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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

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How to Get Instant Approval on Credit Cards

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card details updated Sept. 9, 2021

An instant approval credit card provides applicants with an immediate decision on the status of their credit card application — whether it’s an approval or a denial. This can be especially helpful if you find yourself in need of immediate access to credit due to an unexpected expense, such as a home repair or medical emergency.

We explain what you need to know about instant approval credit cards, including what types of credit cards offer them and how to increase your chances of being approved (instead of rejected) for that new card.

Instant approval cards shouldn’t be confused with cards that offer instant card numbers (see below) however. Once going through the regular approval process, some issuers, such as American Express, provide new cardholders with their account number that can be used immediately for purchases before the physical card arrives in the mail.

What is an instant approval credit card?

With an instant approval credit card, you can typically receive a response to your application within minutes. But whether you’re approved or denied will depend on various requirements set by the issuer, such as income, credit score, housing payments and more.

Just know that no two applicants are the same, so while one person may receive an instant response, another may have to wait several days for a decision if the issuer needs to obtain more information.

Instant approval credit cards

Many credit cards that boast instant approval are often targeted toward people with bad credit or no credit.

For example, First Premier offers the First PREMIER® Bank Credit Card , which states online that you can receive a decision in “as little as 60 seconds,” while the Total VISA® Credit Card states that it has “a fast application process with a response provided in seconds.”

Some additional cards that offer instant approval:

These instant approvals may seem tempting if you’re in need of credit fast, but a closer look at the terms show that some of these cards may come laden with numerous fees, such as set-up fees, maintenance fees and annual fees — outweighing the potential benefit of an instant approval. Or, they may require a security deposit of at least $200 that will serve as your credit line.

Another common type of instant approval credit card is a store credit card. Many retail cards provide instant approvals at the point of sale. So when you check out at a retailer, such as Home Depot, you may be asked to apply for a The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card on the spot.

After completing an application, you’ll typically receive a response right away. If approved, you can use your card account details for whatever you’re purchasing (as long as the cost is within your credit limit) and the physical card will arrive by mail.

Just know, many store cards typically come with high APRs, low credit limits and can only be used at that specific retailer.

Disclosures |
First PREMIER® Bank Credit Card
First PREMIER® Bank Credit Card
on First PREMIER® Bank's secure site
N/A
See Issuer Website
See Issuer Website
N/A
  • Choose which account management options are right for you.
  • Build credit with First PREMIER*
  • Fill out an application and know in 60 seconds if you’re approved!
  • YOU’RE NOT ALONE - As the 12th largest issuer of Mastercard credit cards, First PREMIER Bank understands customer needs and is there for those who may be denied by other issuers.
  • Manageable credit limit, manageable payment, meant to fit your budget
  • *Build credit by keeping your balance low and paying all your bills on time every month.
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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Disclosures |
Total VISA® Credit Card
Total VISA® Credit Card
on Bank of Missouri's secure site
N/A
See Terms
See Terms
Non-rewards card
  • Checking Account Required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine Visa credit card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
520 659

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Disclosures |
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
on Discover's secure site
N/A
22.99% Variable APR
$0
2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • Using your secured credit card helps build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, prepaid and debit cards can’t do that.
  • Establish your credit line with your tax return by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
300 659

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Disclosures |
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
on OpenSky's secure site
N/A
17.39% (variable)
$35
None
  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search “OpenSky Card” in Facebook.)
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card
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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How to increase your chances of instant approval

While instant approval doesn’t mean guaranteed approval, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of being quickly approved for a credit card:

Have a steady source of income. During the application process, you’ll be asked how much you bring in annually — therefore, it’s key to have a stable income source. While you may include income from alimony, child support, interest, dividends or other sources, those sources most likely won’t be as sustainable as income from a paycheck.

Pay attention to credit score requirements. Depending on what credit score you have, you may have better odds of applying for one card over another. On LendingTree, we list the credit requirements for each card — such as poor, fair or excellent — so you can get a good idea of which cards you may qualify for.

According to FICO, here are the ranges your credit score can fall into:

  • Exceptional: 800 to 850
  • Very good: 740 to 799
  • Good: 670 to 739
  • Fair: 580 to 669
  • Poor: 300 to 579

You can check your credit score for free in a variety of ways, including through My LendingTree, Discover Credit Scorecard and CreditWise from Capital One.

Make sure your credit reports aren’t frozen or locked. You may have frozen or locked your credit report to prevent fraud as a result of the Equifax breach or other data breaches over the past few years. If so, before you apply for a new credit card, you’ll need to thaw or unlock your credit reports to allow the issuer access to your files.

Don’t apply for credit too often. Each time you apply for a new line of credit, a hard inquiry appears on your credit reports. Hard inquiries lower your credit score by a few points each time they occur and remain on your credit for two years, although the negative impact lessens over time. Additionally, having multiple inquiries on your credit report in a short period of time may signal to lenders that you’re a high-risk consumer. Therefore, it’s best to only apply for credit sporadically.

