What Does Preapproved Mean for a Credit Card?

What Does Preapproved Mean for a Credit Card?

When you get preapproved for a credit card, this means you’ve met initial criteria to receive an offer to get a credit card. In other words, you’ve popped up on a list of consumers that fit the bill for a credit card company’s requirements and are being invited to sign up for a card.

In this piece, we’ll discuss exactly how preapproved credit card offers work, the difference between what preapproved for a credit card means vs. prequalifed, and the pros and cons of preapproved offers.

What Is a Preapproved Credit Card Offer?

As mentioned, a preapproved credit card offer is when a credit card company officially invites you to apply for a specific credit card. Credit card issuers usually use criteria pulled from credit reporting agencies to extend these offers. If you fall within the parameters of the credit card requirements set by the card issuer, then you may receive an offer — either via email, snail mail, or over the phone — to formally apply for approval for the card.

How Do Preapproved Credit Card Offers Work?

While it sounds promising, getting a preapproved credit card offer doesn’t necessarily mean you’re guaranteed to get approved for a credit card. Even if you’re preapproved, you’ll need to properly apply.

When you do, the credit card issuer will look over your application and usually request additional financial and personal information. The credit card company will also check your updated credit report to figure out if your credit still meets the criteria it referred to when it sent you the preapproved offer.

Preapproved vs Prequalified Credit Card Offers

The terms “preapproved” and “prequalified” often are used interchangeably when it comes to prescreened credit card offers. And within the realm of credit cards, they often are one and the same. But in other types of lending, they mean different things.

Prequalified offers are usually requested by you, the consumer. To get prequalified, you typically need to provide basic personal and financial information. During the screening process, the credit card issuer will check your credit. However, it will only conduct a soft pull, which won’t impact your credit score. After reviewing the info you submitted, the credit card company will let you know if you’re likely to get approved.

Preapproval, on the other hand, is when you’re prescreened for offers by the credit card company. These credit companies work with the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to come up with a list of consumers that meet their lending criteria.

With both preapproval and prequalification, you’ll still have to submit to a hard credit inquiry and potentially provide additional financial information to actually get approved for the loan product. Keep in mind that unlike a soft inquiry, a hard credit inquiry will temporarily affect your score.

Benefits of a Preapproved Credit Card

Now that you know what preapproved means for a credit card, you may be wondering what the benefits are. In general, these are the upsides of preapproval, whether for a valuable rewards card or a virtual credit card.

Indicates Your Odds of Approval

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of getting preapproved for a credit card is that you’ll have a better sense of how likely you are to ultimately get approved for the card. Although preapproval is not a guarantee of eventual approval, if a credit card issuer has already selected you to apply and your financial situation hasn’t drastically changed, you’re likely within the required parameters to get the card.

Won’t Impact Your Credit Score

One of the major benefits of getting preapproved for a credit card is that it won’t impact your credit score. To get preapproved, the card issuer does a soft pull of your credit. Only if you decide to formally apply for the card will the credit card company do a hard pull of your credit.

Could Allow You To Secure More Competitive Terms

Getting preapproved for a credit card may allow you to secure a lower interest rate than you’d otherwise be able to get. This is because the lender is effectively advertising the card to you in order to get you to apply. Keep in mind, however, that your rates aren’t set until after you formally apply.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

May Provide Access to Better Intro Offers

Another advantage of a preapproved credit card is that it might come with more lucrative perks than what’s more widely advertised to the public. You might be privy to cards with more attractive sign-up bonuses or introductory earnings opportunities. For instance, a cash-back credit card might offer a higher initial earnings rate through preapproval offers.

Could Get a Longer Intro APR for Balance Transfers Cards

For balance transfer credit cards that allow you to transfer your existing debt over to the new card, you might be able to get a lower introductory annual percentage rate (APR) for longer through preapproved offers. This longer introductory period could make it easier to pay off your balance in full before the regular interest rate kicks in.

Easier for You

Because credit card companies have vetted you and know that you’ve passed its criteria, you don’t have to spend time researching cards. Instead, these offers are coming to you. Still, when choosing a credit card, it doesn’t hurt to take a look around to make sure this is truly the right fit for you.

Drawbacks of a Preapproved Credit Card

While there are benefits of preapproved credit card offers, there are drawbacks to them as well.

