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How Long Does It Take to Get a Credit Card?

Getting a new credit card usually takes 7-10 business days to be delivered to you but the approval process can happen within minutes for online or mobile applications.

Sometimes getting a credit card can take longer if you mail in your application or if you are applying for a credit card that requires excellent credit. In those cases, the card issuer will need to review your application longer in order to input the correct information and look over your credit history in greater detail.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Credit Card Approval?

Getting a credit card approval can take minutes or even seconds in some instances. You can expect a decision for approval rather fast as many card issuers accept online applications. You can also call the card issuer or mail in the application form to be approved. The application will require some personal information such as your name, address, income, Social Security Number and employment status.

How to Get Approved for a Credit Card

If you apply for a credit card that you’re already qualified for then your chances of being approved are much higher. If you haven’t been preapproved or prequalified then you should do some research to understand which card makes the most sense. This way you can avoid bad credit cards and find the right credit card to increase your chance of being approved.

In fact, Experian can help you find personalized credit opportunities by analyzing your individual credit situation to match you with the most relevant credit offers. Here are some of the more common types of credit cards:

If you have don’t have good credit scores, there are even options for credit cards for people with bad credit.

How Fast Can You Get a Credit Card?

If you need a new credit card in a hurry you can research what you think is the best credit card and which card issuers offer instant credit approvals. Some credit cards let you use them right away once you’re approved, such as a retail store credit card. Card issuers also use prescreen or pre-qualification methods to make better estimates when extending a credit opportunity to the “pre-approved” consumers. A prescreen is when a credit card issuer evaluates your credit history to decide if they want to make you a firm credit offer.

What Is a Pre-Approved Credit Card?

A pre-approved credit card offer is when the credit card issuer has determined you meet their requirements for a credit opportunity from a soft inquiry credit check. For soft inquiries, there is no impact on the consumer’s credit scores. Soft inquiries are never included in credit score calculations, however, once the consumer proceeds with an application or accepts a new line of credit, a hard inquiry will be noted in the consumer’s report and the credit score may be impacted. Typically, a hard inquiry subtracts a few points from a consumer’s credit scores, but only for a year, depending on the credit scoring model.

You may also receive a message that says you prequalify for a credit card that means that you were “pre-approved” for credit card offers because you chose to opt-in to see which credit cards you qualify for. Usually, the credit card issuer has decided after a soft inquiry into your credit that you fulfill their requirements. Any messages that say you have been preapproved or prequalified for a new credit card are governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

How Does the Credit Card Approval Process Work?

The credit card approval process work when the credit card companies begin to look at several things to decide whether are not they want to approve an application for new credit. Here are some of the things that they factor into their decision:

  • Credit Score: Usually the credit card issuers look at least one to three credit scores to check your credit standing.
  • Debt-to-Credit Ratio: This is known as your credit utilization ratio to see how much credit you have used compared to your available credit limit. This debt-to-credit ratio affects your credit scores, accounting for 30% of your FICO Score.
  • Delinquent Accounts: These appear on your credit report due to a history of late payments or too many credit applications in a short amount of time and can cause a lender to decline your application.

If I Apply for a Credit Card Will It Impact My Credit Score?

Yes, applying for a credit card will impact your credit scores if a hard inquiry is made. Hard inquiries can have an effect on your credit scores, but in most cases the effect of applying for credit cards is minimal, and a temporary one at that. If you are denied credit it will not affect your credit scores.

How Do I Check to See If I Have Been Approved?

Typically these days you will know instantly if you have been approved for a new credit card. If you do have to wait then it should not take more than a couple of days.

Anytime you are making a financial decision like applying for a credit card take, the time to research your options to make the best decision possible based on the type of credit card you want and the one that best fits your financial situation.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.