Applying for a credit card can take almost no time at all, but approval and receiving your card may take a bit longer. In most cases, you’ll have to wait several days before you can start using your new credit card.
But what if you need to use it right now? You’re probably wondering, “Can I get a credit card today?”.
The time the process takes depends on you and the credit card issuer—some issuers take more time, some take less. However, some options offer very fast approval and allow you to get a credit card today.
The application process to get a credit card today is usually very fast, especially if you apply online. To apply for a credit card, you’ll want to have the following information on hand:
Different issuers may have different requirements, but these are the basics.
Also, it helps to know your credit score—the higher your score, the more likely approval will be, and the more options you’ll have when it comes to applying for different credit cards.
Each of the pieces of information listed above is utilized in the approval process. The issuer uses your SSN to pull your credit report, and the financial information you provide helps them determine how much debt you’d be able to handle. A high debt-to-income ratio could mean a lower credit limit or even complete rejection.
For some issuers, approval is almost instant—just submit the information, and they’ll do a quick check. Some may take longer, especially if your application needs additional examination. This type of delay could keep you from being approved right away, and will almost certainly mean you won’t be able to get a credit card today.
If your credit card application is under review, you may not get approval for a couple of days.
However long it takes, once you are approved, you’ll typically have to wait a while before you can use your credit card. That said, there are cases where you’ll be able to use it right away. This all depends on the type of credit card you apply for.
Getting a physical card takes time—usually five to seven business days. Once your application is approved, the issuer will send you a physical card in the mail, and that will take a bit of time to arrive. In some cases, you can get it faster—within a couple of days—but that may require a fee.
While you’ll always get a physical card sent to you, some issuers include additional options as well.
A few issuers provide instant credit cards by giving you a number to use upon approval. This number isn’t easily usable everywhere—in-person shopping is easiest when you have a physical card with you to swipe.
However, you can use the number on an instant credit card for online purchases without any extra steps. These credit cards are very convenient if you need to get a credit card today for online shopping.
Some issuers require you to have an existing account with them before they approve you for same-day credit. Others have additional requirements, such as a deposit if you have low credit.
Store-issued credit cards, also known as co-branded cards, are another same-day option. This type of credit is provided through a partnership between the issuer and a merchant, such as a department store.
Given the fact that these are typically offered at the register, the application and approval process is very fast, and you’ll be able to get a credit card today and use it to cover your purchase.
Vendors may have varying rules on using your temporary credit number, but once your physical card arrives, you can use it anywhere.
With all this in mind, here are a few tips to help you get approved quickly for a same-day credit card.
Do a check of your credit score—you can pull a free report once per year from each credit bureau. If it’s on the lower end, it may take longer to get approved for a credit card, so a low-credit option requiring a deposit may be a good idea.
During the application process, make sure all information you provide is correct. Errors could delay approval. Also, make sure you include all sources of income—doing so will help lower your debt-to-income ratio and make you a better candidate for a line of credit.
Getting a co-branded card from a store you frequent can give you discounts on that day’s purchases, and it will synergize well with your patronage at that store. On the other hand, a rewards card not tied to a particular store may offer more options, such as cash back, gift certificates to a variety of businesses or travel redemptions.
While it is possible to get a credit card today, it’s not always likely, especially if your current credit situation isn’t the best. In those cases, it may be best to wait a little longer before applying.
If you cannot wait, the options listed above may assist you in getting immediate access to a line of credit.