Applying for a credit card is easy, especially when you apply online, but there’s always a process that you don’t see because it works in the background. Here is what happens:
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- You fill out the application and hit the “Submit” button. This is where it’s very important to refrain from clicking the button twice, because the system may decide you’re submitting a duplicate application and deny it automatically.
- The credit card issuer checks your credit with at least one of the national credit bureaus: Transunion, Equifax or Experian. This process can take from a few seconds to a minute or more depending on your internet speed and network conditions.
- After the credit check is complete, you get a decision on the screen.
There are three possible outcomes: You can be instantly approved, instantly denied or you can receive a message that your application needs further review.
How long does it take to get a credit card when you’re instantly approved? If you are approved, the issuer typically delivers the card in 7-10 business days.
Not All Approvals Are Instant
The credit card issuer may need a human, rather than a computer, to review your application and make a decision.
The credit card approval time can be extended by something as trivial as verifying your personal information due to some discrepancies between your application info and your credit file, but it may also mean that the issuer is concerned about its exposure (especially if you already have another credit line with them). If you are in no rush to receive a new card, just let the review run its course.
How to Find out the Status of Your Application
Most credit card issuers provide a special website to check your application status. Just give it a couple of days from the date of your application and check if you have been approved.
If you have been approved, some credit card issuers will expedite the shipment of the card for free, while others will charge a nominal fee. Other issuers won’t expedite for any reason, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
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If your application decision is still pending, you can call the credit card application status phone number (for Discover, it’s 1-800-347-3085) and ask them if there is anything you can do to speed up the review. The analyst will review your application with you and verify whatever information they might need. Discover expedites new credit cards automatically, without your having to ask.