The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Wednesday, October 5, 2022

12 Instant-Approval Credit Cards

Instant Approval Credit Cards

credit card advice

Adam West

Written by: Adam West

Adam West

Adam corresponds with finance experts to publish industry news coverage related to helping consumers achieve greater financial literacy and improved credit. He has more than 12 years of storytelling, editing, and design experience in print and online journalism and is most knowledgeable in the areas of credit scores, financial products and services, and the banking industry.

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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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Reviewed by: Ashley Dull

Ashley Dull

With more than a decade of experience as a content manager and marketer, Ashley has specialized in finance coverage since 2015. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media campaigns. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among others.

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Advertiser Disclosure

American cooks ran to stores in the early 1950s to snatch up boxes of instant mashed potatoes, the latest kitchen craze in many households. But some felt deceived when they opened the box to find freeze-dried potato flakes and filler.

Similar confusion can occur in the credit card world, where many issuers throw around terms such as “instant” and “guaranteed” to a point where consumers often feel confused.

While most online credit card applications now offer consumers instant approval decisions after they submit their application, no bank can offer guaranteed approval — and only a few banks offer consumers instant use of their new card after being approved.

Below are our top choices of instant-approval credit cards if you’re looking for a quick decision — which often takes less time than whipping up a batch of instant mashed potatoes.

Bad Credit | Fair Credit | Good Credit | No Credit Score | Instant Use | FAQs

Instant Approval Cards For Bad Credit (300-579 FICO)

Every card in this category provides an online application and near-instant credit decision once you submit your application. That’s because each credit card company has a proprietary system for scanning applications and determining, in a matter of seconds, whether an applicant meets or falls below the bank’s acceptance standards.

PREMIER Bankcard® Mastercard® Credit Card Review

at PREMIER Bankcard®'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Don’t let a low FICO score stop you from applying – we approve applications others may not.
  • You don’t need good credit to apply.
  • Just complete the short application and find out in 60 seconds if you’re approved.
  • When you need assistance our award-winning US-based Customer Service agents are there to help.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See Provider Website
See Provider Website
Fair/Poor
PREMIER Bankcard® Grey Credit Card Review

at PREMIER Bankcard®'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • You don’t need good credit to apply.
  • We help people with bad credit, every day.
  • Just complete the short application and find out in 60 seconds if you’re approved.
  • You can build* or rebuild your credit: apply for a PREMIER Bankcard credit card, keep your balance low, and pay all your monthly bills on time.
  • Don’t let a low FICO score stop you from applying – we approve applications others may not.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
  • *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 Provider Website
See Provider Website
Fair/Poor
Surge Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • 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
See website for Details
24.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
See website for Details
See website for Details*

These cards can provide much more than a quick decision. Each card also reports your payment history to the three major credit reporting bureaus so your on-time payments can improve your credit score. For low rates and fees, consider applying for a secured credit card that requires a cash deposit upon approval.

Instant Approval Cards For Fair Credit (580-669 FICO)

After a short online application, each of the cards below can return a credit decision in a matter of seconds. Occasionally, the bank will require more information from an applicant, which can slow down the decision-making process.

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Help build your credit through responsible use of a card like this
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
28.49% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or limits to how much you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account. It's that simple
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
  • 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
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
28.49% (Variable)
$39
Average, Fair, Limited
Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card Review

at Fortiva'ssecure website

FAIR CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • With the Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card, you earn up to a 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% OR 36% (V)
As low as $85
Fair

+ See More Instant-Approval Cards for Fair Credit

A fair credit score typically falls between 580 and 669. If you’re in this range, you’ll likely have more options than those who have bad credit. However, you may have to pay more for your credit card in the form of higher interest rates than those with good credit.

