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How to activate any credit card

Activating your card is simple and fast.

As soon as your card arrives in your mail, your next step is to activate it. All card providers offer two ways of doing that, either online or by phone. But a rising number of card providers offer a third way — via the card provider’s mobile app.

How to activate a credit card

The card activation process is generally the same across all providers. Here’s how it works:

  1. Call the number on the back of your card or sign up for your provider’s online banking.
  2. Find your new card under Accounts if activating online or request card activation by phone.
  3. Follow the prompts and provide your card’s and your personal information.

TIP: If you’re activating your card by phone, call from the number you assigned in your card application to speed things up. Otherwise, you may need to provide additional information to verify you are the real cardholder.

Some card providers let you activate your card with the provider’s mobile app. In this case, the process is similar to activating your card online.

How to activate a credit card with each bank

BankActivation phone numberActivation websiteActivation available on mobile app?Guide to activating cards
Amex800-869-3016American Expresscheckmark
Bank of America800-276-9939Bank of Americacheckmark
Capital One800-227-4825Capital Onecheckmark
Chase800-432-3117Chasecheckmark
Citi800-950-5114Citibankcheckmark
Discover800-347-2683Discovercheckmark
U.S. bank800-285-8585US Bankcheckmark
USAA210-531-8722USAAcheckmark
Barclaycard888-710-8756Barclayscheckmark
HSBC800-975-4722HSBCcheckmark
Luxury card877-408-8866Luxury cardcheckmark
PenFed877-856-9690PenFedcheckmark
TD Bank888-553-4122TD Bankcheckmark
Wells Fargo800-642-4720Wells Fargocheckmark

What you need to activate your card

To activate your credit card, you’ll need your:

  1. Credit card information. This includes the credit card number, expiry date and the card’s CVC/CVV number.
  2. Personal information. You’ll also need to verify your identity by providing your date of birth, Social Security number and answer your security questions.

What happens if you don’t activate your card

If you don’t activate your card, your account will likely be open but you and your authorized users won’t be able to make any purchases. Also, if you don’t activate your card, you risk compromising your card’s security.

Bottom line

There are two main ways to activate your card — by phone and online. Some card providers may also let you activate your card via their mobile app. Whichever method you choose, the process is fast and simple.

But now that your credit card is active, consider applying for an additional credit card to increase your credit limit, get additional perks and to get a chance to earn a new signup bonus.

Frequently asked questions

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