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?
My 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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