Applying for a new credit card is typically a process that takes quite some time to finish. If you have a big purchase ahead that you cannot afford to pay for in cash, for example, you probably don’t have time to wait for 7 to 10 business days to find out whether you’ve been approved or not, and then wait an additional two weeks to actually receive your credit card and start using it.
In situations where you simply don’t have time to wait, instant decision credit cards might be your solution. Many banks and credit card issuers offer instant decision credit cards that you can easily apply online.
It typically won’t take more than a couple of minutes to find out whether you will be approved for a card or not, and it will make the whole application process much easier.
It’s not wise, however, to simply apply for an instant decision credit card before you know exactly what they are. So, let’s have a closer look at these credit cards to help you figure out whether they’re a good financial decision for you.
Overview of Instant Decision Cards
Instant decision credit cards are offered by most credit card issuers and can be applied for online. They’re also sometimes known as aka instant approval cards and are a good choice for those who want to know immediately whether their application will be approved or not.
When applying for this type of credit card, typically you will receive a notification informing you about the success of your application within just two minutes. Your application depends on your FICO score and is processed by computer algorithms instead of by a human agent.
If you have an excellent or good score, you are likely to get approved, but with a poor score, it tends to get more difficult. Since you cannot explain the circumstances of your current financial situation or provide any additional details to the computer, chances are higher that your application will be denied.
There are three possible outcomes with instant decision cards. You can get:
- Referred on for closer examination
If you get accepted, you will need to sign an agreement before you can get your card. Depending on the issuer, this can be done online, or you might have to wait for the proper paperwork to be sent to you.
If you get rejected, you might or might not be contacted by the issuer who will explain why your application was not successful.
Referred for a closer examination
And finally, if you’re referred on for further examination, you will most likely be contacted by the credit card issuer and be asked to provide some additional information.
If you don’t get an immediate answer after your application, it’s likely that your application is still being examined, but you should contact the issuer just in case.
These cards are convenient, but this shouldn’t be the most important factor that you take into consideration before getting your card.
Instant Decision vs Guaranteed Approval
As mentioned, instant decision are also known as instant approval cards, too, but this name tends to be misleading, and many applicants confuse them with the guaranteed approval cards. The two are quite different and typically have different approval criteria.
Instant decision cards are usually regular cards that require you to have a higher credit score. Although you’ll be notified about your application status almost immediately, that doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely be approved.
Guaranteed or aka 100% approval cards are a bit different. They function the same way as every other credit card, but the requirements to get them are usually lower, so even if you don’t have an excellent credit score, you might still be approved for these credit cards.
Keep in mind, however, that even though their name might suggest otherwise, guaranteed approval offers are not available to everyone and anyone. You still have to meet certain requirements imposed by the issuer.
RELATED: See 100% Approval Offers
Applying Online with a Poor Credit Score
Although most instant cards require you to meet high criteria, this isn’t always the case. You can still find suitable offers for poor credit that also have the “instant decision” feature.
If you belong to the second category, it’s in your best interest to find instant cards that initially perform a so-called “soft search” of your credit history. With the soft search, the issuer will do a basic credit verification check that doesn’t leave a trace on your credit file. It also doesn’t affect your credit rating, but it still gives enough information to estimate whether you’re likely to get approved.
It’s important to note here that the results of the soft search aren’t always definite. Even if the initial results are positive, a full credit check might yield a negative result.
All this shouldn’t discourage you from applying online if you have a bad credit rating. Applying online is fast and convenient, especially with instant response cards. However, it’s important to check whether you’re eligible for a card before you submit your application.
Information Collected by the Lenders for Instant Cards
It doesn’t matter if you’re applying for a fast decision card or some other. Neither does it matter whether you’re applying for it online or in person. Your issuer will have to collect certain information before you can get approved for a card. They will go through your credit history, verify the information you’ve provided, and more.
To ensure that the process is as quick and easy as possible, it’s best to have the following information at hand when you’re making your application:
This includes your name and contact information. You will need to provide proof of identity, typically in the form of an ID card, driving license, or in some cases passport.
