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Best Soft Pull Credit Cards of 2020

Looking to repair your credit with a new card but are wary of the impact on your credit score? A soft pull credit card does just the trick to boost your score and avoid any initial negative impacts. Here are some of the best soft pull credit cards of 2020.

What is a “Soft Pull?”

A “soft pull” is a form of credit check where a bank or card issuer pulls basic information from an applicant’s credit report without doing a deep dive. Soft pulls, also known as “soft inquiries” or a “soft credit check”, can occur without an applicant’s authorization (which is not required) and do not include a full look into a person’s credit reports.

Soft credit pulls occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Checking your credit score via an online app, like Credit Karma
  • Employment checks before starting a new job
  • Credit card issuers checking for pre-approval offers
  • Mortgage or loan pre-approval

Hard Pulls vs. Soft Pulls

  • The bank must get your consent first
  • Can impact your credit score
  • Lenders can see your entire available credit history
  • No prior consent needed
  • No credit score impact
  • Lenders can see basic information, such as late payments or credit utilization

Because a hard inquiry allows a lender to view your full credit report, these types of pulls lower your credit score in the short term. Hard inquiries will nudge your credit score down for several months and remain on your credit report for two years.

The total number of hard inquiries on your credit report is one of the factors lenders consider when reviewing applications for new credit.  Too many inquiries may indicate you are under financial strain and need more credit to manage your existing debts. This indication, in turn, can lead to a greater chance of applications being rejected.

Benefits of a Soft Pull Credit Card

Because a soft pull has no impact on your credit score, it is preferable to hard inquiries. Those with low credit scores can especially benefit from credit cards that only require a soft pull, since it may give them better chances of receiving new credit.

Getting a soft pull credit card allows those with sub-prime (or deep sub-prime) credit to gain access to new credit, improve their payment history, and decrease their credit utilization – all without the short-term impact of a credit check.

The Best Soft Pull Credit Cards of 2020

Here are our top soft credit pull / inquiry credit cards for 2020:

OpenSky Secured Visa

There are plenty of credit cards on the market for people with bad credit or no credit. One of the more popular options, however, is the OpenSky Secured Visa. Perhaps the best reason to consider adding the OpenSky Visa credit card to your wallet is that it requires no credit check. The application process with the OpenSky Secured Visa is straightforward and takes just a few minutes. Decisions are equally quick, making the entire process as painless as possible.

Part of repairing damaged credit is learning the skills to use credit properly. OpenSky is excellent in this aspect, as it provides cardholders with free access to a credit knowledge base. The OpenSky credit education hub offers a range of articles on building credit. These topics include how to receive a free copy of your credit score, how credit scores are calculated, tips on boosting credit, and other advice that relate specifically to the OpenSky card.

Other reasons why the OpenSky is among the best soft credit check cards on the market today include the relatively low minimum deposit required, regular reporting to the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), and the global purchasing power of the Visa payment network.

Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Preferred Card

The Applied Bank Visa Gold is another excellent secured card that does not require a hard inquiry to receive. Like the OpenSky, Applied Bank offers a quick and easy application process, a decision in minutes, and regular reporting to the three major credit reporting bureaus.

Where the Applied Bank Visa Gold Preferred differs, however, is in its impressive regular APR and potentially high credit limits.

The Applied Bank Visa Gold preferred features a fixed-rate APR of just 9.99% on purchases and cash advances. This interest rate is among the lowest in the market, comparable to the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard. This impressive APR makes carrying a balance with the Applied Bank secured card very cost-effective.

The second benefit of the Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Preferred is the generous credit limits. The card’s minimum deposit is $200, which is on par with many other secured card offers. Those looking to boost their overall credit and lower their credit utilization quickly, however, can raise their credit line to $5,000 through an additional deposit.

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card

The Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card from First Progress is an excellent secured credit card option for those who want a great rate while building their credit. The Platinum Prestige offers the same low APR as the Applied Bank Card, with a reasonable annual fee of just $49.

While the Platinum prestige does not feature the same cash advance APR of the Applied Bank Gold Preferred, it does offer Mastercard features, which both the Applied Bank and OpenSky cards lack. Mastercard offers ID Theft Protection, which monitors a cardholder’s credit bureau files from all the major credit bureaus for changes. It also sends instant alert notifications on suspicious activity, and offers white-glove ID theft resolutions service. Visa does not provide this service.

Beyond the unique Mastercard features and protections, the First Progress Secured Card offers the same regular reporting to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, the same reasonable minimum deposit requirement, and the ability to build or repair credit with on-time payments.

Honorable Mentions

Looking for more soft inquiry credit card options to consider? Here are two cards that just missed out on our top spots:

first progress select

First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

The very reasonable APR and annual fee make this card perfect for those who plan on paying their bills fully each month but want the versatility to carry a balance if needed. The Platinum Select is a well-rounded secured card that appeals to anyone who wants to repair their credit.

assent platinum mastercard secured

Assent Platinum 0% Intro Rate Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

While the Assent Platinum Mastercard has a slightly higher interest rate than the First Progress Prestige and Applied Bank Gold Preferred cards, it is also one of the only secured credit cards that feature a 0% introductory APR on purchases.

Featured image by Sarah Pflug from Burst

About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident rewards expert, covering all facets of the points game – especially travel, hotels, and airlines. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.