The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Wednesday, October 20, 2021

21 Credit Cards with Instant Approval by Category

Credit Cards With Instant Approval By Category

credit card advice

Eric Bank
By: Eric Bank
Updated: August 24, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

Here is our roundup of credit cards with instant approval by category. It turns out that most credit cards can give you an instant approval decision when you apply online.

Sometimes, they will tell you that they need more information and will send a decision soon — in a matter of hours or days. Of course, sometimes the issuer will decline your application, but may offer an alternative card that better suits you.

Bad Credit | Fair Credit | Cash Back | Miles | Balance Transfer | Students | Business
FAQs & Ranking Methodology

Credit Cards for Bad Credit with Instant Approval

In general, a bad FICO credit score is below 580 on a range of 300 to 850. About 16% of applicants fall into this category.

You can still get a credit card while having bad credit, but your choices are limited. The cards listed below are geared toward consumers who have bad credit.

First PREMIER® Bank Mastercard® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Choose which account management options are right for you.
  • Build credit with First PREMIER*
  • Fill out an application and know in 60 seconds if you’re approved!
  • YOU’RE NOT ALONE - As the 12th largest issuer of Mastercard credit cards, First PREMIER Bank understands customer needs and is there for those who may be denied by other issuers.
  • Manageable credit limit, manageable payment, meant to fit your budget
  • *Build credit by keeping your balance low and paying all your bills on time every month.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Issuer Website
See Issuer Website
Fair/Poor
First PREMIER® Bank Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Choose which account management options are right for you.
  • Build credit with First PREMIER*
  • Fill out an application and know in 60 seconds if you’re approved!
  • YOU’RE NOT ALONE - As the 12th largest issuer of Mastercard credit cards, First PREMIER Bank understands customer needs and is there for those who may be denied by other issuers.
  • Manageable credit limit, manageable payment, meant to fit your budget
  • *Build credit by keeping your balance low and paying all your bills on time every month.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Issuer Website
See Issuer Website
Fair/Poor
Surge Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.1/5.0
  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From Experian* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000* (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
N/A
24.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
See website for Details
Bad, Poor Credit

The credit limits on these cards are low, and you can expect higher-than-average APRs. You may also face hefty fees, which can include annual, application, cash advance, and management fees.

Nonetheless, these cards can help you build your credit score so that eventually you may qualify for a less expensive card with a higher credit limit.

Credit Cards for Fair Credit with Instant Approval

The FICO range for fair credit is generally considered to be 580 to 669. About 17% of applicants fall into this subprime category.

As you can see below, the universe of credit cards expands when you go from having bad to fair credit.

Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • With the Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card, you earn up to 3% cash back reward.
  • Make contactless payments through Mobile Wallet
  • Periodic Credit Increase Reviews
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Equifax†
  • † Your credit score will be available in your online account 60 days after your account is opened. (Registration required) The free VantageScore 3.0 credit score provided by Equifax is for educational purposes only and may not be used by The Bank of Missouri (the issuer of this card) or other creditors to make credit decisions.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% Variable
As low as $85
Fair
Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • With the Aspire® Mastercard® Credit Card, you earn 3% cash back reward on Gas, Groceries and Utility Payments
  • Earn 1% cash back reward on all other purchases
  • Up to $1,000 credit limit subject to credit approval
  • Pre-qualify without affecting your credit score
  • No deposits or program fee
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Equifax†
  • † Your credit score will be available in your online account 60 days after your account is opened. (Registration required) The free VantageScore 3.0 credit score provided by Equifax is for educational purposes only and may not be used by The Bank of Missouri (the issuer of this card) or other creditors to make credit decisions.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% Variable
As low as $85
Fair

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Pay no annual fee
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

Relative to the cards for bad credit consumers, these tend to have higher credit limits, lower costs, and some even provide rewards. All the cards listed here will give you an instant decision when you apply online.

You should ascertain your credit score before applying so you apply for a card in the right category.

Cash Back Cards with Instant Approval

Cash back cards are popular because, well, who doesn’t love cash? These cards generally have a base reward level of $1 to $1.50 for each dollar spent on purchases.

Below are our top three choices of cash back cards.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 14.99%-24.99% variable APR after that
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good
Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • #1 Most Trusted Credit Card according to Investor’s Business Daily.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent
Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • With the Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card, you earn up to 3% cash back reward.
  • Make contactless payments through Mobile Wallet
  • Periodic Credit Increase Reviews
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Equifax†
  • † Your credit score will be available in your online account 60 days after your account is opened. (Registration required) The free VantageScore 3.0 credit score provided by Equifax is for educational purposes only and may not be used by The Bank of Missouri (the issuer of this card) or other creditors to make credit decisions.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% Variable
As low as $85
Fair

Some also offer higher reward levels for purchases at specific types of merchants. The schemes for higher rewards generally fall into two types.