Might Not Be the Best Card for You

While you don’t have to jump through the same hoops as you would looking for a credit card on your own, the credit card you’re preapproved may not be the right one for you. It might be a good idea to spend some time doing your own research and understanding differences in how credit cards work even if you do get preapproved.

Could Get Flooded With Unwanted Offers

Preapproval offers may lead to getting a lot of unsolicited emails, mail, or phone calls. Especially if you’re not in the market for a new credit card, you could feel inundated with offers you don’t necessarily want or need.

Potential for Theft of Personal Information

There’s a chance that a would-be identity thief can intercept your prescreened offer and get ahold of your name and mailing address. The good news is that prescreened offers are one of the least likely forms of identity theft. Plus, an identity thief would likely need information beyond what’s included in a preapproval offer.

Data Privacy Issues

This is not very common, but there’s a chance that your name, address, and other personal information are stored in databases for consumers that qualify for prescreened offers. This means that in the instance of a data breach, your information could be accessed.

Temptation to Open More Cards

Receiving preapproved offers for credit cards may tempt you to open a new credit card you don’t necessarily need, especially if the preapproval offer includes a lucrative sign-up bonus or an extended introductory APR offer. Especially if you’re already set with your lineup of credit cards, this might entice you to take on more cards than you can comfortably manage.

When You May Need Credit Card Preapproval

You might want to receive a preapproved credit card offer if you’re in the market for a new credit card and would rather not go through the full process of researching credit cards. As you know you already meet certain lending criteria, the odds of getting approved for a card are improved.

Keep in mind, however, that you don’t need to get credit card preapproval in order to apply for a credit card. If you’re getting a credit card for the first time and have a limited credit history, for instance, you’re likely not going to get so many preapproval offers — but that doesn’t mean you can’t still try applying.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit?

Tips for Getting a Preapproved Credit Card Offer

If you’d like to get preapproved offers, you’ll want to opt in by visiting OptOutPrescreen.com . From there, you can choose to get these offers through the mail, email, or via phone.

Instead of waiting for offers to come to you, you can also get preapproved by visiting a credit card issuer’s website and applying for prequalification. This typically requires providing basic personal and financial information.

Recommended: How Long It Takes to Get a Credit Card

Tips for Improving Your Chances of Preapproval

While you can still get preapproved for offers with not-so-great credit, you’ll get offers with the most favorable terms and rates with a strong credit score. To keep your credit score game strong and thus improve your chances of improval, make sure to do the following:

•   Avoid late payments

•   Keep your credit utilization rate low

•   Aim to keep cards open

•   Don’t apply for too many new accounts

•   Maintain a diverse mix of different forms of credit

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due?

How Does a Preapproved Credit Card Impact Your Credit Score?

A preapproved offer for a credit card doesn’t impact your credit score. As we talked about, lenders will do a soft pull of your score, which doesn’t affect your score.

But if you decide to apply for a card, the credit card issuer will do a hard pull of your credit. This will most likely ding your score, though generally only temporarily.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due?

Opting Out of Preapproved Credit Cards

If you don’t want to get flooded by preapproval offers, you can decide to opt out. Visit the website OptOutPrescreen.com and follow the simple steps outlined on the website to do so. You then won’t be included on lists to get considered for preapproval for five years.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

The Takeaway

A preapproved offer for a credit card means you’ve met certain lending criteria to most likely get approved for a specific card. You’ll still need to officially apply to secure approval though. But if your credit score and financial history are the same as when you initially received the offer, there’s a high likelihood you’ll get approved.

Whether you're looking to build credit, apply for a new credit card, or save money with the cards you have, it's important to understand the options that are best for you. Learn more about credit cards by exploring this credit card guide.

FAQ

How long does it take to get a credit card if you are preapproved?

It depends on the credit card and credit card company. If you’re preapproved for a card, you’ll still need to officially apply. If you do get approved for a card, it could take anywhere from five business days to two weeks for your card to arrive in the mail.

Can you get denied after preapproval?

In some cases, yes. For instance, if your credit or financial situation changed between the time you received a preapproved offer and when you applied, you might get denied.

Can I get a credit card if I am not preapproved or I don’t qualify for a credit card?