Instant Approval Cards For Good Credit (670+ FICO)

Credit card companies love consumers who have good or excellent credit because there’s very little risk involved with issuing them a line of credit. Thanks to your attractive score, you’ll almost always receive a near-instant application response and access to a plethora of credit card options.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

GOOD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • 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.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 14.99% to 25.99% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 months
0% Intro APR for 15 months
14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good
Discover it® Balance Transfer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

GOOD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • 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.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
0% Intro APR for 18 months
14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good

GOOD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.8

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

+ See More Instant-Approval Cards for Good Credit

Just remember that even consumers who have good or excellent credit can receive denials. This can happen in the case of Chase’s 5/24 rule or Capital One’s two-card limit.

As stated earlier, no bank can guarantee your approval until you apply. Be certain you understand the issuer’s rules before you submit your application.

Instant Approval Cards For No Credit

Having no credit history is very different from having bad credit. If you have no credit history, it just means that you haven’t created enough financial data to generate a reliable score. This often happens with younger consumers, which is why student credit cards often target applicants with limited or no credit.

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), with 1% on all other purchases
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn $100 when you spend $100 in the first three months
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Enjoy no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees
  • Lock your card in the Capital One Mobile app if it's misplaced, lost or stolen
  • Earn up to $500 a year by referring friends and family when they're approved for a Capital One credit card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.99% - 27.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Help build your credit through responsible use of a card like this
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
28.49% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

NO/LIMITED CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn $100 when you spend $100 in the first three months
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Enjoy no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees
  • Lock your card in the Capital One Mobile app if it's misplaced, lost or stolen
  • Earn up to $500 a year by referring friends and family when they're approved for a Capital One credit card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.99% - 27.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

+ See More Instant-Approval Cards for No Credit

The beauty in these cards comes from their ability to help you build credit quickly. Most cards report your payment history to the credit reporting bureaus every month. With on-time payments and responsible spending, you can start to generate a positive credit score in less than six months.

Card Issuers Offering Instant-Use Upon Approval

Some cards allow you to start using your new credit line right after being approved. The issuers below allow instant credit use, even before you receive your card.

This often happens thanks to a temporary virtual credit card number. You can use this card number online or make other card-not-present (CNP) transactions.

The number will be different from the card number on your physical card, so be sure to update any recurring payments you set up with the temporary number.

American Express: All American Express cards can be added to your digital wallet upon approval. You can use an Instant Card Number for online purchases, the amount of which will be withdrawn from your new credit line. You can generally only get an American Express card if you have good or excellent credit.

Bank of America: If you apply and are approved for select cards, such as the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card, through the BoA mobile app, you can access a portion of your credit line immediately upon approval. The bank maintains the right to limit how much of your new credit line you can charge to your temporary card number before the permanent card arrives.

Barclays: Barclays is one of the world’s largest banks and issues several co-branded credit cards that allow instant access to card numbers. Some examples include the JetBlue Card and the FRONTIER Airlines World Mastercard®. One big caveat: These company-branded cards only allow you to immediately use your new credit line when purchasing from the company shown on the card.

Chase Bank: Chase offers Spend Instantly on select cards upon approval. This feature allows new cardholders to make secure payments by adding the card to their phone’s digital wallet, which can then be used in stores that accept digital wallets and online.

Citi: Citibank allows instant use on select co-branded cards, including its Costco and American Airlines cards.

HSBC: HSBC only provides approved applicants with their new credit card number upon approval — the bank will not provide the CVC security code or expiration date — which most merchants require to complete a transaction.

USAA: New USAA cardholders can instantly receive their new credit card number, along with the expiration date and CVC security code, upon approval. The only catch is that you’re limited to charging no more than $1,000 until your physical card arrives in the mail in seven to 10 business days.

Can You Get Approved For a Credit Card Immediately?

Thanks to the internet and the proliferation of financial technology, just about every credit card company can offer instant application decisions.

This takes place when your application enters the bank’s internal decision-making system that scans your criteria and pulls the necessary information to make a decision within a matter of seconds.

Sometimes a bank will require more information from an applicant. When this happens, you’re given a window — often between seven and 30 days — to submit the necessary data that will allow the bank to make a definitive decision.

