How to Get Pre-Approved for a Credit Card

These six steps will help you get pre-approved for a credit card before you apply.

A mobile device indicating that credit approval has been granted rests on top of a credit approval. A ballpoint pen, a calculator, and a pair of eyeglasses rest next to the device. Photographed with a very shallow depth of field.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Getting pre-approved for a credit card is a great way to protect your credit. Applying for a credit card can be as easy as choosing one of the best rewards credit cards and filling out a short form online. But getting approved for the card you want may be trickier, even for an experienced credit card owner. It pays to think through your application strategy.

Follow these steps to get approved or pre-approved for the credit card you want.

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Ellen Kennedy
Personal Finance Editor,

Ellen writes and edits personal finance stories, especially on credit cards and related products. She also covers the nexus between sustainability and personal finance. She was a manager and sustainability analyst at Calvert Investments for 15 years, focusing on climate change and consumer staples. She served on the sustainability councils of several Fortune 500 companies and led corporate engagements. Before joining Calvert, Ellen was a program officer for Winrock International, managing loans to alternative energy projects in Latin America. She earned a master’s from the U.C. Berkeley in international relations and Latin America.