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Instant approval balance transfer credit cards
Get approval in as fast as five minutes to start paying down your debts now.
A balance transfer credit card with instant approval can help you save on interest, especially if you opt for a card that comes with a promotional balance transfer offer. While the actual transfer time varies from one credit card provider to the next, some offer approval within just five minutes of submitting your application. While not many companies offer instant approval, especially as balance transfer promotional offers are limited right now, instant approval can help you quickly transfer your debt without paying high APRs.
Compare instant approval balance transfer credit cards
We rounded up cards that either offer an instant card number or let you know whether you’re approved right away. The only major banks with instant approval that currently offer balance transfer cards are Bank of America and U.S. Bank.
How does instant approval work?
Getting an instant approval means the card provider has run a hard pull on your credit, weighed in your creditworthiness and decided to approve you a line of credit. However, it’s unlikely that during this time your balance transfer request can be processed.
Alternatives if you need a balance transfer credit card right away
Getting an instant balance transfer approval may not always work. In that case, consider these alternatives:
- Instant approval credit cards. An instant approval credit card gives you access to a credit limit right away. You have other options with your new card to pay off your debt, but not all of them may be as cost-effective as a balance transfer.
- Balance transfer credit cards. If you don’t mind waiting a week or two for a balance transfer approval, you can get some of the best balance transfer credit cards. If your only focus is lowering your debt, you can get up to 21 months of an interest-free period.
- See if you prequalify. Most credit card providers let you prequalify for a credit card. This will show your chances of credit card approval without a hard pull on your credit. But even if your chances are high, it’s likely that you still have to wait for a balance transfer.
- Personal loan. If you really need cash to pay off your debt, consider a personal loan. Personal loans start from around 4% interest, and even though it’s not 0%, it’s still lower than what you currently pay on your credit card balance.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
- 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
- With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
- Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Are instant approval balance transfer credit cards right for me?
This largely depends on your financial situation. If you’re paying high-interest rates on your current balance, then an instant balance transfer approval card — even without an interest-free period — could still help you save some money.
But if you can wait for up to two weeks, getting a credit card that doesn’t have an instant balance transfer approval would be the most prudent choice.
What to watch out for
Because your instant balance transfer approval options are limited, here’s what to keep an eye on:
- Interest rates. This type of card is likely to have interest rates higher than 0%. Make sure you do the math and see whether transferring your balance to such a card is worth it.
- Balance transfer fee. The balance transfer fee often goes between 2% and 5% of the amount. This may not seem like a lot, but a 5% fee of $5,000 balance is $250. Keep this in mind before you choose a balance transfer card.
- Balance transfer intro APR period. Instant approval balance transfer cards often have an intro APR period of six months. After the intro period expires, you’ll pay the revert interest rate, which can easily be around 18% or more. To make the most of this card, you’ll have to fully pay off your balance before the intro period ends.
What is an instant balance transfer credit card?
Some credit cards offer instant approval, allowing you to sign up and potentially start using the credit line within minutes of submitting your application. In some cases, you may find a balance transfer credit card that offers this instant approval.
Are instant approval balance transfer credit cards right for me?
If you’re looking for a quick response, applying for an instant approval card can be the right choice. However, not all balance transfer cards offer instant approval so you could be limiting your choices.
How long until everything is finalized?
Even if you’re approved right away, a balance transfer can take up to six weeks.
Typically you can’t initiate a balance transfer until you’ve activated your card. Depending on your provider and how soon you activate your card once you get it — that alone could take two weeks.
What can I expect when applying?
Before applying for the card, check out its terms and conditions — a table that every credit card company is required to have on its site that clearly states fees, policies and information about APRs.
In your application, submit information about the banks and institutions for your transfer — you can expect a decision within a few seconds. If you’re approved, don’t expect the transfer to be instant. Transfers typically take between five and 14 days to process from the time you receive and activate your card.
What can I do to increase my chances of approval?
Make sure you meet all the eligibility requirements for the new card and pay particular attention to its minimum income requirement. Have all the required documentation available to support your credit card application, and provide all relevant details of the accounts from which you wish to transfer balances.
Read more about increasing your odds of approval with our guide to successfully applying for a balance transfer.
How does my credit score affect instant approval?
Your credit score plays a significant part in the overall approval process. If you have a very high credit score, you’re most likely a good candidate for instant approval. A good credit score can also increase your balance transfer card options. On the other hand, a lower credit score may prevent a credit card company from approving your application immediately — or at all.
However, lenders look at many factors when they evaluate your application. Other factors, such as too many inquiries into your credit, late payments, having a high income-to-debt ratio are all part of the big picture. Your credit score is one large piece of the puzzle when it comes to how lenders view their credit risk with you.
Can I use an instant-approval store credit card for a balance transfer?
Typically store cards can only be used at the store and its affiliates. So cash advances and balance transfers aren’t always available. Check the credit card terms and conditions before applying.
Can I apply for multiple cards?
You should generally avoid applying for multiple credit cards around the same time. Every time you apply for a credit card, it performs a hard pull on your credit. This temporarily lowers your score a few points.
What else should I consider when applying?
Before you apply for an instant approval balance transfer card, ask:
- Is there a promotional offer?
A number of credit cards come with promotional balance transfer offers, and some cards charge 0% interest or lower introductory rates. Don’t forget that these promotional periods expire between six and 21 months, after which any outstanding balance starts accumulating interest.
- What is the revert rate?
At the end of the promotional period, outstanding balances from transfers will usually start charging the revert or purchase rate. The purchase rate is usually determined when your application was approved and is often based on your credit.
- How much can I transfer?
Just how much debt you can transfer onto your new credit card depends on the card you get. While some cards allow you to transfer up to 80% of your card’s credit limit, others limit you to 50% of your card’s limit.
You can look forward to noticeable savings in a relatively short time by getting an instant approval balance transfer credit card. It’s best to compare a few before deciding which one to use as there are many options available.
Transferring your balance to a new card with a lower APR or better terms can be a smart way to save money and lower your debt. However, while instant approval on your application might speed things along, the actual transfer time can vary. Though you’re approved and have provided information for your transfer, keep up to date on your payments until your transfer is complete. If instant approval isn’t a big deal for you, compare all balance transfer options to find a card suitable for your needs.
Frequently asked questions
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