Yes, you don’t need to get preapproved for a credit card; it simply nixes a few steps and boosts your odds of getting a card. However, you will need to qualify for a credit card to get it. This happens if you meet the credit card company’s lending criteria. If you do, you’ll have a chance of getting a particular credit card.

Should I still apply if I am not preapproved for a credit card?

Just because you aren’t preapproved doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get a particular credit card. Spend some time doing your homework to figure out which cards are a good fit for your needs and financial situation. When choosing a credit card, it’s important to check the rates, credit limits, and fees.


Photo credit: iStock/akinbostanci

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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What Is a Black Credit Card? How It Works

Colloquial references to a black credit card typically refer to the American Express Centurion Card that launched in 1999. It quickly developed a reputation for being more than a credit card — rather, it became a status symbol of ultra-wealth and limitless spending power reserved only for the elite.

The rumored black card requirements — such as a steep minimum spending criteria — add more intrigue to this luxury card. Here’s a look at how to get a black credit card, as well as the black credit card’s benefits and drawbacks.

What Is a Black Credit Card?

A black credit card is an ultra-luxury private banking credit card product that’s designed to support the credit needs of the world’s upper-echelon, including A-list celebrities, professional athletes, and multi-millionaires..

Although the black credit card meaning was originally derived from the AmEx Centurion Card, it now includes other luxury cards that have since come to the market. The list of exclusive card products include the Dubai First Royale Mastercard and the J.P. Mortgage Reserve Card.

Although the Mastercard Black Card might have the phrase “black card” in its name, it’s more accessible and arguably not in the same caliber as the aforementioned cards. That’s because consumers can submit an application online for this card without first being invited, which is more in line with typical credit card rules.

How Black Credit Cards Work

Unlike other consumer credit cards, the most exclusive black credit cards aren’t available for online applications. Card issuers publish very limited details — if any at all — about how to apply for the card or what it takes to receive an invitation. All of the elusiveness only enhances the allure of black cards.

Aside from their exclusiveness, black cards are generally known for having no credit limit, allowing members to spend freely. However, credit card issuers have already determined who they feel is financially capable of wielding the black card’s limitless buying power.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

Requirements for Getting a Black Credit Card

Specific black credit card requirements and thresholds vary between black card products. However, they generally include the following factors:

•   Minimum annual spending

•   Income and/or net worth

•   Creditworthiness

If you believe that you meet the criteria for a black credit card, you can reach out to the card issuer directly to see if you’re eligible. American Express, for instance, offers an online form for its Centurion Card for those who want to request consideration.

What Kinds of Perks Do Black Credit Cards Offer?

Whether you’re still learning how credit cards work or are experienced with credit, you likely know that different cards offer varying benefits, including rewards, travel and shopping credits, and more. The perks of a black credit card also differ depending on the type of black card.

For example, the AmEx Centurion Card, offers the following black card benefits:

•   VIP airport lounges. Access to AmEx’s Global Lounge Collection, including the coveted The Centurion Lounge.

•   Travel accommodation enhancements. Upgraded bookings and credits through AmEx’s Fine Hotels and Resorts and The Hotel Collection programs.

•   Airline loyalty status. Complimentary top-tier status through airline partner loyalty programs.

•   Unique experiences. Access to one-of-a-kind travel experiences around the world.

•   Travel inconvenience credit. Up to a $250 credit per traveler for carrier-related inconveniences, like cancellations, delays, and more.

•   Travel insurance. Up to $100,000 in travel medical assistance, and up to $1 million in travel accident insurance.

•   Rental car insurance. Up to $75,000 in car rental loss and damage insurance.

•   Lost baggage insurance. Up to $1,200 per trip for lost checked baggage.

•   Saks Fifth Avenue credit. Quarterly $250 shopping credit, up to $1,000 per year.

•   Equinox fitness club membership. Access to clubs in multiple countries.

•   Additional buying protection. Purchase protection, return protection, and extended warranty for goods purchased on the card.

•   Personalized support. Access to personal shoppers and 24/7 personal concierge service.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card?

