When you apply for a credit card online, it’s not uncommon to receive approval within 60 seconds or less. Once your application is approved, you’ll typically receive your credit card in the mail within a week or two.
What is an instant approval credit card?
An instant approval credit card has an application that returns a decision within a few minutes or less. Applications are typically online and take around 10 minutes to complete.
Typically instant approval credit cards are aimed at those with good to excellent credit scores. Even if you meet the basic eligibility requirements and have an excellent credit score, there are a number of reasons your application may be declined. An instant approval credit card doesn’t mean your approval is guaranteed.
What are the typical eligibility requirements?
While it varies between credit cards, you’ll typically need to meet the following requirements:
Be at least 18 years of age, or the age of majority in your province or territory.
Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.
Meet any minimum income requirements.
Meet any minimum credit score requirements.
Compare instant approval credit cards
Your approval time for these credit cards will depend on the information you provide. Usually, a decision is instant or near instant, and you’ll receive it via email within a few minutes of completing your application. In some cases, more information will be required and it may take longer (sometimes up to a few days). Before applying, be sure you meet the eligibility requirements for the credit card.
*The products compared on this page are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market. There is no perfect order or perfect ranking system for the products we list on our Site, so we provide you with the functionality to self-select, re-order and compare products. The initial display order is influenced by a range of factors including conversion rates, product costs and commercial arrangements, so please don't interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. We're happy to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions, but we'd like you to make your own decisions and compare and assess products based on your own preferences, circumstances and needs.
How do instant approval credit cards work?
Most banks and credit card issuers allow you to apply for credit cards online. The credit card provider can access the online national credit bureaus – Equifax and TransUnion – and calculate its response using your credit status almost instantly. It’s only when there’s an issue with your application or credit history that it might take longer than 60 seconds for the issuer to process.
Applying for a credit card online also has some security benefits. Your application will be protected by 128-bit encryption and an online application is easier to track, reducing the chance of lost documents.
Like any other credit card application, though, your approval will depend on your credit history, income and the information you included in your application.
How to apply for an instant approval credit card in 4 steps
An instant approval credit card is an easy way to apply online and receive your credit card as soon as possible. To improve your chances of instant approval though, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to make sure you’ve completed your application properly.
As you can apply for most credit cards online and offer instant approval within 60 seconds, it’s important to compare your options before applying. Rather than basing your decision on the fact that you could potentially receive approval within 60 seconds, make sure to consider the following:
Fees. Annual, foreign transaction, balance transfer, late and returned payment fees should all be taken into consideration.
Rates. Check the APR for purchases, cash advances and balance transfers before settling on a card.
Features. Rewards programs, balance transfer offers, signup bonuses, complimentary insurance and purchase protection are just a few benefits to take into account when comparing your options.
Make sure you can afford the card and that it offers the extra features you need to manage your credit.
Step 2. Check the eligibility requirements.
While you could receive approval within 60 seconds, you won’t receive approval at all if you don’t meet the eligibility requirements. Some of the criteria you’ll be expected to meet include:
Good credit history. Most banks only accept applicants who have a good credit history with no evidence of defaults.
Residential status. Depending on the card, you might only be able to apply if you’re a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident. Some banks do offer cards to temporary residents.
Age. You’ll need to be at least 18 years of age, or the age of majority in your province or territory.
Income. You’ll need to meet a minimum income requirement to receive approval for the card. If you don’t meet the income requirement of a card, you might want to compare low-income credit cards for more choice.
Step 3. Collect the necessary documents and information.
When you apply for a credit card online, you’ll be required to attach a number of documents and provide some personal information to receive instant approval. Some of the personal information you’ll need to provide includes:
Proof of identity. You’ll be asked to provide proof of your identity such as your drivers licence or SIN number.
Personal details. You’ll need to provide your full name, residential address and contact details.
Employment and income. You’ll need to provide proof of employment and income, including the details of your employer and recent pay slips. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to provide your accountant’s details and if you’re retired, you’ll need to provide evidence of your pension and OAS payments or assets.
Balance transfer details. If you’re applying for a balance transfer, you’ll need to provide the details of your existing accounts and the amount you’re transferring during the application.
To ensure a smooth and quick application process, make sure you have these details on hand before you begin your application.
Step 4. Apply online.
Once you’ve compared your credit card options, made sure you meet the eligibility criteria and organized the necessary documents, you can select the ‘Go to Site’ button to begin your secure online application. This should only take around 10 to 15 minutes if you have all of the relevant details handy. Once you’ve submitted your application, you should receive your response within 60 seconds. You’ll either be approved, rejected or, if the bank needs to investigate a detail of your application in further detail, left pending.
Credit cards for applicants with bad credit
You’ll only receive instant approval for a credit card if you meet the eligibility requirements and provide all of the relevant documents. Not having a qualifying credit score or being unable to meet the eligibility requirements will ban you from approval.
Bad credit history can potentially be fixed — you can work on improving your credit score, or consider an alternative credit card specifically designed for applicants with bad credit.
Rejected applications can hurt your credit score even further, so it’s important to consider these conditions before applying.
What to do if your credit card application is declined
If your application is rejected, you shouldn’t apply for another credit card straight away. Applying for several credit cards in a short period and having rejected applications on your credit file can further damage your credit score.
Instead, you might want to try the following:
Review eligibility requirements.
Review your credit score and credit history.
Contact the provider if you can’t narrow down the reasons why you weren’t approved.
Spend time improving your credit history or comparing other credit cards.
Apply for another credit card after a few months once you’ve improved your credit score.
Instant approval credit cards are an easy way to apply for a credit card online and get your credit card sooner. As instant approval credit cards still require you to meet the relevant eligibility requirements, it’s important to compare your options and prepare your application before submitting it to improve your chances of approval.
Frequently asked questions
While you can potentially get an instant decision on your application, it’s rare that a credit card provider will give out a credit card number for you to use on the same day. Some may offer expedited shipping, which can get you the card within 2 business days instead of the typical 5 to 10.
Yes. Typically your credit card is set for use as soon as you activate it.
Potentially. Some credit card providers have products that are aimed at those who are building or rebuilding their credit score. You’ll still have to meet other eligibility requirements in order for your application to be approved.
Rhys Subitch is a writer and editor at finder.com who tackles topics across the site. With half a decade of experience researching, editing and writing for a Fortune 500 company, university and several independent publications, Rhys brings readers the most up-to-date and curated info on all things finance.
How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?
Very UnlikelyExtremely Likely
Thank you for your feedback.
Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.