The first is tiered rewards, with one or more elevated reward levels permanently linked to specific merchant types. The second uses a quarterly rotating set of favored merchants that provide high rewards as long as you activate the category each quarter. Cards often limit the cash back on the higher reward levels to a specific amount of purchases per quarter.

Air Miles Cards with Instant Approval

If you are a frequent flyer, air miles cards may be just the ticket. Instead of cash back, they offer air miles you can use to book your next flight, or your next hotel stay.

The better cards allow you to use your miles to book flights with no blackout dates. See our favorites below.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles.  There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
  • Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee.
  • Redeem Miles to pay any part of your monthly bill, including your minimum payment.
  • Turn Miles into cash in any amount, any time. Or redeem as a statement credit for travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more with no blackout dates. However you redeem, Miles keep the same value. And Miles never expire.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 14 months
10.99% Intro APR for 14 months
11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

These cards often provide signup bonuses in which you can earn a mother lode of miles when you spend the specified amount on purchases during the first three months after opening the account. Some allow you to transfer your miles to their travel partners’ reward programs on a 1:1 basis.

Generally, you can also redeem your miles for reduced-rate or free stays at selected hotels.

Balance Transfer Cards with Instant Approval

A balance transfer is a way to consolidate your credit card debt to one card. The cards reviewed here all provide a period after account opening in which you will be charged 0% interest on balance transfers for a specified number of months.

A one-time fee may apply, generally around 3% for each transfer.

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn cash back twice! Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance Transfers do not earn cash back and will have a fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • 24/7 access to customer service representatives
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good
BankAmericard® Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn $100 statement credit online bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then a variable APR will apply
  • An optional overdraft protection service is available to help prevent declined purchases, returned checks or other overdrafts when you link your eligible Bank of America® checking account to your credit card. Transfer fees may apply.
  • No penalty APR. Paying late won't automatically raise your interest rate (APR). Other account pricing and terms apply.
  • Access your FICO® Score for free within Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles
0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles (for balance transfers made in the first 60 days)
12.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% intro APR offers on both purchases and balance transfers (balance transfer fee applies), then a variable APR applies
  • Choose a payment due date that works best for you — beginning, middle, or end of the month
  • Stay protected against identity theft with Citi® Identity Theft Solutions
  • $0 liability on unauthorized charges
  • 24/7 access to customer service representatives - save time, just say "representative" when you call, to enjoy fast, personal help
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

By transferring your balances to one card, you simplify your monthly payment schedule and perhaps reduce your monthly minimum payments. The period of 0% interest is your opportunity to eliminate balances on your other cards.

However, do not close these other credit card accounts because doing so will reduce the age of your credit history and thereby hurt your credit score.

Student Cards with Instant Approval

Students are singled out for a credit card category because they frequently lack credit history. For many students, these cards will be the first cards they own.

That’s an important audience for issuers, who would like to build brand loyalty starting at an early age. The hope is that after the students enter the workforce, they will apply for a fancier credit card from the same issuer.

Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • Earn rewards while building your credit history that can help you after graduation. And, get your free Credit Scorecard that includes your FICO® Credit Score and important details that help make up your score.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Refer-a-Friend: Once you become a Discover it® Student cardmember, you can earn a statement credit each time you refer a friend and they’re approved. Over half a million students got Discover Cards from their friends' recommendations.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.2/5.0
  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
  • Earn $5 per month for 12 months on Select Streaming Subscriptions when you pay on time. *Exclusions Apply
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • You can help build your credit with responsible use of a card like this
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited
Discover it® Student chrome Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

STUDENT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
  • Earn rewards while building your credit history that can help you after graduation. And, get your free Credit Scorecard that includes your FICO® Credit Score and important details that help make up your score.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Refer-a-Friend: Once you become a Discover it® Student cardmember, you can earn a statement credit each time you refer a friend and they’re approved. Over half a million students got Discover Cards from their friends' recommendations.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
10.99% for 6 months
12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR
$0
Fair/New to Credit

The perks on these cards vary. Some offer items like good-grade rewards, Cashback Match, and/or elevated reward levels on merchant categories favored by students, such as gas stations and restaurants.

You’ll also notice that many offer reasonable APRs given that students often have thin credit reports.

Business Cards with Instant Approval

If you’re a business owner, these credit cards allow you to build rewards from your own purchases and the purchases of employees. Most issuers will provide free cards to employees who earn rewards for the owner.

This can be especially lucrative when you have employees who frequently travel and therefore rack up rewards for flights, hotel stays, restaurant dining, and car rentals.

