The List of Soft Pull Credit Cards (Including Store Credit Cards)

If your credit score is young or it has taken a few hits, it’s important to decide carefully where to apply for a credit card, because most applications result in a hard inquiry. A hard credit inquiry can temporarily lower your score by five points, or more in some cases.[1] Fortunately, there are some credit cards that don’t require a hard pull.

Soft inquiries, sometimes called soft pulls, don’t affect your credit score at all. If you’ve ever used an online company like Credit Karma to check out your credit score, it uses a soft inquiry. It allows you (or a company) to access your credit information without affecting your credit score.

Most credit card applications require a hard credit pull — issuers typically do not allow a person to open a line of credit without knowing their credit history and their ability to make payments. Some credit cards, including some store cards, only require a soft pull for pre-approval, but will still result in a hard inquiry before the final approval decision.

However, there are a few credit cards that only require a soft credit pull. These are “secured” credit cards, meaning they require an initial security deposit to open. The deposit then acts as collateral and your credit limit (which you can increase over time). Below we outline the details of several of these soft pull credit cards, plus we explain how soft pull pre-approvals work for store credit cards.

We’ve Done the Comparing for You — Here’s What We Recommend

For a card with a relatively low APR rate, we recommend the Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Preferred Credit Card. It has an APR of around 10% and a minimum deposit of $200 (maximum of $1,000 at opening). The Green Dot Platinum Visa Secured has a higher APR at around 20%, but lower annual and late fees. We outline the details on these cards below.

Comparison Table: Soft Pull Credit Cards

You can use the table below to compare our list of soft pull credit cards. To sort the table, click the arrows at the top of each column. For more details on each card, you can click the card name or scroll down to our list below.

Credit Card Minimum Credit Requirement Minimum Deposit APR Annual Fee Late Fee
Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Preferred None $200 (Up to $1,000 at opening and $5,000 with later deposits) Around 10% $48 Around $38
Green Dot Platinum Visa Secured None $200 (Up to $5,000) Around 20% $39 Up to $27
OpenSky Secured Visa None $200 (Up to $3,000) Around 18% $35 Around $38
First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard None $200 (Up to $2,000) Around 10% $49 Around $40
Assent Platinum Mastercard Secured None $200 (Up to $2,000) Around 13% $49 Up to $40

Soft Pull Credit Cards

While there is typically no credit requirement for opening a secured credit card, the issuers do report to the major credit bureaus, which can help you build your credit if you keep up with on-time payments. Below, we list the true soft pull credit cards, ordered starting with the best overall options.

1. Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Preferred Credit Card

  • Minimum credit requirement: None
  • Minimum deposit: $200 (up to $1,000 at opening and $5,000 with later deposits)
  • APR: Around 10%
  • Annual fee: $48
  • Late fee: Around $38
  • Find out more or apply

2. Green Dot Platinum Visa Secured Credit Card

  • Minimum credit requirement: None
  • Minimum deposit: $200 (up to $5,000)
  • APR: Around 20%
  • Annual fee: $39
  • Late fee: Up to $27
  • Find out more or apply

3. Assent Platinum 0% Intro Rate Mastercard Secured Credit Card

  • Minimum credit requirement: None
  • Minimum deposit: $200 (up to $2,000)
  • APR: About 13%; 0% APR for the first six months
  • Annual fee: $49
  • Late fee: Up to $40
  • Find out more or apply

4. First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card

  • Minimum credit requirement: None
  • Minimum deposit: $200 (up to $2,000)
  • APR: Around 10%
  • Annual fee: $49
  • Late fee: Around $40
  • Find out more or apply

5. OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card

  • Minimum credit requirement: None
  • Minimum deposit: $200 (up to $3,000)
  • APR: Around 18%
  • Annual fee: $35
  • Late fee: Around $38
  • Find out more or apply

Keep in mind that while the cards listed above do not require an initial credit check and therefore will not negatively impact your credit in that way, opening a new credit card will lower your average account age, which will lower your credit score.

Before applying for any card, be sure to understand its full payment and fee structure so you can avoid interest charges, late payments, and further negative marks on your credit report.

The Shopping Cart Trick — Soft Inquiry for Pre-Approval

If you’ve looked into soft credit inquiries before, you may have found mention of the shopping cart trick. The shopping cart trick allows you to get pre-approved for credit cards (typically store credit cards) using only a soft pull on your credit. Essentially, the trick is to shop online and wait until you receive a pre-approved credit card offer, which usually pops up at checkout. To make sure that you don’t receive a hard inquiry, you should only be asked to input the last four digits of your social security number when applying — if you input the entire number, this typically means there will be a hard inquiry.

If you get a pre-approved offer from any company that uses Comenity Bank as the card issuer, your approval will be based on a soft inquiry, according to Comenity customer service. However, repeatedly applying for the same card will result in a hard inquiry. See our related research for a list of stores that use Comenity Bank to back credit cards.

It’s important to keep in mind that for most store credit cards, including Comenity cards, final approval will still require a hard inquiry. Some customers have reported approval for these types of credit cards without the issuer ever doing a hard credit pull, but this practice is not guaranteed to work. To find a store where the shopping cart trick may work, you can check out our list of stores where you can typically use the shopping cart trick.

5 comments

      • That took me back to the same article. It doesn’t answer the question, are there NON commenity cards that also use the soft pull method. Closed loop or open loop?

        • Laura Bachmann says:
          First Quarter Finance logostaff

          Hi Vivian,

          Yes, there are some! You’ll want to cross check our article on soft pull credit cards with our article on Commenity cards. The cards that appear on both lists are Abercrombie & Fitch, Gamestop, J. Crew, and Victory’s Secret. Unfortunately, the options are somewhat limited.