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2018's Best Instant Approval Credit Cards

Below are our picks for 2018's best credit cards featuring instant approval. Note that most issuers of cards for good credit, fair credit, and poor credit do not offer instant approval:

Average APR
N/A
Average Annual Fee
$99.00
Rate Trend
No Change
since last month

Review Breakdown

Unfortunately the options for "instant approval" credit cards are very limited, as the vast majority of issuers of cards for good credit, fair credit, and poor credit offer quick (but not instant) approval. We encourage you to visit those links to find better offers for your situation. Below is a summary of the limited options for truly instant approval.

Here are 2018's best instant approval credit cards:

Instant Approval Quick Credit Cards
Rank Card Name Feature Credit Needed Expert Rating
1 Fingerhut Credit Account Instant Approval Poor Credit Poor Credit
2 Capital One® Secured Mastercard® Instant Approval Limited, Bad Limited, Bad
3 Total Visa® Card Instant Approval Fair, Bad Credit Fair, Bad Credit
4 Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card Instant Approval No Credit Check No Credit Check
5 Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard® Instant Approval No Credit Check No Credit Check
6 Pink Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card Instant Approval No Credit Check No Credit Check
7 Discover it® Secured Instant Approval Please refer to issuer's website Please refer to issuer's website

7 Factors Issuers Consider in Approval Decisions

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Finance Contributor
Updated:
7 Factors Issuers Consider in Approval Decisions
CardRates.com Guide: Instant Approval

As the digital information era continues to ramp up, the financial industry is slowly adapting the way it approves applicants. But the keyword there is “slowly.” For example, while newer credit scoring models are including more nontraditional data, most of the industry has yet to adopt the new models.

Even if more financial services organizations incorporate alternative data sources into their evaluations, the basic tenets of the credit approval process will likely remain the same five general areas that are used to calculate your credit score. Here’s what issuers look for when determining whether to approve your credit card application:

1. Your payment history

There are few things as useful for getting approved for a new credit line than having a nice long positive payment history. A history of making your payments on time and as agreed acts as reassurance to the issuer that you'll be likely to repay a new credit line the same way. This helps reduce your potential credit risk and increase your chances of being approved for new credit.

2. Your debt & credit utilization

Another major factor in your credit score is how much debt you currently hold. But it’s not quite that simple; the issuer won’t just look at how much you owe on all of your accounts across the board. Instead, they’ll look at each type of debt, including how much you owe and how much you’ve repaid.

For example, issuers won’t look solely at your credit card balances, but will instead look at your credit utilization, or the ratio of how much you owe to your available credit limit.

If you have a credit card or two and are near the maximum credit limit, this can be a red flag to a card issuer. It may appear as though you’re struggling to pay down your debt and are overextended.

3. The length of your credit history

The length of time you’ve had credit is a big factor in getting approved for a new card. If you have no or a limited credit history, it’s hard to issuers to gauge your potential credit risk. Thankfully, there are a range of cards out there specifically designed for newcomers to establish and build their credit.

4. The types of credit you have

The variety of credit types you have held — and managed responsibly — can also factor into your credit score and credit card approval. In general, having multiple types of credit accounts in good standing, such as an installment loan and a credit card, will increase your chances of being approved for new credit lines.

5. Your recent hard inquiries

Each time you apply for new credit and the creditor checks your credit report, a hard inquiry is noted on your report. Hard inquiries can last for up to two years on your report before they age off.

While one or two recent hard inquiries is typically acceptable in a credit card applicant, a series of recent hard inquiries are viewed as a red flag by most issuers, as it indicates the potential to take on debt that will impact your ability to repay any new credit lines.

6. Your open accounts

As a way to combat credit card rewards churners, many issuers are implementing rules on how many new credit card accounts you can have and still be approved.

Chase, in particular, is known for instantly rejecting applicants who  have opened five or more credit card accounts in the last 24 months, but other issuers are also adopting policies limiting how many new accounts you can have and/or how many credit cards you can have from a single issuer.

7. Your income

Although income isn’t a primary factor, it’s scrutinized in credit card applications and sometimes verified by the credit card company, especially when it comes to assigning you a credit limit.

Part of this is to satisfy the law — the CARD Act requires that consumers need to have a reasonable expectation of being able to repay their debt to be approved for a credit card. (Of course, even without this requirements, knowing you have the means to repay your credit line is imperative to the issuers.)

Boost your credit score to boost your approval chances

Although credit card issuers look at your entire credit profile before making a decision, your credit score is an easy way to gauge your credit risk — and your approval chances. The higher your credit score, the better your chances are of being approved for most credit cards.

If your credit score is lower than you’d like it to be, the first step is to check your credit reports. Compare your reports to the seven things issuers look for to determine where you need to make improvements. With a solid action plan, you can boost your score — and your approval rate.

Photo source: ucps.k12.nc.us

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

The information on this page was reviewed for accuracy on .

About the Author

Brittney Mayer Finance Contributor Brittney Mayer

Brittney Mayer is a contributing editor for CardRates.com, where she uses her extensive research background to write comprehensive consumer guides and in-depth company profiles. Leveraging her vast knowledge of the financial industry, Brittney’s work can be found on websites such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, US News & World Report, CreditRepair.com, Lexington Law, BadCredit.org, and CreditCards.com, among others. Brittney specializes in translating complex financial jargon and ideas into readable, actionable advice on lending best practices.

Brittney Mayer

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which CardRates.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. See the credit card issuer's website for specific terms and conditions of each card.