What are instant credit cards?
Instant decision credit cards let you know whether you have been accepted or not as soon as you have finished your application. 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.
Are they different to standard credit cards?
Whilst 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 within with the outcome of the application.
An instant credit card typically gives you an answer in as little as 60 seconds as to whether or not you’ve been successful. Many card providers have introduced instant decision technology as a marketing tool to encourage new customers to apply.
How do instant decision credit cards work?
After submitting your application online there are three possible decisions that will be made; you will either be declined, referred or accepted.
This will be decided by using a credit referencing agency to give a score. These agencies have information on your borrowing, repayments history and ‘stability’ information (eg whether you’re on the electoral roll and how often you change address). If you are not on a local electoral roll it is a good idea to do so to help build credit history.
Your score will be compared against the credit card’s criteria, if your credit score is good and matches the criteria you’ll be instantly accepted. If your credit score is poor you’re likely instantly declined, but most credit card providers will at least get in touch to explain why your application was declined.
If you have been referred, your application was too close to make an automatic judgement on and is under closer review by the credit card provider. They may request for additional information from you to complete the application process. If you don't receive an instant decision, it doesn't necessarily mean you will be declined - it may just mean the card provider needs some additional information, or approval before making a decision.
How long will it take to receive an instant decision credit card?
Upon being accepted you will still need to wait for confirmation or for the card to arrive by post. With advancements in technology, credit card providers can issue new cards more quickly then ever before.
You may need to confirm the application by signing an agreement and posting it back before you card is issued. However, many companies now use electronic signing for online applications.
Will an instant decision credit card affect my credit rating?
Many instant credit cards offer a 'soft footprint' credit check, which means that it shouldn’t impact your credit score, although it will be recorded and will be visible if a company does a credit check on you.
Also, beware that too many applications as this can damage your credit rating. If you’ve been rejected rather than applying again, it could be worth getting a credit report to see why you’ve been declined. Credit scoring is a measure of how credit worthy a lender thinks you are, based on a picture of your current 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.
Do I have to pay more interest on an instant decision credit card?
Some instant decision credit cards may not offer the most competitive interest rates, which are referred to as APR or AER rates. If you want a credit card and plan to pay off the outstanding balance in full each month, then you do not need to worry too much about the card’s APR.
However, if you think you might not pay off the balance in full, then the APR and interest rate are very important. The higher the APR, the more you will pay in interest, and potentially, the longer it will take you to pay off your credit.
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 its always a good idea to have the best credit rating you can.
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.
Does getting instant decision matter?
Whilst instant decision credit cards can keep the hassle of applying for a card to a minimum, it’s shouldn’t be the only criteria you consider before making an application.
Make sure to examine all the features of the card to see if it’s offering the benefits and rewards you want, and you’ll be paying the best APR.
Also beware that too many applications as this can damage your credit rating. If you’ve been rejected rather than applying again, it could be worth getting a credit report to see why you’ve been declined.
Many credit-card providers have online pre-application checks. Unlike with your actual credit card application this is a ‘soft-footprint’ credit check, which won’t be recorded on your credit history. However, this might not exactly match your credit score, but it should give you a rough idea whether you’ll be accepted or not.
What does 'most popular' mean?
When we use the term ‘most popular’ 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 48 hours.
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 credit 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.
What does it mean if a card is listed as an “advertisement” or “promotion”?
We sometimes receive payment from card providers to display their cards in prominent locations.
These are adverts and are designed to be distinct and separate from the other cards on our comparison tables. We hope this makes it clear which cards are top-of-table deals and which cards are paid for promotions.