5 Best Credit Cards That Offer Pre-Approval in 2024


The Citi Premier® Card is no longer available for new applicants. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

When you apply for a credit card, the issuer performs what is known as a hard pull or hard inquiry, which shows up on your credit report. Hard pulls temporarily lower your credit score, which isn’t the end of the world, but it’s better to avoid racking up unnecessary hard inquiries since they can remain on your credit report for up to two years. One way to do this is by going through a card issuer’s pre-approval or pre-qualification process before applying.

Getting a pre-approved offer for a credit card doesn’t guarantee you’ll be approved, but it can give you a better idea of your approval odds with no hard inquiry. There is no impact to your credit score until you formally apply.

Not every card issuer offers pre-approvals. Below, CNBC Select details the top credit cards that generally offer pre-approval or pre-qualification and how they work. (See our methodology for more information on how we made this list.)

Best credit cards for pre-approval

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

  • Rewards

    Unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate

  • Regular APR

    20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro for 120 days from account opening then BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

See rates and fees, terms apply.

  • Unlimited cash rewards
  • $200 cash rewards welcome bonus
  • No annual fee
  • Introductory APR period for first 15 months
  • Access to Visa Signature® Concierge
  • Get up to $600 cell phone protection (subject to a $25 deductible)

  • 3% fee charged on foreign transactions

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Citi Double Cash® Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    For balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening, an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies; after that, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Read our Citi Double Cash® Card review.

  • 2% cash back on all eligible purchases
  • Simple cash-back program that doesn’t require activation or spending caps
  • One of the longest intro periods for balance transfers at 18 months

  • 3% fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

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  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $443
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,213

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Who’s this for? The Citi Double Cash® Card is ideal for those seeking a strong introductory APR offer for balance transfers and still want to earn valuable rewards.

Standout benefits: Eligible balance transfers qualify for an intro 0% APR for the first 18 months, then a variable 19.24% to 29.24% APR applies. There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer completed in the first four months ($5 minimum). The standard balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies thereafter.

Citi pre-approval process: See what Citi credit card offers you’re pre-qualified for with this form. Enter your name, email, address and the last four digits of your SSN.

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American Express® Gold Card

  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points at Restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Read our American Express® Gold Card review.

  • Up to $120 dining credit annually ($10 a month) for purchases made with Grubhub, Goldbelly and other eligible restaurants (after a one-time enrollment)
  • Up to $120 Uber Cash annually ($10 a month) for U.S. Uber Eats orders and U.S. Uber rides (card must be added to Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit)
  • Strong rewards program with 4X points earned at restaurants and 3X points earned on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • Baggage insurance plan covers up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage that is damaged, lost or stolen
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

  • No introductory APR period
  • $250 annual fee

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  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,074
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,969

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

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Who’s this for? The American Express® Gold Card is great for earning travel rewards thanks to its generous bonuses on common spending categories like dining and groceries.

Standout benefits: Cardholders get up to $120 in annual dining credit (up to $10 per month at Grubhub, Goldbelly, The Cheesecake Factory and other participating restaurants; enrollment is required) and up to $120 in Uber Cash ($10 per month) to put toward rides in the U.S. and dining via Uber Eats (you must add your Amex Gold Card as a payment method in the Uber app to enroll).

American Express pre-approval process: See what American Express card offers you may be eligible for by filling out this form with your name, address, last four digits of your SSN and your annual income. If you already have an Amex account, you may need to open the form in incognito mode or clear your browser’s cache to access the page.

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Discover it® Cash Back

  • Rewards

    Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases-automatically.

  • Welcome bonus

    Discover will match all the cash back earned for all new cardmembers at the end of your first year.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    17.24% to 28.24% Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Read our Discover it® Cash Back review.

  • Cash-back program
  • Generous welcome bonus

  • Cash-back categories must be activated each quarter
  • Cash-back program limits earnings: Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back in various categories on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases, then 1%

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Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    Unlimited 2X miles on all eligible purchases, and 5 Miles per dollar on flights and 10 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars when booked via Capital One Travel portal

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    19.99% – 29.99% variable APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    $0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Read our Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card review.

  • Large welcome bonus
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Up to $100 statement credits for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network

  • High annual fee
  • No introductory 0% APR period

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Who’s this for? The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is geared towards those seeking luxury benefits like airport lounge access, annual travel credits, various travel and shopping protections and more.

Standout benefits: Every year, Capital One Venture X Card members receive up to $300 in travel credits for bookings made through Capital One Travel and 10,000-anniversary bonus miles (worth $100 in travel). Those two benefits alone can offset the card’s $395 annual fee.

Capital One pre-approval process: You can see what Capital One cards you’re pre-approved for by filling out this form. You’ll need to enter your name, address, email address, phone number, employment status, education, income, housing payment, date of birth, SSN and what type of bank accounts you have.

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The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is a no annual fee card that can help you earn cash rewards, while enjoying various money-saving benefits.

Rewards

  • Unlimited 2% cash rewards on all purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn $200 in cash rewards after spending $500 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

Cardholders can take advantage of cell phone insurance when they pay their monthly bill with the card. This insurance covers damage, theft and loss of a cell phone and has a $25 deductible. You can be reimbursed for up to two claims per 12 months and up to $600 per claim.