Pros and Cons of Using a Black Card

As a card that’s not intended for the masses, the card’s pros and cons highly depend on which side of the eligibility spectrum you fall under. Here’s a closer look at black credit card benefits and drawbacks:

Pros of Using a Black Card Cons of Using a Black Card
No credit limit Accessible by invitation only
Status symbol High initiation and annual fees
Luxury perks High spending requirement
Tailored service experience High income requirement

Is a Black Credit Card Worth It?

With a reputation of having excessively high annual fees and high minimum spending criteria, an important credit card consideration for a black card is ensuring that you can afford it — that is, assuming you’ve received an invitation in the first place.

Weigh the black card benefits, and consider if you’d actually be using a credit cardin such a way that it would be worth it for your needs.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due?

The Takeaway

Black cards are reserved for elite customers who have demonstrated the ability to spend thousands of dollars and repay that amount with ease. If you’re an everyday consumer or it’s your first time getting a credit card, a flashy black card probably isn’t a practical credit card solution.

However, a card with solid perks can be a reliable daily option. The SoFi Credit Card lets you earn generous cash-back rewards points.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

What does it mean to have a black credit card?

Being invited as a black card member means that you’ve met the card issuer’s underwriting criteria in terms of having a high income, high net worth, high spending activity, and more. It’s perceived as being a card that’s only accessible to the ultra-wealthy and elite.

How much does a black credit card cost?

Black credit card fees vary between card products but often cost hundreds to thousands of dollars in annual fees each month. The AmEx Centurion Card, for example, has a $10,000 initiation fee and a $5,000 annual membership fee thereafter.

Are black credit cards actually black?

Generally, black credit cards are designed with a black color scheme. However, some elite private banking cards that fall into the exclusive black card circuit aren’t black. For example, the JP Morgan Reserve card is made of brass and palladium, and has a silver metal finish.

What is the difference between a black card and a platinum card?

The AmEx Platinum Card is more accessible to consumers than the AmEx Centurion Card, also dubbed the black credit card. Members who want to apply for a Platinum Card can do so on their own online, while the black card is offered by invitation only. The requirements and annual membership fees of both cards also vastly differ.


Photo credit: iStock/Lemon_tm

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Transferring Money from a Credit Card to a Debit Card

Transferring Money from a Credit Card to a Debit Card

If you need quick access to cash, you can get a short-term loan in the form of a money transfer or cash advance from a credit card. You can transfer money from a credit card to a debit card, and the process is a fairly straightforward and simple one. However, expect to get hit with a fee and interest charges. Plus, you’ll be on the hook for paying back the transferred amount.

Read on to learn how to transfer money from a credit card to debit card, what to consider when doing so, and the fees involved — as well as alternatives you might explore instead.

What Is a Money Transfer Credit Card?

As the name implies, a money transfer credit card is a card that allows you to move money from your credit card to a debit card or to your bank account.

Many credit card issuers allow you to make a credit card advance. As a cardholder, you can take out a certain amount of cash against your line of credit, which is what a credit card is. These cash advances usually come with fees.

Can You Transfer Money From a Credit Card to a Debit Card?

While it’s typically more common to transfer a cash advance from a credit card to a bank account, you can send money from a credit card to a debit card. You can make a money transfer to a debit card in your own name, or to another account holder, effectively allowing you to send money to your loved ones using a credit card.

The credit card process for how to transfer credit card money to a debit card is fairly similar to moving money from a credit card to a bank account. Usually, you’ll need to provide the following information:

•   Name on the card

•   Card number

•   Expiration date

•   Bank account number (in some cases)

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit?

Factors to Consider Before Transferring Money from a Credit Card

Before you transfer money from a credit card to a debit card, here are a few thing to mull over:

•   There are caps on a cash advance. Credit cards usually have a cap on a cash advance. The exact limit depends on the rules for a credit card set by the credit card issuer. For instance, it might be a set amount, such as $5,000, or it might be a percentage of your personal credit limit, such as 15%.

•   You might have to step foot inside a bank. If your credit card has a PIN, similar to a debit card, then you’ll be able to get a cash advance from an ATM. But if you want to do a proper money transfer from a credit card to your bank account or debit card, you might need to go to a brick-and-mortar location of a physical bank.

•   Cash advances could have an impact on your credit score. The good news is that cash advances don’t require a hard pull of your credit, which could hurt your score. However, taking out a cash advance can impact your credit by increasing your credit utilization ratio. That’s because carrying a higher balance ups your credit usage, which in turn can bring down your score.

