When you apply for a credit card, you can usually expect an immediate response. However, if you still haven’t heard back from the provider, it might be time to take things into your own hands. It’s not a difficult process, but to make things even easier, we’ve summarised all of the major credit card provider details and offer some tips on how to best approach the situation.
How long does it take for my application to be approved?
Although most credit card applications provide instant approval or conditional approval (approved within 2-4 business days), credit card providers can take between up to 30 days to review an application. If you are an existing member of the bank, the process may be quicker as they already have some of your verified information in their systems.
To help speed up the application process, it’s important to try and provide all the information required by the provider. It’s also a good idea to use an eligibility checker to make sure you meet all eligibility requirements for a specific card before applying.
Main reasons why your application is taking longer than expected
If your credit card application is taking longer than usual to process, it could be due to one of the following reasons:
- The provider thinks that certain information on your application may be insufficient, incorrect or inconsistent, and may require adding or changing.
- The provider sees marks on your credit file that it wishes to analyse further or discuss with you.
- The provider has to deal with a large number of applications and hasn’t reached yours yet.
- The provider has misplaced your application.
Resolving the matter is often simple, and can sometimes take no more than a phone call. Monitor your calls, inbox and post in case the provider is trying to get in touch with you, but know that calling them first is always the quicker option.
How can I check on my application?
If you haven’t received a response regarding your application, you can contact your provider by calling the customer services number listed on its website.
Here are the contact numbers for some of the main providers:
Aqua: 0333 220 2691
Barclaycard: 0345 734 5345
Halifax: 0345 944 4555
HSBC: 0800 731 8921
Lloyds: 0345 072 5555
NatWest: 0345 3030 299
Sainsburys: 0800 218 2345
Santander: 0800 389 9905
Tesco: 0345 300 4278
Virgin: 0800 389 2875
What responses can I expect when applying for a credit card?
When it comes to applying for a credit card, there are a number of likely responses you may receive, depending on the quality of your application. These include:
With instant online applications, credit card providers provide a response on your application status almost immediately. While lending criteria varies between providers and cards, common checks include identity verification and credit score checks. By providing all the required information and keeping a good credit history, you’ll be eligible for instant approval.
If your credit card application is under referral, the card provider basically requires more time to carry out further assessments before giving you a conclusive answer.
Getting conditional approval essentially means that the credit card provider is buying time to verify your details before granting approval. In such a scenario, you might have to provide personal identification documents or payslips by visiting a branch office. Complete approval only takes effect after that’s done and you have signed the contract.
Application not approved
The reason behind a provider not approving your application could be that you haven’t met the lending criteria. Such factors could include insufficient income, poor creditworthiness or credit history, and unstable employment. If you’ve been rejected, don’t apply for another card straight away. Instead, either request a copy of your credit report to make sure everything is in order or start comparing other cards to apply for in a few months, making sure you are paying attention to the eligibility requirements.
If you’ve got poor or no credit history, you may not be eligible for most credit cards. In this instance, you may have to consider a credit builder card instead.
Common mistakes to avoid
Here are some things you should expect or avoid while waiting to hear back about the status of your credit card application:
- Making multiple applications.
You may be tempted to apply for another credit card while you’re waiting for a response, but know that multiple simultaneous applications will have a negative impact on your credit file.
- Credit report mistakes.
If your credit card application was rejected and you’re unsure why, make sure you have met the eligibility requirements and order a copy of your credit score to make sure you haven’t fallen victim to fraud or mistakes on your file. If you find a genuine error on the report, contact the credit card provider and credit reporting body to initiate investigation and correction.
- Customer service delays.
It could take days or weeks for a bank to respond to an email enquiry and wait times are to be expected when you are contacting the customer service phone line. Before you call, make sure the number you dial is toll-free. If it isn’t, avoid calling early in the morning, at lunch time or after 5pm when they are likely to be inundated with calls.
Applying for a credit card is one thing, but receiving it is quite another. You may have to wait a considerable period for it, which is why we recommend you apply in advance and always stay on top of your application by calling your provider.
Compare credit cards now
Frequently asked questions
More guides on Finder
The Warm Home Discount Scheme explained
Find out who gets the Warm Home Discount automatically, who needs to apply and how to do it. Plus more tips for saving on your energy bills.
Virgin Money M Plus current account review
Discover what the Virgin Money M Plus current account has to offer in our review.
A beginner’s guide to cryptocurrency ETFs
If you’re looking for ways to gain exposure to Bitcoin and other digital currencies, cryptocurrency ETFs could be worth exploring. Find out what crypto ETFs are and how they work in this introductory guide.
Monzo review: Is it worth it?
Is Monzo’s app-only current account the right option for you? Read our review to get the low-down on all of the features of the account, its card and the app.
Halifax Reward current account review
Discover what the Halifax Reward current account has to offer to see if it’s right for you.
TSB Spend & Save Plus current account review
Discover what the TSB Spend & Save Plus current account has to offer in our review.
NatWest Premier Select bank account review
Discover whether the NatWest Premier Select current account is right for you.
Halifax Ultimate Reward current account review
If you’re happy to pay a monthly fee, discover what the Halifax Ultimate Reward current account has to offer.
Barclays Premier current account review
Find out whether the Barclays Premier current account could be right for you.
Wise (TransferWise) for Business review
If you’re a borderless business, you’re going to want to look into Wise’s revolutionary multi-currency accounts.
Ask an Expert