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Instant Approval Credit Cards

Looking for an instant approval credit card? Watch out! Most people will send you directly to an expensive prepaid debit card – which isn’t a credit card at all! Before you apply, read through how to get approved for a credit card, and how to choose one that won’t bankrupt you in the process. Just because you have bad credit doesn’t mean you deserve a bad credit card.

4 steps to rehabbing your credit

First, let’s look at how to improve your credit so that you can qualify for a decent credit card. If your FICO score’s in the dumps, don’t despair: here are four simple steps you can take to get your score back on track.

  1. Pay off your credit card balances. Before you apply for a new credit card, try to pay off as much of your existing balance as you can. Even if you always pay off your bill every month and don’t accrue interest, lenders will look at how much of your credit line you’re using. It’s important to have as small of a balance as possible before you apply.
  2. Make your payments on time. Even if you have a spotty history, recent behavior is weighted more heavily than past behavior, so on-time payments will go a long way towards bringing your FICO score back up.
  3. Look for a secured credit card. These cards are easier to qualify for than regular (unsecured) credit cards, because you post an upfront deposit that guarantees your loan. Nevertheless, the card will still help you raise your credit score and build a good history.
  4. Check your credit report. Sometimes the credit reporting agencies make mistakes, and catching an inaccuracy is a quick and easy way to get your score up. You can get your report free from AnnualCreditReport.com, or check out this blog post for more ways to check your score.

Your options if you have bad credit

If you can’t qualify for a regular credit card, you have a few options:

  • Secured credit cards, which are easier to qualify for because they require an upfront deposit that guarantees the loan. If you can get this card and make timely payments, you can “graduate” to an unsecured card.
  • Co-signers with good credit can put their names on the loan with you, using their established history to guarantee your debt. Contrary to popular belief, you can still build credit on a card with a co-signer.
  • Debit and prepaid debit cards are a way to store your cash, but they don’t help build up your credit score, no matter what you might hear!

In general, we recommend a good secured credit card as an alternative to instant approval credit cards. Our favorite is the Capital One Secured MasterCard, which lets you pay the security deposit over time, up to 80 days. Note that it does come with an annual fee, but the fee’s lower than most other secured cards.

Capital One® Secured MasterCard®
Capital One Secured MasterCard Credit Card
Apply Now

on Capital One's
secure website

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  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • Get free access to your credit score and learn how everyday decisions can affect your score using Capital One® Credit Tracker
  • Your minimum security deposit gets you a $200 credit line
  • You may qualify for a credit line increase based on your payment history and creditworthiness—no additional deposit required
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card—accepted at millions of locations worldwide
thumbsupPros
  • Qualify with limited / bad credit
  • No foreign transaction fee
thumbsdownCons
  • Has annual fee
  • No rewards
  • High APR
Annual Fee Signup Bonus APR , Variable* APR Promotions
$29 You may qualify for a credit line increase based on your payment history and creditworthiness - no additional deposit required 22.9% (Variable) Purchase: None
Transfer: None

Beware! “Instant approval” cards to watch out for

If you search for “instant approval credit cards,” you might come up with sites recommending cards that simply aren’t good, like:

For more resources, check out our tips on bankruptcy scams and advice on how to get a credit card.

  • Carlos Díaz

    I have no credit established and yet still can not get approved for a secured card through capital don’t know what to do.