The Best Instant-Approval Credit Cards

Sometimes, you might need an approval for a credit card quickly. You might be poised to make a purchase or you might find yourself in an emergency that requires instant credit. The good news is that there are many credit card companies that will extend credit immediately. These are called instant-approval credit cards.

We looked at dozens of instant-approval credit cards in an effort to find the best ones for our readers to consider applying for. We looked at what type of credit they require for approval, their annual fees and rewards programs, and how users felt about them.

Top Pick
Discover it® Cash Back

This instant-approval card has it all, from rewards to no annual fee

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Our top pick for instant-approval credit cards is the Discover it® Cash Back. This is a card that is fairly selective; you have to have good credit to qualify in most cases. It offers cash back rewards, has no annual fee, and includes a variety of anti-fraud measures.

The 5 Top-Rated Instant-Approval Credit Cards

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallDiscover it® Cash Back 4.8
Runner UpCiti / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite™ Mastercard®
4.8
Best for Fair CreditCapital One QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards4.6
Best With RewardsCapital One Venture® Rewards4.2
Best With No Annual FeeChase Freedom Unlimited® 4.2

*Ratings were from CreditCards.com at the time of publication and might change.

Our Top Pick: Discover it® Cash Back

The Discover it® Cash Back made our top spot for a variety of reasons. It has a lot of perks that any cardholder will appreciate, most notably its cash back benefits. Not only do you get 5 percent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants (with an additional 1 percent back from other purchases), but all cash back is matched at the end of your first year. You don’t even have to sign up for the matching cash back; it’s all automatic! The cash back never expires, either, so you don’t have to be in a hurry to redeem it.

Other benefits you’ll enjoy if you apply for this card and get instant approval include no overlimit fee and no late fee the first time you make a late payment. In addition, there are lots of security alerts to help you stay on top of your private information; for example, if your social security number shows up on any sites in the Dark Web, you’ll be alerted right away. There is no annual fee and you’ll enjoy a 0 percent APR for 14 months.

Discover it® Cash Back Key Features:

  • No annual fee
  • Great cash-back benefits
  • No overlimit fee
  • Introductory 0 percent APR
  • Security alerts

Our Runner-up Pick: Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite™ Mastercard®

Runner Up
Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite™ Mastercard®

Earn rewards and enjoy one year of no annual fee.

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The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite™ Mastercard® made our runner-up spot. It is an excellent pick for anyone who enjoys traveling, thanks to many travel-related benefits. First, you’ll earn miles for American Airlines and travel rewards you can use other places. There are no foreign transaction fees and you’ll get preferred boarding on domestic flights as well as the first checked bag free on American Airlines flights.

As far as non-travel-related benefits, you’ll get no annual fee the first year (thereafter it is $99/year). There are also fraud protections and services to help you keep your peace of mind no matter where you may roam.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite™ Mastercard® Key Features:

  • Earn bonus miles for American Airlines
  • Various travel-related perks
  • No annual fee for one year
  • $99/year annual fee after one year
  • Fraud protection

Our Top Pick for Fair Credit: Capital One QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards

Fair Credit
Capital One QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards

You’ll get a cash-back bonus after using this card for fair credit.

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If you have fair credit, consider applying for the Capital One QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards card, which made our top spot for instant-approval cards for fair credit. When you spend $500 within the first three months of having the card, you’ll get an additional $150 cash back. That is on top of the 1.5 percent cash back you will receive all the time. Perks like this are not always common among instant-approval cards for those with fair credit.

For the first 15 months, you can enjoy no interest on both purchases and transfers. There are no foreign service fees, either, making it an ideal card to take on your international travel. Travel accident insurance, extended warranties on certain products, free concierge service, and 24-hour travel assistance services are some of the additional benefits that you will get if you are approved for this card.

Capital One QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Key Features:

  • Cash back bonuses
  • Cash back never expires
  • No interest for 15 monhts
  • Good benefits for travelers
  • Extended warranties on products

Our Top Pick With Rewards: Capital One Venture® Rewards

Top Rewards
Capital One Venture® Rewards

A great card for travelers and those who want to earn mileage rewards.

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Capital One Venture® Rewards made our top spot for instant-approval cards that offer rewards. For every dollar you spend, you’ll earn two miles. In addition, you’ll get 10 times more miles when you stay in certain hotels and new members earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 during the first three months you have the card. If you are a globetrotter, this is a card worth considering.

There is no annual fee the first year, but after that, the fee is $95. If you want to get a card with no annual fee at all, this card has an option to apply for the Venture One, which has no annual fee but you earn 1.25 miles per dollar spent. So do the math and figure out which deal is better for you! Other travel-related perks include no foreign transaction fees and a credit toward purchasing Global Entry or TSA Pre Check.

