Chase has some of the best credit cards on the market right now.
But there's just one catch – you need to have pretty good credit. Technically, you need good or excellent credit to get it. Experian says a good credit score is a credit score above 700. An excellent credit score is when your score is above 800.
Even if you know your credit score, you might not be sure if your credit score qualifies as good or excellent. Or maybe you're on the cusp and don't want to risk it.
If you apply, your score will fall a little because of the hard inquiry.
Will the inquiry drop your good credit score into a “fair” credit score? Or your excellent score to just a “very good” score?
Does that mean you will be rejected for a card? Will the hard inquiry be a waste?
With so many question marks, you may not want to apply for a Chase card and risk it.
But there's a way to find out if you can get the card without taking a hit to your credit score. There's a way to see which cards Chase wants to give you.
How to Pre-qualify for Chase Credit Cards
Pre-qualify and pre-approved are two different things. Pre-approved means you'll definitely get the card, they already approved you. Pre-qualified means they probably will giv eyou the card because you qualify for it based on what they know about you.
And to find out if you are pre-qualified, you can use their tool!
- Step 1: Go to the Chase prequalification tool and enter your details.
- Step 2: Click “Find my offers.”
- Step 3: Review the list of cards, these are the ones Chase has pre-qualified you for.
If you are not prequalified for any offers, you will see the following screen:
If you can't see the image, it says:
We are unable to locate any offers for you at this time.
This may be because you have opted out of “pre-screened” offers from Chase and other companies or you have recently responded to another offer from Chase.
However, we may still have products to meet your needs. Please continue to chase.com
That's what I see because I've opted out of pre-screened offers through www.optoutprescreen.com.
If you do see a card, remember that it only means that you are pre-qualified. This does not guarantee you will get the card if you apply for it. It means that you would've qualified at the time Chase last pulled your credit report.
They don't pull a fresh report every time you ask, so your report may have changed since then and there's no way to know (besides reviewing your report for youreslf) when they may have last pulled it. So pre-qualification is only a good indicator of whether you'd get a card.
How to Get Preapproved for Chase Card Offers
Unfortunately, you can't do this online. There are two ways to know and one of them is iffy (your mileage may vary).
First, this is the less iffy one, is that you may have gotten a mailer. Some preapproval offers are those that are sent in the mail. When you get a mailer that is for a pre-approved offer, you'll see an invitation number on the letter. If it doesn't have an invitation number, it might just be a generic mailer telling you about a new card. The mailer may even say “you are pre-approved!” but unless it has an invitation number, it's not a true pre-approval.
This next one is a little more iffy. I've read on a lot of forums and other blogs that you can also go into a branch and speak with a representative to look you up in their system. If you're an existing customer, you can go in with a credit or debit card and they'll swipe it to bring up your information. Otherwise, you'll need to bring ID (driver's license is fine) to have them look you up.
This is where it's important – if they tell you that you are pre-approved for an offer, the offer will include specific APR (a single number) for the card's interest rate. If it's a range, it's just a pre-qualified offer. It has to be a specific number like 12.99% and not 10.99% – 14.99%.
When I asked Chase on Twitter, they didn't deny you could visit a branch but they couldn't confirm it either:
Hi there! The link you have for https://t.co/umcr9I5Y2R is where you'd want to go to see if we have any offers available to you. These offers don't guarantee approval as we still have to review your credit history once the application is submitted. We hope this helps. ^EL https://t.co/znUu1VJn9r
— Chase Support (@ChaseSupport) April 6, 2019
The branch can also see offers that you're prequalified for. They still require an application and a review of the credit history. ^EL https://t.co/znUu1VJn9r
— Chase Support (@ChaseSupport) April 6, 2019
So pre-approval may not be possible… but it never hurts to ask!
My Favorite Chase Credit Cards
I consider these four the best Chase credit cards right now for most people:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card – a personal “best” because we live near a big Southwest airport
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – a great travel card
- Chase Freedom Card – a solid 1% cashback card with rotating categories for optimizers
- Chase Freedom Unlimited – a no-frills 1.5% cashback card with a first year 3% cashback rate
More detail on why I like each:
Personally, my favorite is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card because it helped me get Companion Pass that much easier. There's a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Rapid Rewards after spending $1,000 plus you earn 1 point per $1 spent, 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest and their partners.
You also get an additional 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 total on purchases in the first year. That's a total of 60,000 bonus points after $13,000 in spending.
Finally, you get 6,000 points on your anniversary and the annual fee is only $99, reasonable for a travel card.
If I didn't live right next to a huge Southwest airport, and I didn't mind an annual fee, I'd probably get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. It offers 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. Those points are worth $750 in travel when you book via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or $600 in cash or gift cards. The card also gives you 2X points on travel, 2X points on dining, and 1X points per $1 spent everywhere else with no limit. The annual fee is $95.
The best Chase card without an annual fee is definitely the Chase Freedom card. You can earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months. The card also offers unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases plus a bonus 5% cash back on up to $1,5000 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter (you have to activate the bonus categories each quarter). It's a solid cash back card with no minimum amount to cash out.
A close cousin to the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent and then it drops to 1.5% cash back. There are no rotating categories so the base cash back rate is 1.5% after the first year bonus rate. This card also has no annual fee.