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How long does it take to get a credit card?

Your credit card application was approved - find out what happens next.

After taking time to compare credit card offers and applying for one that suits your needs, it’s exciting to find out that your application has been approved. Find out when you can expect to receive your card, what you’ll need to do when it arrives and get answers to frequently asked questions so that you can be as prepared as possible when your new credit card arrives in the mail.

When will I get my new credit card?

Credit cards whether it’s a bank, credit union or online provider issuing the card usually take between five to ten business days to arrive in the mail. This time can obviously be affected by factors such as lost mail, mail strikes, the location of your home and the credit card provider you choose.

ProviderApplication length (approx)Decision time (business days)Card arrival
American Express5-10 minutes60 seconds or if more information is needed, within 10 days5-14 business days
Scotiabank5-10 minutesWithin 24 hours or if more information is needed, in a few days5-14 business days
TangerineIn a few minutes60 seconds or if more information is needed, within 10 days5-14 business days

Compare credit cards for 2024

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
RBC ION Visa
3,500 points
1.5 points per $1 spent
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 3,500 Avion points when you get approved for the card.
Neo Credit Mastercard
Get $25.00 + up to 15% cash back
Up to 5% cash back
19.99% - 29.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Get $25 when you sign up for the Neo Financial Mastercard. Plus, earn bonuses like 15% cashback on your first purchase at most partners, and earn an average of 5% cashback at partner stores and at least 1% cashback guaranteed.
Tangerine World Mastercard
10% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 10% cash back (up to $100) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months. Valid until April 30, 2024. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months.
American Express Cobalt Card
15,000 points
Up to 5x points per $1 spent
20.99%
$155.88
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 15,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 1,250 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $750 in purchases. That’s up to $150 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,500). Plus, get a rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 2% fee applies to transferred balances.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
10% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 10% cash back (up to $100) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months. Valid until April 30, 2024. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months.
RBC Cash Back Mastercard
N/A
Up to 2% cash back
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
RBC ION+ Visa
7,000 points
3 points per $1 spent
20.99%
$48
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get up to 7,000 welcome points. Get 3,500 points on approval and earn 3,500 bonus points when you spend $500 in your first 3 months.
BMO eclipse rise Visa Card
25,000
Up to 5 points per $2 spent
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn up to 25,000 bonus points.
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
0.99% rate on balance transfers for 9 months
N/A
13.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($29 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 2% transfer fee. Plus, get the $29 annual fee waived in the first year.
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What happens after I’ve applied for a credit card?

man cc application

After you submit your credit card application, the credit card issuer will assess your credit history and current financial situation in order to determine whether or not you are eligible for the card.

They also use this process to determine how much credit they will offer you – which will ultimately determine your credit limit.

Provided you meet the application criteria, you could get conditional approval for the card within 60 seconds of submitting an online application.

If not, you may receive a follow-up call or email from the credit card issuer asking for further information.

Providing supporting documentation

When you receive conditional approval for a credit card, the issuer may also ask you to submit additional supporting documents to complete the application process. The sooner you provide this information, the faster you’ll get your card. The documents you’ll need may vary between providers, but generally include some or all of the following:

  • A copy of your driver’s license or passport
  • Recent paycheques
  • Recent bank statements
  • Your most recent CRA tax return
  • A letter from your employer or accountant verifying your employment and/or financial details

What do I need to do when I get my credit card?

After completing the application process, your credit card will usually come in the mail within the timeframe outlined by your provider. In some situations, you may also be asked to go to your nearest branch to pick it up for security reasons.

Your new credit card will also come with an info package containing valuable information about the bank, the credit card and its terms and conditions of use. The information package will usually arrive alongside the card. Make sure you read through the provided information thoroughly before you start using your new credit card to avoid any surprise charges.

How do I activate my credit card?

Depending on the provider, you may be able to activate your new credit card online, over the phone, in-person at a branch or at an ATM machine.

Information about card activation will be included in your information package and usually takes just a few minutes to complete. In addition, many providers place an easy to remove sticker on your new credit card with specific instructions on how to activate your card, however this is not always the case.

Remember to sign your card

The signature panel on your new credit card gives you the legal authority to use it and protects you against any unauthorized transactions if it’s lost, stolen or compromised – so make sure you sign it when you first activate the card.

Frequently asked questions

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