After taking the time to compare credit card offers and apply for one that suits your needs, it’s exciting to find out your application has been approved. But then comes the hard part: waiting for the card to actually arrive.
So how long does it take before you can start using your new credit card? Here, we explain when you can expect to receive your card and what happens after your application is approved.
Compare the application length and waiting period for new credit cards by provider to find out how long you may have to wait to get your next credit card. Take care to plan ahead: if you need a card for an upcoming purchase or holiday, apply well ahead of time to give yourself plenty of time to receive the card. That way, you can take advantage of any offers, such as a 0% APR on purchases introductory period or a signup bonus.
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|Chase||Less than 3 minutes||In minutes or if more information is needed, in a few days||7 to 10 days|
|American Express||3-5 minutes||In minutes or if more information is needed, in a few days||7 to 10 days|
|Barclaycard||3-5 minutes||In minutes or if more information is needed, up to two weeks||7 to 10 days|
|Capital One||3-5 minutes||Less than a minute or if more information is needed, 7-10 days||7 to 10 days|
|Discover||3-5 minutes||In minutes or if more information is needed, you’ll receive a message||7 to 10 days|
|Wells Fargo||3-5 minutes||In minutes or if more information is needed, 5-7 days.||7 to 10 days|
|Citi||5-10 minutes||In minutes or if more information is needed, up to 10 days||14 days|
|U.S. Bank||Less than 3 minutes||In minutes or if more information is needed, notification by mail||10 days|
|Bank of America||5-10 minutes||10 to 12 days||7 to 10 days|
After you submit your credit card application, the credit card issuer will assess your credit history and current finances 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 (in the form of your credit limit).
Providing you meet all the key application criteria, you could get conditional approval for the card within 60 seconds of submitting an online application. If not, you may get a follow up call or email from the credit card issuer asking for further information. Once you deliver this information, your issuer will approve or deny your application.
What if I’m not instantly approved?
If you’re not instantly approved, you should receive correspondence from the issuer within 7 to 10 days. Typically, the issuer will tell you why the application was denied or ask you for additional application details.
If you want to know your application status faster, look up your issuer’s application status phone number. You can sometimes get word faster about why your application wasn’t approved immediately — or learn what you have to do to get approved.Back to top
After completing the whole application process, your credit card will usually come in the mail within the timeframe outlined by your provider. In some circumstances, you may also be asked to go to your nearest branch to pick it up for security reasons.
Your new credit card issuer will also put together a “welcome pack” for you containing valuable information about the bank, the credit card and its terms and conditions of use. The welcome pack will either arrive before the card or come with it. Make sure you read through the provided information thoroughly before you start using your new credit card. If you’re replacing an old credit card that you aren’t using anymore, you might consider returning or destroying the old credit card.
Before you start using it, you’ll first need to activate your card. Depending on the issuer, you may be able to activate your new credit card online, over the phone or in person. Information about card activation will also be included in your welcome pack and usually takes just a few minutes to complete.
The signature panel on your new credit card gives you the legal authority to use it and protects you against unauthorized transactions if it’s lost, stolen or compromised. So make sure you sign it when you first activate the card.
In some cases, an issuer will provide the credit card account number at the time of approval. If so, you can start using your credit card account immediately after receiving this number. Generally, applying for a card online is your best bet for getting the account number or card as soon as possible. You might consider instant approval credit cards if you need access to your card quickly.
While it is exciting to be approved for a credit card, you’ll want to take care of these few additional steps before using it. Being prepared for this process means you can tick all the boxes along the way and start using your new credit card as soon as possible.
If the card you applied for doesn’t work out, compare other credit cards to find the right fit.Back to top
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- If I apply online for my credit card can I go back later to finish it?
Yes, most banks do have a feature that allows you to save an application and complete it at a later date. Just check first to see how long they will store your application and make a note of any reference number you may need to provide when you want to complete the application.
- What is my credit card application number? Where can I find it?
Credit card issuers usually assign you an application number when you apply for a credit card online, and will be shown on the application page. It may also be emailed to you once you have submitted your details. This number can be used to complete the application later, check your application status or upload supporting documentation.
- What kind of information will I need to provide on the application?
As with any loan-based product, you will need to give details about your income and expenses along with your personal information.
- If I ordered an additional card will that need to be activated too?
Yes, all cards issued will need to be activated before they can be used. This is done to verify that they were delivered to the correct person.
- Can I pick up my new credit card at the branch?
This will depend on the bank you are getting the card through. Some prefer to mail it as a way of confirming your physical address.
- It’s been more than 10 business days and my card hasn’t arrived. What should I do?
If you haven’t received your card in the specified time frame, call the issuer and let them know. They will be able to review your account details and provide you with information on the status of the card and when you should receive it.
- I only make purchases online with my credit card, do I still have to sign it?
Yes, an unsigned credit card is not considered valid. Plus, you want to be protected in the event of a theft.
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