To get a credit card as soon as possible:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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