When it comes to looking for a credit card, how should you start the search? Consumers prefer an easy way to filter through available options to determine which ones work best for them and which they may qualify for.

Consider these tips when evaluating which credit cards you qualify for and which ones are a good fit for your situation:

  1. Explore what it means to qualify for a credit card
  2. Learn why lenders want to see if you qualify
  3. Consider 3 tips to help you qualify for a credit card
  4. Know the benefits of getting preapproved
  5. Find out which credit cards you are preapproved for
  6. Submit a credit card application

1. Explore what it means to qualify for a credit card

Preapproval means the card issuer is fairly confident you can be approved for a credit card. If you receive a preapproval offer, you can apply for the card with a higher level of confidence that you’ll be approved.

It’s important to qualify for a credit card for many reasons. First, it provides an idea of the types of credit cards you could be best suited for. Second, it protects you from unnecessary credit card applications that may actually harm your credit score.

2. Learn why lenders want to see if you qualify

Having a credit card is similar to a short-term loan in that you can carry a balance monthly. It only makes sense that the lender wants to maximize their chances of being repaid. Knowing if you qualify helps lenders evaluate which credit card may provide the most value to you.

3. Consider 3 tips to help you qualify for a credit card

You can work to improve these three factors that credit card companies consider before qualifying you.

  1. Know your score: Get your credit score for free at Discover.com*.  Checking your score monthly can be a first step in staying in the know about your credit. Large changes in the score could be an indication of potential fraudulent activity.
  2. Pay your bills on time: Remember, it’s not just about how much money you have in your account. It’s also how you manage that money, which means paying bills on time is crucial. Set up a budget to help.
  3. Pay your debt down: Lowering your credit utilization ratio, also known as debt-to-credit ratio, might help your credit score. Track where your money is going and create a payment plan to help reduce debt.

4.  Know the benefits of getting preapproved

There are many benefits of getting preapproved before applying for a credit card:

  • Allows you to focus on the credit cards you may qualify for before applying
  • Provides you with unique offers specific to you
  • Protects your credit score against needless hard inquiries that may harm your credit score

A hard inquiry occurs when a lender is permitted to check your credit report when you’re applying for a new loan or line of credit. The inquiry will typically be recorded on your credit report for a minimum of 24 months and, in certain circumstances, could negatively affect your score.

5.  Find out which credit cards you are preapproved for

Discover has a solution anyone can use to see if they are preapproved – one that won’t impact their credit score before formally applying.

By checking to see if you qualify for a credit card, you can get a better idea of the potential outcome should you decide to apply. Requests for preapproval only generate soft inquiries, which means there is no impact on your credit score for checking.

6. Submit a credit card application

Once you have been preapproved and selected the credit card that best fits your financial needs, it’s time to apply.

The lender will initiate a hard inquiry to examine your detailed credit report which may impact your credit score. This helps the lender determine if you are able to manage your credit card responsibly.

If you’re approved, expect to receive your card in the mail. Follow the instructions attached to your credit card so you can activate and start using it.

Information you may need to apply for a credit card

Multiple hard inquiries within a short time period may not reflect well on your credit report and could affect your credit score so it’s important to only apply when you need credit.

Taking the step of seeing which credit cards you qualify for may pay off in both the short and long run, regardless of your current credit score.


Credit Scorecard is provided by Discover Bank, and includes a FICO® Credit Score and other credit information. Credit Scorecard information is based on data from Experian and may differ from credit scores and credit information provided by other credit bureaus. This information is provided to you at no cost and with your consent. You must be 18 years old and a U.S. resident or a resident of America Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. Your Credit Scorecard will be refreshed the later of every 30-days or the next time you log in to Credit Scorecard. Discover and other lenders may use different inputs, such as a FICO® Credit Score, other credit scores and more information in credit decisions. This product may change or end in the future. FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.

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