How long does it take to get a credit card in the mail?

Posted by CreditCardGuru

Q: After I apply, how long will it typically require to get approved and receive my new credit card in the mail? I have a big purchase coming up that would satisfy my signup bonus spending requirement, so the sooner I get it the better.

A: Most banks will hedge their bets and only say it “generally” takes 7-10 days. That estimate includes the time it takes to process your application and for you to receive the credit card in the mail, so there is some padding in there. I understand that can be a long time to wait if you need the card ASAP. Here are 4 tips I have that may help you…

Tip #1: The 7-10 days is usually a worst case estimate

The good news is that the 7-10 day estimate seems to have a lot of cushion built into it. It’s not unusual to receive your new card in as little as 4 or 5 business days. In this forum conversation a good chunk of the replies reported that it usually took only about 5 days to receive their card.

From personal experience, I have also found that when I apply for a new card, it typically comes sooner than 7-10 days. You can count on the banks providing a lot of padding in their delivery time estimates in order to manage their customers’ expectations.

Tip #2: Make sure the info in your application is correct

With many credit cards, a computer decides whether your application is approved or denied. The decision is based on the information you provide as well as what’s on your credit report.

However, if you provide information that doesn’t match your credit report, that discrepancy can trigger a manual review for your application (which may add a day or two onto the process). This is a good reason why it’s a good idea to check your credit report every year (which can be obtained for free) in order to make sure you’re seeing what lenders are seeing and correct any discrepancies.

This is also a reason why you need to be careful when completing your application. When you apply by mail (written application) the decision analyst may have trouble reading your handwriting. On the phone, problems can also arise because the person on the other end typing in your info might mistype your name or address or simply misunderstand what you said (and they’re not making the credit decision, they just type what you tell them, so you won’t realize what’s happened until after the fact). This is why applying online is your best bet – it’s the fastest way and it ensures accuracy since you are in charge and can look over all the details before hitting the submit button.

Tip #3: Higher tier cards = higher chance of manual review

If a card is advertised as requiring “excellent” credit, then obviously the bar for approval is set high. That means the odds that your application will have to be manually reviewed *might* be higher versus a lower tier card.

This means if you need to get approved for a credit card as soon as possible, it might make sense to apply for one that you know that you will qualify for most easily. Don’t over-reach in terms of going beyond what your credit quality can justify.

If you need a new credit card for financing purposes, a couple mid-tier highly recommended cards are the Slate from Chase and some Capital One cards.

Tip #4: Some card issuers will offer rush shipping (if you ask)

Some (but not all) credit card companies will offer express shipping. Some will charge for it, others will toss it in for free when you ask for it.

And how long will it take to get your credit card in the mail with express delivery? From my experience, American Express and Chase both offered me 2-day shipping. But that was for replacement cards on my existing accounts. When you apply for a new card, keep in mind that in addition to shipping, there is time involved with approving your application.

If you want to get rush shipping, here’s what I recommend. First, apply online for the card. As mentioned above, online applications are the best. After you apply, you will receive an email confirmation which contains a phone number. Call that number and kindly ask if they will add express shipping. Some will do it for free, others may charge a fee of $15 or $20. If they try and charge you, see if they will offer you the new customer discount ;)
Written or last updated February 2015

Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

10 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. john July 28, 2014 at 10:31AM

    I got mines like 57 years later, long time, but it was worth the wait for 96 dollars of credit I can use on my card. I always max it out

  2. mark zapata July 2, 2014 at 5:49PM

    I got my Prepaid Mastercard from fast! and it was free. You also get $20 instantly when you load your first $40 on the card.

  3. sam May 15, 2014 at 11:36AM

    takes 4 decades

  4. sam May 15, 2014 at 11:35AM

    takes 3 decades

  5. Joshua March 1, 2014 at 3:53AM

    Barclay USA asks on their online application whether you want the $29.99 Fedex overnight shipping (or not) in which I assume, they will bill on the card they are sending to you. (at least that’s what they asked on my Williams-Sonoma Visa card application) that was approved instantly. Now the card needs to come to me so bad….Enjoy-!!

  6. Bob K. February 14, 2014 at 10:51PM

    @Luz Espinoza. I don’t know of any credit card that asks you to send in money BEFORE you even receive your credit card. It sounds like a scam.

    • Amanda June 6, 2014 at 2:29PM

      With secured cards that require a security deposit, you have to send in at least the minimum required balance, usually between $200-300 (it’s refundable if/when you close the card), right when you’ve been approved or, in some cases, they give you a time frame to have the money sent in by.

      • sharaine October 6, 2014 at 7:19PM

        My card is a secured card from Capital One. I paid $50 for a deposit on Saturday. How long will it take to arrive tru the mail?

  7. Simonique Thomas December 24, 2013 at 7:58AM

    I want my credit card in one day

  8. Luz Espinosa December 4, 2013 at 5:58AM

    I been pre approved n I send the money that they ask for thru mail n I wind the letter where it said ” Yes please send my card ASAP. How long it takes to send it to me?

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