Customer inserts their credit card into a card reader at a bakery food cart

Are Instantly Approved Credit Cards the Same as Instant Use Credit Cards?

Last Updated: April 15, 2022
2 min read

Let’s Learn About: Instantly Approved Credit Cards

  1. Being instantly approved for a credit card doesn’t necessarily mean immediate access to your new card.

  2. Virtual credit cards and digital wallets allow you to make purchases without your physical card and may be immediately available depending on your card issuer.

  3. Activating your card is the most important step in using your card quickly.

Once you’ve applied for and been approved for a new credit card, there may be an item you want to buy right away with that card, possibly to take advantage of awards or make a home improvement.

The problem is, you don’t yet have the card in your possession. Unfortunately, you will likely have to wait until you receive your new or replacement credit card in the mail. Once your card does arrive, you can then use your credit card immediately upon activation. But is there any way you can use your new credit card sooner?

Instantly approved credit cards

Some credit card issuers may instantly approve your application for a credit card. In order to improve your chances of instant approval, keep track of your credit, pay your bills on time and limit the number of hard inquiries on your credit report. Even if you meet the income and credit requirements, credit card issuers sometimes may not be able to instantly approve you if it’s necessary to verify your identity.

Do instant approval credit cards offer virtual credit cards or digital wallets?

Virtual credit card numbers and digital wallets are both methods of using your credit card account without presenting the physical card. Some credit card issuers let you use your instantly approved card immediately, while others require that you wait to receive the physical credit card. With Discover, you can apply, get a quick decision, and use your new card in your digital wallet right away, if eligible.1 That means you may be able to start using your new account with a digital wallet before your physical card arrives.. If your credit application is approved and you are eligible to use your account right away, follow the instructions to register your new account.

Replacing a credit card

Where you might be waiting days for a new credit card from some card issuers, current Discover Card members who need to replace a lost, stolen or damaged card can request overnight shipping to any U.S. street address for free.2 Once your card arrives, you can activate your card online or via the phone and then you can use your credit card immediately.

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