•   You won’t earn rewards. While you’re using your credit card to tap into cash, you won’t earn any rewards or points. That’s because cash advances usually don’t earn rewards.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

How Much Does Transferring Money From a Credit Card Cost?

Nothing in life is free, and this includes money transfers from a credit card. Here are some costs that go into a credit card money transfer:

•   Cash advance fee: Just like with balance transfer credit cards, you’ll typically owe a fee to do a money transfer from a credit card to either your debit card or bank account. The fee varies depending on the card, and it might be a flat fee or a percentage of the amount of the advance. For instance, the fee might be $10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater.

•   Cash advance APR: The annual percentage rate (APR) for a cash advance is usually higher than the standard APR that comes with your card. We’re talking an average of 24%, which is 9% higher than the standard purchase APR. Additionally, with standard purchases on a credit card, you have a grace period between the end of the billing period and the date your payment is due. During that time, you won’t be charged interest. When you transfer money from a credit card to a debit card, however, there’s no grace period. That means you’ll be charged interest from the time you take a cash advance.

•   Late charges, if applicable: If you’re late on a payment, you’ll most likely get hit with a late fee.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card?

Is It Safe to Transfer Money From a Credit Card to a Debit Card?

For the most part, transferring money from a credit card to a debit card is pretty secure. Banks have built-in security features, so moving money between cards or to a bank account is generally considered safe.

Once you’ve sent your payment, you may want to check in with the intended recipient to ensure they received the funds in the credit card to debit card transfer.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due?

Alternatives to Transferring Money From a Credit Card to a Debit Card

Moving money from a credit card to a debit card is just one method of sending money. There are other ways you can tap into your credit card limit in the form of cash, including:

•   Writing a check: In lieu of getting that money transferred to your debit card, the credit card company might mail you a check. You can either use it as a personal check or to make a deposit into your bank account.

•   Pulling money from an ATM: If your credit card comes with a PIN, you can withdraw money via a cash advance.

•   Using a payment app: You can also use popular payment apps like PayPal or Square’s Cash App to send money to someone else with your credit. Once you’ve linked your card, you may have the option to send money to someone else. Keep in mind that you or the recipient will likely incur fees.

And, of course, the ideal path is to avoid taking out a cash advance entirely. If you’re in a pinch, you could also explore options like borrowing money from a friend or family member, taking out a low-interest personal loan, or dipping into your emergency fund. All of these alternatives will allow you to avoid the fees and interest charges that can accompany the transfer money from a credit card to a debit card.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

The Takeaway

A cash advance by way of transferring money from a credit card to a debit card could be a quick, easy way to access money. The trade-off is that you’ll be paying high interest charges and a fee. Before doing so, make sure it’s the right choice for you and your needs. Also, be careful not to take more cash than you need, as this will have an effect on your credit utilization.

Whether you're looking to build credit, apply for a new credit card, or save money with the cards you have, it's important to understand the options that are best for you. Learn more about credit cards by exploring this credit card guide.

FAQ

Can I transfer money from my credit card to my debit card without paying interest?

No, transferring money from your credit card to debit card comes with interest charges. The APR for a cash advance is typically higher than the standard APR on the card. Plus, you won’t get a grace period, so interest will begin accruing immediately.

Is it better to get a personal loan or transfer money from my credit card?

A personal loan is generally preferable to transferring money from a credit card. That’s because it’s possible to find no-fee personal loans, whereas cash advances generally carry fees. Plus, the interest rate on a personal loan is likely lower than the APR you’d be charged on a cash advance.

Can I withdraw cash using a credit card?

Yes, you can take out cash using a credit card as a cash advance. Mind the fees, rates, and fact that there’s no grace period on accruing interest before proceeding.


Photo credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

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All About Gas Credit Cards

All About Gas Credit Cards

For many people, gas and fuel purchases are one of the biggest parts of the monthly budget. So it’s no wonder that many people look for ways to save on gas. Gas credit cards can be one option to earn a rebate on gas purchases, either in the form of cash back or other types of credit card rewards.

