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Instant decision credit cards

Find a credit card that will let you know if you'll be accepted instantly

Instant decision credit cards let you know straight away if you'll be rejected for them or not

Instant decision credit cards

Find a card that lets you know straight away if you'll be rejected to not
Uswitch.com is rated Excellent | by 23,225 people
Fact checker
Last updated
February 9th, 2024
57 results found, sorted by popularity.

Santander Everyday Long Term Balance Transfer Credit Card

Representative APR (variable)
23.9%APR
Interest on balance transfers
0%for26months with a3%fee (£5 min.)
Interest on purchases
0%for3months
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 23.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 23.9% (variable).
More Information
Additional information
  • 0% for 26 months on balance transfers, 3% balance transfer fee (minimum £5)
  • 0% for 3 months on purchases
Eligibility
  • be a permanent UK resident
  • be 18 or older
  • minimum income of £10,500
  • have a good credit rating
  • must not be an existing Santander balance transfer credit card customer
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply

Barclaycard Platinum Balance Transfer (20/21)

Representative APR (variable)
24.9%APR
Interest on balance transfers
0%for20months with a3.45%fee
Interest on purchases
0%for21months
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 24.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 24.9% (variable).
More Information
Additional information
  • 20 months 0% balance transfer (3.45% transfer fee applies. Terms and conditions apply).
  • Earn up to 15% cashback automatically when you spend at a range of participating retailers with Barclaycard Cashback Rewards. This is a new benefit, available to all Barclaycard Visa credit card customers. T&Cs apply
Eligibility
  • be a permanent UK resident
  • be 21 years or over
  • not have had any Individual Voluntary arrangements, County Court Judgements and must not have been declared bankrupt
  • not already hold a Barclaycard credit card
  • best suited to customers with an income of £20,000
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply

Santander All in One Credit Card

Representative APR (variable)
29.8%APR
Interest on balance transfers
0%for15months with no fee
Interest on purchases
0%for15months
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 23.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 29.8% (variable). £3 monthly fee.
More Information
Additional information
  • 0.5% cashback (up to £10 a month) on all your purchases.
  • £3 monthly fee
  • 0% for 15 months on balance transfers
  • 0% for 15 months on purchases
Eligibility
  • be a permanent UK resident
  • be 18 or older
  • minimum income of £10,500
  • have a good credit rating
  • must not be an existing Santander balance transfer credit card customer
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply

M&S Bank Transfer Plus Credit Card

Representative APR (variable)
24.9%APR
Interest on balance transfers
0%for26months with a3.49%fee (£5 min.)
Interest on purchases
0%for3months
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 24.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 24.9% (variable).
More Information
Additional information
  • 0% on balance transfers for 26 months, available for 90 days from account opening (3.49% fee applies, minimum £5)
  • Collect one point per £1 spent at M&S online and in-store. Collect one point per £5 spent elsewhere and abroad. You will be rewarded in vouchers to spend at M&S
  • 0% on shopping for 3 months
Eligibility
  • have a good credit rating
  • be 18 or older
  • be a permanent UK resident
  • have an annual income/pension of at least £6,800
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply

M&S Bank Purchase Plus Credit Card - Excl

Representative APR (variable)
24.9%APR
Interest on balance transfers
0%for12months with a3.49%fee (£5 min.)
Interest on purchases
0%for20months
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 24.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 24.9% (variable).
More Information
Additional information
  • 0% on balance transfers for 12 months, available for 90 days from account opening (3.49% fee applies, minimum £5)
  • 0% on shopping for 20 months
Eligibility
  • have a good credit rating
  • be 18 or older
  • be a permanent UK resident
  • have an annual income/pension of at least £6,800
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply
Award Winner

Nectar Credit Card

Representative APR (variable)
37.8%APR
Interest on balance transfers
-
Interest on purchases
31%p.a. variable
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 31% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 37.8% (variable).£30 annual fee.
More Information
Additional information
  • 20,000 Nectar points when spending £2,000 within the first 3 months
  • Minimum 3 points per £1 with Nectar partners, 2 points per £1 spent elsewhere
  • First year of card membership has no annual fee, £30 thereafter (Terms apply)
Eligibility
  • be 18 or older
  • have a current UK bank or building society account
  • have a permanent UK home address
  • have no County Court Judgements
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply
Which? Recommended Credit Cards Provider in 2022

Virgin Money Travel Credit Card (27.9%)

