How long does it take to get a credit card?

Once you’ve been approved, it tends to take up to 10 working days to receive your credit card in the post. This varies depending on the lender, but you should be able to find timelines in the FAQs section on a lender’s site.

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How long will my application take?

If you apply online, most credit card applications only take a few minutes. Some may be a little longer, but rarely any more than 15 minutes. Many sites (like us) have eligibility checkers, so you can get a quick answer as to whether you’ll be accepted before you submit the application - these can take as little as 60 seconds to give you an answer and they don’t affect your credit score. If accepted you can submit your full application online with confidence.

How long does it take to be approved?

Once you’ve applied online, many lenders are able to notify you of approval immediately, so you can find out then and there.

However, sometimes you may have to wait a little longer if the lender wants to carry out any additional checks before they give you their answer.

What is instant approval?

Instant approval is exactly what it says on the tin; when you find out straight after the application if you’re approved. Many lenders offer this instant decision for online applications, as well as offering eligibility checkers to let you know if you’re eligible before you submit the full application.

How long will it take to receive my card?

“Generally, you should receive your card within 10 working days.”

This can vary by lender, some will be quicker, but sometimes it can take longer, especially if there are any issues with the post.

Many lenders offer immediate online login information to your credit account, so you can see the details of your new account before you receive the physical card.

Can I use my card immediately?

Often you will need to activate a credit card before you use it. This is usually simple and generally, you can do it online or with a quick phone call. Each lender is likely to be slightly different, but you should receive all the information you need to activate it when you receive the card.

Can I speed up the process?

“The best way to speed up the process is to find instant approval cards online, with eligibility checkers.”

Therefore, you can apply for your card and be approved then and there - it’ll then just be down to the lender’s delivery time.

Alternatively, you could apply with your own bank as they could be able to verify your identity quicker.

Can I get a credit card on the same day?

You will likely be able to get credit card approval on the same day, but not your physical card.

However, if you’re after access to cash quicker there are other lending options that offer quicker access to credit - such as certain personal loans. With some personal loans, once you’re approved, you can get the cash into your bank account within just 15 minutes.

I’ve been declined, will this slow down future applications?

Being declined for a card doesn’t necessarily slow down future applications, but making many applications in a short space of time could hinder your credit score, which can make it harder to secure credit in the future.

For the best chance, you’re better making as few applications as possible. A good way to avoid this is to use eligibility checkers (also known as ‘soft search’ tools). These tell you if you’ll be accepted for a product, without running a ‘hard search’ on your file, so it won’t damage your credit score. You can then go ahead and only apply for products you’re confident you’ll be accepted for.

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Intelligent Lending Ltd (credit broker). Capital One is the exclusive lender.

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Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

Fiona Peake, Personal Finance Writer

Fiona Peake

Personal Finance Writer

Fiona is a personal finance writer with over 7 years’ experience writing for a broad range of industries before joining Ocean in 2021. She uses her wealth of experience to turn the overwhelming aspects of finance into articles that are easy to understand.