Instant Online Credit Card Applications Have Changed
Five years ago, a consumer could apply for a credit card and receive not only confirmation of approval, but also the card’s 16 digit number and expiration date in a matter of minutes. Getting a credit card online was truly an instant process. And an easy one. Especially for identity thieves, who could max out a person’s virtual credit card before the actual plastic arrived in the unsuspecting consumer’s mailbox. Problems such as these ultimately led to the phasing out of instant online credit cards. At present, American Express® offers 60 second decisions upon submission of an online application.
If approved, the consumer is given notice of his or her status, not their numbers. If the consumer does not immediately qualify for online approval, then notification of approval or denial is sent via mail. Consumers with good to excellent credit looking for an instant credit card, therefore, should consider American Express® credit cards. Most credit card issuers generally take anywhere from five to seven business days before reaching an approval decision and getting the plastic in the mail. With some companies, consumers can expect to wait as long as 30 days.
Clearly, the days of the instant credit card are gone. Individuals without excellent credit that are in a rush to get a new credit card can now expect to wait at least five business days to get the card they applied for. Having good credit facilitates and expedites the decision process. However, those with average and borderline credit scores are often left in credit decision purgatory. So what should one do if they truly need an “instant credit card”? One solution is to consider applying for credit cards from different issuing banks. Since each bank varies in its application processing time and approval criteria, applying for credit cards from different companies can expedite the process of obtaining an “instant credit card,” while also providing an opportunity to make a more informed decision on which credit card to accept and use over the long term. Perhaps the end of the guaranteed instant online approval era of credit cards is not such a bad thing. The more stringent and time consuming application process currently in place provides consumers and credit card companies immeasurably better protection against identity theft. It also gives the consumer time to evaluate the interest rates and rewards offered by the instant credit cards they apply for and make better decisions about which credit card to use.
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