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Instant Approval Credit Cards

Written by: Joey Robinson | Edited by: Tracy Stewart
|

December 30, 2021

Best Instant Approval Credit Cards:

BEST FOR NO CREDIT CHECK NEEDED
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Our rating:3.0 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Recommended credit

(No Credit History) CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Your approval oddsWhen you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.

Rewards rate

This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points

At A Glance

Intro bonus
No current offer
Annual fee
$35
Regular APR
17.39% variable
Your approval oddsWhen you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
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All information about the Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card and the UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.


A guide to instant approval credit cards

You typically apply online for an instant approval credit card, often getting a response in seconds. That’s how quickly a credit card issuer can do a preliminary check of your credit to see if you qualify. You may be immediately approved or denied. But it’s also possible for your application to be put under review, meaning it will take more time to see if you qualify.

Below, we’ve gathered our top cards for instant approval and the information you should know before going through the speedy process.


Comparing the best instant approval credit cards

CardOur Favorite FeatureAnnual Fee
Self — Credit Builder AccountImproving creditOne-time $9 – $15 account fee (varies by product)
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit CardNo credit check needed$35
Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit CardHigh credit lines$49
UNITY® Visa Secured Credit CardNo minimum credit score required$39

Self – Credit Builder Account: Best for improving credit

Why we picked it: You’ll know almost instantaneously whether you’re approved and won’t face a hard pull on your credit. And for its best credit-boosting perk, this account will report your habits to all three credit bureaus.

Pros: Through this unique account, Self will set you up with a small loan that’ll be saved in a certificate of deposit (CD) for 12 or 24 months, and at the end of the account term your CD savings will unlock. Similar to a savings account, but with the ability to build credit, you pay a minimum of $25 a month toward the CD. By the end of the account term, healthy habits and on-time payments should make strong contributions to growing your credit score.

Cons: This account doesn’t feature any ways to earn on your spending or bonus rewards. Also, there is a one-time account fee of up to $15.

Who should apply? Anyone looking for easy approval and who wants to focus on establishing a credit score with a set routine are a great match for this account.

Who should skip? Anyone looking for a rewards card should look elsewhere. And if you want an actual credit card you can use, consider the Self – Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa® Credit Card or any other secured card.

Read our Self – Credit Builder Account review.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card: Best for no credit check needed

Why we picked it: There’s no credit check with this card, making it a great option for someone looking to get a credit card without a credit history.

Pros: The initial refundable deposit you make to secure the card (starting at $200) will serve as your credit limit, putting you in some control. It also comes with basic Visa benefits, such as $0 fraud liability.

Cons: This card comes with an annual fee of $35 per year and doesn’t let you move up to an unsecured credit card.

Who should apply? If your credit is an obstacle to getting approved for a card, this secured option can be a great stepping stone to a card with more features and benefits. The simple approval process and lack of credit check make it extremely accessible.

Who should skip? This card isn’t for anyone who wants a secured credit card that lets them eventually upgrade to an unsecured card after showing responsible use.

Read our OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card review.

Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card: Best for high credit lines

Why we picked it: This card features instant approval and a low APR of only 9.99% (fixed). You may also get a credit line as high as $5,000. This not only gives you financial freedom, but can also help improve your credit score by lowering your credit utilization ratio.

Pros: There’s no credit check when applying for this card, making it an easy and accessible process. And thanks to it being a Visa card, it comes with travel accident insurance, extended warranties and a travel and emergency hotline.

Cons: This card restricts you when it comes to getting started; you can’t set up your account with a deposit from an ACH bank transfer (a common practice). You’ll have to use a debit card, check or money order. Also, this card comes with a $49 annual fee.

Who should apply? Credit card newcomers looking for a way to grow their score with a high credit line would benefit from this card. Also, if you know you’re going to be forced to carry an occasional balance, this card’s low APR makes it a great choice.

Who should skip? If you’re looking for an easy card to get started with, this may be difficult due to the limitations around the initial deposit. Also, this is a bad choice for anyone looking for rewards cards.

UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card: Best for no minimum credit score required

Why we picked it: There is no requirement when it comes to credit score and applying for this card. You’ll have to get started with a minimum deposit of $250, but being approved instantly can ease the process.

Pros: This card comes with a six-month balance transfer rate of 9.95% APR, although you’ll need to consider if it’s better to put the refundable deposit toward the amount already owed. This card also reports your monthly habits to the three credit bureaus, an awesome perk for improving your score.

Cons: The UNITY Visa Secured has a relatively high APR for a card of its type (17.99%, fixed) and comes with a $39 annual fee.

Who should apply? If you’re looking for a card to simultaneously grow your credit with proper habits while having the opportunity to consolidate outstanding credit card debt, this card could be your safe haven.

