I need a credit card fast… like today!

Reader Question: What is the quickest way you can get a new card in 2017? 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 probably wishful thinking on your part, sorry. I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade but even though you might be able to get approved for one today, it most likely won’t actually be in your physical possession today (unless maybe an Amazon drone delivers it for a fee). 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 if you are in desperate need of credit, since that’s often a leading indicator of risk and bad credit.

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

Tip #1: Apply for a basic, 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 rather than swinging for the fences and trying to get a card with a lucrative reward program.

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 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.

Unfortunately, getting a new credit card account approved and having the plastic in your had the same day is simply not possible. As mentioned earlier, the best you can do is get rush delivery and hopefully it will arrive within 2-3 business days. Another potential option to immediately slake your credit thirst might be to apply for a “Bill Me Later” account online. They supposedly can provide an instant decision online and then bill you by mail after you complete an internet transaction with a major retailer or e-commerce site like Amazon.com.

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 April 2017

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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which bank can i get credit card in nigeria.

I am from georgia. Can i get credit card?


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

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

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

pothuganti srinivas

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

Which Bank can I get my credit card in Ghana?

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

I need a credit card today

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

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

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

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

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.

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

kathy leann hadden

I am trying to get a card today ..

Margaret Hughes

what is the credit limit on the slate card

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


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