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.

What is Instant Decision Card?

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: Accepted, Rejected, Referred on for closer examination

  • Application Accepted. 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.
  • Application Rejected. 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 Closer Examination. And finally, if you’re referred 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.

PRO Tip
Although instant decision cards are easy to apply for, you shouldn’t take this financial decision lightly. It’s still a credit card that will have an effect on your financial situation, so it’s important to think carefully before you apply.

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.

What is an Instant Decision?

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.

What is Guaranteed Approval?

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

PRO Tip
Regardless of the marketing, all credit cards require you to meet certain criteria before you can get approved. Before you apply for any credit card, research the issuer, and find out whether you meet their criteria.

Applying Online with a Poor Credit Score

You will often find 2 types of online applications, one type is for those (a) with excellent or good credit history, and the other for those (b) with fair or bad / no credit history.

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:

  • Personal information. 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.
  • Address. 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.
  • Previous 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.
  • Employment. 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.
  • Finances. 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.
  • Credit history. 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.

How Long Does it Take to Get 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.

PRO Tip
If you receive your instant card number as soon as you’ve been approved for a card, make sure to write it down immediately. Otherwise, you won’t be able to find that information until your card arrives at your address.

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 in 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.

PRO Tip
Although the issuer’s website typically has strong security measures in place for online applications, you still need to be careful where you apply from. Never apply through public Wi-Fi networks as they are unsecured. Apply only through your home Wi-Fi from your own device.

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 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 List

Frequently Asked Questions