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How long does it take to get a credit card?

Your credit card application's just been approved, so what happens next? Find out when you'll get your new credit card here.

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.

When will I get my new credit card?

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.

ProviderApplication length (approx)Decision time (business days)Card arrival (business days)
ChaseLess than 3 minutesIn minutes or if more information is needed, in a few days7 to 10 days
American Express3-5 minutesIn minutes or if more information is needed, in a few days7 to 10 days
Barclaycard3-5 minutesIn minutes or if more information is needed, up to two weeks7 to 10 days
Capital One3-5 minutesLess than a minute or if more information is needed, 7-10 days7 to 10 days
Discover3-5 minutesIn minutes or if more information is needed, you’ll receive a message7 to 10 days
Wells Fargo3-5 minutesIn minutes or if more information is needed, 5-7 days.7 to 10 days
Citi5-10 minutesIn minutes or if more information is needed, up to 10 days14 days
U.S. BankLess than 3 minutesIn minutes or if more information is needed, notification by mail10 days
Bank of America5-10 minutes10 to 12 days7 to 10 days
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What happens after I’ve applied for a credit card?

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.

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

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.

How do I activate my 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.

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 unauthorized transactions if it’s lost, stolen or compromised. So make sure you sign it when you first activate the card.

How quickly can I get a credit 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.

Compare credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year (then 1%), 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores and 1% on other purchases (redeem as statement credit)
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Earn a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months. This is a higher-than-average welcome offer for a card with no annual fee. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on other purchases (redeem as statement credit)
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months. Having 6 months to earn a welcome offer is a rare benefit as most cards give you only 3. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.74% to 23.74% variable)

Best of Finder 2021

An impressive 21 months intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, as well as no annual fee make this one of the top 0% APR cards available.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

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.

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Frequently asked questions

  • 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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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    MartinAugust 13, 2019

    How do I replace my worn out old card?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezAugust 14, 2019Staff

      Hello Martin,

      Thank you for your comment.

      To have a card replacement, the issuer must be contacted. You can either call them on their contact numbers or you may request a card replacement by logging in to your online banking account and look for “order card replacement option”. Usually, banks have this feature in their internet banking facility. Hope this helps.


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