How long does it take to get a credit card in the mail

The internet is a treasure trove for finding the best credit cards and comparing them based on their rewards and benefits for cardholders. In general, you can usually find the credit card you really want, apply for the card online, and get approved for your new card, all the same day.

but this is not always the case, and you will also have to wait a while to receive your credit card after it is approved. This guide reviews the average time it takes to get a credit card approved, when you might get yours in the mail, and everything else you should expect.

how long does it take to get a credit card approved?

Getting approved for a credit card can take as little as 60 seconds once you complete an online application and hit “submit.” however, it may take a few days, or even a few weeks, to receive an email from the card issuer saying whether or not you’re approved. Under federal guidelines, credit issuers must send you notice of their approval or denial within 30 days.

Express credit approvals are usually done when your credit application is complete and your credit score and income are sufficient to qualify without question. on the other hand, card issuers may need to contact you for more information, such as proof of income or other claim. You may receive a letter or email requesting this additional information, in which case you may still qualify if you can provide the necessary documentation.

how credit approval works

When you apply for a credit card, the card issuer will consider the information you submitted in your application. I’ll take a look at your up-to-date credit report, credit history and credit score, income information, and other debt obligations you listed on your application (such as your housing or rent payment). It will also consider how you have handled credit in the past using factors such as your payment history.

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Credit card issuers view their approval process as proprietary information, so there are no hard and fast rules that will let you know if you will be approved or not. The best thing you can do is make sure your credit score is in good standing and is accurately listed on your application.

preapproval: the secret weapon to save credit

Some credit cards allow you to provide basic information and get pre-qualified online. This extra step allows you to assess your ability to get approved for a credit card without completing a full application or enduring an exhaustive look at your credit report. Getting prequalified can be helpful if you’re trying to decide whether to apply, but aren’t entirely sure you want to.

You can also receive pre-approved credit card offers by mail, which means the card issuer has done a preliminary assessment of your credit (a preliminary inquiry) to see if you’re a likely candidate. Pre-approval does not mean that you are guaranteed approval for the credit card in question, although it is a good indicator. you still have to submit a formal application and meet the card issuer’s criteria.

how long does it take to receive your card?

so that’s how long it takes to get a credit card approved, but when will you get yours? again, this depends on the credit card you applied for and some factors beyond your control, such as possible mail delays.

The chart below shows the average time it takes to receive a credit card from major issuers.

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Also, be aware that some card issuers, such as American Express, may offer you a virtual credit card number that can be entered into a mobile wallet. if eligible, you can use your virtual card number for purchases immediately upon approval.

how to get a credit card faster

If you’re looking to get a credit card and want to get it fast, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process so you can start using your credit as soon as possible.

look for instant approval

To save time during the approval process, you may want to consider an “instant approval” credit card that can save you a few days in the process of obtaining a credit card. With instant approval credit cards, the issuer alerts the applicant whether or not they are approved within seconds of submitting their application.

Those who are having trouble getting new credit may not want to wait days to find out they’re approved only to start the process all over again with a different issuer. an instant approval credit card can save you a good amount of time.

expedited shipping

While the timeline varies by credit card issuer (as shown above), if you really want to get access to your physical card faster, you may be able to pay an additional fee in exchange for expedited shipping. it can take 7-10 business days for a new credit card to be processed, packaged, and shipped. if expedited shipping is an option, you may be able to receive your card in the mail sooner.

go digital

With internet access, you can make many purchases from home without having a physical credit card available. After approving an applicant for a new credit card, some issuers immediately provide their customers with a credit card number that can be used for online purchases. these credit card numbers can also be added to digital wallets.

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request an instant use card

Instant use credit cards are different from instant approval credit cards, but they also provide quick access to credit. while the approval time may not be instant, with an instant use credit card, your credit card number will be provided to you immediately (online or in the credit card issuer’s mobile app) and you can start using it to make digital purchases.

The following popular issuers offer instant use credit cards:

  • american express
  • apple
  • bank of america
  • capital one
  • goldman sachs
  • synchronization bank

what to do after you get your credit card

After you receive your physical card in the mail, you’ll want to activate it before you can swipe it. this step is simple: call the number on the card and select your pin. This is also the perfect time to get organized by downloading your credit card issuer’s app so you can manage your credit card in the palm of your hand. within the app, you can track your spending, sign up for autopay, activate rewards, and more.

the end result

Many factors influence how quickly an issuer can approve you for a new credit card. It’s crucial that you take your time when completing a new credit card application because you could be making the process more difficult than it needs to be. if you are denied a credit card, the issuer must notify you within 30 days. Although a credit card denial can hurt, take this opportunity to review your credit history so you can set some goals to improve your credit situation.

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