Cardholders can also save on interest with the card’s intro-APR offer. Purchases and eligible balance transfers qualify for an intro 0% APR for 15 months. then a variable 20.24%, 25.24% or 29.99% applies. To qualify for the intro APR, balance transfers must be completed within 120 days of opening the account. There is an intro balance transfer fee, and for the first 120 days you’ll pay 3% of the amount of each transfer ($5 minimum). After the intro period, the balance transfer fee increases to 5% of the amount of each transfer ($5 minimum).

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The Citi Double Cash® Card is a cash-back credit card, but it earns cash back in the form of Citi ThankYou® points, which which can be redeemed in lots of ways, including the option to transfer them to travel partners.

Rewards

  • 5% total cash back on Citi travel bookings (through Dec. 31, 2024)
  • 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% back when you buy and 1% back as you pay

Welcome bonus

Earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening.

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

The ThankYou® points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards and travel at a rate of one cent per point. Cardholders also have access to a small number of Citi’s travel partners, including Wyndham, Choice and JetBlue. If you have a Citi card that enables full transfers, such as the Citi Strata Premier Card, you can combine the points you earn with your Double Cash and then transfer those points to all of Citi’s partner hotel and airline loyalty programs.

There are also several special cardmember programs, including Citi Entertainment℠, which gives cardholders first access to purchase tickets for thousands of concerts and events. The card also provides access to Citi® Identity Theft Solutions, a service that will help you if you’re a victim of identity theft.

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The American Express® Gold Card is a travel rewards card with a long list of benefits that can easily make the annual fee worth paying (see rates and fees). Plus, the Amex Membership Rewards points you earn with this card are some of the most valuable travel points out there since they can be transferred to a variety of airline or hotel partners.

Rewards

  • 4X points at restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.)
  • 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X)
  • 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com
  • 1X points on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn 60,000 points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership.

Annual fee

$250 (see rates and fees)

Notable perks

Cardholders receive up to $120 in dining credit per year ($10 per month) at participating partners and up to $120 in Uber Cash per year ($10 per month) after you add your Amex Gold Card as a payment method in the Uber app. The card also offers no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees), baggage insurance, rental car coverage (secondary), extended warranty, purchase protection and trip delay insurance.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

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The Discover it® Cash Back is a no-annual-fee cash-back rewards card that allows you to earn a generous 5% back on rotating spending categories.

Rewards

  • 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in purchases in rotating categories each quarter (when you activate), then 1% cash back. Check out Discover’s 5% cash-back calendar.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Discover will match the cash back you earn at the end of the first year.

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

New card members receive an intro 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and eligible balance transfers, then a variable 17.24% to 28.24% applies. An intro balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount you transfer applies to eligible transfers. The standard transfer fee on future balance transfers is up to 5% of the amount of each transfer. (See rates and fees)

The card charges $0 in foreign transaction fees, which can save you money when traveling abroad.

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The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a premium credit card with a straightforward rewards structure, a long list of benefits and a lower annual fee than other high-end cards with similar features.

Rewards

  • 10X miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel portal
  • 5X miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5X miles on Capital One Entertainment purchases (through Dec. 31, 2025)
  • 2X miles on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Annual fee

$395

Notable perks

In addition to the annual $300 Capital One Travel credit and 10,000 anniversary bonus miles, the Capital One Venture X Card comes with airport lounge access for the primary cardholder and authorized users. One great feature of this card is that you can add up to four authorized users for free and each cardholder gets access to Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges and Capital One Lounges.

Other benefits include:

  • Hertz Presidents Circle status (enrollment required)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck® application fee credit (worth up to $100)
  • Cell phone protection
  • Visa Infinite Concierge
  • Rental car collision damage waiver (primary)
  • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Return protection
  • Purchase security

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FAQs

What’s the difference between a pre-approval and a pre-qualification?

The terms pre-approval and pre-qualification both refer to the card issuers’ pre-screening process that can help you determine whether you’ll qualify for a credit card without a hard pull on your credit reports. Prequalified offers are typically initiated by consumers who want to check their approval odds, while preapproved offers are generally unsolicited offers from card issuers.

Does pre-approval or pre-qualification result in a hard credit pull?

Most credit card pre-approvals do not result in a hard pull of your credit. Some issuers require a Social Security Number (SSN) or the last four digits of your SSN to process a pre-approval, but this is generally done to verify your identity and shouldn’t result in a credit check unless otherwise stated.

Does pre-approval guarantee approval?

If you qualify for a pre-approved credit card or receive a pre-screened offer in the mail, that does not guarantee you’ll be approved. Your credit score, income and history with the card issuers are all taken into account, but won’t be fully reviewed unless you submit a traditional card application.

Getting a pre-approved, pre-qualified or pre-screened credit card offer doesn’t guarantee you’ll get approved for the card if you apply. However, seeing whether you’re pre-approved for a card offer is easy and typically doesn’t require a hard credit pull. So it doesn’t hurt to explore what offers you may qualify for.

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At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every credit card review is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of credit card products. While CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics. See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best credit cards.

To determine which business cards offer the best value and pre-approval, CNBC Select analyzed the most popular credit cards available to U.S. consumers that also had a publicly available pre-approval or pre-qualification process at the time of writing. We compared each card on a range of features, including the annual fee, employee card fee, rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR and foreign transaction fees. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is to redeem points.

Catch up on CNBC Select’s in-depth coverage of credit cardsbanking and money, and follow us on TikTokFacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

For rates and fees of the  Discover it® Cash Back, click here.

For rates and fees of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, click here.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.





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