Instant decision credit cards

Find out which credit cards are now offered with instant approval and how to apply.

When you apply for a credit card online, it’s common to receive approval within 60 seconds or less. Once your application is approved, you should usually receive your card within a week or two. However, this isn’t guaranteed and some providers could take longer to process your application.

Compare instant approval credit cards

Your approval time for these credit cards will depend on the information you provide. Typically a decision is instant or near instant, and you’ll receive it within a few minutes of completing your application. In some cases, more information will be required and it may take longer.

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Name Product Purchases Balance transfers Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Incentive Link
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Credit Card
0% for 23 months reverting to 21.9%
0% for 23 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
0% for 22 months reverting to 22.9%
0% for 22 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
22.9% APR (variable)
£25 cash back when you successfully apply for an HSBC Credit card. Spend or balance transfer over £100 within 60 days of opening the account to be eligible. Available to new customers only. Offer ends 13th February 2022. T&Cs apply
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Santander All in One Credit Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 17.9%
0% for 26 months
(0% fee)
£3 per month
23.7% APR (variable)
0.5% cashback after £1 of monthly spend. Cashback paid monthly into card account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 23.7% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Rewards Offer Mastercard
0% for 12 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for 12 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
19.9% APR (variable)
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Tesco Bank Clubcard Plus Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 24 months reverting to 19.944%
21.814%
(3.99% fee)
£7.99 per month
37.7% APR (variable)
1 point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco, must have available credit to earn points. Card can also be used as a Clubcard to collect standard points at 1 point per £1 spent on shopping and 1 point per £2 spent on fuel. Points are converted to Tesco vouchers which can be used towards shopping or exchanged for Partner Rewards.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.944% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £7.99 per month, your representative rate is 37.7% APR (variable).
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Name Product Balance transfers Balance transfer fee Purchases Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Incentive Link
M&S Bank Rewards Offer Mastercard
0% for 12 months reverting to 19.9%
2.9% (min. £5)
0% for 12 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9% APR (variable)
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Santander Everyday Long Term Balance Transfer Credit Card
0% for 31 months reverting to 20.9%
2.75% (min. £5) for 31 months reverting to 3% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 20.9%
£0
20.9% APR (variable)
Earn up to 15% cashback with your selected Retailer Offers at selected major retailers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Santander Everyday No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Card
0% for 18 months reverting to 20.9%
0% for 18 months reverting to 3% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 20.9%
£0
20.9% APR (variable)
Earn up to 15% cashback with your selected Retailer Offers at selected major retailers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.9% p.a. (variable), your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Credit Card
0% for 23 months reverting to 21.9%
2.9% (min. £5)
0% for 23 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
0% for 22 months reverting to 21.9%
0%
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable), your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
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Name Product Purchases Annual/monthly fees Initial credit limits Representative APR Incentive Link
M&S Bank Rewards Offer Mastercard
0% for 12 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
19.9% APR (variable)
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Credit Card
0% for 23 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
21.9% APR (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Transfer Plus Offer Mastercard
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
21.9% APR (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Santander All in One Credit Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 17.9%
£3 per month
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
23.7% APR (variable)
0.5% cashback after £1 of monthly spend. Cashback paid monthly into card account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 23.7% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
American Express Rewards Credit Card
24.5%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
24.5% APR (variable)
As a new Cardmember, earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend £2,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership. Earn 1 point for every £1 spent thereafter.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.5% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.5% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
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Name Product Annual/monthly fees Initial credit limits Minimum income Representative APR Incentive Link
Bip Credit
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
29.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC Classic Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,000.
£6800
29.9%
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 29.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Aqua Classic Credit Card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
32.9%
Representative example: Assumed credit limit £1,200, representative 32.9% APR (variable), purchase rate 32.94% p.a. (variable).
Please note: you can’t have two Aqua accounts or open an Aqua account within 12 months of opening a Marbles, Fluid or Opus account, issued by New Day
Check eligibility
Aqua Classic Balance Transfer Card
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,200.
Not specified
34.9%
Representative example: Assumed credit limit £1,200, representative 34.9% APR (variable), purchase rate 34.95% p.a. (variable).
Please note: you can’t have two Aqua accounts or open an Aqua account within 12 months of opening a Marbles, Fluid or Opus account, issued by New Day
Check eligibility
Tesco Bank Foundation Card
£0
Min. limit £100, max. limit not specified.
£5000
27.5%
Collect 1 Tesco Clubcard point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 Clubcard point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco in each purchase transaction.  Must have available credit to collect Clubcard points. Clubcard points are turned into Clubcard vouchers every 3 months or sooner using Faster Vouchers. Clubcard vouchers can be used in Tesco or with Clubcard Reward Partners to get even more value on dining out, hotel stays and travel.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 27.542% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 27.5% APR (variable).
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What is an instant approval credit card?

The word “instant approval credit card” is slightly misleading, as you’re never guaranteed an instant approval. If you have a lower credit score, made an error on your application or not provided all the required information, it could delay the application process. In this instance, the provider will let you know if there’s more information they require when considering your eligibility.