Your current home address is a must. You will need to state your accommodation status, aka if you own the home or rent it, and how long you’ve been at the address.
This will be necessary if you’ve recently moved to your current address. Most issuers will pay attention to how often you change addresses and will consider you have better financial stability if you don’t move often.
You will need to state your job title and provide the contact information of your employer. Again, the longer you’ve held the job, the better, as it’s a sign of stability.
Your issuer will need to have information about your salary and your bank account. This lets them know whether you can afford to take on the credit card.
This is among the most vital pieces of information collected by your card issuer. They look at your credit history, how much credit you’ve taken in the past, how quickly you paid it back, whether you’ve paid it back on time or not, etc.
These are just examples of the information collected by issuers, and different issuers might ask you to provide some additional information. Regardless, when you’re applying for a fast decision offer, it’s good to have all this information at hand to make the process go even smoother.
The Time It Takes to Get the Instant Approval Card
While instant cards allow you to get approved immediately if you meet the requirements, this doesn’t mean that you can start using your card as soon as the next day. Primarily, you might have to wait until you receive the necessary paperwork in your mail.
Even if the issuer allows you to digitally sign the paperwork online, you will still have to wait until your card physically arrives at your address. This can usually take anywhere between 7 and 10 business days.
Certain issuers do ship the cards overnight for high-net-worth persons, and some give you the option to request overnight shipping. Keep in mind, however, that this might come at a cost as some issuers charge a fee of up to $35 (or more) if you request your card to arrive in 1 or 2 business days.
If you’re in a hurry to start using your new card, you can look for issuers that offer instant card numbers. These issuers offer you all the essential information that allows you to use your card before you physically have it with you.
How Does an Online Application Work
Your online application for an immediate decision offer will be instantly sent to the issuer. The issuer will then refer to the credit reporting agencies that collect information about your financial history, previous credit borrowing behavior, etc., and they will do a credit check.
This can be completed within seconds, and you will be notified of your application status almost instantaneously.
The biggest question on most applicants’ minds is whether online applications are safe. The simple answer is – they are. Banks and credit unions that issue credit cards rely on secure servers that keep their websites protected. All the information is encrypted and can only be read by the issuing bank.
Making Multiple Applications
Applying for your fast decision offers online is simple, easy, and convenient, but it doesn’t mean that you should be applying for every everyone you can find. Making multiple applications can have a detrimental effect on your credit score and will actually make it more difficult for you to get approved.
Every time an issuer does a full credit check on you, they leave a trace on your credit report. If an issuer notices that you’ve made multiple applications, this might raise red flags for them as you will seem like you’re in a hurry to get some cash, and this is a sign that you’re financially unstable.
Only issuers who offer soft searches don’t leave a trace on your records, so you could make multiple applications without consequences in this situation. However, it’s still better to apply for a single card. If your application is rejected, it’s in your best interest to find out why you’ve been rejected and contact the issuer.
It’s generally a good idea to wait at least three months before you make another credit card application so as to avoid damaging your credit report.
Instant Decision Card Offers Recap
Instant Cards FAQs. What People Ask about Instant Decision Offers
There are a few ways to improve your credit score, and unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. Improving your score takes time and effort. To improve your credit score, you will first need to pay all of your credit card bills on time. Being late with your credit card payments won’t only affect your credit score, but you will also have to cover the hefty late payment fees that can easily add up.
You should also ensure that you have a credit utilization ratio of less than 30% of your credit limit. A low credit utilization ratio shows that you can manage your money well and are a responsible cardholder. If you want to improve your credit score, you should avoid frequently opening and closing your credit accounts. Closing your accounts increases your credit utilization ratio and lowers your account age. Opening many new accounts will create many hard inquiries on your credit report and damage your score temporarily.
Unfortunately, not all credit cards report your activity to all the credit bureaus. For example, if you have a prepaid credit card, your credit activity is most likely not reported. Some issuers do report to credit bureaus, but they don’t report to all of them, and you should avoid such issuers.
