I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, and other banks are advertising partners of this site. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
Reader Joey M. pointed out to me that Credit Karma has a lot of data that it makes available about its member base. They know what cards members have, and what their credit scores are, and that allows us to get a window into what sorts of credit profiles are necessary to be approved for various credit cards.
Many factors go into whether or not you’re approved for a card. Credit score is only one of them, although your credit score can be worth millions of miles. Although this game is not for you if you don’t pay off your cards in full each month, or if having more cards mean you spend more.
What surprised me though is that many cards were being approved for consumers with much lower credit scores than I would have expected.
Credit Karma carries information on the average (mean) credit score for those approved for the card through their site, and the ‘typical’ typical lowest credit score (the bottom 5th percentile) among those approved through Credit Karma. I found the data fascinating.
The data here is what was shown on that site on February 6, 2015.
- I was surprised that the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which I think of as a pretty premium card, was so accessible (although good credit certainly required, it didn’t seem to require the very top credit): 728 average score and 641 typical low approval.. This is the card I believe to be the single best personal rewards card on the market — with a great signup bonus, fast earning, valuable points, and strong benefits.
- The Platinum Card from American Express shows only 715 average credit score for folks approved for the card. 643 credit scores are approved (their ‘typical low’). I would have seen this card as requiring higher credit, but wonder if the fact that there’s no formal credit line being approved (it’s a charge card not a credit card) that actually makes it easier to get than I would have expected.
- The Delta Skymiles Credit Card from American Express has an average credit score under 700: 699 – for approvals among Credit Karma users, and 613 as the typical low credit approval score.
- You can join the 40,000+ people who see these deals and analysis every day — sign up to receive posts by email (just one e-mail per day) or subscribe to the RSS feed. It’s free. You can also follow me on Twitter for the latest deals. Don’t miss out!
Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.