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Approval Odds: your key to a successful credit card application

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What is Bankrate’s Approval Odds feature?

Researching which credit card is right for you can be intimidating and time-consuming, especially if you’re unsure which cards you’ll qualify for. To get you started, each credit card on Bankrate carries a recommended credit range so that you can roughly estimate your approval odds before applying:

  • Excellent Credit: an 800 to 850 FICO Score, or a 781 to 850 VantageScore
  • Good Credit: a 670 to 799 FICO Score, or a 661 to 780 VantageScore
  • Fair Credit: a 580 to 669 FICO Score, or a 601 to 660 VantageScore
  • Poor Credit: a 300 to 579 FICO Score, or a 300 to 600 VantageScore
  • No Credit History: No credit history is required to apply

An on-par credit score doesn’t always guarantee you’ll qualify, though. Issuers may deny your application for other reasons, like multiple recent credit applications or a lower income than they’d prefer. In fact, the Bureau for Consumer Financial Protection’s latest Consumer Credit Card Market Report notes that credit card approval rates have been declining since 2015, with a large 10 percent to 11 percent drop for those with prime or near-prime credit (a score of 620 to 719) as the economy tightened during 2020.

Considering that applying for a card can temporarily hurt your credit score — which can be a big setback if you’re on the edge of a favorable credit score or you don’t have much credit history — knowing your approval odds ahead of time helps you prioritize your picks.

Fortunately, Bankrate’s Approval Odds feature can give you a heads up about how likely you are to qualify for a credit card on our site — with no impact on your credit score. That way, you can apply for the perfect card confidently.

Our tool compares your credit report with historical approval data and issuer criteria to comprehensively calculate your odds of being approved. If your odds are excellent, you also might receive personalized card recommendations and prequalified offers through CardMatch.

How to use Bankrate’s Approval Odds

Getting started with the Approval Odds feature only takes one click. First head to a credit card category page or a credit card review. On participating credit card tiles, you’ll find two ways to access your approval odds: a “see your approval odds” link and a button.

Once you’ve clicked “See your approval odds” on the card you like, you’ll be prompted to enter your:

  1. First and last name
  2. Mailing address
  3. Social Security number’s last four digits
  4. Email address

After that, clicking “Agree and see results” will finish setting up your account. Bankrate will immediately authorize a soft credit pull, which won’t affect your credit.

Congrats! The legwork is already done. If you’re on a card review page, you’ll see your approval odds for that card expressed as a score from “poor” to “excellent.” If you’re on a comparison page with multiple cards, you’ll see your approval odds for participating cards on that page.

From there, you can confidently proceed to the final step in the process: applying for a credit card. Of course, the credit card issuer has the final say in whether you’re approved, and you won’t know your status for certain until you’ve formally applied.

What do the Approval Odds ratings mean?

Each of the four Approval Odds color-coded ratings you’ll see in card tiles describe how likely you are to be approved for that card:

  • Excellent chance of approval: You are highly likely to qualify for this credit card. In fact, your high approval odds may also grant you access to “Special Offers” — meaning you may be preapproved for this card and possibly an elevated welcome offer if you apply through Bankrate.
  • Good chance of approval: You’ll probably be approved for this card. However, there’s a small chance that a few credit profile variables may slightly affect your likelihood of prequalifying for the card or nabbing its lowest APR.
  • Fair chance of approval: You may not have a perfect application, but you have a fighting chance of approval. However, know that there is a risk of being declined or receiving a higher APR. But if this card is the perfect fit, you might want to revisit it in the future after learning more about your credit score and which factors you can work on to increase your approval odds.
  • Poor chance of approval: You’ll want to avoid applying for this card. Although you probably won’t qualify right now, there are several ways to improve your credit score even without a credit card.

Your credit score takes a small hit with every credit application, so it’s best to get it right on the first try. Although the credit card issuer always has the final say on whether you’re approved, knowing your Approval Odds can help you approach your next credit card application with an extra layer of confidence.

Written by
Garrett Yarbrough
Credit Card Reviews Writer
Bankrate expert Garrett Yarbrough strives to make navigating credit cards and credit building smooth sailing for his readers. After regularly featuring his credit card, credit monitoring and identity theft analysis on NextAdvisor.com, he joined the CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit card guides focused on cash back, credit scores and card offers.
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