The credit score you need for popular rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture

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It’s good to know the credit score you’ll need to get approved for a credit card before you apply.
Popular credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card generally require a minimum credit score in the high 600s.
Credit score guidelines vary by card, but the issuer will always make the final approval decision.
Read Insider’s guide to the best rewards credit cards.

If you have your eye on valuable travel rewards credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express, you might be wondering whether your credit score is sufficient for an approval.

It’s a good question — after all, the most popular credit cards are aimed at those with a robust credit history.

Not all rewards credit cards require a high credit score, however. Every card issuer has its own underwriting criteria, which aren’t based strictly on credit score. Other factors can include employment, income, and any existing relationship with the bank.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

What credit card issuers look at in your application

No bank publicizes its underwriting criteria (in fact, banks consider this a trade secret). But because consumers freely report their experiences applying for credit cards via online forums such as myFICO, you can find hundreds of anecdotal data points.

Underwriting criteria for the banks can change at any time, and general criteria may not apply to your specific situation. For example, it’s not unusual for banks to tighten lending requirements in a slowing economy, or to have more stringent lending criteria for people working in historically volatile industries. Remember that the bank is ultimately making a calculation about how risky of a borrower you are.

How to determine what credit score you’ll need to open a credit card

You won’t find one definitive answer as to the exact credit score you need to open a given credit card — athough some issuers will at least provide a credit range that offers the best chance for approval. Here are the five credit score categories, according to FICO:

Poor: 300-579Fair: 580-669Good: 670-739Very good: 740-799Excellent: 800-850

If you have a limited credit history, you might need to start smaller with a secured credit card or an option aimed at those new to credit.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Credit score of successful applicants, as reported on Credit Karma: Mid 600s to 850

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is widely considered the greatest starter travel credit card. It comes with excellent travel insurance benefits and a higher sign-up bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a minimum $5,000 credit line. Although a credit score of 700 or above is typical for successful applicants, even college students with limited credit history and income from a part-time job have been approved for this card.

You must fall under the strict Chase 5/24 requirements to obtain this card — meaning you can’t have opened more than five new credit card accounts in the last 24 months (excluding certain small business cards). Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred review here.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Credit score of successful applicants, as reported on Credit Karma: High 600s to 850

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a Visa Infinite card with a credit line minimum of $10,000. Its bonus is currently Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

To have the best shot at an approval, you’ll need an excellent credit score (typically above 720) to qualify for this card, and possibly higher income than cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You also abide by the Chase 5/24 rule.

If you’re concerned that you may not be approved for this card, you can apply with a Chase banker in-branch who can work to understand your personal financial situation and advocate for you with underwriting.

Alternately, you can apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (which is easier to get) and ask to upgrade after the first year. If you have other Chase credit cards, you can reallocate your credit lines to your Sapphire Preferred for the $10,000 minimum credit line you need.

Read our Chase Sapphire Reserve review here.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Credit score of successful applicants, as reported on Credit Karma: High 600s to 850

Capital One makes its underwriting criteria clearer than most issuers, with detailed information on credit quality required to open its cards. “Credit quality” is stipulated because the bank isn’t looking just at your credit score. It concentrates on how you’ve used your credit.

Capital One says you’ll need excellent credit to be approved for the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. This card is offering Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

To Capital One, “excellent” credit means:

You’ve never declared bankruptcy or defaulted on a loanYou haven’t been more than 60 days late on any credit card, medical bill, or loan in the last yearYou’ve had a loan or credit card for three years or more with a credit limit above $5,000

Since Capital One spells its requirements out clearly, don’t apply unless you meet them. Read our Capital One Venture review here.

Read Insider’s latest points and miles valuations to find out what your airline miles, hotel points, and credit card rewards are worth.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Credit score of successful applicants, as reported on Credit Karma: High 600s to 850

Platinum Card® from American Express is perhaps the most premium mainstream card on the market. Its annual fee is a whopping The Platinum Card® from American ExpressThe Platinum Card® from American Express – Rates & Fees, signaling that it’s not a card for those just starting out in the world of credit. It offers The Platinum Card® from American Express.

While cardmembers have been anecdotally approved for this card with credit scores under 700, realize that this card is a long shot without excellent credit. Additionally, if your score is in the 600s, you may want to prove to yourself that you can handle credit responsibly before opening a pricey card like the Amex Platinum. Read our Amex Platinum review here.

Bottom line

It’s possible to be approved for some of the best cards in the credit card world with a credit score in the high 600s. However, we don’t recommend that you dive into rewards credit cards until your score is at least 700. This will give you the best shot of being approved — so you won’t waste hard credit inquiries (which temporarily lower your credit score) on unsuccessful attempts.

Once you’ve got a credit score above 700, check out our guide to the best rewards credit cards to see which one best fits your lifestyle.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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