When applying for a credit card, you often expect to get an approval decision in between 60 seconds and a couple of minutes. However, even applicants with an excellent credit score often have their applications 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 are looking to get a credit card asap, read our recommendations below.
In another scenario, 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:
If you are looking for a card with 'guaranteed approval' or an 'easy approval' card offer, your options are limited to:
Many great credit cards offer a quick credit decision and there are several delivery options to get your card as soon as possible (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.
|1||Emporium Card||store/catalog||$5,000 limit||not building credit|
|2||Total Visa® Card||unsecured for bad credit||real credit card to rebuild bad credit||processing fees|
no credit check, connected to your PayPal account, free PIN and
|$4.95 monthly fee|
|4||AmEx Serve||prepaid||no credit check, 1% cashback, free ATM withdrawals||$5.95 monthly fee|
|5||Walmart credit card||store credit||
3% off at Walmart.com, 2% at participating gas stations, 1%. Up to $50
bonus. Instant approval
|accepted only at Walmart|
|6||J.C. Penney credit card||store credit||instant approval, no annual fee, up to 15% off||Accepted only at J.C. Penney, Sephora, CVS, and Rite Aid|
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:
$25 annual fee
$0 first-year fee
reports to credit agencies
24 days grace period
unsecured card offer after 12 months
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:
For online shopping, nothing compares to an Amazon Rewards card.
no annual fee
3% back on Amazon
2% back on gas, dining and drugstores
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.
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.
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.
Apply for the plain vanilla card, like Barclaycard Arrival or Citi Simplicity, instead of the high-end rewards offers.
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).
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.
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.
If you were turned down by unsecured and secured cards, there are cards that do not perform credit checks, both of them secured.