There are many different types of gas credit cards, each with their own pros and cons. Some gas credit cards work only at one particular chain of gas stations, while others offer rewards no matter where you buy gas and may even give rewards on some non-fuel purchases. Understanding the different types of gas credit cards can help you choose the best gas credit card for your specific situation.

Recommended: Average Gas Prices by State

What Is a Gas Credit Card?

A gas credit card is a term that can refer to a number of different types of credit cards. One might be a standard credit card that earns bonus credit card points on all gas purchases. Another type of gas credit card is one that is co-branded with an actual gas station and gives rewards at that gas station. There are also gas credit cards that are designed more for companies with large fleets of vehicles.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

How Do Gas Credit Cards Work?

Gas credit cards work in much the same way that any other credit cards work. Most gas credit cards run on a major credit card processing network like Visa, Mastercard, or American Express. That means that even if you might think of it as a gas credit card, it can be used anywhere those types of cards are accepted.

Types of Gas Credit Cards

There are a few different types of gas credit cards put out by various credit card issuers. Here are a few of the most common types of cards to consider if you want to save money on gas.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card?

General-Purpose Gas Credit Cards

General-purpose gas credit cards are credit cards that earn rewards on a variety of different purchases. They may have gas as one possible bonus category, or they may earn the same high rewards rate on all purchases. The SoFi credit card is an example of a cash-back rewards credit card that allows you to earn cash back on all purchases, including at gas stations.

Gas Station Co-Branded Credit Cards

A gas station co-branded credit card is generally marketed and primarily branded for one particular gas station (BP, Shell, Marathon, etc.). These types of cards are often referred to as “co-branded” because they are branded with both a gas station brand and the brand of the bank that issues it. While these are also usually part of a major credit card processing network like Visa or Mastercard, the rewards they earn are typically targeted to the main “branded” gas station chain.

Fleet Gas Cards

A fleet gas card or fleet fuel card is a different type of gas credit card entirely, and is targeted more toward businesses that have to manage a large fleet of vehicles. A transportation manager can give fleet cards to individual employees, allowing them to pay for things like fuel, repairs, and maintenance without having to pay out of pocket and get reimbursed. The transportation manager can then track and account for all of the disparate charges centrally.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card?

How Different Types of Gas Cards Compare

If you’re choosing a rewards credit card, there are a few questions that you’ll want to ask yourself:

•   Ease of use: Is this a gas card that can only be used at one particular gas station, or can it be used anywhere?

•   Rewards: Does the reward structure of the card match up with your spending patterns?

•   Fees: What kind of fees does the card have? Avoiding credit card fees is an important part of choosing the right card.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Which Type of Gas Credit Card Is Right for You?

Trying to determine what’s the best credit card for gas for you? Here’s a look at who two of the most common types of gas credit cards may suit.

Who Gas Rewards Cards Are Best For

The following types of people might be best served by a general purpose credit card that happens to offer rewards on gas purchases:

•   Consumers who frequently shop at multiple different gas stations.

•   Infrequent travelers who spend much more in other categories than they do at gas stations.

•   People looking to maximize their credit card miles or cash back.

Who Gas Station Credit Cards Are Best For

These consumers might find that the best gas credit card for them is a gas station credit card:

•   Consumers who spend an above average amount at gas stations.

•   Travelers who frequently fill up at the same gas station chain every time.

•   Employees who are given a gas station credit card by their employer and are mandated to use it.

Are Gas Credit Cards Generally Worth It?

For many consumers, gas and fuel purchases are one of the biggest spending categories each month. Just like improving gas mileage, earning cash back or other credit card rewards can help offset some of your fuel cost each month. Just make sure to compare the different gas card options to find the best gas credit card for your situation.

The Takeaway

There are a variety of different cards that can be considered gas credit cards. Some gas credit cards are more general rewards credit cards that happen to give a bonus on gas purchases. Other gas station cards have rewards targeted to one particular gas station brand. Still other gas cards are used by companies with large fleets to help manage their transportation expenses.

One general purpose gas credit card is the SoFi credit card. You can earn cash-back rewards points on gas and all other purchases when you apply and are approved for a SoFi credit card.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Is there a credit card only for gas?