Representative APR (variable)
27.9%APR
Interest on balance transfers
0%for9months with a2%fee
Interest on purchases
0%for9months
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 27.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 27.9% (variable).
More Information
Additional information
  • Virgin Money Cashback offers cardholders the ability to earn cashback on their credit card spend at participating retailers when they are enrolled in the programme via the mobile app'.
  • 9 months 0% on balance transfers (2% transfer fee)
  • 9 months 0% on money transfers (4% transfer fee)
  • 9 months 0% on purchases
Eligibility
  • be 18 or older
  • be a UK resident
  • have good credit history
  • no balance transfers from Clydesdale Bank PLC
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply
Which? Recommended Credit Cards Provider in 2022

Virgin Money Travel Credit Card (29.9%)

Representative APR (variable)
29.9%APR
Interest on balance transfers
0%for9months with a2%fee
Interest on purchases
0%for9months
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 29.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 29.9% (variable).
More Information
Additional information
  • Virgin Money Cashback offers cardholders the ability to earn cashback on their credit card spend at participating retailers when they are enrolled in the programme via the mobile app'.
  • 9 months 0% on balance transfers ( 2% transfer fee)
  • 9 months 0% on money transfers ( 4% transfer fee)
  • 9 months 0% on purchases
Eligibility
  • be 18 or older
  • be a UK resident
  • have a good credit history
  • no balance transfers from Clydesdale Bank PLC
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply
Uswitch Limited is a credit broker, not a lender, for consumer credit.
Our services are provided at no cost to you. We may receive a commission from the companies we refer you to, but this does not affect what you will pay for the product you choose.

What are instant credit cards?

A man and a woman are in a shop behind a till looking a computer screen

Instant decision credit cards let you know whether you’re likely to be accepted or not when you enter your details. 

This means you don’t have to wait to see if you have access to credit and if you are declined you may be able to apply for a different product right away.

While most credit cards can be quickly applied for online, in many cases after making an application it can take a card provider a few days to a week to get in touch with the outcome of the application.

An instant approval credit card typically gives you an answer in as little as 60 seconds as to whether or not you’re likely to be successful. 

Many card providers have introduced instant decision technology as a marketing tool to encourage new customers to apply.

UK credit card holders[1]
53 million

How do instant decision credit cards work?

After submitting your application online there are three possible decisions that will be made:

Accepted

If your credit score is good and matches the criteria you’ll be instantly accepted.

Rejected

If your credit score is poor, you’re likely to be instantly declined, but most credit card providers will explain why if you ask.

Referred

If you have been referred, your application was too close to make an automatic judgement on. The provider may request additional information to complete the application process.

How long will it take to receive an instant decision credit card?

Once you’re accepted you will still need to wait for the credit card provider to carry out extra checks to confirm your application and for the card to arrive by post. 

With advancements in technology, credit card providers can issue new cards more quickly than ever before, with cards typically arriving in between 5 and 14 days of the application being approved.

You may need to confirm the application by signing an agreement and posting it back before your card is issued. However, most companies now use electronic signing for online applications.

Sadly, despite many online stores and apps existing that let you pay with your phone, you'll need to wait for your card to physically arrive before you can activate it.

After that, you can start using it more or less instantly.

There are no instant approval virtual credit cards in the UK, although there are some virtual debit cards."

Watch: What should and shouldn't you use your credit card for

Can I get and use credit card instantly?

No. Rules in the UK mean you need to pass several checks before a card is issued to you.

You’ll also need to receive the physical card before you can activate it and use it online or pay using services like Google Pay and Apple Pay.

Even providers that offer instant virtual cards in the USA and operate in Britain, such as American Express, don't offer the service in the UK.

Rules here say to be eligible for a credit card you need to be:

  • 18 or older

  • A UK resident

  • Not legally restricted from obtaining credit 

It’s not possible to check everything and issue the card over the internet alone, so you have to wait for a card to be posted out before it can be activated.

Does getting instant decision matter?

While instant approval credit cards can keep the hassle of applying for a card to a minimum, it shouldn’t be the only criteria you consider before making an application.

Be sure to examine all the features of the card to see if it’s offering the benefits and rewards you want, and that you’ll be paying the best APR if you won’t pay off your credit card in full each month.

Also be wary of making too many formal applications as this can damage your chances of getting credit in the future. 

That's because every formal application is recorded on your credit report for other lenders to see, and having a lot of them in a short space of time can make you look desperate for cash.

If you’ve been rejected, rather than applying again, it could be worth checking your credit report to see why you’ve been declined or asking the credit card company why.

