How to Get Loan or Mortgage Pre-Approval Without a Hard Credit Check

Updated on October 12, 2023
At a Glance: Loan pre-approval is the process of applying for a loan and providing necessary documents to a lender to determine your eligibility and the loan amount you may qualify for. It is not an actual loan approval but gives you confidence in shopping for items within your affordability. Pre-approval involves sharing relevant information, a soft credit check, and receiving an offer from the lender. It is different from pre-qualification, does not require a hard inquiry, and can be obtained from online lenders like Stilt without affecting your credit score. Once pre-approved, you can choose to accept or decline the loan offer and proceed with the loan application and repayment process.

Getting a loan is sometimes necessary when you want to make a big investment. Let’s say you want to start shopping for a new car or a house. It would be heartbreaking to find out later that you won’t be approved for a loan. And if you don’t find a way to pay soon, then you might just lose the opportunity.

Thankfully, there is such a thing as loan pre-approval—which means you can get the information about if you’re approved and how much of a loan or mortgage you’re approved for before going through the full application process.

This guide goes over everything you need to know about how to get pre-approved for a mortgage or loan without a hard credit check.

What is Loan Pre-Approval?

From the name of it, you might think it’s an actual approval for a loan. However, while it might be very close to that, it’s not actually an approval.

Simply put, when you wish to get pre-approval for a loan, you send an application to the lender with the necessary documents. They will then let you know if you are likely to be eligible for a loan or not, and if so, how much.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage or other type of loan allows you to shop in confidence knowing how much you can afford.

How Loan Pre-Approval Works

Once the application has been submitted, the lender will review your data: income, credit, and other relevant factors.

Based on that review, they will tell you what your options are when it comes to getting a loan or mortgage. You will find out exactly how much you can borrow from a particular lender, what the terms and rates would be, and so on.

Benefits of Getting Pre-Approved for a Loan or Mortgage

Through pre-approval, you can quickly find out if you are eligible for a loan—without going through the full application process or actually taking out the loan.

This can also prove advantageous if you decide not to purchase the home, car, or whatever else you need the loan for. When it comes to a new home, for example, if someone buys it before you, you won’t find yourself with a loan that you have no idea what to do with.

When you get pre-approved, it is not necessary to also borrow the money. You just get your facts straight. If you get another attractive offer from a different lender, you are free to make your choice between them, as there are no obligations.

Just be sure to disclose the true value of what you are intending to buy. This way, the chances of the loan falling through will be much smaller.

What Is the Difference Between Pre-Approval and Pre-Qualification?

Technically speaking, there are hardly any differences between pre-approval and pre-qualificationparticularly when it comes to personal loans. Depending on the lender, the term may even be used interchangeably.

Pre-approval is generally associated with large loans, such as a mortgage. You may even opt for a credit card that has been pre-approved by your bank or the one who has issued the loan.

How Long Does the Pre-Approval Process Take?

The pre-qualification process can last a few hours—or it may be done within just a few minutes. It mostly depends on the availability of the staff—particularly if you choose to do it online.

If you get pre-approved, you will be guided through the final process—the actual loan application. This is where you submit the documents necessary to confirm the pre-qualification information you have previously given.

How Does Mortgage or Personal Loan Pre-Approval Work?

Getting your loan pre-approved is one of the preliminary steps necessary to get the funding you need for your purposes—regardless of what they may be. It provides the lender with a review of how creditworthy you are—and ends with the average offer you’re eligible to receive.

Bear in mind that getting pre-approved does not necessarily mean you will get the loan in the last stage. Sometimes, that may depend on the lender, but other times, it may depend on you. Here are the steps that generally involve pre-approval.

1) Application

The first step of the pre-approval process is sharing the information that your lender may deem relevant.

Your income and occupation are necessary to get a loan offer, but you will also have to make them aware of any existing debt you may have.

While online lenders may not be as strict as banks, too much debt might actually cause your application to be denied.

2) Soft Credit Check

Regardless of the type of lender, they will have to perform a soft credit check. Your credit history and credit score will be checked to determine whether you are a risky borrower or not.

This may be a pre-approval without a hard inquiry, but if your credit score is extremely poor, then the chances of you getting pre-approved can be very slim.

And even if you do receive the loan, the interest rate might be very high.

3) Approval or Denial

The lender can deny or they can grant you a pre-approval. If things go smoothly and you get pre-approved, then at that point you will receive some information on the loan you are eligible to receive. You will be given an offer for the loan amount, as well as the rate of the loan.