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
  • No Annual Fee
  • Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn rewards faster with employee cards at no additional cost. Set individual spending limits for greater control.
  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A 12 months
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account
  • Transfer your miles to 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Redeem your miles instantly for any travel-related purchases, from flights and hotels to ride-sharing services
  • Fly through security with one statement credit for either the $85 TSA Pre✔® application fee or the $100 Global Entry application fee
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
20.99% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • 0% Intro APR for the first 12 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere — with no limits or category restrictions
  • No annual fee
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account
  • Redeem your cash back rewards for any amount
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$0
Good

Business credit cards may offer elevated tiered or quarterly rewards in addition to their base reward level. Their benefits are usually geared to business expenses, such as supplies, travel, travel insurance, and dining.

Some cards single out business-to-business services, such as phone, internet, and cable, for higher rewards. Business cards often offer rewards in the form of miles or points.

Which Credit Cards Have Instant Approval?

The 21 credit cards in this review all offer an instant approval decision for a wide range of consumers, including the credit-challenged, students, frequent travelers, consolidators, and businesses.

Logos for Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion

Each bureau assigns you a credit score, so you should know all three.

Your credit score is one of the key determinants as to whether you will receive instant approval. That means you should know your credit scores from the three major credit bureaus — Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

You need all three because each credit bureau independently assigns you a score, and those scores can differ based on the unique information available to each bureau.

As we show, there are instant-approval credit cards for each credit type, from poor to exceptional. To increase the chances of approval, you can first research to find which of the three bureaus your credit card issuer uses in your state.

For example, you’ll find that Discover favors Equifax, Capital One pulls credit reports from all three bureaus, and Chase prefers Experian (although in some states it favors TransUnion).

Knowing which credit bureau your card uses is useful because it allows you to focus on cleaning up your credit report from that bureau first. By “clean up,” we mean remove errors that hurt your score.

You can attempt this yourself or hire a credit repair company to do the work for you. Several credit repair services can offer expert help for a reasonable fee.

Can I Use a Credit Card Immediately After Approval?

We recently reviewed 27 credit cards that offer same-day use. These cards allow you to use your account even before you receive the physical card.

Until the card arrives, you’re limited to card-not-present (CNP) purchases, either over the phone or online. This is usually implemented using virtual account numbers.

A virtual account number is cooked up by the credit card issuer and bears no relationship to your actual number. Most are one-time use only, but some can be reused.

Typically, you go online to a merchant and enter the virtual card number as you would the actual number. Single-use virtual cards limit the damage fraudsters can inflict if they happen to steal the virtual number.

Eno Virtual NumbersSome issuers offer virtual account numbers on all their cards. For example, you can use the Eno® feature to generate virtual Capital One card numbers.

Another issuer of virtual cards is Citibank, which offers this service on select Citi® cards. In addition, American Express offers its vPayment virtual card service, but only on business cards. Bank of America recently discontinued its ShopSafe® program that provided virtual cards.

Another alternative is to use a third-party service, such as Privacy, that issues virtual card numbers. You can limit a virtual number to a specific merchant, for specific dates, with pre-set spending caps. This keeps your card from being exposed to fraud at a different merchant and limits the damage the fraudster can do.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Credit Card in the Mail?

Typically, it will take seven to 10 days after approval to receive a credit card in your mailbox. That length of time is necessary to create the card, mail it, and wait for delivery. The issuers save money by using standard mail instead of one of the expedited services.

The major credit card issuers have created extremely efficient operations, which means that they can usually print your card and get it in the mail by the next business day. Some exceptions may take longer.

For example, some issuers offer heavy credit cards made of metal and other non-plastic materials. It may require more time to create one of these heavyweight cards.

Issuer Shipping Times

Discover is an issuer that has semi-expedited its card mailing service by using Priority Mail. You can expect to receive your Discover Card in three to five business days after approval.

This is an automatic feature that applies to all cards issued by Discover. In addition, the issuer will replace lost or stolen cards using overnight shipping.

Some other credit card issuers offer overnight shipping for lost, stolen, or damaged cards. They may offer the service for free or may charge a fee.

One example is Chase, which offers free overnight shipping if you ask for it. You can then expect the card to arrive in one to two days.

Capital One sometimes will provide expedited shipping, but it may require you to plead your case.

Ranking Methodology

Our rankings of the best credit cards with instant approval are categorized by credit score requirements, rewards offered, and special qualifying criteria, such as being a student or owning a business. We evaluated each card’s likelihood of approval for poor credit applicants, the ability to rebuild credit with responsible use, APRs and annual fees, 0% promotional periods, and other criteria relevant to this article.

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