Applying for a new credit card can at times be a nerve-wracking experience — but it quickly turns to excitement when you see the words, “Congratulations, you’ve been approved!” appear on your screen.
If you’re applying for a new travel rewards card, you will likely be eager to start putting your card to use right away. However, there are a variety of factors that will determine how quickly you can begin using your new card.
Even though your application process may result in an instant decision, usually credit card issuers will require you to wait until you receive the card in the mail before you begin using it. The wait for your new card can often be 5 to 7 business days.
Some issuers will issue your credit card number instantly upon approval so you can begin using it right away.
To make matters easier, we’ve compiled a list of all major credit card issuers and their respective policies on issuing instant credit card numbers after approval.
Why Would You Need an Instant Credit Card Number?
So why should you rush to get your card number in the first place? Here are a few reasons why you might want the option to use your card right away:
- Upfront Discount: If it’s a co-branded credit card you’re after, you’ll likely receive some sort of perk or discount with the merchant as soon as you sign up. This could be as simple as a discount off your airfare when you’re about to complete your booking. In this case, having the card number right away allows you to apply that discount to the purchase you were about to make anyway.
- Large Upcoming Purchase To Help Meet Welcome Bonus: If you’re familiar with the world of points and miles, you know that credit cards can come with very lucrative welcome bonuses for meeting the minimum spending requirements. The sooner you can meet the spending requirement, the sooner you get a large influx of points! Because of this, many people like to open a new credit card when they have a large upcoming purchase, such as a wedding or moving expenses.
- Emergency Need: Sometimes, you may find yourself in need of a line of credit quickly, and perhaps a 0% intro APR offer makes the most sense for you. In any case, if you need help financing a large or unexpected purchase you likely will want access to that credit sooner rather than later.
Issuers That Offer Instant Card Numbers
American Express (Best Option for Instant Card Numbers)
An instant card number upon approval of a new account is available on all American Express credit cards.
However, some people report that for co-branded cards, the card number issued instantly is only for use at the co-brand location. For example, a Hilton card may only be used with Hilton, or the Delta card only for use with Delta.
After your card number is given to you, remember to write it down and/or take a screenshot. You can request the number again from Amex, but it’s far quicker to take a note of the card number as you’re approved for the card.
Keep in mind that the card number you receive will likely be the same as the one on your physical card, but your temporary security code likely will not be the same.
Bottom Line: American Express is by far the most convenient option when it comes to getting access to your new credit card number immediately. In this case, we highly recommend these cards as a top option for those who need to access their new credit card number instantly.
Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)
Hot Tip: If you don’t see your card number as soon as you’re approved, you can request the card number from Amex by getting in contact with them. In addition, many users have reported being given a statement credit if Amex’s software fails and is unable to issue the card number.
Bank of America
According to Bank of America, customers who apply and are approved for a credit card via the Bank of America mobile app can upload it immediately to their digital wallet. However, for those who apply through the website, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card seems to be the only one that gives an instant card number.
Bank of Missouri
SoFi partners with this small regional bank to offer its credit card to customers. When you are approved for the SoFi Credit Card, you can immediately add it to a digital wallet and begin using it for purchases with your mobile device.
Several Barclays co-branded credit cards offer instant card numbers and credit available for purchases made through the co-branded website:
- Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® — instant credit toward purchases made through the Frontier website
- Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® — instant credit toward travel purchases made through the Hawaiian Airlines website
- The JetBlue Card — instant credit toward purchases through the JetBlue website
- Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Card — offers instant credit toward purchases through the Priceline website
- Princess Cruises® Rewards Visa® Card — offers instant credit when used to purchase a cruise with Princess Cruises
Chase (Use “Spend Instantly” Feature)
Chase offers a “Spend Instantly” feature as part of its Chase Mobile app. Once you’re approved for a new card, you can immediately add that card via your app to 1 of 3 digital wallets: Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.
Here is how it works:
Step 1: Log in to your account.
Step 2: Select your new card, then scroll down to Account Services and click Digital Wallets.
Step 3: From there, you can select which digital wallet you want to instantly link your card to.
Step 4: You’re all set! Now you can start using your card before it even arrives in the mail.
Currently, most Chase credit cards are eligible for the Spend Instantly feature, with the exception of the Aeroplan® Credit Card, Amazon cards, business cards, Chase Freedom Flex℠, Disney cards, and IHG cards. Fortunately, 3 of our favorite cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® are all included.
A handful of Citi cards will offer you instant cards numbers, including:
The Apple Card will allow cardholders to use the card instantly upon approval via the Wallet app on your iPhone.
HSBC will provide you with your credit card number after approval, but not the CVV or your card’s expiration date.
The only cards offered by Synchrony that gives instant access to your card number are:
For PayPal or eBay cards, you can make an online purchase of up to $250 via PayPal.
USAA will give you an instant card number to use, along with the expiration date and 3-digit code. This has a maximum credit limit of $1,000, which is increased to your approved credit limit when the physical card arrives.
U.S. Bank has begun issuing instant credit cards for mobile/online use on some cards with plans for this to roll out to all cards in the near future. This option is currently limited to those processing a credit card application with the text-to-apply option, which only can happen for an application processed by a banker, either in-branch, over the phone, or via email.
The Bilt Mastercard, issued by Wells Fargo, allows you to access your card number instantly through the Bilt mobile app after you’re approved for the card.
Issuers That Do Not Offer Instant Card Numbers
- Alliant Credit Union
- Capital One
- Navy Federal Credit Union
In summary, while there are some issuers that will allow you to receive your card instantly, you’ll usually need to wait between 5 to 7 business days to receive your new credit card. If you do happen to need access to your card right away, we recommend you consider an American Express card, as that will likely be your best bet.
Keep in mind that these policies can change at any time, and issuers can operate at their own discretion when deciding whether or not to issue your new card number instantly.
We love it when our readers share their experiences with us, so if you have a data point that confirms (or conflicts) with ours, please let us know in the comments below!
The information regarding the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card, Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®, Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, The JetBlue Card, Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Card, Princess Cruises® Rewards Visa® Card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, Bilt Mastercard, Apple Card, eBay Mastercard, PayPal Cashback Mastercard, SoFi Credit Card, and Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.