Some credit card companies market their cards as “instant approval credit cards.” The idea is that you can fill out a credit card online application and find out immediately whether you are approved and what your credit limit will be. The card issuers always reserve the right to change the credit limit once they’ve completed their underwriting process, but at least you get an answer right away. Having applied for many credit cards online, I thought most of them gave you a response within about 60 seconds. At least I believed that until I get an email from a friend. Here’s what happened.
A few days ago, a good friend of mine emailed me that he had applied for a balance transfer credit card from this site. By itself this didn’t surprise me. Credit card transfers can be a great way to get cash at zero or near zero percent interest. But it’s what he said next in his email that caught me attention: “I applied for IBERIABANK — it only took 15 minutes, more or less. After I finished the online application, I had to fax a recent pay stub. Fortunately, I have one. :-)” He had to fax a pay stub?!! Having applied online for many credit cards, never once had a card issuer asked me to fax proof of income.
As surprised as I was at the pay stub requirement, his next statement really floored me: “They claim it will take 30 days, which is going to run me close.” 30 days to get a credit card! Well, at this point I had to undertake an investigation, and in the process, learned quite a bit about credit card applications and how card issuers process them.
It turns out that certain credit cards require applicants to fax proof of income. This can be in the form of a pay stub, as in my friend’s case, a W-2 or even a copy of your tax returns. After that, these card companies can take up to 30 days to evaluate your credit history and either approve or decline your application. Of the credit card offers you’ll find on this site, two card issuers fall into this category.
Both offer credit cards with extremely competitive terms. For example, they both offer a 0% APR balance transfer for 6 months with no balance transfer fee. And they both offer extremely low interest rates, at least compared to most other credit cards. The IberiaBank Visa Classic, for example, offers an interest rate on purchases that currently is just 6.25%. As you would expect, these credit cards require excellent credit. So while you can get really good terms with both of these card issuers, the application process is more tedious, and you may have to wait up to 30 days to get a decision.
If you are looking to get a credit card faster, you’ll need to turn to an instant approval card. In my experience, many credit cards will give you a decision instantly when you apply online, but not all card issuers market their credit cards as instant or fast approval. Here’s how it works. After you submit your online credit card application, the card issuer makes an initial determination based on, among other things, your credit score. Typically, a decision is then emailed to you in about 60 seconds. There are situations that arise where even an instant approval card needs to take more time to evaluate an applicant. But most of the time, you get a decision right away.