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Key takeaways

  • Preapproval for a Wells Fargo credit card involves a soft credit check to assess eligibility without affecting your credit score.
  • Wells Fargo offers a prequalification tool through its website, but you can also find credit card preapprovals through your online portal, email or mail if you’re eligible.
  • To increase your chances of preapproval for a Wells Fargo credit card, improve your credit score by making payments on time and paying down debt. It also helps to maintain a good banking relationship with Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo recently introduced another card offering to its fleet of rewards credit cards. Released in late June 2024, The Wells Fargo Attune℠ Card offers unlimited 4 percent cash back rewards on unique spending categories including gym memberships, salons, electric vehicle charging and even select thrift stores. Before that, rewards seekers clamored for the cult-favorite Bilt Mastercard® or paid down debt with balance transfer favorite Wells Fargo Reflect® Card. But what do you need to earn a Wells Fargo preapproval on a credit card?

No matter which Wells Fargo credit card you have your sights set on, getting preapproved could save you some trouble during the application process. Instead of applying for a card and getting denied, the preapproval could help you narrow down your options so you don’t waste a hard inquiry without a new credit card to show for it. Find out how to get preapproved for a Wells Fargo credit card and assess your approval odds before applying.

What is credit card preapproval?

A credit card preapproval happens when a credit card issuer screens your credit profile without doing a hard credit check to see if you’re eligible for one of their cards. It gives you a better idea of what you might be approved for without hurting your credit score. Sometimes you might also find the terms preapproval and prequalification used interchangeably, though they don’t always mean the same thing. In the case of Wells Fargo, the prequalification tool the issuer offers simply checks whether you appear to be eligible for its products, but doesn’t assess how likely you are to actually be approved should you apply.

Which Wells Fargo cards can you get preapproved for?

Since the launch of the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card in 2021, Wells Fargo has continued rolling out exciting new additions to its credit card lineup. With that in mind, you can expect to continue seeing changes around which of its cards are available for preapproval.

In most cases the specifics about each credit card issuer’s preapproval process are kept under wraps and Wells Fargo is no exception. Although it carries slightly less weight compared to a true preapproval, Wells Fargo does have a prequalification tool that you can use to check your eligibility for each of these cards:

  • Autograph Journey℠ Card
  • Autograph℠ Card
  • Active Cash® Card
  • Reflect® Card
  • Choice Privileges® Mastercard®
  • Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard®

It’s unclear whether the recently released Attune Card will be added to the prequalification tool or preapproval process.

How to get preapproved for a Wells Fargo credit card

Right now, the only place you can check for preapproved or prequalified Wells Fargo card offers is on the issuer’s website. If you choose to use this option, you’ll need to provide basic information, including your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Last 4 digits of your Social Security Number

You’ll also have to authorize Wells Fargo to do a soft pull of your credit report which won’t hurt your credit score. After submitting the prequalification, you’ll get a list of the cards you qualify for alongside the option to complete a full application.

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Keep in mind: Getting prequalified or preapproved doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be approved for the card once you submit an application and undergo a hard credit check. In general, you can think of prequalification as a confirmation that you appear to fall within the target and expected audience for the card. Preapproval means your specific information makes you likely to be approved for the card.

Additional ways to prequalify for Wells Fargo credit cards

Wells Fargo also displays its cards in CardMatch, Bankrate’s tool for finding card offers matched to your credit profile. While the Wells Fargo offers you’ll see in CardMatch aren’t technically prequalified or preapproved offers, the tool does use a soft pull to your credit to assess which products are best suited for your needs, so it can still give you an idea on if you meet the card’s target audience.

In some cases, you might also receive a preapproved credit card offer from Wells Fargo in the mail. This means the issuer did a soft pull on your credit report and you meet its basic minimum requirements to be approved. If you have an existing account with Wells Fargo, you might receive these offers in your online banking portal or by email.

How to increase your chances of getting preapproved

Want to boost your chances of getting a preapproval for a Wells Fargo credit card? Most of Wells Fargo’s best credit cards have a credit score requirement of 670 to 850, so improving your credit is the best path to earning a preapproval. Take these steps to improve your credit score and optimize your chances:

  1. Make all bill payments on time
  2. Pay down existing credit card balances to improve your credit utilization
  3. Avoid overdrafting your account if you have a Wells Fargo banking relationship
  4. Increase the balances in your Wells Fargo checking or savings accounts if you have those accounts
  5. Update your employment and income information with Wells Fargo
  6. Avoid opening too many other credit lines at once

Your payment history is the largest factor in determining your FICO score, so paying bills on time is the most important move you can make. Your credit utilization ratio also plays a large part in your credit score, so paying down credit card debt should be a priority. Doing so can decrease your credit utilization rate, which shows lenders you’re not at risk of overextending yourself.

An underrated method of increasing your chances at a preapproval are having a healthy long-term banking relationship with Wells Fargo. When I worked in the banking industry, the credit card underwriting team paid attention to the balances you held in your accounts, your overdraft history and how long you had been banking with us alongside your credit score.

On multiple occasions, I was even able to appeal a limited credit history denial by referencing that the customer had minimal or zero overdrafts, high checking or savings balances and a banking relationship of at least two years. So they’d walk away with an approval and a small credit limit instead of an automated denial.

Another way to increase your chances of a preapproval is to update your income with Wells Fargo. Even if you don’t already have a credit card with them, you can update your employment and income information through a customer service rep which could trigger a preapproval in their system if your credit score is already within the required range.

The bottom line

Pursuing a Wells Fargo credit card preapproval is a good idea since this issuer requires good to excellent credit scores for most of its credit cards. Getting preapproved gives you the chance to gauge your eligibility before you put in the effort (and hard inquiry) to apply. In some cases, preapproved offers are an even better deal than what the general public sees. Either way, a Wells Fargo preapproval only requires a soft pull that won’t hurt your credit score. That’s good news if you’re considering a new credit card and are ready to explore your options but not quite ready to apply.

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