The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

12 Instant-Approval Credit Cards

Instant Approval Credit Cards

credit card advice

Adam West

Written by: Adam West

Adam West

As Managing Editor for CardRates, Adam oversees content and regularly interviews some of the payments industry's biggest influencers and decision-makers so our site can bring high-quality and engaging stories to our audience and keep readers informed on the latest trends and technology in the space.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian is a Content Editor who brings her journalism experience in business and consumer finance to ensure CardRates news articles and reports have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. Her primary goal is to assure editorial content meets the highest level of quality and precision.

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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 | 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 card issuer 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 Issuer Website
See Issuer 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 Issuer Website
See Issuer 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.

That means that with on-time payments, you can start to improve your credit score and eventually upgrade to a card from one of the tiers below.

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 our mobile app
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (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
26.99% (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% Variable
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.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • NEW Intro APR: Get a 0% intro APR‡ for 15 months on purchases. Then 12.24% to 23.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 months
0% Intro APR for 15 months
12.24% - 23.24% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good/Average
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.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • No annual fee.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 6 months
0% Intro APR for 18 months
12.24% - 23.24% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good/Average

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®
  • 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
N/A
N/A
16.24% - 24.24% (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. Plus, earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases and tickets at Vivid Seats
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn $100 when you spend $100 in the first three months
  • Enjoy no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees
  • 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
  • You can help build your credit with responsible use of a card like this
  • 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
15.24% - 25.24% (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 our mobile app
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
26.99% (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 no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees
  • 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
  • You can help build your credit with responsible use of a card like this
  • 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
15.24% - 25.24% (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.

Issuers with Instant-Use Cards Upon Approval

Some cards allow you to start using your new credit line right after being approved. The issuers below allow for 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 to make other card-not-present (CNP) transactions.

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

American Express: American Express cardholders have access to a digital wallet that holds credit card numbers for all of your Amex accounts. The wallet updates as soon you receive credit approval to include a temporary card number that links to your new credit line. American Express only issues credit cards for consumers with good or better credit, however.

Bank of America: If you apply and are approved for a BoA 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. These include the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®, Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, The JetBlue Card, Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Card, the Princess Cruises® Rewards Visa® Card, and the Uber Credit Card. 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.

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.

Which Credit Cards Have Instant Approval?

Thanks to the internet and the proliferation of financial technology, just about every bank and credit card issuer can now 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.

Banks including American Express and Bank of America provide digital wallets through their mobile application that can provide a new credit card number instantly upon approval. You can use this number to make purchases with any merchant or service provider who is willing to perform a card-not-present transaction.

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. That 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.

Just keep in mind that most banks that allow instant credit line access do so by providing you with a temporary credit card number that will not match the number on your permanent physical card.

If you set up recurring payments using the temporary number, be sure to update your account with the permanent number when the card arrives to avoid future charges being declined.

Can I Get a Credit Card Same Day?

Some physical 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.

This technology typically only works with debit cards, though, 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.

Get Approval 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 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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