Sometimes you need a credit card right away and you mentally kick yourself for not applying to one sooner as you had planned. Maybe your car is at the shop and you can’t pick it up until you have an extra couple hundred dollars to pay for the repairs.
Or perhaps your washing machine has finally kicked the bucket and your laundry has been backed up for days. Whatever the reason may be, you need to apply for a credit card and start using it right away. But it can take card issuers a week or two to get the card in the mail.
Don’t worry, you still have some strong options to start using your new credit card as quickly as possible. One way is to request expedited shipping, which allows your new card to arrive in about two business days.
But sometimes even that isn’t enough to help you through a tough time. If that’s the case, you can focus your application efforts on credit cards that automatically issue your card number once you’ve been approved. That allows you to call in payments or make emergency purchases online.
Find out which credit card companies offer instant approval credit cards and which ones don’t. Some make it quick and easy to get your card number instantly, while others may make you jump through a few hoops.
We’ll tell you how to navigate each major credit card issuer so you know exactly what you need to do to start using that new card as soon as possible.
Full List of Credit Cards That Issue Instant Card Numbers
American Express is one of your best options for getting your credit card number right away after getting approved.
You can apply for any AmEx card to take advantage of this service, although some customers report mixed results as to how often the offer is available.
If you do receive the offer, you’ll be prompted by the online system asking you whether or not you want your card number right away.
Also, realize that this number is just a temporary one. While the card number will likely be the same as the one you receive in the mail, your CVC code and expiration date will probably change.
So don’t use it to set up any automatic billing services because you’ll just need to switch it when you activate your actual card. If you don’t receive an offer for an instant card number, you might actually receive a bonus for a future statement credit.
If you’re applying for a co-branded American Express card, such as a Hilton Card, you may only be able to use the number with the co-branded company. American Express should let you know of any usage restrictions at the time of releasing your instant credit card number.
Bank of America
Unfortunately, most Bank of America cards do not offer instant credit card numbers. While there are some reports of getting upon approval, there is simply no consistent policy to go by.
However, you can typically receive a card number when you’re approved for the B of A co-branded Alaska Airlines credit card.
While BBVA doesn’t offer instant approval with your online application, you may have better luck by requesting it in person at a physical branch. You’re more likely to get the card number this way because you can verify your identity more easily. Again, this trick doesn’t have a 100% success rate, but it’s definitely worth a try.
There are a couple of co-branded Citi credit cards you can apply for and receive card numbers instantly. They are the American Airlines card and the AT&T card.
There are a few different levels of membership for the American Airlines card, so review those options to see which one best suits your needs and, ideally, your credit profile. Several of them come with no annual fee. Similarly, there are two types of AT&T cards with varying rewards benefits. Check them out before applying so you know the better fit for you.
Costco Credit Card
If you’re already a Costco member or have been thinking about joining, you can take advantage of instant access once you’ve been approved. However, for instant access, you’ll need to apply in store. There is no annual fee with your paid Costco membership and it can only be used in-store.
In addition to the number, you’ll receive a barcode that can be scanned at the checkout. This is also a great option for business owners who need help with cash flow and need either restaurant supplies or even the latest tech gear, like a new laptop or printer.
First Nation Bank of Omaha
Stuck in Vegas with no cash left in your pocket? Ok, hopefully, that isn’t your emergency, but you can get an instant FNBO credit card number from the M Life desk at any MGM resort.
They can print out your card information for you so you have that extra financing available, should you need it. Just be sure to keep walking past the slot machines on your way out.
For online-specific purchases, try one of these cards from Synchrony to get started right away: Ebats, PayPal, or eBay. The Ebates card can be used either on its website or anywhere a Visa is accepted.
For PayPal or eBay Mastercards, you can make an online purchase up to $250 via PayPal. Depending on how expensive your emergency is and what you need to charge, this could be a good option for you.
Members of the military and their family can become members of USAA and then apply for a USAA credit card. When you do, you’ll automatically receive your card number, CVC code, and expiration date.
You’ll only be allowed to spend up to $1,000 with this information, and then you’ll move up to your full balance limit once your physical card arrives in the mail. They have a rewards program and there is no annual fee on either of the credit cards you can choose from.
Can you get instant approval with a store card?
This really depends on each individual retailers, but it’s certainly possible. First, it’s important to remember that while some stores offer co-branded cards like Visa and MasterCard that can be used anywhere, many limit purchases to the actual store itself. So think about how you need to use your new credit card before you get too far down the rabbit hole.
You can apply for store credit cards either online or in person. When you apply in person and are approved, you often get a temporary credit card so you can start shopping right away.
Think about the Target RedCard — how many times have you been asked, “Would you like to save 5% today by opening a Target RedCard?” They want to give you the incentive to buy more and save more and take advantage of those savings right away.
Some stores don’t even require the credit card to be present if you can verify your identity. Retailers like Best Buy and Macy’s simply check your driver’s license and have you enter your social security number to access your credit card account.
It’s a quick and easy way to start shopping without having to wait for the card to come in the mail. On top of that, some stores like Cabela’s even have physical cards on hand to give you right away.
What credit cards won’t issue card numbers right away?
There are some credit card companies that just won’t give out card information before the physical copy arrives in your mailbox. The big name creditors you won’t see this service from include: Alliant, Barclaycard, Chase, Discover, and Wells Fargo.
While their policies may change in the future, as of right now, you’ll have to wait at least a few days until you’re approved to start using your account.
Applying for a credit card doesn’t have to mean waiting an entire week or two for your card to show up before you can actually start using it. By browsing the credit card offers above and focusing on the ones you’re most likely to get instant approval for, you can receive immediate access to your credit card.
Just pay careful attention to whether you need to do something specific to get your card information or if there are restrictions on your spending. Now you can be prepared if you have a financial emergency or simply want to take advantage of cardmember benefits quickly.