4) Acceptance

If you’ve been pre-approved and given an offer, this does not also mean that you have to take it. You may accept, or you may decline the offer—depending on your requirements.

However, if you accept, then you will have to continue with the process and follow up with more necessary documents.

Hard Inquiries: What Are They?

If you wish to go for loan or mortgage pre-approval without a hard inquiry, you need to know precisely the types of inquiries out there.

Hard inquiries (also called “hard checks”) are exactly what make the borrowing process more difficult—as this “hard pull” literally pulls out a full credit report.

Since hard credit checks are so extensive, your credit score will be negatively affected. In addition, too many hard checks in the past few years can be a red flag to lenders.

If your credit history or score has a dark spot on it, a hard inquiry will uncover it which may lead to your request being denied.

What Are the Differences Between a Hard Inquiry & Soft Inquiry?

There is a very significant difference between soft inquiries and hard inquiries.

A hard inquiry is used when someone applies for a loan or a credit card—pulling out a full report so that the lender gets all the data they need. Hard inquiries also show up on your credit report. So, if you apply for multiple loans or get rejected, the next lender will be able to see that you have not been approved.

A soft inquiry, on the other hand, is a less extensive report that doesn’t affect your credit score or show up on your credit report. Ideally, you would find a lender that offers mortgage or other loan pre-approval without a hard check so your credit score does not get affected it.

5 Best Personal Loans With No Hard Inquiry

Hard inquiries are one of the least attractive parts of applying for loans. Your credit score takes a hit and you still might not be approved. Luckily, some lenders offer soft credit inquiries on applications, keeping your credit score regardless of whether you get approved or not. Below, we’ll discuss our picks for the five best soft credit inquiry personal loans, but here there are at a glance:

Read on to learn about each of these lenders and why we picked them. 

  1. AmOne (Best for Good to Okay Credit)
  2. Spring Loans (Best for Bad Credit)
  3. First Premier Lending (Best for Bad Credit)
  4. Upgrade (Best for Good Credit)
  5. Avant (Best for Okay Credit)

1. AmOne (Best for Good to Okay Credit)

AmOne’s platform specializes in efficiently matching borrowers with suitable lenders. For individuals cautious about hard inquiries, AmOne can connect them with options that offer pre-approvals without affecting their credit score, allowing them to gauge potential offers risk-free.

AmOne Personal Loan

Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score


Fixed APR


Variable APR



  • Minimum credit score: 600.
  • Fixed APR: 3.99%-35.99%.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000.
  • Repayment: 1 to 7 years.


  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • While there’s no specific income requirement, a consistent source of income is essential for the applicant.


  • Suitable for individuals with lower credit scores.
  • No cost for the matching service.
  • Attractive loan rates.


  • Acts as an intermediary, not a direct lender.
  • Risk of multiple contacts from prospective lenders.
  • Lack of clarity on lender details.

2. Spring Loans (Best for Bad Credit)

Spring Loans emphasizes flexibility and borrower convenience. They offer a range of lending solutions, and their pre-approval process is designed to give potential borrowers insights into possible loan offers without initiating a hard credit pull, ensuring their credit remains untouched during the preliminary stages.

Spring Loans Personal Loan

Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score


Fixed APR


Variable APR



  • Minimum credit score: None.
  • Fixed APR: 27.00%
  • Loan amounts: $3,000.
  • Repayment: 48 months.


  • Demonstrate a recurrent income.
  • Minimum age prerequisite: 18 years.
  • Validate U.S. citizenship status with an SSN.
  • Provide a legitimate U.S. driver’s license or a state identity card.
  • Establish a functional bank account for incoming deposits.
  • Adhere to any specific demands by the loan provider.


  • Open to applicants with any credit background.
  • Four-year loan period aids in structured financial management.
  • The $3,000 offer addresses several short-term financial challenges.
  • Wide-reaching eligibility criteria invite a broad spectrum of applicants.
  • The focus on dependable income over job title benefits varied income sources.


  • The set 27% APR is higher than many alternatives.
  • Restriction to a $3,000 loan might not cover all financial outlays.
  • Possessing specific IDs is mandatory, sidelining some applicants.
  • A prerequisite for an ongoing bank account may limit certain users.

