Edited by: Stella Shon
& Keri Stooksbury
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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 card, you will likely be eager to start using the credit card today. 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 credit card numbers after approval ready for instant use.
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Overall Rewards|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Premium Travel Perks|
|American Express® Gold Card||Dining and Groceries|
|The JetBlue Plus Card||JetBlue Benefits|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||Shopping and Everyday|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||Cash-back|
So why should you rush to get your credit card number in the first place? Here are a few reasons why you might want the option to use your card right away:
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 a 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 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.
Recommended American Express Cards
This cash-back card offers a capped 3% at U.S. supermarkets, 3% at U.S. gas stations, and 3% on U.S. online retail purchases!
When it comes to cash-back credit cards, there are dozens of options to choose from. So what sets the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express apart from the rest?
This card is excellent at earning cash-back on your everyday purchases at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and on U.S. online retail purchases. So if you regularly spend money on everyday purchases, this could be the perfect card to add to your wallet.
This card is great for those who want to earn cash-back with U.S. supermarkets, U.S. streaming subscriptions, transit, and U.S. gas stations.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a stellar cash-back credit card for those looking to maximize every purchase they make.
With bonus categories like U.S. supermarkets, select streaming services, U.S. gas stations, and transit purchases, this card rewards you for the items you spend the most on in a big way! For those looking to earn up to 6% cash-back on their purchases, this could be the card for you!
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.
Chase credit cards offer 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, or Samsung Pay.
Here is how it works:
Step 1: Log in to your account.
Step 2: Select your new card, then scroll down to Manage Account 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, the DoorDash Rewards Mastercard®, the Instacart Mastercard®, 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.
Recommended Chase Cards
A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.
Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.
A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.
The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options. Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.
Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!
According to Bank of America, customers who apply and are approved for a credit card via the Bank of America Mobile Banking 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.
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:
A handful of Citi cards will offer you instant card 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 give instant access to your card number are:
You can make an online purchase of up to $250 via PayPal with either card.
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 most important thing to remember is that not all credit cards, or credit issuers, offer an instant card number feature. Given that, we recommend you choose one of the cards that we’ve outlined above in order to be able to receive an instant credit card number in the first place.
Assuming you’ve been approved for one of the cards we’ve highlighted above, you’ll usually receive your instant credit card number in 1 of 2 ways.
Some issuers, like American Express, will provide you with an account number immediately upon approval that you can begin using until your physical card arrives.
Other issuers, such as Chase, offer a “Spend Instantly” feature, allowing you to add your new card right to a digital wallet like Apply Pay or Google Pay right after you’ve been approved. This allows you to use your card just as you would any other that has been added to your digital wallet, even though you haven’t received the physical card yet.
A great card option that is relatively easy to be approved for and offers instant use is the Freedom Unlimited card. For a $0 annual fee, you’ll earn 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% back on all other eligible purchases. Plus you’ll receive added limited-time perks with merchants like Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart (enrollment required).
This all-purpose cash-back card offers great bonus categories, including bonus points for every purchase you make!
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is easily one of the best cash-back credit cards on the market. There aren’t many no-annual-fee credit cards that offer multiple great bonus categories like 5% back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% back on all other purchases.
When paired with other Chase cards in the Ultimate Rewards family, you can transfer that cash back into points if you wish – making it one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet.
Don’t forget too, there’s 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
While some credit cards are easier to get than others, for those that are worth having at least where earning rewards are concerned, you will need a relatively strong credit score no matter what.
Given that, if your credit score isn’t exactly where you’d like it to be at the moment, we recommend you focus on these tips to improve your credit score.
Yes, in fact, 2 of our favorite business cards, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Business Gold Card are both able to receive an instant card number after being approved for the card.
This card is ideal for business travelers who enjoy luxury travel and are looking for a card loaded with benefits!
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium travel rewards card tailored toward business owners who are frequent travelers with a high number of annual expenses.
When you factor in the large number of perks that the card offers like the best airport lounge access at over 1,400 lounges, along with tons of annual credits, it’s easy to see why this card can is a top option for frequent traveling business owners.
Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a huge welcome bonus offer of up to 170,000 points with the Amex Business Platinum. The current public offer is 120,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)
Get 4x points in 2 select categories where your business spends the most each month (on your first $150,000 spent each year).
The American Express® Business Gold Card is excellent at racking up rewards for your business spend.
The card earns a whopping 4x points per $1 in the 2 categories (from a list of 6) that your business spends the most money on each month. With no need to opt-in or preselect your categories, so you can focus on what matters most — running your business.
Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a huge welcome bonus offer of up to 110,000 points with the Amex Business Gold card! The current public offer is 70,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)
We highly recommend both business cards, not just for the rewards and benefits they provide, but as great options for those who need a business card that they can use instantly.
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 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 JetBlue Plus Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the SoFi Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding The JetBlue Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Apple Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Bilt World Elite Mastercard® Credit 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.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, click here.
Unless the credit card issuer allows newly approved cardholders instant access to their card number, you will have to wait until the card arrives in the mail.
You can begin using your card immediately after receiving it in the mail and following the designated instructions to activate.
Assuming you apply online and receive instant approval, some issuers like American Express can provide you with access to your credit card number immediately, but others will not. However, another option is to ask if your card can be shipped via expedited mail. This won’t give you access to your card immediately, but will be much faster than standard mail.
In some cases, you may be approved instantly after submitting your application. However, it is not uncommon for an issuer to need extra time to review your application before making a decision on whether or not to approve it. In some instances, they may take 2 weeks, or more, to review your application.
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