Well, it’s that time of year again… that’s right, the mailbox is filled with credit card offers! Every day, it seems, someone is offering you yet another credit card, personal loan, or catalog card, and they all say one of two things: you’re either prequalified or you’re preapproved for their offer. But, seriously, do you know the difference between preapproved and prequalified?
In a nutshell, the difference between the two is as follows:
Prequalified means that you are likely to qualify based on your credit score and your demographics, meaning that other people with similar characteristics (credit scores, age bracket, etc.) typically do qualify, but you’ll need to fill out an application, allow them to run a hard credit check, etc., to get final approval.
Preapproved means that based on your individual credit score, you are likely to get final approval for whatever credit card sent you the invitation, but you will still need to allow them to run the hard credit check to get final approval.
So which offer should you accept? Truthfully, neither offer is a guarantee that you will get final approval, but the preapproved offer is probably the better of the two – either way, you’ll want to consider the individual offers before you make your decision, and even then, the interest rate, fees, and other terms may not be the best option for you.
It’s always wise to shop around BEFORE you apply for any type of credit! And it’s best to KNOW YOUR CREDIT SCORE before you start!