The best way to get a credit card fast is to apply online and then request expedited shipping once you’re approved. That way, you don’t have to wait for your application to be delivered before it’s considered. Applying online also means you could be approved instantly and perhaps even receive your card number to begin making purchases right away, though no card can guarantee either 100% of the time. Typically, it takes about 2-4 weeks from the time you apply for a card to actually receive it, depending on how long approval and shipping take. But there are certain things you can do to get your card quicker.
Here’s how to get a credit card fast:
- Apply online. This is the fastest way to get your application to the issuer.
- Apply for cards below your range. You’re more likely to be instantly approved for cards that’re overqualified for (e.g. apply for fair credit cards if you have good credit). You could even put a deposit on a secured credit card, which has the highest odds of approval of any card type.
- Check for preapproval. Some issuers let you check online to see whether you’re preapproved for any of their cards. This means they’ll tell you whether you’re a good candidate to apply based on a harmless soft check of your credit. If you’re preapproved, you’ll have around a 90% chance of success when you actually apply for an account.
- Look for instant use cards. Certain issuers provide your credit card number (or a temporary placeholder) to use right after you’re approved, instead of making you wait 7-10 business days until your card arrives in the mail. For example, if you apply for the Costco Anywhere Visa at a Costco location, they’ll give you a code to scan at checkout that acts as your card until the plastic one arrives. Some other store credit cards (e.g. Target REDcard) also allow you to apply and use your card the same day. And if you get approved for a Capital One card, you can download their app and see the number, expiration date and security code right away.
- Request expedited shipping. Most credit card issuers will give you an option for faster shipping, usually in exchange for a fee ranging from $6 to $25 (but sometimes free). This will allow you to get your hands on the card sooner than the normal 7-10 business days, shortening the time to as little as overnight in some cases.
- Call the issuer. If you don’t get approved right away and your application is pending, you can try following up with the issuer. Calling them might get your application looked at a little sooner than if you just waited. It might not, but it’s worth a try.
Regardless of whether you go for an account that gives you an instant number, your card should arrive within 7-10 business days of when you apply. If it doesn’t get to you within that time frame, you should definitely give customer service a call to check its status.