3. First Premier Lending (Best for Bad Credit)

First Premier Lending understands the importance of credit health for its borrowers. Their approach to pre-approvals is tailored to provide initial loan insights without a hard inquiry, allowing potential borrowers to explore their offerings without immediate repercussions on their credit score.

First Premier Lending Personal Loan

Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score


Fixed APR


Variable APR



  • Minimum credit score: None.
  • Fixed APR: 27.00%.
  • Loan amounts: $3,000.
  • Repayment: 48 months.


  • Maintain a consistent source of income.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Possess valid U.S. citizenship and a legitimate social security number.
  • Hold a current U.S. driver’s license or state-issued ID.
  • Keep an active bank account for direct deposit.
  • Satisfy any lender-specific criteria, such as credit rating, borrowing history, or place of residence.


  • No minimum credit score requirement allows accessibility for those with varied credit histories.
  • 48-month term provides clarity and allows for long-term financial planning.
  • Specific loan amount of $3,000 can meet many short-term financial needs.
  • Broad set of qualifications make the loan accessible to a wide range of people.
  • Emphasis on consistent income, not necessarily employment type, allows flexibility for borrowers.


  • A fixed APR of 27% is relatively high.
  • Loan amount is capped at $3,000, which might not cater to larger financial requirements.
  • Requirement of a U.S. driver’s license or state-issued ID could exclude some individuals.
  • Mandatory active bank account could be limiting for those who are unbanked.

4. Upgrade (Best for Good Credit)

Upgrade is dedicated to transparent and accessible lending. Their pre-approval process is structured to provide potential borrowers a clear picture of their eligibility and possible loan terms without the need for a hard credit inquiry, emphasizing a customer-centric approach.

Upgrade Personal Loan

Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score


Fixed APR

8.49% - 35.99%

Variable APR



  • Minimum credit score: 560
  • Fixed APR: 8.49% – 35.99%
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Repayment: 3 to 5 years (7 years on some larger loans)


  • Possess an active bank account.
  • Able to provide a legitimate email address.
  • Minimum age requirement: 18 years (19 for Alabama residents).
  • Credit score of 600 or higher.
  • Annual income of $25,000 or more.


  • Willing to accommodate borrowers with a credit score as low as 560.
  • Offers flexibility with a range of loan amounts from $1,000 to $50,000. This can be suitable for both small and large financial needs.
  • Provides options for repayment, allowing borrowers to choose a timeline that best suits their financial situation.
  • Once approved, borrowers can access funds in just one day, which is useful for urgent financial needs.


  • Origination fees can go as high as 9.99%, which might add a significant cost to the loan.
  • Apart from the origination fee, there are fees for late payments and failed payments, which can add up if one is not careful.
  • While there is an option to extend repayment for larger loans up to 7 years, it’s not standard for all loan amounts.

5. Avant (Best for Okay Credit)

Avant offers a seamless and straightforward pre-approval process. Recognizing the importance of maintaining credit health, Avant allows potential borrowers to check their loan eligibility and terms without a hard credit pull, fostering trust and ensuring a non-invasive preliminary experience.

Avant Personal Personal Loan

Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score


Fixed APR


Variable APR



  • Minimum credit score: 550.
  • Fixed APR: 9.95-35.99%.
  • Loan amounts: $2,000-$35,000.
  • Repayment: 1 to 5 years..


  • Strong credit and income may secure lower rates, but not mandatory.
  • Must possess a bank account in good standing under your name.
  • A valid Social Security number is required.
  • Bankruptcy should not be active.
  • Minimum credit score of 550; using FICO score version 8 and VantageScore version 3.
  • Minimum monthly net income: $1,200 from various sources including employment, alimony, retirement, child support, and Social Security payments.


  • A dedicated mobile app is available for loan management.
  • Offers a diverse selection of repayment terms.
  • Customer service is accessible seven days a week.


  • An origination fee might be applicable.
  • They don’t offer co-signed, joint, or secured loan options.
  • Direct payments to creditors aren’t available for debt consolidation loans.

Read More

Final Thoughts on Getting Pre-Approved Without a Hard Credit Check

Loan pre-approval without a hard check is a great option if you are still shopping around for lenders and you do not wish for every loan request to show up on your credit score.

This way, you will be able to see your options without any risks—therefore increasing your chances of getting your best loan approved.

You can try Stilt for pre-approval without a hard inquiry. The process is simple, and regardless of your status or credit score, the chances of you being accepted are high.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.