The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Instant-Approval Credit Cards With Instant Use in 2022

Instant Approval Credit Cards With Instant Use

credit card advice

Eric Bank

Written by: Eric Bank

Eric Bank

Eric Bank has been covering business and financial topics since 1985, specializing in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences. In addition to his work on CardRates.com, Eric has appeared regularly on Credible.com, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Get.com, Zacks, Chron and dozens of other outlets. A former software engineer, Eric holds an M.B.A. from New York University and an M.S. in finance from DePaul University.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Florida. Today, she edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Advertiser Disclosure

If you navigate your life at warp speed, you’ll love these 15 instant-approval credit cards with instant use. Instant approval isn’t unusual, but not all credit card companies allow you to use your card instantly. That’s a shame because when we need a card, we need it now! Am I right, people?

The cards reviewed here, for the most part, provide you with your actual card number instantly. This is separate from any temporary virtual account number issuers give you for added security. For example, you can instantly get your new card number from Capital One and then use Eno to generate a virtual account number.

What follows is each major credit card issuer’s policy on instant-use credit cards and their top offerings.

Capital One Cards You Can Use Instantly

You can use your Capital One card before it’s in your wallet, but there are strings attached. First of all, you must already be a cardmember with another Capital One Card. Second, you must download the Capital One mobile app.

Otherwise, you’ll have to wait about a week for your card to arrive in the mail. The only exception to these requirements is the Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®, which you can use instantly without preconditions.

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 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®
  • Enjoy two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges through our Partner Lounge Network
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of trip options
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.99% – 26.99% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

EXPERT’S 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
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • 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; 17.99%-27.99% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
17.99% – 27.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

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 Capital One’s 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
17.99% – 27.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

If you qualify for instant use, you can open the mobile app to retrieve your new card number, security code, and expiration number. Now you are ready to make card-not-present purchases online, over the phone, and in-app.

Chase Cards You Can Use Instantly

Chase recently introduced Spend Instantly, which allows approved cardholders to use their new card right away. All they have to do is add their card to a supported digital wallet, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

You can use the Chase mobile app to connect the card to a digital wallet by following these steps. Below are our top-rated Chase cards that can be used instantly:

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Review

at Chase’ssecure website

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.24% – 26.24% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Review

at Chase’ssecure website

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24% – 25.99%.
  • No annual fee – You won’t have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
17.24% – 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24% – 25.99%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
17.24% – 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

Not all Chase cards qualify for instant use. According to Chase, “Please note, at this time IHG Rewards Club Traveler, IHG Rewards Club Premier, Aeroplan, Chase Freedom Flex, Amazon, Amazon Prime, Disney, Disney Premier, and Business credit cards cannot be added to a digital wallet upon card approval. However, once you receive your physical card you can add it to a digital wallet.”

Amex Cards You Can Use Instantly

All American Express eligible cardmembers can start shopping online immediately with an Instant Card Number. When your card application is approved, you will receive your actual card number, which you then add to your digital wallet (e.g., Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.).

You are eligible for instant card use if American Express can immediately authenticate your identity.

The Platinum Card® Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

CATEGORY RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 125,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly through airlines or American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Also earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.
  • $200 annual hotel credit, $200 annual airline fee credit, $25 monthly Equinox credit, $15 monthly Uber cash credit, $50 bi-annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, and more.
  • Platinum Card Members have unlimited complimentary access to all locations of The Global Lounge Collection, including 1,400 airport lounges across 650 cities.
  • Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status and Hilton Honors Gold Status. Enrollment required.
  • Choose among three card designs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.99% – 25.99% Pay Over Time
$695
Excellent
Blue Cash Preferred® Card Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

CATEGORY RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn $400 back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year on purchases (then 1%). Also earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • Earn 3% cash back on transit, including U.S. gas stations, taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
  • $120 Equinox Credit – Use your Blue Cash Preferred Card to pay for Equinox+ at equinoxplus.com and receive $10 in monthly statement credits. Enrollment required.
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable APR applies
  • $95 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
15.49% – 25.49% Variable
$95
Excellent Credit
American Express® Gold Card Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

CATEGORY RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 6 months of card membership
  • Earn 4X Points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases. Also earn 4X Points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and 3X points on flights when booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. All other eligible purchases earn 1X point.
  • 0% Intro APR on eligible charges for 6 months from the date of account opening on purchases eligible for Pay Over Time, then a 18.99% to 25.99% variable APR .
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, Boxed and other participating partners. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • Delight your senses when you book The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel. Get a $100 experience credit to use during your stay. A minimum 2-night stay is required.
  • $250 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 Months
N/A
18.99% – 25.99% Pay Over Time
$250
Excellent

Amex cards allow you to shop online and at merchants that accept digital wallets as you wait for your card to arrive in the mail. American Express estimates a card delivery time of three to five business days.

