When applying for a credit card, you generally shouldn't expect to be able to use it immediately upon approval. But if you need the new card for an upcoming large purchase or vacation, it's good to know if there are options to get it more quickly.
NerdWallet asked representatives of several major credit card issuers whether they offer expedited delivery for new cards or for replacements in case a card is lost or stolen.
When to expect your card
American Express: Platinum and Delta-branded cards receive rush delivery (2 to 3 business days), but all other American Express cards require 7 to 10 business days for delivery. American Express usually mitigates the wait, however, by giving you your account number upon approval if you apply online so you can use it for online purchases immediately. American Express will expedite replacement cards upon request. » MORE: NerdWallet's best American Express cards
Bank of America®: Doesn't expedite new cards, but you can request rush delivery on replacement cards. Otherwise, you'll have to wait 7-10 business days. » MORE: NerdWallet's best Bank of America® cards
Barclays: Offers overnight delivery, but you'll have to pay a fee of up to $30. Generally, it'll take 2 to 3 weeks to receive your card. Barclays will expedite your replacement card if there has been fraud on your account; otherwise, you'll have to pay the overnight delivery fee. Replacement cards require 7 to 10 business days for delivery. » MORE: NerdWallet's best Barclays credit cards
“Keep in mind that 'business days' generally excludes weekends and holidays.”
Capital One: Doesn't expedite new cards but offers rush delivery on replacement cards for a $16 fee. Expect your new card within 7 to 10 business days and your replacement card within 4 to 6 business days. » MORE: NerdWallet's best Capital One credit cards
Chase: Will expedite your new card upon request unless extra verification is required; otherwise, you'll receive it in 7 to 10 business days. Chase will expedite replacement cards upon request. » MORE: NerdWallet's best Chase credit cards
Citi: New cards come in 5 to 7 business days with no option for faster delivery. Citi may expedite replacement cards if asked. » MORE: NerdWallet's best Citi credit cards
Discover: New cards are always sent via priority mail (3 to 5 days). Replacement cards are always expedited and arrive within 24 to 48 hours. » MORE: NerdWallet's best Discover credit cards
Give yourself enough time
If you have a large purchase and you need a card that offers an introductory 0% APR, or you have a big trip coming up and you want a card that offers extra travel perks, give yourself enough time to apply for and receive the card before you need it. Also keep in mind that "business days" generally excludes weekends and holidays.
Nerdy tip: If you need to know your card number immediately after approval, try calling the issuer's customer service number.
Finally, the Nerds have seen cases in which new applicants with urgent or unusual circumstances got expedited delivery from issuers that don't generally offer it. So if you're in a jam, it never hurts to ask.