How Long Does It Take to Get a Credit Card?

Dayton Uttinger
Woman getting a credit card

It usually takes 7-10 business days to get a credit card into your hands, but there are a lot of factors that impact this. Depending on whether or not you’ve already been approved, how you applied, or if you’re just looking for a replacement card, your timeframe will shift. Approval alone can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks. However, you can do some things preemptively to make it as quick as possible.

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How Long Does It Take To Receive a Credit Card?

First of all, understand that “business days” are different than non-business days. “Seven to ten business days” means around two weeks total. Monday thru Friday, excluding holidays, are considered business days.

How Long Does It Take To Get a New Credit Card

If you’re applying for a new credit card, whether it’s your first or just one with better rewards, the timeline for getting a new card will highly depend on how long it takes for you to get approved. Look below for a breakdown of how long the application process can take, but getting the card physically delivered upon approval takes about 7-10 business days.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Replacement Credit Card

This is generally about the same as getting a new card (up to two weeks), but check with your bank or credit union for other options. Some will offer expedited delivery or can rush the process (for a fee, of course.)

Make sure to report a stolen or lost card immediately to avoid any further distress. Waiting for your new card can be nerve-wracking, especially if it takes up to 10 business days, but it’s even worse to be a victim of identity theft.

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

The approval process will vary widely depending on your financial situation. In all cases, though, triple check your application before submitting it. There is a lot of red tape surrounding applications, so any inaccuracies will affect how soon you can get a new credit card.

Instant Approval and Pre-Approval for Credit Cards

You might already be pre-approved for some credit cards in your junk mail, but there are other ways to get pre-approved as well. One of the most famous is known as the “shopping cart trick.” It’s particularly useful if you have bad credit, and don’t want lenders doing a hard inquiry.

Sign up for a membership with an online retailer, and disable any ad blocking extensions you may have installed. Add some items to your cart, proceed through checkout, and you might be offered a credit card on the payment page. You don’t have to actually buy anything for this to work; just complete the process right up until you actually have to pay. Companies will often offer you their store credit card once you get there, but you might have to try a couple times over.

Anyone offering your pre-approval has probably done a soft check on your credit, but more exclusive cards with better rewards will do a hard check. If someone has offered you pre-approval, you might be able to find better terms by shopping around. However, that will also take more time.

Applying Online, In Person, and By Mail

Online applications are by far the quickest method these days. Even if you submit an application in person, chances are that it’ll be scanned and submitted electronically anyway. If you want to cut out the middleman, apply online to begin with.

Applying through the mail will be the slowest method by far. Avoid it if you want to get a credit card fast.

How to Get a Credit Card Faster

Sometimes, every day counts. If you’re relying on a credit card to get you through some tough times, here’s a few tips to get a credit card fast.

Request a Local Pick-Up

Call whoever is issuing you the card (your bank, credit union, or retailer), and ask to pick it up at their local place of business. This could save you some time, since you won’t have to wait for it to arrive at your house through the mail.

Apply Online

Applying online is the best way to assure that you’re getting the quickest feedback possible. You could get instantly approved, and your application will be processed faster. Still check over your application, though— you don’t want any mistakes here either!

Apply for Pre-Approved Cards

If you sift through your junk mail stack right now, you might have a couple of pre-approved cards. Likewise, some retailers have relaxed requirements that allow them to pre-approve some customers. However, keep in mind that it’s easier to get these cards for a reason. You could probably get a better deal if you took the time to shop around, but then it would definitely take longer to get a credit card at all.

Improve Your Credit Score Before Applying

If you’re worried about being denied in the first place, consider improving your credit before you even apply. Being continuously denied can have a huge effect on how long it will take to get a credit card, and your credit score is one of the major factors that lenders look at when considering your application.

Improving your credit can be a complex topic to tackle, but resources are available to help you get started. Focus on the small things, like paying off your loans on time, but don’t ignore inaccurate credit reports or overdue debts either. Fixing your credit is one of the biggest steps you can take towards getting a good credit card.

Apply or Request a Replacement Sooner

Sometimes it can’t be helped. You’re not going to ask for a replacement card before it gets stolen, right? However, if you know that you’re going to be needing a new card soon, don’t drag your feet. The sooner you apply, the sooner you can get your new credit card.

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