If you want to truly build up your credit score, you need to check whether an issuer reports to all three of the major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. If they report to just one or two of them, your credit history will be limited, and you won’t benefit from your card as much as you could.
Credit history is all the information about your financial activities. To make sure you have a good credit history, you will have to demonstrate responsibility for a longer period. At the same time, this kind of behavior will directly lead to an increase in your credit score.
Several things are good for your credit history:
- Steady income
- Using the same mailing address over a longer period
- Making all of your payments regularly
- Using a minimum number of credit accounts
On top of that, make sure to check your credit report regularly. Sometimes the credit bureaus or lenders will make mistakes when reporting information. If you notice mistakes on your credit, you need to contact them and make it right to avoid further dents in your score.
There is usually no need to be pre-approved for a credit card, as this is only useful if your pre-approval is denied. In the case that your pre-approval is denied, you can know for sure that you are not eligible for a credit card, and you will not get it if you apply for it. Having your pre-approval denied won’t have an effect on your credit score.
On the other hand, if you are pre-approved for a credit card, this isn’t a guarantee that you will get the card. Issuers pre-approve you based on a soft credit check, and once you actually apply for the card and they do a full credit check, you might still get denied.
The best credit card for bad credit is generally considered to be a secured credit card. Secured credit cards come with more favorable rates and fees, and they often have some nice rewards as well. The only issue with these cards is that you will need to make a cash deposit to activate it. In most situations, the amount that you deposit will be your credit card limit, but there are some exceptions.
Once you’ve improved your score, you can easily get your deposit back, as long as you’ve been paying off all of your credit card debts on time.
Since secured credit cards have lower card limits, it’s important to be careful with your money. The recommended credit utilization ratio is 30% of your limit, and if you use more than that, you could damage your credit score.
Bad Credit credit cards normally have higher rates and fees than typical credit cards that are designed for those with a good or excellent credit score.
However, the rates and fees shouldn’t be extremely high, and if you encounter a credit card for bad or limited credit that has an interest rate higher than 30%, for example, you should avoid applying for this card.
Some of the common fees that you can encounter with such cards include annual fees, cash advance fees, up to 30% interest rates, and more. However, even though these credit cards have an abundance of fees, you should avoid those cards that charge processing fees to open the card and those with monthly or sliding annual fees.
Unfortunately, you’ll rarely encounter a bad credit credit card with many valuable rewards and bonuses, especially if you’re applying for a guaranteed approval card offers. Bad credit credit cards are primarily designed to help you improve your credit score, and rewards and bonuses are few and far between.
Secured credit cards do come with nice rewards, and you can easily get cash back credit cards, collect points, and earn shopping rewards.
If you’re looking to save money, you might want to apply for a shopping credit card. These cards are often available to those with poor credit, and they can offer you special deals and discounts, their only drawback being that you can usually only use them in a select few stores.
You can apply for a bad credit credit card online, it’s simple, fast, and convenient. Online applications are very similar to in-person applications, and you will need to provide the same personal information for both. In most cases, you will need to provide a personal ID, your verifiable address, social security number, employment status, income information, and more.
Online applications are fast and secure but don’t make them while you’re connected to unsecured public networks (such as public Wi-Fi at your favorite coffee shop). To stay on the safe side, you should only make your online applications through your secured home Wi-Fi, and through your own computer.
You can make multiple applications for a bad credit credit card, but you shouldn’t. If possible, you should always avoid making multiple credit card applications in a short period of time. When you apply for a credit card, the issuer will perform a full credit check which will leave a trace on your credit report and damage your credit score. Too many applications in a short period of time will make it seem like you’re in a bad financial situation and are in a hurry to get some cash. Many issuers won’t like this.
The full credit check will temporarily lower your credit score, but its effect will fade over time. Within a year, your score will return to normal, and the credit check will be visible on your report for about 24 months. You should wait at least 3 to 6 months before applying for new lines of credit.