How can I be pre-approved for a credit card, if they now need my social security number, my total annual income, my employer, date of birth, mother's maiden name, and the phone number of my nearest relative?
When a pre-approved credit card offer arrives in the mail, most people don't think twice and send in their "pre-approved" application form, properly filled out. But, if one was "pre-approved" there would be no need to fill out a form. In reality, the offer is a gimmick used by credit card companies to get people to apply for a card with less favorable terms.
There are only two outcomes of credit card applications, either you're approved or you're not. Technically, you've been pre-approved for a credit card since the day you were born. Companies receive a list of all people who fit a certain criteria specified from credit bureaus. The company then sends the "pre-approved" offers with enticing terms. When you send in this application, the company then runs another credit check. The re-adjusted terms after, and if, you're approved will, in most cases, be radically different.
By shopping around for credit cards, one has a much greater chance of a better deal than the "pre-approved" offer in the mail.