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What Does It Mean When Your Credit Card Application Is Pending?

A pending credit card application may mean the card issuer has further questions for you.

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Most online credit card applications can be filled out in a matter of minutes and, usually, the card issuer will get back to you with its decision even faster. But sometimes the issuer needs more time to review your application. Until the review is complete, your application might say it’s pending or under review.

This isn’t necessarily bad news, and it doesn’t automatically mean your application will be denied. A pending credit card application just means the credit card issuer couldn’t automatically approve you without taking a closer look at the details in your application.

Why is my application pending?

The reason your application is still up in the air can vary. For starters, it’s fairly common for a card issuer to need more time to verify your income. If the issuer can’t verify your income instantly and needs to conduct more research, it will likely pause your application.

“Card issuers define income broadly,” said Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at CNET’s sister site Bankrate. “You can include your entire household income, so your spouse’s wages, your investment income, alimony, child support, all qualify.”

Ultimately, the issuer needs to verify your income to ensure you’re capable of paying back what you borrow.

Although reviewing your income is the most common reason why your credit card application may be pending, it’s not the only one. Here are some other reasons why you might not receive a decision right away:

  • There’s a mistake on your application. If there’s a typo on your application or if the credit card issuer can’t verify some piece of personal information, it may lead to a delay in your application while they reach out for clarification.
  • You froze your credit reports. If you have taken steps to freeze your credit reports, you’ll have to unfreeze them in order to be approved for any new credit products.
  • The issuer has a high number of applications to review. If there’s an influx of credit applications when you apply, it may increase the time it takes for the issuer to process yours.
  • More information is needed. It’s also possible the card issuer needs to collect more information from you in order to verify your identity or application details. If you’re applying for a business credit card, for example, they may need you to supply proof of your Employer Identification Number.

Can you avoid a pending status when applying for a credit card?

While there’s nothing you can do to guarantee your credit card application will be approved or denied right away, there are some steps you can take to avoid a pending status.

First, take your time when filling out the credit card application, and answer as fully and truthfully as possible. If your information is correct, it’s less likely to be held up due to an application error.

If you’re worried about your approval odds, consider prequalifying for the card. This move can help you get prequalified for a card without damaging your credit. Just keep in mind that even getting prequalified doesn’t guarantee you’ll be approved.

“Being preapproved can give you some peace of mind,” Rossman said. “Not only does [getting rejected] feel bad, but it usually saddles you with a hard inquiry on your credit report without a new credit card or welcome bonus to show for it.”

Lastly, you might consider applying for a credit card that offers an instant approval decision. This means you don’t have to worry about waiting for days or weeks to find out your application status.

What to do if your application is pending

If you don’t get an answer on your credit card application and you end up in limbo as a result, keep an eye on your email and physical mail for any updates from the card issuer. 

“They might have specific questions they want you to address, perhaps to clarify some of the information on your application,” Rossman said.

You can also reach out to the credit card issuer’s customer support phone number to find out your status and learn more information. However, keep in mind that it can take up to a few weeks to find out your approval status.

What does ‘under further review’ mean?

For the most part, having a credit card application that’s currently “pending” or “under further review” means the same thing. Individual card issuers may use different terms to tell you they are currently reviewing your application and need more time before they can give you a decision.

Your next best steps are the same regardless of the terminology used. Keep an eye on your inbox and the regular mail to see if the card issuer needs anything from you, and supply them with the information they need promptly if they do. Other than that, all you can do is hope for the best.

How to check the status of your application

You can check the status of your application by contacting the credit card issuer on the phone. Make sure you reach out with the right customer service numbers, which are listed below for each issuer.

  • American Express: 1-800-567-1083
  • Bank of America: 866-422-8089
  • Capital One: 1-800-903-9177
  • Chase: 888-270-2127
  • Citi: 866-606-2787
  • Discover: 1-800-347-3085
  • Wells Fargo: 1-800-967-9521 

Can I check my credit card application status online?

While you can call the numbers above to see where you’re at in the approval process with major card issuers, most also have a process that lets you check online. If you applied for a credit card with any of the providers below, you can check the status of your application on the site below.

What to do if your credit application is denied

According to Rossman, about one in five credit card applications never receive the green light. However, this doesn’t mean all is lost, or that you should stop trying.

In the event your credit card application is denied, there are several ways you can recover or potentially get a new decision. For example, you can work to improve your credit score or reach out to the credit card issuer’s reconsideration line. 

“Understand why you were turned down and [then] try to resolve those factors,” Rossman said. “Spend six months working on your credit score and apply again when you’re in a better place.”

Taking time between credit card applications can reduce the number of hard inquiries on your credit report, which is certainly something to avoid.

Consider applying for a secured credit card that has much lower credit requirements than a standard credit card, and then practice responsible credit habits, such as paying your bill in full each month, to help boost your credit score.

The bottom line

Although most credit card decisions take a matter of seconds, sometimes the issuer needs more time to process your application. Your credit card application could be pending for a number of reasons, but the most common reason is that the card issuer is verifying your income.

Fortunately, in most cases, you can check your application status online or by phone with the card provider. It could take a few weeks to receive a decision, though the card issuer has 30 days to report back to you.

You may also avoid a lengthy application process by getting preapproved for a card or applying for a credit card that offers instant approval.


Credit card issuers have to give you an answer within 30 days of receiving the application, according to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. However, barring any issues, you should get an answer instantly.

The fastest way to apply for a credit card is online. If you’re worried about your credit score, it may be worthwhile to apply for preapproval first.

It can take up to 14 calendar days to receive your new credit card, although this timeframe varies by issuer. If you don’t receive your card within a few weeks once you’re approved, reach out to customer service online or by phone.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Holly Johnson is a credit card expert and writer who covers rewards and loyalty programs, budgeting, and all things personal finance. In addition to writing for publications like Bankrate,, Forbes Advisor and Investopedia, Johnson owns Club Thrifty and is the co-author of "Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You'll Love."
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