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. According to myFICO, a hard credit inquiry can temporarily lower your score by five points, or even more in some cases. 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.

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. Also, note that final approval decisions may still ultimately require a hard credit pull.

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 always guaranteed to work. To find a store where the shopping cart trick may work, you can check out our list of stores that use Comenity Bank to back credit cards and stores where you can typically use the shopping cart trick.

Soft Pull Credit Cards

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 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).

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 only true soft pull credit cards, ordered starting with the best overall options.

Green Dot primor Visa Gold Secured Credit Card

  • Minimum credit requirement: None
  • Minimum deposit: $200 (up to $5,000)
  • APR: Around 10%
  • Annual fee: $49
  • Late fee: Around $30
  • Find out more or apply

Green Dot primor Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card

  • Minimum credit requirement: None
  • Minimum deposit: $200 (up to $5,000)
  • APR: Around 19%
  • Annual fee: $39
  • Late fee: Around $30
  • Find out more or apply

OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card

  • Minimum credit requirement: None
  • Minimum deposit: $200 (up to $3,000)
  • APR: Around 19%
  • Annual fee: $35
  • Late fee: Around $38
  • Find out more or apply

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

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

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.

5 comments

  • Sylvia Jackson says:

    Are there NON Comenity Bank soft pull, open loop, store credit cards❓

      • 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.