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3 ways to activate a Visa credit card

This merchant processor offers a similar process across all its providers.

With most Visa providers, you can activate your card in three ways — by phone, online or through the mobile app. But not all cards displaying the Visa logo allow for app activation. Here’s how to activate your Visa using each method.

How to activate your Visa card online

Online is your fastest option, even accounting for the step of creating an online account, and should take you just a few minutes. Enroll with your Social Security number and date of birth, and then follow four steps:

  1. Log in to your online account.
  2. Look for your new credit card under Accounts.
  3. Enter your card number, expiration date and CVV/CVC.
  4. Enter your date of birth and Social Security number, if required by your provider.

How to activate your Visa card by phone

Activate your card with a phone call in three steps:

  1. Call the number on the back of your card or the number in the sticker on your card.
  2. Request to activate your card.
  3. Provide your card’s information and personal identifying details.

How to activate your Visa card with a mobile app

Most card providers let you activate your card with the provider’s mobile app in three steps:

  1. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play.
  2. Log in with your online account information.
  3. Look for your card under Accounts.

Getting started with your Visa card

Once you’ve activated, you can double-check your status by signing in to your provider account or mobile app. After you’re confirmed, you can start using your Visa card immediately. There are a few great ways to start using your credit card depending on the card you activated:

  1. Set up autopay. One of the best first steps you can take when opening a new card account is setting up autopay. This ensures you’ll never miss a payment and accidentally rack up unwanted late fees. To avoid interest, consider paying your monthly statement in full each month. The steps to set up auto pay slightly differs depending on your card provider, so check out our provider specific activation series for more information on your card.
  2. Set up your PIN. If you plan on traveling abroad or taking out a cash advance, you’ll need a credit card PIN. You can set up your PIN by contacting your provider either online or on the number listed on the back of your card.
  3. Download the provider app. Your card provider app lets you easily manage your account on the go as well as check in on your accrued rewards and perks. Each card provider has its own app, so check out our individual provider activation pages for more information.
  4. Check out your perks. Many Visa cards come with built-in Visa perks and features. Some of these can offer convenience, such as a concierge service, while others can keep you protected during travel. These perks are listed in the Visa guide to benefits you receive with your card.
  5. Add your card to your digital wallet. You can add most Visa cards to your digital wallet, though compatibility comes down to your provider and specific wallet.
  6. Earn rewards. If you picked up a Visa rewards credit card, you can start spending on categories that will offer a big return for your wallet.
  7. Redeem rewards. Once you’ve built up your reward points or miles, you can redeem them for big value. Our full redemption guide can help you earn the most bang for your buck.

Bottom line

All Visa credit cards have the same activation procedure as any other credit card — online or by phone, with many providers extending the convenience of easy activation through a mobile app.

Now that your Visa card is active and ready to use, consider adding one of the best second credit cards to your wallet for additional perks, the chance to earn a signup bonus and or increase your credit limit.

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