The best prequalified credit cards (and some alternatives)

Being prequalified for a credit card can make it easier to get approved if you have bad credit or a limited credit history. That said, it is important to note that pre-approval does not guarantee acceptance. With that in mind, we’ve listed the best pre-qualified credit cards along with some alternative options and tips.

The best prequalified credit cards of 2022

  • American Express: Enter your name, address and the last four digits of your social security number to be pre-approved for the best offers from American Express.
  • Bank of America: Provide your full name, address, date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number.
  • Capital one: Provide your full name, address, date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number.
  • hunt: Enter your full name, address and the last four digits of your social security number to get pre-approved for a card with Chase.
  • Town: Enter your name, address, the last four digits of your social security number and your preferred card type.
  • Discover: Enter your name, the last four digits of your social security number and your preferred card type.
  • American bank: Enter your name, address, the last four digits of your social security number and your preferred card type.

Credit cards for people with bad credit

Most card issuers offer at least one card for people with less than perfect credit. By seeing if you are pre-qualified, you can get a good idea of ​​what type of card you should apply for based on your credit history.

Also: The best credit cards for beginners with no credit

Yet, there are many different credit cards aimed specifically at people with bad credit. Although some cards for people with bad credit have higher fees and interest rates, they can help improve your credit, as long as you use them responsibly.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Petal 1 Visa credit card: It has no annual fee and does not require a credit score for approval; Petal will instead review your banking history to determine your creditworthiness. The card even offers cash back at select merchants.
  • Capital One Platinum Card: Designed for consumers with limited credit, it has no annual fees or rewards and offers a good opportunity to improve credit scores through responsible use.

Five Ways to Raise Your Credit Score Fast

Whether your credit is fair or poor, moving the needle up should be at the top of your agenda. If you can’t qualify for a credit card or are afraid to try because your score is so low, use these four strategies to boost your credit score quickly:

Try a Secured Credit Card Instead

While unsecured credit cards extend an actual line of credit, secured credit cards require a cash deposit that you can borrow against. Because you have to put down a cash deposit which is normally equal to your credit limit, it’s quite easy to qualify for secured cards – the bank has little to lose if you default since they will only keep your deposit.

Since secured credit cards report your credit activity to the three major credit reporting agencies – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – responsible use of a secured credit card can help improve your credit score monthly. after month and most issuers will eventually let you “graduate” to a regular card. Many security deposits are also refundable after meeting certain criteria.

Good choices:

  • Discover it Secure card: One of the most rewarding secure cards available. Pay a deposit of at least $200 which will form the cardholders starting line of credit and earn 5% cash back (up to $1,500 spent per quarter, then 1%; activation required) in categories quarterly rotation. Discover will even double the rewards you earn in the first year with the card.
  • Bank of America Personalized Secure Cash Card: Earn rewards while building your credit. After a one-time deposit, choose a 3% cash back category for purchases such as gas, dining, travel, or online shopping, and earn 2% cash back for groceries and wholesale club purchases (3% and 2% rewards only up to $2,500). spent per quarter, then 1% cash back).

Check your credit report for errors

If you haven’t checked your credit report recently, you’ll want to do it right away. A mistake on your credit report can wreak havoc on your score without you even knowing it. Luckily, you can get a free copy of your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies for free once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com.

Erase all debts in collection or in default

Once you’ve gone through your credit report for details, you should make cleaning up any issues a priority. If you have debts in collection or in default, you should focus on paying off those debts immediately. In the meantime, also be sure to keep all your bills up to date.

Pay all your bills on time

Most lenders rely on the FICO credit scoring method, where your payment history is 35% of your score. If you want to have a big impact on your credit score, one of the best things you can do is pay all your bills on time, every time. Never pay late and you will never lose your score for late payments or pay late fees.

Pay off balances

While paying your bills religiously is the single best way to improve your credit score over months or years, the second most important factor influencing your credit score is how much debt you are carrying relative to your limit. credit. If you have a credit card maxed out (or any line of credit where you’re using more than 20% to 30% of available credit), paying off that balance will improve your credit score almost instantly.

[This article was first published on The Simple Dollar in 2020. It was updated in March 2022.]