FAQs about instant approval credit cards
By Ben Woolsey
"Instant" approval is fast, but not really instanteous. Credit card issuers promise a fast approval process, but in order to qualify you and your creditworthiness -- and to protect against fraud -- the "instant" reference is a marketing tool that really takes a few days. Here are some frequently asked questions about the instant approval credit card application process:
Q: What does instant approval credit cards mean for applicants?
A: Instant approval refers to the process by which credit card companies take your application information, quickly review your credit report online and then make a decision on whether to extend credit.
Q: How does this differ from "instant decision"?
A: Instant decision is a term that allows the banks to defer the approve/decline decision until they can do some back-end work if an application credit decision requires more scrutiny.
Q: I've also heard of the term "instant credit." Is this the same as instant approval?
A: Instant Credit involves not only instant approval but also provides the applicant with a temporary credit card number that provides the ability to make an online purchase immediately. This capability was initially developed about five years ago but most banks have stopped the practice due to losses from fraudulent uses of instant credit. Instant approval gives the banks a few days to verify the applicant information in order to make a better credit decision.
Q: Are instant approval applications as secure as filling out a paper application and sending it through the mail?
A: Yes. Legitimate credit card comparison websites offer links to only secure applications through the major banks and credit card companies that employ the latest Internet security data encryption.
Q: How long does it take to get a credit card once my application has received instant approval?
A: This varies by issuer but the typical time required is around five to seven business days. Issuers will be able to provide more information through their customer service departments.
Published: July 1, 2005