Bank of America Cards You Can Use Instantly

Bank of America offers instant card approval and use to existing customers who open a new card via the BoA mobile app. Upon approval, you will be able to upload your credit card number to your digital wallet.

Here are our top-ranked BoA cards:

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Get a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back on your choice of one of the following six categories: gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services, or business consulting services and 2% cash back on dining on the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each year, 1% thereafter
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Get 75% more cash back on every purchase when you’re a Preferred Rewards for Business Platinum Honors tier member. That means you’ll earn 5.25% on your selected choice category, 3.5% on dining, and unlimited 1.75% cash back on all other purchases.
  • 0% on purchases for 9 billing cycles from account opening, then a variable APR applies
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 billing cycles
N/A
13.74% to 23.74% Variable
$0
Good

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 25,000 bonus points ($250 value) if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere
  • No blackout dates or restrictions apply, and points never expire
  • 0% introductory APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles, then a variable APR applies
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 billing cycles
0% for 18 billing cycles
16.24% – 26.24% Variable
$0
None/Limited

EXPERT’S RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings, and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 0% Introductory APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles (balance transfer fee applies), then a variable APR applies
  • Optional overdraft protection option helps 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.
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 billing cycles
0% for 18 billing cycles
16.24% – 26.24% Variable
$0
None/Limited

Instant use isn’t available for BoA cards you apply for online. The one exception to this rule is the Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card, which lets you book flights on Alaska Airlines right away. You may have to wait up to 10 days for your BoA card to show up in your mailbox.

Barclays Cards You Can Use Instantly

Barclays is known for its wide variety of cards co-branded with travel, retail, entertainment, financial, and educational partners. Several of their cards offer instant credit card numbers for shopping on the co-branded website:

13. NFL Extra Points Credit Card

This card is currently not available.

Best Overall Rating

★★★★★

N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
JetBlue Card Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★

4.3

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Earn 3X points on eligible JetBlue purchases, 2X points at restaurants and grocery stores, and 1X points on all other purchases
  • Enjoy 50% inflight savings on cocktails and food purchases
  • 0% introductory APR for the first 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening (transfer fee applies), then a variable APR applies
  • No foreign transaction fees, no blackout dates, and points never expire
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 12 billing cycles
17.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49%, based on credit
$0
Good
FRONTIER Airlines World Mastercard® Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★

4.0

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 on purchases within 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 5X miles on eligible purchases at flyfrontier.com, 3X miles on restaurant purchases, and 1X miles on all other purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening (3% balance transfer fee applies), then a variable APR applies
  • Earn a $100 flight voucher every account anniversary after spending $2,500 or more on purchases with your card during your card membership year
  • Cardmembers enjoy Zone 2 priority boarding
  • $0 intro annual fee, then $89
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 15 billing cycles
17.49%, 21.49% or 26.49%, based on creditworthiness
$0 first year, $89 thereafter
Good

You can see more Barclays co-branded credit cards that allow instant use upon approval on the Barclays website.

Discover’s Instant-Use Policy

Discover Logo

While Discover offers immediate preapproval, its current instant-use policy is to just say no — none of its credit cards offer this feature. That’s too bad because Discover credit cards are some of our top choices. Discover dispatches credit cards through priority mail, getting the card to new cardmembers in about five days.

Citi’s Instant-Use Policy

Citi Logo

Citi credit cards no longer provide instant use. Citi does continue to issue virtual credit card numbers (on selected cards) that you can use for card-not-present transactions. By issuing temporary account numbers, Citi makes card theft almost impossible.

There are reports that you may be able to use the new Citi Custom Cash℠ Card instantly upon approval, but you won’t know if you’re eligible to immediately use the card until after you apply.

Wells Fargo’s Instant-Use Policy

Wells Fargo Logo

Wells Fargo does not currently allow instant use on any of its credit cards. You have to activate the card to use it, and you can’t activate it until it arrives in the mail. Once received, you can load any Wells Fargo card number into a digital wallet to generate virtual card numbers.

