I need a credit card fast… like today!

Posted by CreditCardGuru

Reader Question: What is the quickest way you can get a new card in 2014? I use debit so I don’t have any open credit cards right now, but my car’s fuel pump broke and it’s going to cost me $800… which I don’t have. I need a credit card today, if possible. Advice?

now vs. laterMy Answer: So how fast can you get one? Well that depends…

If you want a credit card today that’s just not going to happen. You might be able to get approved for one today, but it won’t actually be in your physical possession (unless banks find a way to teleport a piece of plastic like in Star Trek). It might be possible to get an instant decision online and get it in a few days if you pay for rush shipping – but that too might be an ambitious expectation.

Even though you can’t get your card the same day, you might be able to speed up the process…

Tip #1: Apply for an entry level card

If your credit is only average and you try applying for some high-end rewards card, there’s probably a higher chance of a delay due to more stringent credit score/history requirements, possible income verification, etc. Those with little or no credit history should seek out cards designed for that type of credit as a first card.

It’s usually a good idea to have a backup card for emergencies, even if you normally use debit, because of the mailing time it takes to receive it.

Tip #2: Apply online, not by snail mail

The quickest and most secure way for the credit card company to process your application is by receiving it online. You certainly could respond to an offer by mail, but that may add several days onto the process before your application is received and reviewed.

Tip #3: Determine if expedited delivery is an option

As mentioned earlier, expedited delivery of your card by next-day or second-day mail is often a delivery option offered by banks, usually for an extra fee. Some applications and approval email confirmations will mention this, so if you need a card immediately consider the following actions:

  1. Apply for the card online. Not only is this the quickest way, but it also lessens the risk of a typo since I am entering and verifying the information myself.
  2. After applying, call the issuing bank’s customer service toll free number and reference your application to check if expedited delivery is available. It’s probably best to wait a couple hours after your application is submitted, to ensure it has propagated in the systems before you call.
  3. The customer service rep will either say; rush delivery is available for free, available for a fee (typically $15 to $25), or not available at all. If you want a credit card immediately, then it might be worth paying the fee if the service is available.

At least that’s what I would do if I were in a bind and needed the card ASAP. But unfortunately, getting a card today or immediately is not possible. The best you can do is get rush delivery and hopefully it will arrive within 2-3 business days.

For people with fair and bad credit, you might only qualify for a secured credit card (which means you will have to put up a security deposit, so it wouldn’t be any help for an emergency expense).

This post was written or last updated July 29, 2014

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.

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

  1. EMILY March 16, 2015 at 11:08AM


  2. duff January 26, 2015 at 9:24PM

    if you have debit or cash and need to purchase online. go buy a pre-paid card. A Visa Debit gift card will work.

  3. John December 27, 2014 at 7:01PM

    Go to your local bank, and ask for VISA credit card (easiest way to get card… and fastest too). also ou can visit their webpage. http://www.visa.com

  4. diane paisley December 18, 2014 at 7:52PM

    I googled get a credit card today: you should not advertise 30 second decision and then explain why it will take 7-10 business days

  5. pothuganti srinivas September 11, 2014 at 11:52AM

    I want credit card immidiatly in India for home things purchasing, which bank how to apply.

  6. Ebenezer August 15, 2014 at 2:10PM

    Which Bank can I get my credit card in Ghana?

  7. omar August 5, 2014 at 1:17PM

    I need credit card by Thursday and today is Tuesday is there anyway i can get one?

  8. Chasity Reed February 27, 2014 at 2:45PM

    I need a credit card today

  9. patsy Stewart January 17, 2014 at 8:48AM

    My mother has died…no life insurance.. I need 3700.00 to pay for her funeral expenses by Feb 1st..thanks

  10. linda December 11, 2013 at 8:11AM

    im trying to get a credit card so I can buy Christmas presents for my kids and grandson,but I keep getting turned down.i have a job and so does my husband so we can afford the payments

    • mars April 3, 2014 at 2:00AM

      if u can afford payments then u can afford xmas gifts how silly are you

    • Jamie April 22, 2014 at 10:47AM


  11. Mohammed November 17, 2013 at 9:42AM

    I need a credit card please suggest me which is suitable for me help me

  12. Kurtysquirt November 14, 2013 at 4:13AM

    You can get a credit card within 2 minutes of applying, if you do it online. After they approve you, they give you all the information you need to make purchases. Card number, expiration etc.

  13. maecole ford November 5, 2013 at 12:50PM

    I really need a credit card, do you have any suggestions?

  14. kathy leann hadden August 19, 2013 at 10:39AM

    I am trying to get a card today ..

  15. Margaret Hughes April 22, 2013 at 10:11AM

    what is the credit limit on the slate card

  16. Nate December 11, 2012 at 5:43AM

    Discover card will do an “instant approval” on most of their card applications.

    • Hetty Frederik August 27, 2013 at 4:15PM


      Do you use a Discover credit Card? And is it for General Usage? Like paying things online?

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