March 20, 2023

Can You Get Your Credit Card Number Instantly Upon Approval?

Image source: Getty Images Depending on the credit card, you may be able to get…

Can You Get Your Credit Card Number Instantly Upon Approval?
A man typing on his laptop while sitting outside in front of a brick building.

Image source: Getty Images

Depending on the credit card, you may be able to get early access.

Key points

  • American Express is the only company to offer instant credit card numbers with all its consumer cards.
  • Other card issuers don’t have policies in place and generally either don’t offer instant card numbers or only offer them with a few cards.
  • There are also cards you can use right away by adding them to a digital wallet upon approval.

After you get approved for a credit card, it could take seven to 10 business days before you receive the card in the mail. That’s reasonable enough, but it’s not ideal if you want to use your card right away. Let’s say the card offers a sign-up bonus and you have a big purchase to make. You might want to pay for it with your card so it counts toward the spending requirement on that bonus.

That’s just one example, and there are plenty of other situations where getting your card number early is helpful. While this isn’t always an option, there are card issuers that offer instant-use credit cards.

Can you get your credit card number instantly upon approval?

You can get your credit card number instantly upon approval, but only with select credit cards. The only card issuer to offer this with all its consumer cards is American Express. If you’re eligible, you can get an instant card number upon approval for any of the consumer American Express cards.

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Other credit card issuers don’t offer instant card numbers, at least for the majority of their cards. Some card issuers reportedly provide instant card numbers with a few select cards, but they don’t have a policy in place. If you want your card number right away, your best bet is an American Express card.

However, there are some credit cards you can use right away, even without the card number. Here are the ways this can work:

  • Some card issuers let you add your new card to a digital wallet. Chase is a notable example. Many Chase credit cards can be added to a digital wallet upon approval, so you don’t need to wait for the card to start using it.
  • Airline and hotel credit cards may be available immediately for purchases with that travel provider. If you get, say, an airline credit card, you might be able to book a flight with it right away.
  • Store credit cards may be available for immediate use with the issuing store. Some stores load your new card to your online account upon approval. For example, as soon as you’re approved for an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, it’s available as a payment method in your account.

Instant access is a useful perk, but it shouldn’t be a deciding factor

Being able to use a new credit card right away, either by getting the card number or adding it to a digital wallet, can come in handy. You might want to put some expensive purchases on your new card. If those purchases just can’t wait, and your new card will earn you big rewards, then it’s nice if you can use it instantly.

Don’t give this feature too much importance, though. When choosing a credit card, what matters is which card offers the most long-term value for you. Sure, you may earn some extra points if you can pay with your card right away. But this feature only benefits you for about a week. If another card has more to offer for the long haul, it’s a better choice.

Pick the best credit card for your lifestyle and financial situation. Then, if you want to use it immediately, see if there are any options available to do so. If not, you could also call the card issuer and ask it if expedited shipping is available for your card. It may cost extra, or you may get it free of charge. Even if it’s not available, credit cards usually don’t take long to arrive, so you might be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you get yours.

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