When in the market for a new line of credit, there are several ways to see which cards you may be eligible for before submitting an actual application. These methods may give you an idea of the types of cards suitable for you based on qualifying criteria you provide. However, final account decisions are made by the card issuer after your application is formally submitted.

Step 1

Check directly with the card issuer. Some card issuers, like Capital One and Discover, offer preapproval screening questionnaires directly on their websites. These questionnaires require potential applicants to answer a few basic questions, which the issuer uses to qualify the applicant for cards it carries. These preapproval methods do not affect the applicant’s credit score. After the applicant submits the answers to the questions, a list of cards that match the applicant’s potential creditworthiness are displayed. The applicant can then review the terms, rates and fees of each result before submitting a formal application. Because the issuer returns results based on its own credit criteria, applicants have higher chances of being approved when using the issuer’s preapproval tools.

Step 2

Use a score match eligibility tool. Websites such as financeglobe.com allow you to search for cards that are issued to people who have the same credit score as you. This method allows you to see the types of cards that people with similar histories have been able to get. Knowing this information could increase your chances of being approved for the same card. In order to utilize this type of tool, you’ll need to know your credit score. You can get your score for free from sites like creditkarma.com and creditsesame.com.

Step 3

Browse cards based on the type of credit you have. Sites such as myFico.com and creditkarma.com allow users to browse cards based on categories like “bad credit,” “building or establishing credit,” “good credit” and “excellent credit.” The results from categorical searches show applicants the cards they’re eligible for based on the type of credit required by the issuer. Some issuers, like U.S. Bank, also offer credit category searches on their websites.