While card companies strive to offer all applicants a quick response and approval, not everyone will be guaranteed instant approval based on their credit history. But those applying for the cards here can expect a speedy response from the issuer within 60 seconds of submitting a complete online application. In some circumstances, card issuers may seek more information from the applicant and may require more time to secure approval for the applicant. Those with excellent or good credit may be able to receive online instant credit approval along with the best terms offered by issuers, while those with damaged or no credit may be instantly approved for debit cards.
When credit cards were first introduced into the marketplace, it was not uncommon for an applicant to wait 4 to 6 weeks just to know whether or not they were approved for the card, let alone get to start using it. But long gone are the days of snail mail and long processing timeframes. Now, thanks to the invention of the Internet and electronic recordkeeping, many card products offer instant approval, meaning that you can find out whether or not you are approved for a credit or debit card product within a minute or less from when you submit your application.
Instant approval cards exist within the product offering of almost every card issuing company and most have a card product for applicants with all types of credit, from excellent to poor. The first step in applying for an instant approval debit or credit card is to research the product offerings and match your target card with your personal financial situation, your credit situation, and the best combination of interest rate / fees / rewards and so forth, for your unique situation. Check out our list of instant approval cards above and compare their pros and cons. Find out what type of credit you will need in order to qualify for a card. If you are applying for a credit card, then the healthier your credit, the quicker you'll receive a response. Take note that there will be applicants who may not receive a quick response, and these are folks whose credit history needs to be reviewed more carefully by the card issuer. But if your credit can use improvement, you may be able to get instant approval through prepaid debit cards, which don't typically require credit checks.
The next step is to complete the online application. For this step, you will need the following information:
In the case of credit cards, you will then electronically “sign” your application and wait while the system pulls your credit score and matches your information with the credit card company’s hard coded qualifying score. If your credit score is above what the company has agreed is acceptable, you will receive an approved message and potentially how much of a credit line you have been approved for. If your score is lower, you will receive a declined message. It's also possible that the card issuer may not have an immediate, clear cut response and may request more information to help support your application. In that case, you can comply and get approval at a later point.
You can expect to receive something in the mail from the card issuing company -- either a card with instructions on how to activate it and what the terms will be that govern the use and repayment of the account, or an explanation of why you were declined and instructions on how to receive a free copy of your credit report. These documents will generally appear anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks after you apply for your credit card. With debit cards that require no credit reviews, your wait may be shorter: your prepaid card can be in your hands within 5 to 10 business days.
The instant approval process completely removes the uncertainty of whether or not you qualify for and are approved for a new debit or credit card. The main drawback to these cards is that they may lure you away from better card offers, which can be overlooked based on the fact that there is no instant approval process available for them. It is important to make sure that the card you choose is the best possible card for your particular circumstance, and if that card has instant approval, then all the better!