There are some gas credit cards that work only at specific gas stations and do not work for other purchases. Other gas cards are branded with a particular gas station’s color and branding (such as BP, Shell, or Marathon) but are still part of a major credit processing network (like Visa, Mastercard, or American Express). That means that you can use the card anywhere those networks are accepted.

What is the best fuel card to get?

The best fuel card to get is the one that maximizes the rewards based on your unique and specific spending patterns. If you always shop at the same gas station, you might be better off with a card that’s specific to that brand. If you shop at different gas stations or want to earn rewards on non-fuel purchases, you may want to consider a more generic rewards credit card that happens to also earn rewards on gas purchases.

Do gas cards help build credit?

Whether gas cards help build credit depends on specifically what kind of gas credit card it is. If it is a store-specific card that is not part of a major credit card processing network, it likely does not report purchases and credit history to the major credit bureaus. In that case, it likely will not help you build your credit history.


Photo credit: iStock/kckate16

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

SoFi cardholders earn 2% unlimited cash back rewards when redeemed to save, invest, a statement credit, or pay down eligible SoFi debt.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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What To Do if Someone Opened a Credit Card in Your Name

What To Do if Someone Opened a Credit Card in Your Name

Has someone opened a credit card in your name? While you might feel panicked and overwhelmed, it’s important to act fast. There are clear steps you can take to stop the fraudster in their tracks and avoid any harm to your credit score and bank account.

In this piece, we’ll outline:

•   How to find out if someone opened a credit card in your name

•   What to do when someone opens a credit card in your name

•   What to do if a family member commits identity theft

Finding Out That Someone Opened a Credit Card in Your Name

You won’t always immediately know that someone has stolen your identity. However, there are several ways to stay on top of potential identity theft and keep it from getting out of control.

Watch out for some of these common signs of credit card fraud:

•   Bills in the mail for an unfamiliar account in your name

•   Email or text notifications for a new account opening that you did not initiate

•   Notification that an account in your name has gone to a debt collections agency

•   Notification from an identity monitoring service or free credit monitoring service that a new account has been opened

•   Unfamiliar activity while reviewing your free credit report

•   An unexplained drop in your credit score

•   Credit application rejection because of a drop in your score

Recommended: Credit Card Scams You Should Know About

7 Steps to Take When Someone Opens a Credit Card in Your Name

“Someone opened a credit card in my name. What should I do?”

It’s a question you never want to have to ask — yet it can happen to anybody. In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 2.8 million fraud reports from consumers, though it’s likely that many more cases of fraud went unreported.

If your identity has been stolen, it’s important to take a breath but remain focused. Knowing what to do if someone applies for a credit card in your name allows you to act quickly. That’s why we’ve put together seven steps to take as soon as you realize someone has opened a credit card in your name.

1. Contact the Bank or Card Issuer

You may not be a customer of the specific financial institution where the credit card was opened, but that doesn’t mean you can’t call them. In fact, the first thing you should do is contact the credit card issuer’s fraud department and file a report. You can usually find the bank’s customer service information online.

The credit card issuer should be able to close the account during the fraud investigation. But if they won’t, you can ask them to freeze the account until the investigation is complete.

Just in case, it’s a good idea to change the username and password of major online accounts, including your email and online bank logins.

2. Report the Identity Theft to the FTC

The report you file with the credit card issuer is the first of many. Next, file an identity theft report with the FTC at IdentityTheft.gov . The FTC will create a recovery plan and issue you an Identity Theft Report, which you may need when working with the credit card issuer and credit bureaus. When you file the report online, you’ll even be able to access form letters to send to creditors about the fraud.

3. File a Police Report

The FTC also recommends filing a police report any time your identity is stolen. The police can provide you with a copy of the report, which may be helpful in closing new accounts, disputing fraudulent charges, and working with credit bureaus to repair your credit report.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card?

4. Consider a Fraud Alert or Credit Freeze

To further protect your identity, the FTC recommends that you place a free, one-year fraud alert on your credit report. You should only have to contact one of the three credit bureaus — Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax — and that bureau must coordinate with the other two. Such alerts ensure that lenders are more thorough in verifying your identity before awarding a line of credit in your name.

Victims of identity fraud can choose between two fraud alerts: initial and extended.

•   Initial fraud alerts last one year but don’t require evidence of identity theft.

