Applying for a credit card requires a hard pull from your credit. So, if you don’t want to risk incurring damage to your credit score, it might be in your best interest to get preapproved for the Discover credit card you want. This way, you’re less likely to have wasted a credit pull.

Getting preapproval will also help you determine which Discover card is right for your lifestyle, whether it be for business, rewards or other benefits.

What is credit card preapproval and how does it work?

A credit card preapproval or prequalification is more of a reassurance than a guarantee. When a credit card issuer gives a preapproval to a possible future credit card holder, it simply means that they’ve determined you meet certain standards required to be approved for that card.

It’s a soft pull on your credit, so it won’t affect your credit score or show up in credit reports, but it also means the issuer hasn’t yet seen your full credit report to determine your actual approval. They don’t have all the information about you yet, so a preapproval isn’t a guarantee that you would be approved for that card. So, you may still be denied the card even with a preapproval.

How to get preapproved for a Discover credit card

Getting preapproved is a fairly easy process regardless of the route you take. Discover offers you the option to do it from their website, but there are multiple methods to prequalify for their credit cards.

Check for offers on Bankrate’s CardMatch tool

Bankrate offers a CardMatch™ tool to easily help you find cards that you’re more likely to get approved for. It’s simple to use and can quickly provide you with a personalized list of credit cards that match your credit profile, along with prequalified offers and even special welcome bonuses.

Plus, CardMatch will not affect your credit score because it only does a soft pull on your credit.

Prequalify on Discover’s website

Many credit card issuers offer a tool to prequalify on their website. Discover has an online tool where you can check for prequalified offers without any impact on your credit score and get preapproved.

Simply provide basic information about your income, expenses, bank accounts and your Social Security number. The tool also lets you filter the cards based on the type you’re looking for, such as a rewards card, travel card or business card.

The prequalified offers that they list will generally be available to you for a week before they expire, then the page will be refreshed and may have different offers available. If you don’t prequalify for any cards, Discover will communicate a reason and let you try again in about a week.

Additional ways to prequalify for Discover credit cards

If you try to prequalify on the Discover website and are denied, you have another option for how you can attempt to prequalify. Discover has representatives available by phone through the customer service number on the back of your card for you to contact and appeal the rejection.

Best Discover credit cards for prequalified offers

Discover it® Miles: Best for travel and earning miles

Discover it® Miles
Welcome bonus
  • Discover will automatically match all miles earned at the end of the  first year
  • Unlimited 1.5X miles on all purchases
Rates and fees
  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees
  • 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (variable APR of 17.24% – 28.24% thereafter)

Discover it® Cash Back: Best for large cash back potential

Discover it® Cash Back
Welcome bonus Discover will automatically match all cash back earned at the end of your first year
  • 5 percent cash back (up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1 percent) after activation on rotating categories each quarter
  • 1 percent for all other purchases
Rates and fees
  • No annual fee
  • 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (variable APR of 17.24% – 28.24% thereafter)

How to increase your chances of getting preapproved

Getting preapproved makes the process of actually getting approved much less stressful because you and the issuer already have an idea of whether you are a match for the card. But increasing your chances of getting preapproved will help increase your chances of getting fully approved for the card you’re seeking out.

Improve your credit score and only apply for cards that match your credit profile

The information you receive on your credit report should indicate which factors are bringing your score down and which ones present opportunities for you to raise your score. Take heed of that information and do what you can to make those changes and bring your score up.

Just raising your score even by a few points might open the door for you to be approved for more cards than you would have been prior. Once you’ve been able to improve your score the best you can, search for cards that align with your credit profile. You will find the most luck in any prescreened cards that you have already been invited to apply to, as well as cards that are easier to be approved for.

Lower your outstanding debt and credit utilization ratio

Two major factors in not only determining your credit score itself but also the types of cards you are approved for is your outstanding debt and credit utilization ratio.

A card issuer will look at your full credit report but pay close attention to those two components because they create an image of your reliability as a cardholder. So, if you can specifically work on those two parts of your credit factors, it can improve your chances to be approved for certain credit cards, even if it doesn’t raise your actual score a significant amount.

The bottom line

Getting preapproved for a card is the first step toward becoming a future cardholder. Preapproval, however, isn’t a guaranteed approval for the card you’re seeking.

Discover offers easy routes for getting preapproval and finding a good match for you. Bankrate’s CardMatch is also a great tool for finding out which cards you have the highest chance of being approved for so that you don’t waste time with cards that don’t match your credit profile.