Instant credit card approvals can come in a number of different ways. Companies will often pre-screen candidates that they wish to offer a credit card to, in order to determine their eligibility. Once the candidate has passed the screening, that person will be mailed a credit card offer. The letter will state that the person has been “pre-approved” for a new credit card. All that person would have to do would then be to contact the lender in order to receive their new credit card.
Applications Online, Over the Phone or In-person
Instant credit card approval can also happen if an applicant calls the credit card company or goes through the lender’s website. Another way that a person can get instant credit card approval is in-person, as seen with store credit cards. A person can apply on the spot for a store card and be told right away whether or not the application was accepted. In these three cases the lender is unable to pre-screen the candidates. However, they will do a quick, automated check on the applicant’s credit history. The lender will check the applicants FICO score and based on that score, in most cases will either approve or deny the application instantly. However, in some cases the applicant may not get an instant approval. The application may need to be studied further before a decision can be made.
After the Instant Approval
Once the lender has instantly approved the application, the applicant will still have to wait for their new credit card. In many cases, even though the credit card application has been approved, the lender will still look at the application after the approval in order to determine the applicant’s risk factor. This can effect your credit limit. So despite the instant approval, the applicant may get a smaller credit limit than what he was hoping for. An applicant approved for a credit card will receive the new card as quickly as two weeks after the instant approval. In order to use the new card a person will have to "activate" the card. Typically, activation involves calling a 1-800 number found on a sticker attached to the credit card. After going through an automated system, the system will confirm that the card is activated. Assuming that the person has also signed the back of the card, the new credit card is ready to be used.