What are pre-qualified credit cards?

What are pre-qualified credit cards?

The world today has become more of a digital economy and the use of cash is getting more or more reduced. The driving force behind the increased digital transactions was the demonetization drive of 2016 and the introduction of UPI to the Indian markets. However, even before that, there was a significant number of users who carried out online transactions using credit cards and debit cards. Credit cards are also an excellent mode of creating a credit history and are used to measure credit scores which are the first point of reference for lenders. 

Many lenders also provide pre-approved and pre-qualified credit cards to customers in an attempt to increase their customer base. Given below is the meaning of pre-qualified cards and the details relating to the same. 

What is a pre-qualified or pre-approved credit card? 

Pre-qualified credit cards are provided by banks and other lenders to customers on their own accord without any prior application from the customers. The lenders screen the basic information of the customers and send a pre-qualified credit card offer to the customers. This offer is not binding on the customers and they have the option to accept it or reject it at their discretion. Under this offer, customers can get a new credit card with relatively fewer hurdles and faster compared to a fresh application. 

It is important to note that pre-qualified credit cards do not mandatorily mean or guarantee the approval of the credit card. The lenders can still reject the application if it does not meet their guidelines or parameters. A pre-qualified credit card offer simply means that the potential customer has matched with a few of the basic criteria of the lenders to qualify for their credit cards. 

Read more: How to check CIBIL report online?

What is the difference between pre-qualified and pre-approved credit cards

We all have received emails like pre-approved credit cards for you and pre-qualified credit card offers at some point. The words pre-approved and pre-qualified are interchanged in most cases and mean more or less the same thing. However, there are subtle differences between the two. 

Pre-qualified credit cards are offers issued to potential cardholders that meet a few of the basic criteria of the card issuer. It is a general search made using the credit information of the customer to ascertain if they can be a potential customer for the card issuing company. Pre-approved credit cards are a relatively more specific search of the potential customers with the credit bureaus. Under the pre-approved credit card offers, the customers meet certain specific criteria of the product, i.e, the credit card. 

However, it is important to understand that neither a pre-approved credit card nor a pre-qualified credit card comes with the actual card. Customers have to accept the offer by formally applying for the said credit card and subject to the acceptance from the credit card issuer they will get the credit card through registered mail at the address provided by them. 

Does a pre-qualified credit card affect the credit score?

A pre-qualified and pre-approved credit card offer is a general offer that the customer can accept or reject. These offers are soft enquiries that are made with credit rating agencies regarding the credit history of the customers. Therefore, any pre-qualified or pre-approved credit card offer does not affect the credit scores. 

On the other hand, when these pre-approved and pre-qualified credit card offers are accepted, they result in a hard enquiry from the credit card issuing agency. This will result in a detailed search of the customer’s credit history from the credit rating agencies. If the application made by the customer is rejected by the credit card issuing authority, this will negatively impact the credit scores of the customer. Therefore, it is essential that customers accept the pre-qualified credit card offers only if they are genuinely looking for a credit card and if the offer meets their requirements in terms of the credit limit, charges for the same, and their expectations of the offers, cashback or discounts provided with the credit card. 


Pre-qualified credit cards are a way of attracting new customers for credit card companies. It is a soft enquiry made by them for potential customers that may or may not result in the issue of actual credit cards. Most credit card companies offer their basic credit card products under these pre-qualified offers. This usually ensures minimal chances of rejection of application if the customer chooses to apply for the same. 


Are pre-qualified credit cards good?

Pre-qualified credit cards are usually basic credit card products from the card issuing companies that have limited credit limits and offers attached to them. These cards can be a good option for people with virtually no credit history that can use such cards to build one and be eligible for better offers in future.

Does pre-qualified credit cards guarantee approval?

No. Getting a pre-qualified credit card offer does not guarantee the approval or try acceptance of the same from the card issuing entity. It is simply a soft offer or an initial offer and the sanction of the credit card is subject to the customer meeting all the criteria of the card issuing authority.

Is the income of a person reviewed in the pre-qualification process?

Yes. The income of the potential customer is always reviewed in the pre-qualification process to ascertain whether the intended customer can repay the credit card dues on time or not.

When should a person accept the pre-qualified credit card?

A person can accept the pre-qualified credit card offer when it matches their requirements and may be a better initial offer as compared to other similar credit cards available in the market.

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