Who should skip? If you think there’s any chance you won’t be able to manage your outstanding balance, there are better cards out there.

What is an instant approval credit card?

With an instant approval credit card, you can learn within seconds if your application is accepted. A preliminary credit check is run, and the better your credit score, the more likely you will be granted the card.

Once the lender gets your score and approves your application, you are granted conditional approval, pending a more thorough check of your credit file.

As tempting as an instant approval offer might be, it’s important to shop around. Look at the fees and the features – you don’t want to choose the first card you find.

Does an instant approval credit card guarantee you’ll be approved?

No, but you can increase the likelihood of acceptance by checking your credit score and the score the card requires before applying. Also, you can use a tool like our CardMatch™ tool to assess which cards you could be a good fit for before you apply.

What is the difference between preapproval and prequalify?

Prequalification is when you provide information to a lender and they conduct a soft pull – a credit check that doesn’t affect your score. The advantage is that you have an idea of whether your application will be accepted before you formally apply (even if you are prequalified for a card, this is still not a guarantee that you will be approved when you apply). When you formally apply for a credit card with instant approval, a hard pull is conducted, meaning your score is slightly affected. It’s a necessary process for a formal application.

Elements of prequalification

  • You initiate the application.
  • Your credit isn’t impacted unless you formally apply.
  • This is not a firm offer – the lender may decide not to grant you the line of credit once your application is formally reviewed.

Preapproval means a lender has looked at your data and decided to extend a conditional offer to you. To be accepted, you have to formally apply.

Elements of preapproval

  • The lender initiates preapproval.
  • This doesn’t affect your credit score unless you formally apply.
  • This is a firm offer of credit unless there is a dramatic difference in your credit or if your income can’t be verified.

Pros and cons of instant approval credit cards

Pros

  • Improve your credit. Checking if you’ll be approved won’t hurt your credit score, and once you’ve obtained a card you can take steps to help grow your score. Managing your spending and making proper on-time payments will better your credit thanks to the cards here reporting your habits to the major credit bureaus.
  • Easy access. Some of the cards mentioned here don’t require a credit check to be approved, so you’ll likely have no problem becoming a cardholder no matter your credit score. The low barriers of entry make instant approval options a viable credit-building tool for nearly anyone.
  • Don’t worry about waiting. True to their name, some of the instant approval cards here will give you a good idea of whether you can become a cardholder in a matter of seconds. The fast process can be a breath of fresh air when looking for a convenient way to spend.

Cons

  • Lack of benefits. Instant approval card providers undergo a little extra risk by accepting users with credit scores of all kinds, so they typically have less perks and add-ons than most traditional cards.
  • Low rewards. Being designed for credit-building and people who don’t have many choices when it comes to getting a credit card, the options here don’t feature strong rewards structures. Once you’ve improved your credit with a secured card, student card or one of these choices above, the top rewards cards will be within reach.
  • Heavy fees. Most instant approval cards will come with a monthly charge or annual fee. There may also be cash advance fees, late payment and returned payment fees, foreign transaction fees, inactive account fees and more.

How to choose an instant approval credit card

Who should get an instant approval credit card

  • The credit builder. If you’re committed to the idea of using a credit card and starting your journey to a good credit score, an instant approval credit card is a fast and easy way to get started. The cards here are accessible to people from all financial backgrounds and will help you build your credit score along the way.
  • The credit rebuilder. Someone who’s dealt with bankruptcy, debt or anything else that causes a low credit score could benefit from the ease of access with instant approval cards. If your choice of cards is slim, a card that doesn’t run a credit check and will assist you in building your score could be a good choice.

Who should skip an instant approval credit card

  • The rewards hunter. Shoppers looking for worthwhile rewards, bonuses and limited-time offers will have to look elsewhere. Traditional credit cards with strong rewards often require good credit but will add a little value with every swipe.
  • The travel spender. Someone looking to turn their purchases into hotel stays, flights and other vacation items should explore travel cards. The top choices can get you free checked bags, high rewards rates, exclusive stays and more.
  • The family shopper. Parents who spend a lot at the grocery store, gas station or restaurants should look to other cards that will reward you for your typical purchases. Cash back cards, gas cards and other rewards cards can sometimes be accessible to those with low credit scores.

How to make the most of an instant approval credit card

It’s important to know your score ahead of time and only apply when you have a high likelihood of acceptance. Once you formally apply for a preapproved or prequalified credit card offer, your score is typically impacted by about five points.

After applying, you may receive another offer. Be sure to shred any offers you do not want because these can contain personal information, such as your name and address.

If you find that you are suddenly being inundated with preapproval and prequalified offers and you want them to stop, you do have the right to opt out of receiving them. Call (888) 567-8688 or visit optoutprescreen.com.

