How long does it take to get a credit card?

How long does it take to get a credit card?

What we’ll cover:

  • Get a new credit card
  • Time it takes from application to receiving the card
  • Instant approval for credit card
  • Replacing a lost, stolen or damaged card

How long to receive a credit card in the mail? That’s a great question. Sometimes it’s very fast and only takes 3-5 business days. But typically it takes 7-10 business days to get a new credit card after being approved for an account. 

And that’s the caveat: credit card application processing time. That means it can actually take up to 14-24 business days to get a credit card after providing your personal information and submitting an application. 

Though that time frame will be a lot shorter if you’re approved instantly online or if you’re responding to a pre-qualified offer. 

And what if you need a replacement card because your original was lost, stolen or damaged? If that’s the case then it will often take 3-7 business days, depending on the issuer. 

Most credit card companies offer free expedited shipping for replacement cards (some even offer overnight shipping). What’s more, some issuers extend that benefit to new cards. You just have to ask, or check the terms and conditions when you apply. Others charge a fee for faster delivery, approved or otherwise endorsed.

Other than that, applying online for a consumer credit card is the most dependable way to make sure you get your credit card as quickly as possible. Online credit applications ensure the issuer receives your information immediately. This also means you may get approved instantly if you clearly meet your chosen card’s requirements. 

Helpful Tip: You can’t overlook the importance of choosing the right card to apply for, either.

Whether you’re applying for an unsecured or secured credit card, getting rejected and having to go through the process all over again will obviously make it take a lot longer to get a credit card. 

That’s why getting a pre-approved or pre-qualified offer and checking your credit history or latest credit score for free before applying can help make sure you get your credit card delivered as fast as possible.

Credit card delivered by mail

Tips on How to Get a Credit Card Delivered Faster 

There really is no way around the delivery times quoted by credit card companies for issuing new and replacement cards. So if the issuer days 7 to 10 business days, that’s a locked in block of time.

But you can take some key steps to make getting a credit card in the mail fit your own schedule and needs. You can plan for the period in which you may be card-less. Just follow these helpful tips for getting by while your card is on the way. With a little luck and plenty of foresight, you will get your card as fast as possible.

number 1

Tip #1: Request A Credit Card As Soon As Possible 

There’s one thing not even Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity can get around in terms of time travel and delivery speed and that is the quicker you apply for a new card or request a replacement card, the faster it arrives. 

That’s pretty obvious. 

But it’s still important to remember, especially if you’re replacing a credit card. You don’t want to lose a shipping day (or business day) in the process. And putting a credit card request off until later will also increase the burden on your finances while you wait. 

number 2

Tip #2: Ask the Issuer For A Branch Pick-Up: 

Some issuers may let you get a new or replacement card from a branch location. In the case of a replacement card, they may even issue temporary plastic until your new card comes in.

number 3

Tip #3: Withdraw Some Cash If Needed

You should be able to get a cash advance from your credit card account at a branch location if you absolutely need money in the absence of a physical card. Don’t do this on a whim, though, as cash advances as very expensive. We only recommend doing them in emergency situations.

Or if you’re not keen on a cash advance, consider a balance transfer from a different account to your credit card account.

number 4

Tip #4: Don’t Forget Your Tracking Number 

This won’t make your card come any quicker, but knowing where it is while in transit will make planning easier.

surprise at credit card approval

How Long Does it Take to Get Credit Card Approval?

Thus far we’ve gone over the basics of how long it takes to get a credit card delivered in the mail. And we focused on the time frame for replacing lost, stolen or damaged credit cards. But often the time period for getting a credit card is made longer because it is a new credit card. And that involves the time to get approved through the application process.

Many people who are interested in getting a new credit card apply for any of the cards that pop up in their mailbox or their email every day or two. Before applying for that card that caught their eye, many people often wonder, “How long does it take to get a credit card?” 

These days, applying for a new credit card has been made super easy with the advent of technology. They even figure out the best credit limit and interest rates almost instantly after you apply. 

Card issuers push out offers and bring people to websites and URLs so that potential cardholders can easily fill out an online form. The tried and true methods of making a phone call or replying via mail in a paper application are also available. 

By filling out an online application for a credit card approval comes in a matter of minutes. Many card issuers like Continental Finance, Discover and American Express have instant approval credit card offers.

But sometimes there’s a hold up or an obstacle that can increase the amount of time it takes to get approved. This slows down the process and approval for a new credit card can take a couple of weeks. This type of delay often happens if there is an error or a typo in the application. 

One of the most common mistakes that adds time to an online application is when a person fills out the form using a name other than what’s found on their government issued ID. A great example is if your driver’s license says your name is “Elizabeth” but you fill out the online application with “Beth.”

credit card application online

What Card Issuers Consider When Approving An Application  

What different factors do credit card companies like Continental Finance and Capital One consider when reviewing new credit card applications? A short list looks like this:

  • Your credit score
  • Your credit utilization ratio
  • Your credit history

Credit Score: Getting fast approval for a new credit card is one of the primary reasons why having a good credit score is important. Credit card issuers care a great deal about your credit score. They review your application and your details are run through at least one of the major national credit reporting bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) to check an applicant’s credit scores.

The benchmark is the higher your score the faster your application is approved.

Credit Utilization: The next key characteristics to help ensure you get approved quickly for a new credit card is your Credit Utilization Ratio. This ratio is how much credit you use relative to your available credit line. This ratio is approximately 30% of your credit score and people need to pay close attention to how their purchases can affect the ratio. 

Maxing out some of the credit cards you own or putting yourself at your credit limit can send a signal to credit card issuers that you are a risky borrower when you apply for a new credit card.

Credit History: Beyond just your current credit score, credit card issuers take your credit history into account when reviewing a new credit card application. The issuer checks to see if applicants have any delinquent accounts or any hard pulls/hard inquiries on their credit reports. 

Delinquencies due to a history of late payments or one too many applications in too short a time are a flag to credit issuers. If you want fast approval you need to make sure you take steps to avoid credit card debt and rack up delinquencies on your credit history.

If you have some of these characteristics on your credit report you may want to take some time to build credit and improve your credit score.

final word on credit card delivery

Final Word on How Long to Get a Credit Card

There are so many types of credit cards being offered online and through the mail these days. And with the rise of big data, it’s gotten to a point that when you apply for a credit card online, the approval is almost instantaneous. That means the time it takes to get a credit card comes down to: the time it takes to process the approval + the time it takes to create the plastic + the time it takes to get to you through the mail. 

About 7 to 10 business days is the standard.

As a financial industry secrets student, credit cards are one of the most often asked about topics. People seek tips on everything from secured cards and their terms to how advertiser disclosures affect their credit score. Keep following the Continental Finance Blog for more helpful information.

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Continental Finance is one of America’s leading marketers and servicers of credit cards for people with less-than-perfect credit. Learn more by visiting

Author: Greg Knotts

Greg Knotts is the VP of Marketing, CDMP, at Continental Finance Company, LLC in Wilmington, DE. A persuasive and results driven leader, Greg has more than 20 years experience in marketing, operations, relationship management, sales and business development in the credit card industry. He spearheads the Continental Finance Blog and leads the company mission to help cardholders everywhere rebuild and restore their credit through the variety of educational resources, articles and graphics the blog provides each week.