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How long does it take to get a credit card?

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Written by Matt Fernell, Financial Content Writer

8 January 2020

It can take up to 10 working days for your credit card to arrive in the post. But you may be approved for the card on the same day you apply.

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How to get a credit card quickly

To get a credit card as soon as possible:

  1. Look at instant decision credit cards

  2. Compare credit cards and choose the one you want

  3. Check your credit record is in order. Contact the relevant credit reference agencies to correct any mistakes

  4. Apply online. Review your application for errors before you submit it

By applying at the start of the week, it could mean your card gets to your more quickly. This is because most credit card companies can only process your application on working days (Monday to Friday).

It can be faster to apply for a credit card with your current account bank, for example. This is because they can verify your identity more quickly.

This may not be the case if you are applying for a balance transfer card. Not all credit card providers will let you apply for a new balance transfer card if you already have a credit card with them.

Use an eligibility calculator before you formally apply for a credit card

Check how likely it is you'll get the card you want by using our eligibility checker.

It only requires a 'soft' credit check so it will not appear on your credit file. It should also give you a choice of cards from more than one provider.

This will stop you wasting time applying for credit cards you will not get.

Discover more ways to improve your chances of getting a card.

How long does it take to apply for a credit card?

It can take just 10 minutes to apply for a credit card when you apply online.

It might take longer if you apply in a branch or by post with a paper application.

How long until your application is accepted?

Credit card providers can take 5 to 10 days to decide if they'll accept your application.

But most providers now offer instant approval, when you apply online.

You'll usually find out the outcome within a minute or so of your application.

Their decision may take longer if they need to:

  • Take a closer look at your credit record

  • Check fraud databases

  • Confirm your identity

When should you apply for a credit card?

If you need a credit card for a specific purpose, like a holiday or balance transfer, it's good practice to apply at least a month beforehand.

When will your new credit card arrive?

Most credit cards arrive within 10 working days after your application is accepted. Though it could take longer if the letter is delayed, stolen or lost in the post.

If you know you've been accepted for a credit card and it's not arrived within 2 weeks, contact the credit card provider. They may have to send you a replacement card and cancel the original.

When can you start using your credit card?

You can start spending on your credit card as soon as you've received the card and your 4-digit PIN number.

These are sent separately in case your card is intercepted. The PIN number usually arrives a couple of days after your card.

Find the best credit card for you, whether you're looking for 0% card for balance transfers or purchases or day to day spending and rewards

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