Chase Freedom® Application

But while banks can often give you an instant credit decision, there’s no way to tell if you’ll receive approval until you officially submit your application. While many card issuers send out letters and emails that tout pre-approval offers, they can’t guarantee you’ll receive your card until they get a better look at your credit report.

The bank can’t see that information until you give them permission to view it via a submitted application. And pre-qualified offers mean the bank or card issuer has only looked at a modified version of your credit history and does not guarantee you’ll receive the card.

Can You Use a Credit Card the Same Day You’re Approved?

In some cases, you can use your new credit card as soon as you’re approved — with some restrictions.

Some big banks, including American Express and Chase, let you add your new card account to your digital wallet through their mobile application after account opening. You can use your card to make purchases with any merchant or service provider that accepts compatible digital wallets, such as Apple or Google Pay.

Other co-branded cards, like the American Airlines credit cards from Barclays, will let you sign up for the card when checking out from the American Airlines website and let you use your new card account to cover the cost.

A few banks, namely HSBC, will provide you with your new credit card number but nothing else. You can’t see your expiration date or CVC security code. To get that information, you’ll have to wait for your card to arrive in the mail, which typically takes between seven and 10 business days.

USAA also provides instant access to your full range of credit card data but limits new cardholders from charging any more than $1,000 to their new credit line before the physical card arrives in the mail.

Can I Get a Physical Credit Card Same Day?

Some bank branches have the technology to print new cards on demand. If you’re approved at one of these banks, you can potentially receive your credit card as soon as you’re approved. But this may only be available for debit cards, so be sure to check with the bank before applying.

If you submit a credit application online, you can often receive an instant credit decision, but it’s nearly impossible for the bank to approve your application, print your card, and send it to you on the same day.

Some issuers will provide expedited shipping to get your card to you faster — but no one has found a way to make it all happen in one day… yet.

Issuer Shipping Times

If your bank doesn’t provide on-demand printing and you desperately need access to a credit card that same day, you can consider opening a prepaid debit card account at your local grocery or convenience store.

These cards require you to fund the account with a cash or debit deposit at the register, but you instantly receive your new card and can make credit charges against the funds you deposited.

While this isn’t a traditional credit card, you can use the card at any merchant that accepts credit cards — and you can start as soon as you purchase the card from the store.

What Is the Easiest Instant Credit Card to Get?

The easiest instant credit card to get approved for is a secured card, particularly one that doesn’t do a credit check and pull your credit report from a credit bureau.

Two secured credit cards don’t do credit checks, and that’s the Secured Sable ONE Credit Card and OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card. These cards are great options for rebuilding credit through on-time payments.

Secured Sable ONE Credit Card

This card is currently not available.

Secured 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
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card Review

at Capital Bank N.A.'ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • No credit check to apply and find out instantly if you are approved
  • OpenSky gives everyone an opportunity to improve their credit with an 85% average approval rate for the past 5 years
  • Get considered for a credit line increase after 6 months, with no additional deposit required
  • You could be eligible for the OpenSky Gold Unsecured Card after as few as 6 months
  • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly, unlike a prepaid or debit card
  • View your FICO® Score through your OpenSky account, an easy way to stay on top of your credit
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.64% (variable)
$35
Poor

Both operate on major networks, the Sable being a secured Mastercard and the OpenSky a secured Visa credit card, and are accepted basically everywhere. The Secured Sable ONE Credit Card even offers rewards on eligible purchases.

A secured card is easier to get than an unsecured credit card because a cash deposit serves as collateral for the account. If you miss a payment, the card issuer can withdraw funds from your deposit to cover the missed payment.

Get an Approval Decision in a Matter of Seconds

While instant potatoes earned instant approval among most American households, it took many years for the credit card industry to catch up with the same speedy processing.

Today’s rapid-fire internet banking makes it easier than ever for a bank to scan your application and return with a credit decision in a matter of seconds. But just because the bank can review your application quickly doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a card.

Unlike the quick acceptance from 1950s home cooks of instant freeze-dried potato flakes, credit card pre-approvals aren’t always what they seem. Be sure you fully understand the state of your credit report before submitting an application for credit to a bank.

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