Many credit cards are advertised as being ‘instant decision credit cards’ – find out what this really means and more
Getting an instant decision on your credit card application sounds great in theory – no waiting around for follow-up letters or calls to find out if you’ve been accepted or not.
However, the term ‘instant decision credit card’ can be somewhat misleading. While some applicants may get a decision inside a minute or so, many people won’t.
When you might get an instant decision
For example, you could receive an instant decision on your credit card application if you have say, a poorer credit rating than average, or if your credit profile exactly matches the profile of a particular card. This is because it’s fairly simple for pre-application or ‘soft credit check’ tools to examine basic details and make a decision.
However, it’s often very difficult for credit card providers to make a judgement about whether or not to approve a card on the back of a quick 60-second check, meaning your application may need to be referred for further checks before you get a decision.
Essentially, when a credit card provider lends money it’s taking a risk that you may not pay it back. Credit scoring helps providers work out the level of risk for each person who applies by checking previous credit information and using it to decide how much can be lent and at what rate.
Instant decision credit cards and ‘soft footprints’
Many big credit card providers now offer pre-application check services on their websites to help provide a quick decision on your credit card application.
These tools perform what’s called a ‘soft footprint’ check on your credit file to give you an idea of whether you’ll be accepted before going ahead with a full application. While not the same as being firmly accepted, these checks won’t affect your credit report.
If you’re unable to find the right credit card, pre-paid cards can be a great alternative as they offer the convenience of a credit card without the risk of falling into debt. And because there’s no credit checks, pre-paid card are truly ‘instant decision’, with less chance of being rejected.