What are the Soft Pull Credit Cards?
When you apply for a credit card, the credit issuer typically checks your credit reports to determine whether or not they want to approve the account. This process of credit report inquiry can be made with a hard or a soft pull - these two options have very different effects on your credit score.
Hard Pull vs Soft Pull
Most of the time, there will be a hard inquiry or hard pull on your credit report. Creditors use this process to check your score and payment history for past loans and credit cards before making the final decision to offer a new line of credit through their financial institution.
Because the hard pull or inquiry stays on your credit report for two years, too many within a short amount of time can result in a loss of a few points from your score. This is important to manage because too many hard pulls can lead creditors to believe you are seeking a lot of credit at once and at risk of defaulting on your accounts.
On the other hand, a soft pull simply checks your score. It works well for pre-approvals, or prequalifications because it doesn’t stay on your report for an extended period of time and won’t affect your credit score. In fact, some soft inquiries do not get reported at all. Companies that perform background checks often use the soft pull method.
If you’re concerned about adding too many hard inquiries to your credit file, you might want to consider credit cards that only soft pull. Some of these credit cards include the following.
Credit Cards That Soft Pull Only
There are only a handful of credit cards that only soft pull. Cards linked to Comenity Bank are often your best bet when you’re looking for credit but don’t want a hard inquiry on your report. These cards are often great opportunities for people who have low credit scores or bad credit. However, if you have had credit problems, you may have to try out a few options before you get approved for a credit card. For the best soft pull cards consider the following.
Abercrombie & Fitch Credit Card
The Abercrombie & Fitch Credit Card runs through Comenity. If you get approved, you earn 25% off your first purchase with the store. You also receive a birthday surprise, typically sent to you in the mail. This card only requires that you are a U.S. resident with a valid email address to apply.
Big Lots! Credit Card
The Big Lots! Credit Card has no annual fee. There are special financing options available, which make this card ideal for people with low credit scores who may have a harder time paying off their debt. You also receive 24/7 account management when you have this card.
Forever Rewarded Credit Card
Forever 21 partnered with Comenity Bank to create the Forever Rewarded Credit Card. You receive a $10 discount when you make your first purchase on the card within 90 days of receiving it. There are other promotional discounts offered depending on when you apply for the card.
Torrid Insider Card
The Torrid Insider card gifts you a $20 welcome offer, 15% off your first purchase, two 30% off shopping passes each year, and other exclusive offers. Torrid focuses on plus-size fashion for women sizes 10 to 30.
Check out other store cards partnered with Comenity Bank to see what special deals they offer. You have a much higher chance of getting approved for these cards than any others if you are looking for a card for bad credit as well as one that does not add a hard inquiry to your report.
Pre-Qualify without a Hard Inquiry
Most credit card companies will use the soft pull method to allow you to see if you pre-qualify without having it affect your credit score. You may have received credit card letters in the mail stating you are pre-qualified to sign up. Typically, banks often keep a list of names of people who meet their credit score criteria after running soft pulls and then send out cards to those people inviting them to apply for the card.
You can also authorize a company to soft pull if you want to see if you qualify for one of their cards. After running the initial scan, they will let you know if you could potentially be approved or not. And, if you do not qualify for one of their more reward card options, they may provide other offers that you could qualify for based on the score they pulled. Credit plays a major role in determining the amount you receive and the types of cards you can use. With a low score, your only choice may be a secured credit card.
One thing to keep in mind is that pre-qualifying does not necessarily mean you will truly get approved
It just indicates that you the information the card issuer has access could result in approval. By seeing if you qualify in advance, it helps to keep too many hard pulls off your report. You can skip the application process and the credit inquiry for the cards that you know you would not get approved for and only try for the options you are preapproved or prequalified for instead.
Shopping Cart Trick
The shopping cart trick offers one way for you to see if you qualify for credit cards with only soft pulls of your credit reports. Using this process saves you the hard inquiries but still allows you to receive the card and its discounts. Here are the stops for using what is referred to as the “shopping cart trick” to see if you qualify before the hard inquiry.
- Start by going online to a store’s sales website.
- Register for their loyalty program. Be sure to include your address and information so the store can send you promotional deals in the mail.
- Add a few items to your shopping cart from the store’s website. You do not have to make any purchases at this time. Just add a few items and continue with the process until you have reached the final checkout page.
- If you receive an offer to sign up for the store’s credit card, you have completed the trick.
- Fill out the form and apply for the card. There is a good chance that you will be approved.
The downside of this process is that you usually start out with a lower limit and you typically get approved for cards that you can only use with certain retailers. However, it can help you build your credit overtime when you make the required monthly payments. The more you spend and pay, the better your chances become for getting approved for a higher limit and other credit cards.
Keep in mind that you won’t be able to use this trick on all stores
If you get to the final checkout page and no offer pops up, exit out of the page and try a different store. There are plenty of stores that work with this trick, including
- Bath & Body Works
- J. Crew
Also try stores like Abercrombie & Fitch, Gamestop, Victoria’s Secret, and Wayfair. Try out a few of your favorites and see if you can get a new card issued to you.
Our detailed instruction on what is shopping cart trick and how to do it
Soft pull credit cards are not always easy to find. Most credit card companies run hard inquiries to tap into all the possible information on your credit report before they determine if you are truly loan-worthy. Use the cards from this list and get pre-qualified, or use the shopping cart trick to ensure you avoid hard credit inquiries that can negatively affect your credit score.
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