Once you’re approved for a new credit card, it will take between seven and 10 business days to arrive in most cases. Some issuers offer expedited service for a fee if you need your card faster, however, and some banks will provide a virtual credit card number that you can use as soon as you’re approved. Here’s everything you need to know about how to apply, how to get approved and how long you’ll have to wait before using your new card.
How long does it take to get a credit card?
When you’re applying for a new credit card, the issuer will verify your identity and review your credit history. If completed online, the application and approval process may take just a few minutes.
If you’re approved, it can take as little as seven business days for a new card to arrive, but it may take up to 14 business days. If you need it faster, some card issuers offer expedited service, though some may charge a fee.
Certain types of credit cards can be used the same day you apply, however. For example, you can typically apply for retail store credit cards in-store, and new cardholders can use the card the same day to make a purchase. Similarly, if the card issuer has a local branch, you may be able to obtain a temporary card to use right away.
How to apply for a credit card
Applying for a credit card is as simple as filling out an online form. Most credit card issuers ask for the same personal information, including your full legal name, Social Security number or Individual Tax Identification Number, mailing address, gross annual income, employment status and housing costs. Some issuers may ask for your employer’s phone number or a tax document if you are self-employed. You can also apply over the phone or by mail, but this may take longer.
What is instant approval?
Instant approval for a credit card could mean a few things, depending on the issuer. For example, if you’re instantly approved, it could mean that you not only know you’re approved, but you also have access to your account number, as well as your credit card number.
But that isn’t always the case. In some cases, you’ll know you’re approved for the credit card, but you may not have access to your credit line. In general, instant approval is more common from the major issuers.
What is preapproval?
Some credit card issuers may use a preapproval process, running a soft credit check in order to provide an indication about whether an individual is likely to be approved for a specific card. Note that this does not guarantee approval, which will involve a hard credit check and a more thorough review of an applicant’s credit score and financial situation. In some cases, you may be able to see a list of cards for which you’ve been preapproved. Most major issuers allow you to complete a preapproval process online, and you can apply right after you get preapproved.
How to get a replacement credit card
If you lose your credit card, it’s important to contact your credit card company right away. Inform them of the situation, and they will put a stop on your card. They should then send you a replacement card as soon as possible. This may take up to a week, depending on the situation.
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Correction, 7:30 a.m. PT Jan. 25: An earlier version of this article suggested that card issuers who offer expedited service and delivery always charge a fee. The article has been corrected to clarify that some card issuers may charge a fee for expedited service, but others may not.