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What are Instant Approval Credit Cards? Is an Instant Decision a Reality?
When applying for a credit card, you often expect to get an approval decision in a couple of minutes. Instant approval credit cards can be a great help in an emergency or to cover unexpected purchases.
They are becoming a rare find today - even applicants with an excellent credit score often have their application delayed. This can be especially true for customers with many opened credit card accounts – it takes time for a bank to make the final decision.
If you need a credit card today, jump on our recommendations below.
Unsecured Instant Credit Cards
Here is our favorite instant approval credit card for bad credit with no deposit:
Checking Account Required
Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
A genuine Visa credit card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
Manageable monthly payments
$300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
When You Need a Card Fast
Sometimes, you might need an instant credit decision for a purchase or an important payment.
In that situation, you will be better off with one of the 'instant approval and use' credit cards:
When you Need a Guaranteed Credit Card
If you are looking for a card with 'guaranteed approval' or an 'easy approval' card offer, your options are limited to:
The only type of credit cards with no credit check are prepaid cards. Almost anybody can apply and get a guaranteed credit card. Well, it is not a credit card technically but a prepaid card. The problem with prepaid is that you do not get credit – you are still using your own money on the card.
You can check our prepaid cards section with the selection of cards that are at least better than the average.
Some of the best prepaid options are:
Secured cards have much lower application requirements than unsecured credit cards but require a security deposit. Your deposit is held in the event you don't make your payments, but in the meantime you get a credit card with a limit that matches your security deposit.
Secured cards often report to credit bureaus which can help you build your credit. See the best secured car options below:
Instant Approval Store or Gas Credit Cards
If you need the card for a particular purchase, the fastest way to get instant credit is to get a store credit card. Most department stores will happily offer you one, run the application immediately, and print a slip that you can use for in-store purchases instantly.
For example, if you apply for a Walmart credit card in-store and get approved, you will receive a Temporary Shopping Pass to use within 24 hours at the same store.
If you apply for the same card online, you can shop at Walmart.com right after approval.
Some of the instant store card examples are:
- Walmart card
- Target red card
- Costco card
- Sam’s Club Discover
- PayPal Buyer Credit
- Gap Card,
- Old Navy Card
- American Eagle Card
- Sears card
- Macy's credit card
For online shopping, nothing compares to an Amazon Rewards card.
Gas station cards work the same way – you can apply for a gas card at one of the gas stations and use it for gas at that particular chain of gas stations.
How Long it Takes to Get a Card?
First initial ‘conditional approval’ can be almost instant if you have at least a good FICO score and not many credit accounts opened.
It helps if the bank has an online tool to check if you are pre-approved for a card. This option can help to check if you are be pre-qualified for an offer by checking basic information such as your age, income level, and address.
Otherwise, regardless of what banks say about their approval process, you usually will not get your card delivered before 1-2 weeks after your application.
How to Speed up Your Application
Of course, if you have excellent credit and a flawless credit history, some banks will process your application fast and will be ready to hand you the card as quickly as possible. Nevertheless, the card still needs at least 5-7 days to arrive in your mail. There are several tips for speeding up the process.
Keep it simple
Apply for the plain vanilla card, like Citi Simplicity, instead of the high-end rewards offers.
Call the bank
You can always call the bank line right after your application if you get an instant approval decision or not. Ask the clerk about your application. It always helps to be polite, cool, and easy; avoid appearing desperate.
If the bank asks you why you want a card, it is wise not to mention sign up bonus or incentives. Find a reason that’s less costly for the bank – say you‘re going to travel soon and would like to have a card with no foreign transaction fee (if that’s the case indeed).
Check expedited shipping option
Ask for expedited overnight shipping. If such an option is available, take advantage of it and get your card quickly. However, this can cost anywhere from $0-$30 extra.
Use card benefits before the card arrives
Some card benefits are accessible before you get the physical plastic in your hands. For example, you may be able to transfer a balance or take advantage of the card's additional benefits, like hotel or airline perks.
No Credit Check Cards
If you were turned down by unsecured and secured cards, there are cards that do not perform credit checks, both of them secured.
Many great credit cards offer a quick credit decision and there are several delivery options to get your card fast (including using a virtual card for online shopping in the meantime). Often, you can find a more balanced offer if you take your time and do a better research. See some truly instant approval credit card options in our summary below.
Here are 2018's best instant approval credit cards picked by our editors
|building credit||Total Visa® Card||unsecured credit card to rebuild bad credit||program fees|
|shopping, online payments||PayPal Prepaid Card||
no credit check, connected to your PayPal account, free PIN and
|$4.95 monthly fee|
|American Express Serve®||no credit check, 1% cashback, free ATM withdrawals||$5.95 monthly fee|
|store credit||Walmart credit card||
3% off at Walmart.com, 2% at participating gas stations, 1%. Up to $50
bonus. Instant approval
|accepted only at Walmart|
|store credit||J.C. Penney credit card||instant approval, no annual fee, up to 15% off||accepted only at J.C. Penney, Sephora, CVS, and Rite Aid|
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