Credit Cards You Can Use Instantly After Approval

Usually you have to wait for a card to arrive by mail before you can use your account. But in these cases, you can start immediately.
Credit Cards You Can Use Instantly After Approval

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With some credit cards, you don't have to wait for a piece of plastic to arrive in the mail before making your first purchase.

Many major issuers now offer ways to instantly use credit cards. And at least one — American Express — offers access to credit card numbers immediately after approval on all of its consumer credit and charge cards. Cards associated with certain brands — such as , airline cards and hotel cards — also commonly offer instant access to credit.

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The comes with a solid 0% APR offer: . And it starts with a good welcome offer: The annual fee is . Plus, it offers an industry-leading 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in spending per year, 6% cash back on streaming subscriptions, such as Netflix, HBO Now and Audible; 3% on transit and gas at U.S. gas stations; and 1% on all other purchases. Terms apply (see ).

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Eligible cardholders will be able to get an instant card number immediately after being approved online. The number can be used anywhere American Express is accepted where a physical card isn't required. Eligibility for an instant card number is based on AmEx's ability to instantly verify your identity. Instant card numbers are available only on online AmEx applications, not through applications processed by phone.

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The earns 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases, and 1.5 points per $1 spent on everything else. It has a  annual fee, but it comes with up to $200 in travel statement credit rewards, plus this bonus for new cardholders: . If you're a member of the bank's  program, your rewards will get a 25% to 75% boost depending on the balances in your eligible accounts.

You'll need to have at least one existing account with Bank of America®, and open the new card through a targeted promotion in the bank's mobile app in order to qualify for an instant card number. If you meet these qualifications, you can add your new card information to a digital wallet until your physical card arrives. This isn't an option if you apply through the app but don't click on one of the targeted promotions.

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The  offers a high 5% rewards rate on purchases at both Amazon and Whole Foods Market; 2% at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; and 1% everywhere else. Rewards are worth 1 cent each and can be redeemed toward eligible Amazon.com purchases, or for cash back, either as a statement credit or a deposit into an eligible checking or savings account. The card has a , but you must be an Amazon Prime member to qualify.

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Once approved for the card, you'll be able to access the card from your Amazon account and use it to cover purchases there. (You'll have to wait for the physical card to show up to use it on other purchases.)

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Want to book a flight while earning a big sign-up bonus and valuable airline benefits at the same time? The  allows you to do just that. It comes with a large sign-up bonus: . And if you apply for this card before taking a United-operated flight, you could also take advantage of its other benefits during your trip, including two one-time-use passes to United Club lounges, a , and 25% back on in-flight purchases.

You'll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases from United and on restaurant purchases and hotel accommodations purchased directly with the hotel, and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. The card also comes with a credit that covers the application fee for Global Entry or TSA Precheck, which renews every four years and is worth up to $100. The annual fee is .

Once approved, you'll be able to access the card from your MileagePlus account with United Airlines and use it to cover United purchases. (You'll have to wait for the physical card to show up to use it on other purchases.)

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The  issued by Sutton Bank, is a unique credit card/personal loan hybrid product that earns cash-back rewards. The -annual-fee card earns 3% cash back on home, auto and health purchases, and 1% back on everything else. You can either use it as a credit card anywhere Visa is accepted, or you can choose to use it as a personal loan, where funds are sent to your bank account and you pay back the loan over a set period of time at a fixed interest rate.

After you're approved for the card, sign in to your account online and you can access your temporary virtual card. This temporary card number will be different from the card number on your permanent physical card, but you can use it until that physical card arrives in the mail.

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On the surface, the  looks like a straightforward cash-back credit card, but it has some unique options. If you're a SoFi customer, you can redeem your rewards toward investing, cryptocurrency, saving or paying down an eligible loan with SoFi — in which case, you'll earn an effective 2% back. (Other redemption options, like statement credits, redeem at a lower rate.) Another distinctive feature: Once you make 12 on-time payments, the APR decreases by 1%.

Newly approved cardholders can add the card to an eligible digital wallet and begin using it right away without having to wait for the physical card to arrive in the mail.

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Many popular "co-branded" credit cards — whether or cards that are offered in partnership with another kind of business — offer instant credit access. Here are some notable examples:

NerdWallet's survey of issuers found that while many of them offer some form of instant access to credit, American Express has by far the most comprehensive such policy. With AmEx, all consumer cards give you access to an instant card number that you can use almost anywhere, as long as the issuer can instantly verify your identity.

Other issuers either didn't offer instant access to credit or made it available on a more limited basis. The following list is accurate as of June 2021:

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To view rates and fees of the , see .

Information related to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card and the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of these cards.

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