An instant approval credit card is one that gives you an almost-instant credit decision. With the speed of the internet, instant approval credit cards let you know whether you’ve been approved in under a minute. These days, the majority of credit cards with online applications are instant approval.
Note that instant approval doesn’t mean guaranteed approval. Think of it more as an instant decision credit card. The card issuer will still process your application and decide whether you meet the criteria. But since the decision is made electronically, you’ll typically get your answer in less than 60 seconds.
If you’re denied for an instant approval credit card, you may get a message that specifically says you’ve been denied. Or, you may get a message telling you to expect a letter in the mail. A few days later, you’ll receive a letter in the mail including the reason (or reasons) your application was denied. You’ll automatically get a free credit score if your credit score was used in the decision and the letter will tell you how you can order a free copy of the credit report used to make the decision.
Not being approved right away doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re denied. Sometimes, the card issuer needs more information to process your application. You may get a phone call or letter within the next few days requesting that you call back to clarify or give more details about something on your application, like your income or physical address for example. Then, once you’ve given that additional information, the card issuer can give you a decision.
You can improve your chances of being approved by checking your credit score before you apply. Then, you can narrow your credit card options to those that fit your credit history. For example, if you have a fair to good credit score, it’s probably a waste of time, and a credit report inquiry, to apply for a credit card that requires excellent credit.
Generally, the better your credit score, the better your chance at getting approved. However, credit scores aren’t the only determining factor. Your income and other debt will also play a major role in whether your application is approved.
You can find instant approval credit cards by going directly to the websites of the credit card issuers if you have an idea of the credit card you want to apply for. Or, you can use a credit card comparison service which will show you credit cards from different issuers and even let you compare credit cards based on criteria like interest rate, rewards, or credit history.