Credit card pre-approval

3 tips on the credit card pre-approval process

Learn more about the credit card pre-approval process and see if it can really help your chances of getting a credit card

With the competition between credit card companies growing stiffer than ever before, more companies aim to promote as many offers as possible to lure in new customers.

That has been the reason why thousands of pre-approved credit card offers are being placed in mailboxes across the country every single day.

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Although these “deals” seem like a great thing to take advantage of, there are a few things you need to know before you jump the gun.

Before you fill out and submit any credit card application you received in the mail, you need to understand the pre-approval process and how it works.

What is a credit card pre-approval?

You may have received a letter or an email saying you’ve been pre-approved for a credit card, with the contents revealing a credit card application.

This is essentially a form of marketing and does not guarantee that you will be approved for the credit card once you complete the application.

Credit card providers may have selected your name for the mailing to be sent to, but their information is not based on solid facts. They will only use that once you actually make an application, and so you may fall short.

Their information might have been based on old information they had about your work situation or previous credit cards you owned.

Many consumers have received pre-approved credit card emails for cards that were no longer suitable for them, so never take it as guaranteed.

This guide will ensure that you know exactly where you stand and what you can expect when it comes the credit card pre-approval process.

With that said, here are the 3 big things that you should always look out for with pre-approvals:

#1 – The phrase “Pre-Approved” is there for one thing

Businesses have been using all sorts of sneaky marketing tactics for years. The “pre-approval” offer is certainly one of them.

In fact, by placing this phrase in the subject line of an email or at the top of the mailing, it immediately draws more attention and peaks curiosity.

What is a credit card pre-approval?

If in doubt, consider checking your credit report and score online to get a better idea of what credit cards are available to you

It also leads people to subconsciously believe that someone from the company personally reviewed their file, hence the reason why they are extending the offer.

In truth, the information they use is likely to be based on old and limited data, but equally it may not have been based on anything at all.

In the end, the phrase “pre-approved” has nothing to do with getting approved for a card. It is simply there as a tactic to get people to open up the envelope and increase the overall response and application rate for their credit card.

#2 – No credit card approval is guaranteed

One of the most common misconceptions with pre-approved credit card offers is that the recipient thinks it means that they are guaranteed to get a credit card.

All they have to do is fill out the application, submit their info and a credit card will be rushed to their doorstep, right? Unfortunately, the actual outcome can be much more different (and much more disappointing).

There are a number of various factors that will determine whether or not you will be approved for a pre-approved offer.

For example, a high debt to income ratio, inconsistent employment and a few negative marks on your credit report can all cause your application to be declined.

If you’ve missed payments or failed on a few applications in recent months, or even if you’re not registered on the electoral roll at your address, you could be damaging your chances of getting a credit card.

If you have any reason to believe that you’re credit isn’t up to par, it’s a better to just skip out on the application or check your credit score via companies such Experian and Equifax who can show you your credit history

Remember – just because you’re pre-approved it doesn’t mean that approval is guaranteed. You will always have to fill out an application and have your information reviewed before any line of credit is issued to you.

#3 – Not all credit information is considered

Credit card pre-approvals can be confusing. How can your approval not be guaranteed when the offer you received told you that you had already been pre-approved?

The reason is simple – credit card companies do not have full access to your credit report.

Most companies obtain your information through a promotional inquiry. This will give them access to your name and address information, but not your actual credit report.

To see your full report, they will need to have your permission (which is the reason why you are still required to fill out a complete application).

CompanyPriceOther information Apply
30 day free trial
£14.99 a month
Freephone UK call-centre
Email & SMS alerts
Proceed
30 day free trial
£14.95 a month
Weekly alerts
Customer support team
Proceed
30 day free trial
£7.99 a month
Three credit agency checks
Debt advice centre
Identity theft protection
Proceed
£19.99 One off credit report check
No monthly subscription
Proceed
30 day free trial
£7.99 a month
Unlimited credit report access
Alerts and tools
Support to improve credit rating
Proceed
7 day free trial
£14.99 per month
Daily web monitoring
Instant identity notifications
Unlimited credit report access
Proceed

As long as a company has access to your name and address, you will always “qualify” for pre-approval offers.

Pre-approval is no longer a mystery

Now that you’re aware of how these offers work and why you’re receiving them, you know where you stand.

Anyone with poor credit that knows they won’t get approved can simply put those emails and mailings in the bin.

It may be a better use of your time to compare bad credit credit cards that aim to improve your credit rating and generally accept consumers with less than perfect credit histories.

However, it’s worth checking online to see the full criteria for approval. Never take the pre-approval at face value.

Again, if you’re unsure of your credit score, even if you know it’s likely to be poor, then it’s worth getting a looking at your credit report and score to understand what areas are holding you back.

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Find the best credit card deals with uSwitch

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