Many credit card providers have online pre-application checks to give you an instant decision. Unlike with your actual credit card application this is a ‘soft-search’ credit check, which won’t be visible on your credit report for other lenders to see. 

It’s not 100% certain that you’ll be accepted for the credit card but you’ll get a good idea.

You can also use an eligibility checker like our card finder tool to see which cards are most likely to accept you before applying.”

See which cards you're most likely to get

Our card finder tool shows you which of our cards are most likely to accept you before you apply
eligibility-animation
1
Answer a few simple questions about yourself
2
We'll show you the cards you're most likely to get
3
Your credit score won't be affected by the search
Trust Pilot stars

What is the easiest card to get approved for?

The easiest cards to get approved for are credit card cards designed for bad credit and credit building credit cards

These are designed for people with lower credit scores or limited credit histories - for example if you've just moved to the UK.

However, they tend to come with lower credit limits and higher interest rates than standard credit cards. 

That means it's always a good idea to use an eligibility tool to see if you'll qualify for a better card than you might think.

The easiest cards to get approved for might not be the best for you."

Instant decision credit card FAQs

Will an instant decision credit card affect my credit rating?

Credit cards with instant approval offer a 'soft search' credit check, which means that it shouldn’t impact your credit score if you're rejected.

Eligibility checkers used ahead of applications also leave no visible footprints on your credit report.

However, if you're accepted and proceed, your application will be recorded and will be visible if a company does a credit check on you.

Also, be aware that too many formal applications can damage your credit rating, so always choose a soft search option or eligibility check if it's available.

If you’ve been rejected, rather than applying again it could be worth looking at your credit report to see why you’ve been declined or asking the credit card provider why. 

Credit scoring is a measure of how creditworthy a lender thinks you are, based on a picture of your current and past financial circumstances.

Am I likely to be eligible for an instant decision credit card?

That depends on your personal financial circumstances and your credit rating. It also depends on how much potential credit you already have, and whether you have made a lot of recent applications for credit.

There are bad credit instant decision credit cards available for people with a less than perfect credit history.

Are instant decision credit cards available for bad credit?

There are instant credit cards available for those with bad credit, though these typically come with higher APRs and lower credit limits. 

The better your credit rating, the better the offers you’ll be able to get on your credit card. So if your credit rating isn’t up to scratch, it’s worth taking steps to improve it – such as paying bills on time and correcting any mistakes on your credit file. 

If you don't think you can clear your balance at the end of each month, a low APR credit card may be more suitable.

What is APR?

APR stands for "annual percentage rate" - it's the interest rate charged on money borrowed on your credit card. 

It reflects the costs you'll pay over the course of a year and includes any standard fees associated with the card. 

In most cases, you can avoid paying interest by paying off your credit card balance in full by the due date of every billing cycle.

Do I have to pay more interest on an instant decision credit card?

There is a range of interest rates available on easy approval credit cards.

Some instant decision credit cards might not offer the most competitive interest rates or APRs (annual percentage rates), but others might offer lower rates.

If you want a credit card and plan to pay off the outstanding balance in full each month, you don’t need to worry too much about the card’s APR.

However, if you think you might not pay off the balance in full, the APR is important. 

The higher the APR, the more you’ll pay in interest, and potentially, the longer it will take you to pay off your credit.

How Uswitch compares credit cards

What does ‘most popular’ and ‘popularity’ mean?

When we use the term ‘most popular or ‘popularity’ on Uswitch in reference to credit cards, these cards are ranked by the number of clicks they have received on the site in the past 30 days.

The most clicked on cards are at the top, with the least at the bottom. This reflects how popular they are with visitors to Uswitch.com. Consequently, this is a good table to look at if you’re interested in seeing which cards most people think are worth getting.

Does Uswitch compare all the credit cards on the market?

We compare over 100 credit cards from all of the major banks and credit card providers.

However, we do not compare all the credit cards that are available in the UK.

This is because some credit card providers have offers that are only available exclusively through their own website or branch, or through other comparison websites - in the same way some credit cards are exclusively available through Uswitch.

There are also many credit cards that are only available to people in member organisations and clubs.

Credit card guides

Find out more about how credit cards work with our in-depth guides
How many credit cards can you have?
How many credit cards can you have?
How to use a credit card
How to use a credit card
What are the differences between credit and debit card?
What are the differences between credit and debit card?

About the author

James Andrews
James has spent the past 20 years writing about and editing personal finance articles and guides in the UK. His driving mission has been to help people make better decisions with their money.

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References