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Some credit cards let you know how likely you are to be accepted within minutes of your application coming in.


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Last updated
December 1, 2023

What does ‘instant decision’ mean?

Applying for a credit card is usually done online these days. When applying online, it’s a good idea to use eligibility checking tools like CardFinder. With CardFinder you'll get quick results - usually within a few minutes - and even be pre-approved for certain credit cards.

Pre-approval dramatically reduces your chances of rejection, but it’s not an absolute guarantee. When you apply for a pre-approved deal, the lender will carry out their own checks, including a hard credit check and your application could fail at this point.

Some providers may advertise ‘instant approval credit cards’ but you're never guaranteed instant approval.”

How to choose a credit card with instant decision

If you have bad credit …

You could consider a bad credit credit card, or a credit builder card. These cards are easier to be accepted for, so you’re more likely to be pre-approved and get a quick decision.

If you have excellent credit …

You can opt for some of the best credit card deals in the market, as you're likely to be pre-approved for most of them. This applies whether you want to earn rewards, get a long 0% interest period for purchases, or do an interest free balance transfer

If you need money quickly …

If you need access to credit urgently, a credit card may not be the best option, because even with an instant decision, it can take up to a week to receive the actual card.

In this case, a personal loan may be a better option. With some lenders, you may be able to apply and receive the funds on the same day, assuming your application is accepted.

What is the quickest way to get a credit card?

The quickest cards to get are typically cards which have less restrictive eligibility criteria. With that in mind, most people - even those with bad credit - are more likely to be pre-approved for bad credit credit cards or credit builder cards.

The best way to find out which cards you'll be accepted for is to use CardFinder, which matches you with the cards that you're most likely to get. It uses a 'soft search' credit check, which won't affect your credit score and give you a list of cards you could apply for based on your likelihood of approval.

The projected number of credit cards in the UK by 2025[1]


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Which credit cards are easiest to get?

If you're looking for a credit card with the best chance of being pre-approved, your most likely option would be cards that have more lenient eligibility requirements.

In most cases, these will be cards that cater to people with lower credit scores, or limited credit histories, such as bad credit credit cards, or credit builder cards.

These cards typically have low credit limits and high interest rates. It's always a good idea to use an eligibility tool like CardFinder, which will find you any cards you're pre-approved for.


Is there any way I can speed things up?

Yes, you can speed things up by applying for a card that offers an instant decision, check your credit record is accurate and complete the application form carefully. Here is how.

Does my credit history matter?

Yes, your credit history matters as looking at it helps lenders decide whether to accept you as well as what APR and credit limit they offer you.

Will I be accepted?

You will find out if you've been accepted after you apply, but here is how to boost your chances of approval and how to pick a card more likely to accept you.

When will I be told my credit limit?

You will be told your credit limit after you have applied. Providers confirm it when they accept your application or when they send your card.

More credit card guides

Get more detailed information and insight on all things related to credit cards, whether it's how to get one, how to be accepted or what to do if you happen to be rejected.
What should I do if my credit application is declined
What should I do if my credit application is declined
How to get accepted for a credit card
How to get accepted for a credit card
How to get your first credit card
How to get your first credit card

About the author

Salman Haqqi
Salman Haqqi spent over a decade as a journalist reporting in several countries around the world. Now as a personal finance expert, he helps people make informed financial decisions.

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1. Credit card facts and statistics: 2023 money.co.uk's report on credit card use in the UK