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How Fast Can You Get a New Credit Card?

iQuanti: So, you applied for a new credit card and would love to start using it as soon as possible.

iQuanti: So, you applied for a new credit card and would love to start using it as soon as possible. 


Maybe it has a generous welcome bonus, offers lots of points, or a lower APR that will save you a ton of money in interest. Naturally, you’ll want to know how long it takes to get a credit card.


The answer, unfortunately, is that it may take a little time. In this post, we’ll walk you through the process and give some tips for how some parts can be expedited.


The Application Process


The first part of getting a credit card is applying for one. This can be done in a variety of ways:


Online – Most major credit card issuers have online applications or apps that can be filled out in just a few minutes and then approved in seconds. However, there are a few instances where a manual review may be needed if the applicant’s qualifications are borderline or unclear.

Phone – Those who prefer to talk to a live representative can call the credit card company directly. The process will generally take a little longer than filling out an online application. Approval may be granted within a few seconds to a couple of days depending on the information provided.

Mail – Though it may be a little old school, paper applications can still be filled out and mailed to the credit card issuers. Of course, this process takes the longest due to the mail logistics and manual input of the information.

It should be noted that every time you apply for a credit card, the creditor will pull your credit history which will appear as a “hard inquiry” on your credit report. Too many hard inquiries can lower your FICO Score by a few points.


Pro-Tip: Get Preapproved


If you’d like to expedite the application process, you may wish to get pre-approved for a credit card. This can be done in one of two ways:


Automatic – Sometimes credit card companies will automatically pre-approve you for their cards. Usually, when you are, they will mail you an offer. If this is the case, then you’re already all set.

Apply online or by phone – You may wish to initiate contact with the credit card company and ask to become preapproved. Similar to a normal application, they’ll take your information but won’t make a hard inquiry of your credit history.

How Long Before I’ll Get My Card?


After the application process, it’s just a matter of waiting for the physical credit card to arrive in the mail. Depending on the issuer, this could take anywhere from 5 to 14 days. 


Some credit card companies may offer expedited delivery for an additional cost. Many premium credit cards that carry an annual fee will offer this service complimentary. 


Do Some Cards Allow Instant Usability?


Not all credit cards require that you have a physical card in hand in order to use it. A good example of this is in-store credit cards.


For instance, you may go to a big-box store to buy a new major appliance. That store may advertise that if you apply and use their credit card you’ll get 12 months with 0% APR. All in one trip, you can apply for the credit card, get approved, and buy the appliance with your new line of credit.


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