Update: American Express is now offering 100,000 Membership Rewards points with their Platinum card. To find out if you are eligible, enter your details into the Card Match website (this is free and will not hurt your credit score).
For anyone that has applied to a credit card, the inevitable trickle of doubt has been felt:
What if I don’t get approved?
This is a valid question, and I personally ask it even today, 40+ credit cards later. And while I know a declined application barely impacts my credit score, if I were to know I would get a card then my thinking could be different. Enter Card Match, from CreditCards.com.
What this website does is use a soft inquiry on your credit report – remember that soft inquiries do not impact your credit score – to determine what cards you have a very high chance of being approved for. By "very high" I mean I have never experienced or heard of anyone experiencing a decline after seeing it. And, in many cases, CreditCards.com works with their affiliate partners to ensure that a potential customer is actually pre-approved if a card shows up. Which is all good news.
This piece of mind is particularly useful for those with an average credit score, where a hard inquiry from an application should be used far more wisely than someone with more cushion in their score.
But the best part has nothing to do with piece of mind.
Often unique offers will be available only through this tool, meaning you should be logging on periodically to maximize your earning potential. This has been the case largely with American Express offers, most recently the 100,000 Platinum card mentioned above and another 45,000 Delta Gold card (now 30,000).
A quick search with my own info revealed the Amex Platinum deal and the Capital One Venture card – what I consider to be a top credit card deal – among others, so the utility of the website is very real.
There is a downside, however, and that is CreditCards.com does not seem to work with the 800-pound gorilla in the room: Chase. Which means the bank with the highest percentage of cards on my website will not show up when you search - a big drawback, but not a deal-breaker.
Ultimately, if you are "on the fence" then try this tool.
The website offers a risk-free way to look at options – albeit restricted – and make a decision with near certainty of approval. This also gives you an idea of where you land on the bank's pecking order - valuable information.
For example, if you see the American Express Platinum offer then you are likely a very strong candidate for a premium rewards card, and I would guess that almost any rewards card is attainable. But if you see nothing but cash-back or building credit cards, then I recommend building your score more before applying to a top-tier card.
Regardless, the Card Match tool should be used by any avid miles-earner and I recommend trying it routinely.