Now that you know the benefits of a credit card pre-approval, it's time to explore the process. There are a few different ways you might discover if you are pre-approved. The simplest is if a pre-approval offer mailer shows up in your mailbox. In this case, you can find directions and an application within the mailer that will show you how to apply for the card in question.
It's also worth contacting a Chase branch and asking them if you have been pre-approved for any of the Chase cards. And for existing customers who have a Chase account, it's possible to check for pre-approval offers by selecting "Open an account" and then clicking the "Just for you" section.
There are some steps you can take to increase the odds of being targeted for a credit card pre-approval program. While they work for Chase, most of these will also fall under general tips and tricks for getting or maintaining a healthy credit rating.
1. Maintain good credit utilization practices
How much credit you regularly use out of the total amount available to you is a significant factor in your credit rating. Maintaining below a 20-30% credit utilization (what percent of available credit you use) can help you grow your credit score -- while also making it easier to keep your credit debt manageable.
In theory, this metric can help banks and credit issuers recognize the restraint and responsibility within a potential cardholder, highlighting that they are relatively safe candidate. It shows that the potential cardholder can manage their credit and is not likely to borrow more than they can pay back.
This might help with your chances of being targeted for pre-approval, since credit card campaigns of that nature seek to find potential cardholders that match the issuer's ideal candidate. A core part of this ideal is a good credit score and a healthy relationship with credit usage.
2. Spend credit and repay it
In keeping with what we discussed about credit utilization, it's important to utilize your credit. However, this doesn't mean spending 20% of what's available and ignoring it. Few things are worse for your credit rating than leaving debt unpaid. To grow your credit, you need to use your credit, including paying it back.
The best strategy here might be to use credit to make purchases and then pay them before the interest hits. Many people, for instance, pay their bills on a credit card which they then pay off the same month. This maintains regular credit usage and can be combined with other credit utilization tactics.
Using these two strategies in tandem can help grow credit scores faster. Make sure to use and repay credit every month, but don't go over that 20-30% credit utilization. Otherwise, you might be missing out on some of the positive credit score growth you could experience.
3. Make payments on time
Suppose your credit bill is already too large to pay off at once. In that case, it's vital to focus on making consistent payments that meet at least the minimum requirement. Because of interest accrual, cardholders save more money the quicker they can pay off their credit debt. So even if you're only meeting the minimum payment, it will still save you more money long-term than if you pay nothing.
Few things will hurt your credit score as much as not meeting the minimum payments on a loan or card. And the real kicker with missing credit card payments is that your bill could be sent to a collection agency, meaning your credit rating will take a hit. Suppose you find yourself unable to make these payments. In that case, it's vital to talk with the credit issuer, preferably a financial advisor as well, and to design a new budget.
In some cases, issuers may be willing to negotiate a different payment plan. However, this may come with a loss of access to the card. The best bet is often to focus on that budget and see what non-necessities can be temporarily cut until the credit debt is paid. Remember, the longer those payments drag on, the more you pay in the long run.