How Long Does It Take to Get a Credit Card?

Learn how long it takes to get a credit card, as well as some tricks for getting a card faster

In today’s world of online shopping and express delivery, it’s natural to want things quickly. But how quickly can you get a credit card? First, there’s the application and approval process. And then there’s the matter of actually getting the card in your hands.

But if you know how, it’s possible to get a new credit card and start using it the same day. Read on to learn more about the process and ways to get your credit card faster.

How Long Does It Take to Get Approved for a Credit Card?

Getting approved—or denied—could take anywhere from seconds to weeks. You could be approved for a credit card right away if you apply online. That’s if your application satisfies the lender’s credit policies. If the issuer needs more information to decide, that could add time to the process. 

You could also get approved or denied quickly if you apply over the phone or in person. If you apply by mail, you’ll have to wait for your application to get there and for the decision to be mailed back. 

However you apply, issuers must give you an approval decision within 30 days of receiving your complete application.

Why Is My Credit Card Application Pending?

When you submit a credit card application, the card issuer will look at the information you provided in your application to decide whether to approve you for the card you applied for. 

Card issuers will usually look at things like your credit report, credit history, credit score and income, as well as any sources of debt like a mortgage or rent payment. 

Sometimes you may find out you’re approved for a new credit card almost instantly. But other times, the lender may need more time to review your information. 

If you don’t get a decision right away, there are a few reasons why your application may be taking longer, according to Bankrate:

  • Your credit reports could be frozen.
  • Your income may need to be verified. 
  • There could be mistakes on your application.
  • Your personal information may need to be verified.
  • The lender may be reviewing a lot of applications.

To help prevent some of the above issues, make sure to fill out credit applications as completely and honestly as you can. That could help the review and approval process happen a little quicker. And if your credit reports are frozen, you’ll have to unfreeze them—at least temporarily—to allow lenders to review your credit history.

How Long Does It Take to Receive a Credit Card in the Mail?

There’s no single answer for how long it takes to receive your credit card in the mail, either. It depends on the issuer and the postal service. But many issuers, including Capital One, say you can expect to receive your card in the mail within 7 to 10 days of being approved. 

Keep in mind, if you’re approved for a secured card, you’ll have to fund the deposit before the card ships.

How Long Does It Take to Receive a Replacement Credit Card?

For most major card issuers, the standard delivery time for replacement cards is between one and seven business days. So check with your card company to get more specifics on what to expect. 

But to get the process started, you first need to let your card issuer know that your card is lost or stolen. Once your lender knows, the missing card is usually deactivated. And then the card issuer can start setting you up with a new card, which might include assigning you a new card number. If your card was damaged and you need a replacement, you may not be assigned a new number. 

Capital One cardholders can request replacement cards online. Lost or stolen cards can also be reported by calling 1-800-277-4825.

How to Get a Credit Card Faster

Can’t wait for your credit card? Here are some ways you can try to speed up the process:

Get Pre-Approved

Getting pre-approved is an optional extra step that can save you time by focusing on credit cards you’re likely to be approved for. That’s because pre-approval lets you see which cards you could be eligible for before you apply. 

To see if you’re pre-approved, the lender will usually ask you for some basic information. Getting pre-approved involves a soft inquiry of your credit. So it won’t hurt your credit scores

But remember, pre-approval is just an indicator. If you decide to apply for a credit card, you may have to take a few extra steps to fill out the full application, which could result in a hard inquiry of your credit. This could affect your credit scores.

Aim for Instant Approval

True, you could apply online for any credit card and hope for instant approval. But your chances might improve if you know your credit scores and, with pre-approval, target cards designed for your credit level. 

That way, even if you have less-than-perfect credit, you still have a chance of being instantly approved.

At Capital One, pre-approval can take 60 seconds or less. Combining this with an application could get you a response in minutes.

A note about instant approval: It doesn’t necessarily mean your card will be available for use instantly. If that’s what you’re after, you can look for instant use credit cards.

Apply for an Instant Use Credit Card

Depending on the card and card issuer, you might be able to access your account details as soon as you’re approved. That means you might not have to wait until you get the actual card in the mail. Here’s how you could start using your new line of credit:

  • Virtually: You may have access to your new credit card details online or via a mobile app. Some issuers may also give you virtual card numbers for more secure shopping online.
  • In person: If you can add your credit card to your digital wallet, you can use your phone, watch or other smart device to make in-store purchases at participating retailers.

Request Expedited Shipping

If you can’t wait the standard 7 to 10 days to receive your credit card in the mail, you could try asking if your issuer offers expedited shipping. Just keep in mind that you might be charged a fee for the service.

Why Haven’t I Received My Credit Card Yet?

So you’re through the application process, but you’re still waiting on your card? It might help to remember that it can take up to 10 business days to receive your card in the mail. And if you’re waiting on a secured card, it may not ship until you’ve funded your security deposit.

Otherwise, it may be easiest to reach out to your card issuer to see what’s going on.

Know Your Credit Score

Getting a new credit card can be a process—whether it ends up taking seconds or weeks. But like many things, you can help smooth the process with a bit of preparation. 

Knowing your credit scores—so you can target cards designed for your credit level—is one way to do this. With CreditWise from Capital One, you can access your credit report from TransUnion® and get a weekly VantageScore® 3.0 credit score—without hurting your credit. And it’s free for everyone, whether you’re a Capital One cardholder or not.

We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

Your CreditWise score is calculated using the TransUnion® VantageScore® 3.0 model, which is one of many credit scoring models. It may not be the same model your lender uses, but it can be one accurate measure of your credit health. The availability of the CreditWise tool depends on our ability to obtain your credit history from TransUnion. Some monitoring and alerts may not be available to you if the information you enter at enrollment does not match the information in your credit file at (or you do not have a file at) one or more consumer reporting agencies.

Capital One does not provide, endorse or guarantee any third-party product, service, information, or recommendation listed above. The third parties listed are solely responsible for their products and services, and all trademarks listed are the property of their respective owners.

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