In the event that the issuer rejects your application for an instant approval card, they will provide you with a letter explaining the reasons behind the rejection. If you disagree with the decision, you may contest by way of telephoning the issuer’s reconsideration line. Otherwise, think of the rejection as an opportunity to correct any issues on your report that are holding you back from being approved.

What do credit card companies check when they process your application?

Card issuers vary in what they check when you apply for a credit card. In addition to your credit history, they’ll want to confirm basic information such as your name, phone number, date of birth, address, and income, as well as some deeper-level details such as your liquid assets, Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, citizenship status and more.

Who should apply for a credit card?

Want to apply but not sure if you should? A credit card can be a secure and convenient form of payment. It’s also a valuable tool to unlock additional financial freedom and savings opportunities. If you have low credit and are hesitant, growing your credit score with a credit card can be one of the best ways to get established. Let’s take a look at who else should apply for a credit card:

Someone who wants to build credit

When used responsibly, credit cards can help you build credit. Making on-time payments and keeping your credit utilization below 30% will improve your credit score and open the door to better credit opportunities.

Pro Tip: Worried about paying on time? Consider setting up credit card bill autopayments.

Someone who wants to pay down a large expense

If you don’t have an emergency fund and need to pay down a large expense, a 0% intro APR card is a good way to pay without interest.

Pro Tip: Plan ahead and choose a card with rewards that you can use down the road.

Someone interested in transferring a balance from another card

Say you have a sizable balance on an older card that carries a high interest rate. You can transfer that debt to a balance transfer card and pay less interest or avoid it altogether.

Pro Tip: Plan to keep and use the card after the debt is paid off, because the available credit indirectly benefits your credit score.

Someone who wants to earn rewards

With the right rewards card, you can earn cash back, miles or points for your everyday spending.

Pro Tip: Look at the possibility of using multiple rewards cards for your spending.

Someone looking for member perks and travel benefits

Hotel and airline cards offer many travel-specific benefits, including upgrades and conveniences, such as priority boarding and late check-out.

Pro Tip: Map out which airports you tend to use to decide the best cards for your wallet.

Reasons you might be denied

If you are rejected for a credit card, the card issuer must give you the reason why. Other than a credit score that is too low, the reasons can be:

  1. High credit utilization ratio. When you are using most or all of your available credit, that can be a sign that you are living on credit and that the card you are applying for is for furthering that debt.
  2. Thin credit file. If this happens, your best bet is getting a secured card or becoming an authorized user.
  3. Too many hard inquiries. When you have a bunch of requests for credit in a short amount of time, it can appear to lenders that you are desperate for credit.
  4. Bank-specific application requirements. Some issuers, such as Chase, have requirements for how many cards you can get in a certain amount of time.
  5. Too much credit with the same bank. If a bank sees that you have too much credit on multiple cards, you can be denied.
  6. Identity or other details can’t be confirmed. If this occurs, call the bank. Also, if you have a checking or savings account with the bank, you can ask for that information to be used to confirm your information.
  7. Recent negative items on credit reports. Although issues such as late payments and bankruptcies can influence your application, know that the older these negative events, the less important they are.
  8. Income too low. Credit card issuers look at your income to verify that you are able to make timely payments on your debt. If your income is considered low, a credit card cosigner may improve your chances of approval.
  9. Too young to apply. You must be at least 18 to apply for your own card.
  10. Errors on application. If this happens, call the issuer and see if you can correct the situation.

Although there are a number of reasons why you might be rejected, the biggest factor is your credit score. The better your score, the more likely you will be accepted. Here is a look at FICO scores on a scale of 300 to 850 (with 850 as the best) and an estimated likelihood that you’d be approved:

How likely you will be approved for a card…

  • If you are superprime, or with a 720+ FICO score
  •  66%
  • If you are prime, or with a FICO score of 660-719
  •  48%
  • If you are subprime, or with a score under 659
  •  15%

CFPB survey 2021

How we picked the best instant approval credit cards

We evaluated a selection of credit cards for instant approval to identify the top products available. The criteria we considered in our analysis include:

  • Credit-building features: We found cards that would reward your good habits and eventually lead to a better credit score. Regular reporting to credit bureaus and other credit-savvy perks come with several options here.
  • Affordability: In order to get going with instant approval cards, it often requires an initial fee or regular charges. We tried to find the most user-friendly cost structures to help shoppers save.
  • Accessibility: We wanted to be sure to find cards that accepted users of all kinds, so we searched for instant approval cards that were lenient in who they’ll take on as a cardholder.

Other criteria considered: Annual fee, regular APR, promotional APR (if any), ease of application process, rewards rates, ability to improve credit line, tools to track credit score, customer service, security, other features and benefits.

Additional information on instant approval credit cards


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