What Is an Instant Approval Credit Card?

Instant approval is a misnomer. The cards in this review offer instant decisions because no credit card company can guarantee that every credit card application will be approved. They can guarantee their best efforts to render a decision immediately based upon the information at hand.

The fact is that most cards today offer instant decisions. Occasionally, an issuer may notify you that it needs additional information before approving your credit card application. There can be several reasons for a delay, including:

  • Inability to verify information: One of the first things an issuer does is verify the data on your application. Red flags will go up if it can’t verify your address or Social Security number. This kind of problem is easy to clear up if it was due to a typo.
  • Inability to verify income: Income is an important factor for credit card approval, as card providers want some assurance that you’ll be able to pay your bills on time. Often, the best an issuer can do is see whether the income you entered is reasonable, given the information in your personal credit file concerning your job. In some cases, you may have to provide documentation, usually in the form of a pay stub or tax return.
  • Borderline credit: Many credit cards have a minimum credit score requirement, but there is usually a little wiggle room for borderline cases. If you have a low credit score, the issuer may need to assign a human to evaluate your application. Most card decisions are automated, so assigning people to the task is bound to take more time.
  • Frozen credit reports: You can freeze your credit reports at each credit bureau to protect your personal credit history against identity theft and fraud. That’s a prudent thing to do, but it will prohibit an issuer from pulling your credit report. You will have to thaw your credit history at the credit bureau, at least temporarily, before the issuer can approve your application.
  • Restrictions on the number of cards you own: Many issuers limit how many of their credit cards you can own at one time. For example, Discover won’t let you own more than two of its cards. Chase has its 5/24 Rule that limits you to five new cards (from any issuer) within a 24-month period. You may be turned down for simply having too many recent hard pulls of your credit because applying for a lot of credit all at once can indicate financial distress.
  • Overflowing demand: Card issuers occasionally find themselves with runaway hits. It could be due to the introduction of a new card or a new promotion on an existing card, such as a special signup bonus or 0% introductory APR. When this happens, card providers may temporarily halt new approvals, or at least slow down approvals to a trickle as it processes new applications.

Some of these problems can be handled through credit card preapproval, a step offered by most credit cards. Preapproval requires a limited amount of information, and receiving a positive response doesn’t guarantee your full application will be approved.

The good thing about credit card preapproval is that it won’t hurt your credit score because issuers normally don’t do a hard pull of your credit during this step. A hard credit inquiry can lower your score by five to 10 points and is usually postponed until you submit your full application.

Of course, you know (or can easily find out) your credit score, and it should inform your choice of which credit cards to apply for. If your score is average or better, you can probably be approved for most credit cards.

FICO Credit Score Ranges
Scores of 700+ will qualify for most credit cards.

Fair credit or worse limits your choices to second- and third-tier credit cards for folks with low scores. Cards for fair or bad credit may suffer from several shortcomings, including sparse benefits, high interest rates, and multiple nuisance fees.

If you are in decision limbo, be patient. The issuer will almost surely give you an answer within a few days. If not, contact the issuer to see where the problem is. It’s not a good idea to apply for another card before receiving a decision on your initial application, as it could hurt your chances of getting either card.

Can I Use My Credit Card Immediately Upon Approval?

Do not assume that instant approval means instant use of your credit card. As described above, certain issuers (e.g., Discover, Citi, Wells Fargo) have a blanket rule against instant use, and other credit card companies may only offer it for selected cards.

If your new card doesn’t offer instant approval, you’ll have to wait for it to appear in your mailbox, usually in seven to 10 days. Some issuers routinely expedite card distribution, which can cut the waiting time in half.

If your card does offer an instant credit card number, you’ll be given an account number you can use to make card-not-present purchases — online, over the phone, or in-app. Sometimes the account number will be the real one for your card, whereas some cards may offer you a temporary virtual number you can use until the card arrives.

Screenshot of Amex Instant Card Number
American Express is the only issuer that allows instant use on all of its cards after verifying your identity.

In some cases — usually for co-branded cards — immediate use is limited to the issuing brand, be it a merchant, airline, gas station, or hotel chain. Other cards give you free rein to instantly use your card anywhere it’s accepted.

