~$30k. Incidentally, my car loan is also with them.

    I really don't care what kind of card I get at this point. Most of the advice I'm hearing is to just get one and use it. I'm sort of behind the ball when it comes to credit as I avoided it my whole life. Just never had a need. Now I'm more conscious of it and want to make up for lost time.
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  4. Centurion Member
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    If you continue your investigation on offers, you will notice that there appear to be four different types of Pre______ offers, pre-screened, selected and approved and qualified. From what I have found, there are two distinct sets of US legal requirements, and in general one of them is required to have a 50-65% approval rate minimum, and the other is supposed to have somewhere between 80-90% minimum approval rate. I would GUESS that the pre-approved/qualified would be the higher tier and the pre-screened/selected group would be the lower tier, however I have neither found evidence confirming nor denying this ASSUMPTION. I could very well be wrong to some degree here, so please do your research before making a decision, or possibly some of the other members here know the answer.

    I forgot to mention, there also appears to be a third tier, an invitation to apply, implying no screening/qualifying to the offer. I have found no literature defining any minimum requirements on these sorts of mailing, and there may indeed be no requirement.
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  5. #5
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    Any black marks on your history like late payments?
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fartanywherecard View Post
    Any black marks on your history like late payments?
    OK, just signed up for equifax. It's probably a good idea for me to have access to a monitoring site like that anyway. My score is lower than I thought - 613. It shows one account in collections from 2008, but it says the account is paid off. It was some phone bill that I disputed and I guess never went away so I eventually paid it like a year later in 2009. Young and dumb. :/

    That's pretty much it. I have an installment account which is my car loan, and a revolving line shows up, but that's my parents' capital one card. They pay the cc on time and I pay the loan on time.
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  7. #7
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    Your score looks like the situation where the main reason why your score is low is because you are young and not really using the credit system much at all. Your credit report looks like all installment loans (which are fine at your stage of life) but no revolving credit (credit cards, save your parents one) which ironically the system wants you to use at least somewhat.

    The difference between you and a lot of people on this board is that you already make low six figures now fairly early in your career. That's good money. So you shouldn't have to settle on "just any card".

    I would start with Chase since the Slate is a good starter card but with your income you mighty even qualify for a Freedom. I think they will steer you toward a Slate though. My wife started with a Slate 15 years ago and it was a good card for our family before we upgraded it to a Freedom recently. The nice thing about a starter card with a good company is that you have room to upgrade when your situation improves. I like Chase because the card products to upgrade to are all liked and respected here. You can call up Chase, apply over the phone and they will tell you which product you qualify for. If its a Slate, take it and grow your credit. If they surprise you with a Freedom, grab it and run.
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  8. Centurion Member MemberSince99's Avatar
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    There simply is no such thing as a "sure thing" in life.

    And when it comes to credit cards, even more so.

    I got a "pre-approved" offer from Amex in the mail in January 2011. Shocked, I called and applied over the phone. I was immediately shot down. So much for "pre-approved".

    All it means is based on what they know of you, they feel you may be approved for their cards and hope you would be interested and invite you to apply. EVERYONE on the planet is potentially "pre-approved" if you think about it. It's marketing speak. In the end, 99% of the time, they will pull your credit anyway - TRULY "pre-approved" would mean you are already approved no pull is necessary, but they will very likely pull your credit if you apply, and then you find out if you are really approved. Just don't ever think there is ever a such thing, in credit cards or life, and you will be adapt much better to reality.
    FICOS
    TU: 771 April 2014
    EQ: 777 April 2014
    EX: 779 April 2014
    TU08 (Barclay's) 798 April 2014 Statement
    Discover 791 June 15 2014

    Cards:
    Amex Platinum NPSL (5/13 - backdated to 5/99)
    BofA Travel Rewards Signature Visa 10k (1/14)
    Chase Freedom Signature Visa 11.5k (1/14)
    Amex Everyday Preferred 6k (3/14 - backdated to 3/99)
    Amex Hilton HHonors Surpass 9.5k (7/14 - backdated to 7/99)
    FNBO Dodge MasterCard 12.8k (8/14)
    Lowe's 10k (8/14)

    Garden: Card carrying Garden Club member. Gardening for life (and beyond)!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post
    .
    Thank you. This seems like excellent advice. So I can call them and say I want a card - nothing in particular, but whatever I qualify for - and they'll tell me right away what I can get?

    I made another post yesterday, but for some reason posts take hours to show up here, and this one didn't show up at all. In regards to any black marks on my report: I signed up for a report service and took a look at it yesterday. My score was lower than I thought - only 613. I have one negative account. It's a phone bill dispute from 2008 that I eventually paid off in 2009. It looks like that really hurt me.
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  10. #10
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    Robrus1 is 100% correct your local bank or union. is the best place to start.
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