•   Extended fraud alerts require the FTC Identity Theft Report and last for seven years. They also remove you from any credit card and insurance offers for the next five years.

You may also want to freeze your credit report with each of the three credit bureaus. To do so, you’ll need to contact each bureau independently. When you freeze your credit report, creditors won’t be able to access it unless you temporarily unfreeze it. This prevents fraudsters from opening credit in your name.

5. Check Your Credit Reports in Detail

As a consumer, you have access to a free credit report every year from AnnualCreditReport.com , and that increases to two a year if you have an extended fraud alert. Creating accounts with individual credit bureaus may also get you access to free credit reports.

It’s important to comb through your credit report upon becoming a victim of credit card fraud. Doing so allows you to identify any other fraudulent accounts or activity you may not yet be aware of.

6. Dispute Fraud with Credit Bureaus

To protect your credit score and remove fraudulent activity found in your report, you’ll need to contact the credit bureaus. You can dispute the fraud online with all three bureaus:

•   Dispute fraud at Experian

•   Dispute fraud at Equifax

•   Dispute fraud at TransUnion

You’ll need a valid copy of your FTC Identity Theft Report for this process, as well as proof of identity and a letter that details which information on the report is fraudulent. Credit bureaus can then work with creditors on any fraudulent account and block them from sending your information to debt collectors.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

7. Remove Charges and Close the Account

Some credit card issuers and banks will immediately remove false charges and close the fraudulent account when you contact them in step one. However, if they could not do that when you first filed, it’s a good idea to get back in touch with them now that you have reports from the FTC and local police.

At this point, you should be able to close the fraudulent account and remove any fraudulent charges.

Recommended: Changing the Name on Your Credit Card

What If a Relative Opens the Card in Your Name?

Because of their close proximity to personal information, family members can more easily commit identity fraud. While we’d like to think a loved one would never steal our identity, it does happen, especially to children and seniors.

In fact, nearly 73% of child identity fraud is committed by a friend or family member with access to the child’s information. Identity theft is also a form of elder abuse — and for that, 60% of the perpetrators are family members.

You now know what to do when someone opens a credit card in your name. But what about when it’s a family member you care about? While it’s ultimately your decision, you risk significant damage to your financial future by not taking action.

Not only will you be on the hook for any expenses in your name and damage done to your credit score, but you’ll also face other future barriers:

•   Your lower credit score may make it more difficult to rent an apartment, get utilities turned on, or find discounts on auto insurance.

•   You may have issues with government support, student loans, and even tax returns if the family member is using your identity in more than one way.

•   You could obtain a criminal record if the family member uses your identity when/if arrested. You also risk being complicit in a crime if you do not report the family member who is committing identity theft.

Ultimately, the steps are the same when reporting a friend or family member, whether it’s a spouse (or an ex), sibling, parent, child, or another relative. You may face one additional task — and that’s confronting the family member before filing your reports.

The Takeaway

Identity theft is a stressful experience and can have lasting effects on your credit and finances. When someone opens a credit card in your name, it’s crucial that you stay calm and act fast by filing reports with the credit card issuer, FTC, police, and credit bureaus. By taking swift action, you may be able to avoid long-term damage to your finances.

Whether you're looking to build credit, apply for a new credit card, or save money with the cards you have, it's important to understand the options that are best for you. Learn more about credit cards by exploring this credit card guide.

FAQ

What happens if someone applies for a credit card in your name?

If someone applies for a credit card in your name, it’s important to remain calm and act fast. You’ll need to file reports with the credit card issuer, FTC, local police, and credit bureaus. You may want to put fraud alerts and/or freezes on your credit report and work closely with the credit card issuer to remove any fraudulent charges and close the account.

How do I stop someone from opening a credit card in my name?

While identity theft can happen to anyone, you can make it more difficult for fraudsters to open a credit card in your name by freezing your credit report. You can also put a fraud alert on your account and use credit and identity monitoring services to get notifications about any suspicious activity. Reviewing your bills, bank activity, credit score, and credit report regularly are all helpful ways to detect fraud.

Can someone open a credit card with my Social Security number?

It is possible for a person to use your Social Security number to open a credit card in your name. Thus, keeping your Social Security number private and secure is important for protecting your identity.


Photo credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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