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.

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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
Citi® Double Cash Card
Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)
13.99% to 23.99% variable
This one of the most valuable flat cashback cards. It comes with 2% cash back (1% when you buy plus 1% when you pay) and 18 months months to pay off transfers.
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
Earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable)
Get rewards on gas and groceries with no annual fee. Ideal for everyday use, it's the only card that rounds purchases up to the nearest 10 points.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 12.99% to 23.99% variable)
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
CardMatch™ from
See terms
See issuer's website
See terms
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
Citi Simplicity® Card
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
With an intro APR of 21 months, this card has one of the longest balance transfer offers on the market. Plus, no late fees and no annual fee.

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

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2 Responses

  1. 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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