An instant approval credit card has an application that returns a decision within a few minutes or less. Applications are typically online and take around 10-15 minutes to complete. The credit card provider can access your credit report from one of the credit reference agencies and calculate its response using your credit status almost instantly.

Like any other credit card application, though, your approval will depend on your credit history, income and the information you included in your application.

Instant approval and guaranteed approval – what's the difference?

Many credit card providers offer “instant approval” online after a 10-15 minute application process. However, the words “guaranteed approval” or “pre-approved” are generally used as marketing tools to entice new customers. Usually, these offers are made using limited or out-of-date information about your financial history. Without you going through the credit card application process, an approval can never be 100% guaranteed.

What are your chances for instant approval?

Your chance of approval all depends on the card provider’s criteria. Typically, people with good to excellent credit scores have a strong chance of a quick approval. However, people with low credit scores may also find instant approval for certain credit card products designed for their financial profile.

It’s important to know that even if you meet the basic eligibility requirements and have an excellent credit score, there are a number of reasons your application may be declined. An instant approval credit card doesn’t mean your approval is guaranteed.

Couple applying for credit on a laptop

How to apply for an instant approval credit card in 4 steps

To improve your chance of getting accepted for a credit card, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to make sure you’ve completed your application properly.

  1. Compare your options.
  2. Check the eligibility requirements.
  3. Collect the necessary documents and information.
  4. Apply online.

Step 1. Compare your options.

As you can apply for most credit cards online and receive an instant decision within 60 seconds, it’s important to compare your options before applying. Rather than basing your decision on the fact that you could potentially receive fast approval, make sure to consider the following:

  • Interest rates. Check the interest rate for purchases and balance transfers before settling on a card. If there’s a 0% introductory offer, check the standard interest rate after the promotional period ends.
  • Fees. Annual, foreign transaction and balance transfer fees should all be taken into consideration.
  • Rewards and benefits. Rewards points, cashback, sign-up bonuses, free airport lounge access, complimentary insurance and purchase protection are just some of the benefits to take into account when comparing your options.

Make sure you can afford the card and that it offers the extra features you need to manage your credit.

Step 2. Check the eligibility requirements.

While you could receive approval within 60 seconds, you won’t receive approval at all if you don’t meet the eligibility requirements. Some of the criteria you’ll be expected to meet includes:

  • Good credit history. Most banks only accept applicants who have a good credit history with no evidence of defaults. However, if you have poor credit, you may find specific credit card products tailored towards your needs, such as credit builder cards.
  • Age and residential status. Most credit cards are only available to UK residents who are aged 18 or over.
  • Income. You may need to meet a minimum income requirement to receive approval for a particular card, although some providers don’t specify an amount.

Step 3. Collect the necessary documents and information.

When you apply for a credit card online, you’ll be required to reference a number of documents and provide some personal information to receive instant approval. Some of the personal information you’ll need to provide includes:

  • Personal details. You’ll need to provide your full name, date-of-birth, residential address and contact details.
  • Employment status and income. You’ll need to provide details of employment and income, including your annual salary and if you’re full-time, part-time, retired, etc.
  • Proof of identity. You may be asked to provide proof of your identity such as your driver’s licence or passport number.
  • Balance transfer details. If you’re applying for a balance transfer, you’ll need to provide the details of your existing account and the amount you’re transferring during the application.

To ensure a smooth and quick application process, make sure you have these details on hand before you begin your application.

Credit card application tips

Step 4. Apply online.

Once you’ve compared your credit card options, find out if the provider has an eligibility check on their website. This determines your chance of success in being approved for a particular card, as well as your likely credit limit and interest rate. This is known as a “soft” or “smart” search, which will not impact on your credit score. However, once you make a proper application, this is known as a “hard search” which leaves a mark on your credit report, regardless if the application is approved or rejected. Making many applications in a short space of time, could have a detrimental effect on your credit score and could dissuade lenders from offering you credit.

Once you have performed an eligibility check (if available) and have the necessary details to hand, you can begin your online application. This should only take around 10 to 15 minutes.

After you’ve submitted your application, you should receive your response within 60 seconds. You’ll either be approved, rejected or, if the bank needs to investigate your application in further detail, left pending.

Credit cards for applicants with bad credit

You’ll only receive instant approval for a credit card if you meet the eligibility requirements and provide all of the relevant information. Not having a qualifying credit score or being unable to meet the eligibility requirements (eg minimum income, residency status) will bar you from approval.

Bad credit history can potentially be fixed – you can work on improving your credit score or consider an alternative specifically for applicants with bad credit.

What to do if your credit card application is declined

If your application is rejected, you shouldn’t apply for another credit card straight away. Applying for several credit cards in a short period, whether they’re rejected or not, leaves marks on your credit file that can further damage your credit score.

Instead, you might want to try the following:

  1. Review eligibility requirements.
  2. Review your credit score and credit history by getting in contact with one of the credit reference agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).
  3. Contact the provider if you can’t narrow down the reasons why you weren’t approved.
  4. Spend time improving your credit history or comparing other credit cards.
  5. Apply for another credit card after a few months to give time for credit score rehabilitation.

Frequently asked questions

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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