What It Means When Your Credit Card Application Is Under Review

Quick Answer

When your credit card application is under review, the card issuer needs more time to make a decision. You may be able to contact the card issuer to check the status of your application and learn whether you can provide more information to speed the process.

Couple with credit card looking at applications online.

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When you apply for a credit card, you want to know whether you're approved as quickly as possible. Getting a message that your credit card application is under review can be disappointing and nerve-racking. While many credit card application decisions occur instantly, your application could be under review for several days if the card issuer needs to check certain information. Here are seven reasons why they may need more time for review.

7 Reasons Why Your Credit Card Application Is Under Review

First, don't assume the worst. If your credit card application isn't approved instantly, it doesn't mean your application is denied. There are a number of reasons that your application may be under review.

  • Your application had missing or incorrect information. Card issuers use the information in your application to decide whether to approve you. If you missed a field or accidentally included a typo, the card issuer will need updated information to finish reviewing your application.
  • Your credit report has a security alert or is frozen. Security measures, like a fraud alert or credit freeze, can slow your credit card application review. You may have requested these security measures with the credit bureaus to safeguard your credit report or because you believe you were or may become a victim of identity theft. With a fraud alert, the card issuer has to take extra steps to confirm you—not an imposter—submitted the application. A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, is more restrictive: You'll have to temporarily lift the freeze to move forward.
  • The card issuer wants to verify your information. Occasionally, card issuers need a copy of your driver's license or state ID to verify your identity. Or, they may need a pay stub or W-2 to verify the income you entered on your application.
  • The card issuer has too many applications. A sudden influx of new credit card applications can temporarily slow down the review process. This may be more likely to happen if a card issuer recently announced a credit card promotion.
  • There was a technical issue. Certain actions, like pressing the submit button twice or clicking the back button while your application is being submitted, can cause duplicate applications. Technical glitches may trigger the credit card review process.

How Long Does a Credit Card Application Review Take?

Many credit card applications are approved instantly. Some credit card issuers even provide your credit card account information so you can use your account for purchases right away.

If you're not instantly approved and instead receive a message that your application is "under review" or "pending," your application decision will come later. The card issuer may need to contact you for additional information to process your application. Be sure to respond quickly to avoid additional delays. It may take them between 14 and 30 days to complete their review and give you an approval decision.

What to Do if Your Credit Card Application Is Pending

You have a few options for handling a pending credit card application.

Wait for a Decision

While it can take up to 30 days, a decision could come sooner. Watch your mailboxes—both your mail and email—for an application decision or a request for more information.

Check Your Application Status Online

Some credit card issuers offer a page where you can quickly check your application status. There, you can find out if you've been approved, should expect a decision in the mail or whether your application is still under review.

Checking your application online is relatively straightforward. You'll typically need to provide some basic information, such as your date of birth, ZIP code and last four digits of your Social Security number.

Contact the Credit Card Issuer

If you don't receive any communication from the card issuer, you can call for an update on your application. A customer service representative can provide information about your application or potentially move it to the next step in the process.

Here are the phone numbers to check your application status with a few of the major credit card issuers. If you were given an application or reference number after submitting your application, provide it during your call for faster lookup.

The Bottom Line

You can minimize the risk of your application going into pending status by reviewing your application thoroughly before submitting it. Verify that you've completed all the necessary fields and the information you've provided is accurate. If you've frozen your credit report, lift the freeze temporarily so the card issuer can review your credit.

You can improve your approval odds by reviewing your credit report and credit score before applying. That way, you can choose a credit card that matches your credit profile to improve your odds of approval.