You may be able to make in-store purchases before you receive your credit card if the card works with one or more digital wallets. Many stores are joining the bandwagon and accepting digital wallets in the check-out line.

If you are allowed instant use of your new card, make sure you understand any restrictions on where you can use it or how much credit you have access to. Sometimes, the issuer will provide you only limited credit until you register the physical card, and many will not permit cash advances or balance transfer transactions until then.

How Do I Get an Instant Virtual Credit Card?

Not all instant cards are virtual, and not all virtual cards are instant. To be clear, you can use an instant credit card number before you receive the physical card. A virtual card features temporary or virtual credit card numbers with limited use in terms of time and/or merchant.

The first step in getting a new credit card with a virtual number is being approved for the card. Once that happens, you may be able to use the new credit card virtually through two different procedures:

  1. Virtual account numbers provided by the card issuer: For selected cards, Capital One will issue you virtual account numbers upon request via its Eno browser extension. Once you install the extension, Eno will pop up when you are making an online purchase, allowing you to create and save a merchant-specific virtual card account. When you receive your monthly statement, the eligible purchases made with each virtual account number will be called out for easy recognition.

    Citi allows you to enroll in a similar service for some of its credit cards. You then visit the Citi website each time you want a virtual card number. You can use Citi virtual accounts for online and over-the-phone purchases. Citi virtual account numbers persist until you cancel them.

    Many American Express cards provide instant virtual card numbers that you can use until the physical card arrives. Getting a virtual account number is as simple as contacting Amex customer service.

    Some co-branded store card examples that offer instant virtual card numbers include Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Apple Card store card co-brands.
     
  2. Virtual account numbers from digital wallets: A digital wallet is a mobile app that lets you store account information. You can use it instead of credit cards at participating stores. Most digital wallets, including those from Google, Apple, and Samsung, store a token on your device instead of your credit card account number. The token is a virtual account number that replaces your real card number at the time of purchase.

    The four payment networks (American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa networks) have jointly developed the Click-to-Pay program that allows any credit card to be added to any digital wallet. Look for the Click-to-Pay logo when checking out in-store or online — you can complete your purchase using a random token generated by the digital wallet.

The advent of digital wallets has made virtual account numbers commonplace. Still, these numbers are immediately usable only if the credit card company is willing to provide you with your credit card information before you physically receive your card.

What Is the Easiest Instant Credit Card to Get?

In general, a secured credit card is the easiest credit card to get, and some secured card offerings may be available for instant use. Our pick for the easiest-to-get instant secured credit card is the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card.

SECURED RATING

★★★★★

4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you’re approved in seconds
  • Building your credit? Using the Capital One Platinum Secured card responsibly could help
  • Put down a refundable security deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 initial credit line
  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
28.49% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

You can get this secured card even if your credit score is bad because you must make a security deposit. The initial credit limit is $200, although you may be allowed to deposit less than this amount when first opening the card. You can start with a higher credit limit by depositing more money when opening the account.

Of course, no instant approval card is easier to get than a prepaid card. However, a prepaid card is not a credit card — rather, it is more like a debit card.

How Long Does It Take to Get the Card Once Approved?

Most cards will arrive in seven to 10 days after your application is approved. It’s in the card issuer’s interest to get the instant approval card into your hands as soon as possible, but the benefit must be weighed against the cost of expedited shipping.

The following chart summarizes shipping times by issuer:

Shipping Times by Issuer

Discover offers the fastest standard shipping. However, Bank of America, Capital One, and Chase all offer free expedited shipping for most cards — but only by request.

Are There Business Credit Cards That Offer Instant Use?

We have identified two business credit cards that offer instant approval and use: the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card and the Business Platinum Card® from American Express. These are all excellent credit card choices for business owners who need a decision — and a business credit card — right away.

You can use the Amex card immediately after approval anywhere Amex is accepted, but the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card can only be immediately used with Southwest Airlines.

Research Instant-Approval Credit Cards With Instant Use

Our roundup of 15 instant approval credit cards with instant use reveals a surprisingly rich landscape of choices for consumers with the need for speed. You can quickly apply for any of these cards by clicking on the APPLY NOW links in the summary boxes.

The rules for creditworthy behavior are the same, whether you can start using your card within minutes of approval or you have to cool your heels for a week or longer. If you pay your bills on time, keep your debt under control, and refrain from opening too many credit cards at the same time, you’ll be well on your way to an excellent credit score and, hopefully, a bright future.

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