Review your credit report for accuracy. The simple act of checking your credit report for legitimate errors, such as an incorrect late payment, can help bridge the gap to a higher credit score. There are numerous ways to access your credit report for free. For example, you can view your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports for free once a year (or weekly, through April 2022) at annualcreditreport.com or by calling 877-322-8228.

Alternatives to instant approval credit cards

If you want access to instant credit, but not the fees typically associated with instant approval credit cards, you may want to consider these alternatives:

Credit cards with instant numbers

As mentioned earlier, there are issuers that offer instant access to your credit card number once you are approved, such as:

  • American Express provides cardholders access to their credit card number immediately after being approved for the card. So instead of waiting several days for your physical credit card to arrive in the mail, you’ll receive your credit card number online or by email — and you can start making purchases right away. Just know that you may not have access to your full credit line until your physical card arrives.

American Express offers this feature for all of its consumer cards, including the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express.

  • The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is the only card issued by Bank of America that offers instant access to your credit card number upon approval. According to the site, after completing the application, you will “get a response in as little as 60 seconds.” If approved, you can begin using your card and earning rewards on Alaska Airlines purchases immediately.
  • With the Apple Credit Card, once you receive an approval, you must first accept your initial credit limit and APR offer, then you can start using your card to make purchases with Apple Pay.

Disclosures |
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
0% on purchases for 12 months
13.99%-23.99% Variable
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year
  • Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • Terms Apply.
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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Disclosures |
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
N/A
15.74%-24.74% Variable
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • $100 Delta Flight Credit: After you spend $10,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, receive a Credit to use toward future travel.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Terms Apply.
660 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Disclosures |
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
on Bank of America's secure site
N/A
15.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases
$75
Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases,
  • SPECIAL ONLINE OFFER – 50,000 BONUS MILES!
  • Get 50,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account. 
  • Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™. Every year on your credit card account anniversary you'll receive a companion fare which allows you to book a companion flight from just $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22). Valid on all Alaska Airlines flights booked on alaskaair.com. 
  • Free checked bag for you and up to 6 guests on the same reservation – that's a savings of $60 per person roundtrip! 
  • Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. 
  • With oneworld® Alliance we’ve expanded our global reach to over 1,000 destinations worldwide, bringing you more airline partners and more ways to earn and redeem miles. 
  • Flexibility when booking with no blackout dates on Alaska Airlines flights and miles don’t expire on active accounts. 
  • Plus, no foreign transaction fees and a low $75 annual fee. 
  • This online only offer may not be available elsewhere if you leave this page. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

See if you prequalify for a credit card

If you want to increase your chances of instantly being approved for a credit card application, you may want to see if you prequalify — or are preapproved — before completing the application.

Several issuers offer tools to let you know which credit cards you might prequalify or get preapproved for by performing a soft pull of your credit (which won’t have a negative impact).

For example, with Discover, you can fill out an online form with basic personal information, including your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, income and whether or not you are a student. Once the form is submitted, Discover will show you which credit card offers you are preapproved for. But keep in mind, preapproved offers are not guaranteed, and you still need to complete the application process to receive a final approval decision.

Here are some issuers that let you check to see if you prequalify or are preapproved for a credit card offer:

FAQs on instant approval credit cards

What are instant approval credit cards?

With instant approval credit cards, you can usually receive an approval, denial or request for more information response within minutes of submitting your card application. If the issuer requests additional information from you, it may take several days to evaluate your application.

How do instant approval credit cards work?

When you apply for an instant approval credit card online, the issuer will run a preliminary credit check. If you appear to be eligible for the card, the issuer will grant you conditional approval while they perform a more in-depth review of your credit history and establish your full credit line. 

We should note, instant approval credit cards are typically designed for individuals with good to excellent credit. Therefore, the higher your credit score, the better your chances are of being approved for an instant approval credit card.

What if my application is declined?

If your application for an instant approval credit card has been declined, we suggest reviewing the card’s eligibility requirements and contacting the issuer for more details on your denial. 

We don’t recommend applying for a different card right away, since that can negatively impact your credit score. In fact, each time you apply for a new credit card, a hard inquiry appears on your credit report, which lowers your score by a few points each time and stays on your credit report for two years (although the negative impact lessens over time). 

Instead, you may want to use a pre-approval tool — which several issuers offer — to see if you prequalify for an offer before completing an application. Note that if you are prequalified, your chances of approval are high, but not guaranteed until the issuer conducts a more thorough check of your application and credit history.

What is an instant credit card number?

Select issuers, such as American Express, provide instant credit card numbers to eligible card members immediately upon approval. This allows you to shop online and take advantage of card benefits right away, instead of waiting for a physical card to arrive in the mail.

What are ‘guaranteed approval’ credit cards?

Designed for consumers with bad or no credit, “guaranteed approval” credit cards do not check your credit history when deciding whether to approve or deny you. Although the name implies that approval is automatically guaranteed, there are factors that can lead to a denial. For example, if you don’t meet the age requirement, your identity can’t be verified or you don’t have an eligible bank account, you may be denied.

The information related to the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, and the Apple Credit Card has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuers of these cards prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.