Capital One Venture® Rewards Key Features:

  • Earn miles as rewards
  • 50,000 mile bonus for new members
  • No annual fee the first year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Credit toward airport security conveniences

Our Top Pick With No Annual Fee: Chase Freedom Unlimited®

No Annual Fee
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Enjoy great perks like no annual fee and no interest for 15 months.

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The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card made our no-annual-fee pick. This is another instant-approval credit card for someone with good to excellent credit. The card comes with no annual fee and you won’t pay any interest for the first 15 months after you activate the card. In addition, you can earn up to $600 cash back when you spend $20,000 in the first year. These cash back rewards never expire and you can use them for gift cards, for travel, on Amazon.com, and more.

This card offers built-in security and protection benefits, too, so you will have peace of mind when you are a cardholder. For example, there is no liability in the case of unauthorized charges. You’ll get purchase protection on the items that you buy and various types of fraud protections and alerts.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Key Features:

  • No annual fee
  • 15 month introductory 0 percent APR
  • Earn cash back
  • Security benefits
  • Fraud protection

Who Should Apply for an Instant-Approval Credit Card

If you need immediate credit, then applying for an instant-approval credit card makes sense. There is one thing to remember, though: Not everyone who applies and qualifies for credit will receive a decision instantly. While most people will, if your credit score is close to the threshold for qualification or you have some other extenuating circumstances in your credit file, it might require a manual review. In this case, you will generally receive a response within 30 days by mail.

Top Pick
Discover it® Cash Back

This instant-approval card has it all, from rewards to no annual fee.

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Important Features to Consider

Every credit card has certain features that can make them attractive to people who are looking for those specific characteristics. Here are a few to keep in mind while you are deciding which one(s) to apply for:

  • Interest rate. This often depends on your credit score, but sometimes there is an introductory offer of 0% interest when making purchases and/or when transferring a balance. Be sure to read the fine print to find out when an introductory rate expires and what the new rate will be if this is the case.
  • Fees. Many cards have an annual fee, and some cards have a monthly fee. Look into this before signing up.
  • Secured vs. non-secured. A secured credit card is one where you put funds into it. It is generally used for improving a credit score or as a stepping-stone toward a non-secured card if you have no credit. Choose the type of card that works for you.
  • Rewards. Some cards offer rewards for using them. For example, you might be awarded airline miles or even cash back if you use the card to charge a certain amount of money within a specific timeframe.
  • Where you can use the card. Most credit cards can be used just about anywhere, but some can only be used in one particular store or for a specific purpose. Be sure you know where you can use the card before you apply.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an instant approval credit card and how does it work?

An instant-approval credit card is one that gives you an answer immediately whether you qualify for the account in most cases. In some cases, manual approval will be required. In that case, you will be told that an immediate decision isn’t possible and that you will receive a final answer within a specified period of time.

Can anyone qualify for an instant approval credit card?

Some cards will allow anyone to sign up; this is most common with secured cards. Other cards have strict limits as to who will qualify for instant approval and also who will qualify for any type of account. If you have poor credit or no credit, look for a card that accepts those in your situation.

Can I use a credit card immediately after approval?

It depends. In some cases, you can use the card immediately because you receive the card number right away. Other times, though, you will simply receive an answer immediately and will get the number within a specified period of time.

Do instant approval credit cards have low credit limits?

Many instant-approval credit cards start off with low limits. Those limits might rise over time if you make your payments as indicated. If you have good credit, however, you might not start off with a low limit.

Other Instant-Approval Credit Cards We Reviewed

Top Pick
Discover it® Cash Back

This instant-approval card has it all, from rewards to no annual fee.

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In addition to the five that made our top spots, we also evaluated 20 other instant-approval credit cards. Some are perfect for those with no credit or low credit, and others can be used only at one particular store. Still others offer rewards and other perks. The information you’ll need to compare them is included with each listing.

Instant-Approval Cards for Those With Good Credit

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature

Earn up to 3 miles for every $1 spent to be used on Alaska Airlines. You also get free checked bags for yourself and up to six guests as well as no blackout dates and over 900 destinations.

Key Features:

  • $75 annual fee
  • 40,000 bonus mile offer
  • Companion fare each year

Blispay

Blispay

Blispay is a type of Visa that offers six-month financing on purchases over $199. You also earn 2 percent cash back with no restrictions.

Key Features:

  • Interest-free financing for 6 months on large purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Cash back is automatic statement credit

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

This card is for those with excellent credit. There is no annual fee and you earn 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, making it a great choice for those who want travel rewards without an annual fee.

Key Features:

  • Unlimited rewards
  • No annual fee
  • 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in 90 days

CareCredit®

CareCredit®

This is a card that is used only for health care services. If you have a large deductible or you need to pay for dental, vision, or veterinary care, this might be the card for you. Various promotions are available.

