Instant approval credit cards – or 60-second approval cards – offer an ‘instant decision’ from the creditor when you apply. They do not guarantee instant approval. So, their name can be misleading.
The way it usually works is you fill out an online application and get approved or denied in the space of 60 seconds. If approved, you’ll typically receive your card in the mail in a week or two’s time.
Once you’ve submitted an instant approval credit card application, you’ll know in about 60 seconds whether you’ve been approved or denied; while traditional credit card applications usually take 7-10 days.
However, credit cards with ‘instant approval’ sometimes come with higher fees and interest rates. As such, we suggest you compare different options to find a suitable credit card for your needs – even if that means waiting a little longer for you to get your hands on one.
The vendor carries out a quick credit check with one of the credit rating agencies, and you get a decision based on your credit history.
If you’re approved right away, this is only a ‘preliminary approval’. The bank, credit union, or credit card provider reserves the right to decline your application if they find inaccuracies in your application or you fail to provide supplementary information (e.g. payslips from your employer).
Bear in mind, instant approval credit cards can offer an interest-free period on purchases for the first several months but may then revert to a higher interest rate once the introductory period ends.
There is a range of eligibility requirements for getting an instant approval credit card. We’ve listed some of the most common approval criteria below.
Please note: You can further damage your credit score by applying for cards across multiple lenders and getting denied. You will only receive an instant approval credit card if you meet the approval criteria and provide all the necessary information.
Your credit score is a three-digit number based on your credit and debt history, which lenders use to determine if they should approve your loan or credit card application.
If you only want your credit score (without the full report), the following websites provide an online version free of charge once per year:
N.B. We recommend you order your credit report annually, as it’s free and your credit score may change when new information is recorded.
It’s unlikely – even if you have a high income. A bad credit history generally indicates an inability to pay back debt. Because of the credit card reforms, lenders must determine if it’s feasible for you to repay the credit limit within a three-year timeframe. Only then, can they tick off your application.
If you have a bad credit score, you can work on improving your credit score.
The decision time for an instant approval credit card is about 60 seconds. However, you may still be denied after initial approval if the lender finds any subsequent inaccuracies in your application or you fail to submit supplementary information (e.g. payslips from your employer).
Once fully approved, it usually takes one to two weeks for your card to arrive in the mail.
Here are some common features of credit cards you should consider when comparing any type of credit card:
The credit card application usually takes around 10 minutes to complete. Within that time, you’ll typically be asked to provide the following:
Once submitted, your application will be approved or denied based on the information you provide, and the outcome of a credit check, which the lender will complete. For more information on completing credit card applications, check out our guide.
Or, perhaps you want to compare and purchase now? Our free online comparison tool allows you to compare different types of credit cards based on price, features and benefits in a convenient side-by-side view. You can also review product T&C’s to determine approval processes.
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