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 2013? 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).

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.

So if you need a credit card now don’t shoot for the moon.
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 fastest and most efficient way for the credit card company to process your application is by receiving it online. Sure you could respond to an offer by mail, but that may add several days onto the process.

Tip #3: See if expedited delivery is possible

With many banks, you can request expedited delivery of your card by next-day or second-day mail. Most applications won’t mention this, but if I needed a card now, this is what I would do:

  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 customer service and reference your application and check is expedited delivery is possible. It’s probably best to wait a couple hours after your application is submitted, to ensure it has propagated in the systems when you call customer service.
  3. The CSR will either say; rush delivery is available for free, available for a fee (typically $15 to $25), or not available at all. If I want a credit card immediately, then I might consider paying the fee.

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 November 9, 2013

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.

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

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

    I need a credit card today

  2. 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

  3. 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


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

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

  5. 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.

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

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

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

    I am trying to get a card today ..

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

    what is the credit limit on the slate card

  9. 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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