Key Features:

  • Different promotions depending on your needs
  • Finance expenses for up to 60 months
  • Over 200,000 enrolled providers

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Earn points that can be credited toward a variety of rewards; get 25 percent more when you redeem them on travel-related expenses. You can also earn up to 75,000 bonus points per year.

Key Features:

  • $95 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 24/7 access

Instant-Approval Cards for Those With Poor to Fair Credit

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Rebuild your credit with this secured Mastercard. There is no annual fee and you can put down as little as $49 as a deposit to get a credit line of $200.

Key Features:

  • Access a higher credit line after 5 months
  • Choose your payment date
  • No annual fee

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

This instant-approval card for rebuilding credit offers 1 percent cash back on eligible purchases. The rewards are added to your account each month.

Key Features:

  • Get access to your credit report
  • Zero fraud liability
  • Choose your card color and payment due date

Indigo® Mastercard® for Less than Perfect Credit

Indigo® Mastercard® for Less than Perfect Credit

If you have less than perfect credit and you would like an answer in 60 seconds or less, consider applying for this card. You can do it all through their website, from applying to posting payments.

Key Features:

  • Accepted worldwide
  • Choose your card design
  • 24/7 access

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

With this card, there is no credit check: You choose your credit limit and make a refundable, one-time deposit. The card will report your payments to the three major credit bureaus monthly to help you rebuild your credit score.

Key Features:

  • Initial deposit is refundable
  • No hard query on your credit report
  • You choose your credit line up to $3,000

Surge Mastercard® Credit Card

Surge Mastercard® Credit Card

A good option for those with poor credit, this card starts off with a $500 limit. As you make your payments on time, your credit will improve. Secured cards are also an option for those with fair or poor credit.

Key Features:

  • Use it anywhere Mastercard is accepted
  • Reports to credit bureaus monthly
  • Quick and simple application

Total VISA® Credit Card

Total VISA® Credit Card

After filling out this short and simple application, you’ll get your result in seconds. This card accepts those who are rebuilding their credit and they report to the three credit bureaus every month to help you boost your score.

Key Features:

  • Fast application
  • Checking account required
  • Manageable monthly payments

Instant-Approval Cards for Students or Those With No Credit

Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard®

Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard®

This is a credit card that allows a parent or a student to add funds to the account from another bank or a direct deposit. It is perfect for students who are learning how to use credit.

Key Features:

  • Cash back rewards
  • Cushion available
  • Costs $5 to $10/month

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Discover it® Student Cash Back

This is a credit card with rewards that is designed for students. Good grades merit a $20 monthly statement credit and there is no annual fee.

Key Features:

  • Up to 5 percent rewards
  • Cashback matching
  • No annual fee

Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card

Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card

This is a secured credit card designed for individuals who have not built up any credit yet. You put down a deposit that funds the card, then pay monthly to raise your credit score.

Key Features:

  • You control the spending limit
  • No credit check
  • Build credit over time

Pink Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card

Pink Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card

Many students enjoy having a reloadable prepaid credit card, and their parents often appreciate the peace of mind that it can provide. This one has no activation fees or minimum balances.

Key Features:

  • No credit check
  • Rewards program
  • Direct deposit

UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card

UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card

This card helps students and others with no credit (or poor credit) raise their credit scores. It includes a credit rebuilding program that is great for teaching students how to be responsible with money.

Key Features:

  • Includes a financial education center
  • Easy application process
  • Make payments easily online

Instant-Approval Store Credit Cards

Amazon.com Store Card

Amazon.com Store Card

Those who love to shop at Amazon can get instant credit with the company’s store card. There is no annual fee and you can finance a purchase for up to 24 months.

Key Features:

  • No annual fee
  • Earn up to 5 percent back
  • Zero fraud liability

Fingerhut Credit Account

Fingerhut Credit Account

Purchase items on Fingerhut with low monthly payments to build credit history while enjoying the convenience of shopping online. This company offers top-rated customer service.

Key Features:

  • Instant decision
  • Low monthly payments
  • Good for those with no credit history

Pier 1 Credit Card

Pier 1 Credit Card

If you love Pier 1, you can use this card to get 20 percent off your first purchase after opening an account. You’ll earn 1 point/dollar spent, which you can exchange for gift certificates.

Key Features:

  • Special birthday discounts
  • Option to upgrade to Platinum status
  • 20% off first purchase

Walmart Card

Walmart Card

On the day you open your Walmart credit card, you get $25 back as a credit statement when you spend $75. Save money on various services and products that you get at Walmart just by using your card.

Key Features:

  • No annual fee
  • Access your FICO score
  • No fraud liability

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