What are instant decision credit cards?
An instant decision credit card lets you know whether you have been accepted or not as soon as you have finished your application, so you don’t have to wait to see if you have access to credit.
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 decision credit card typically gives you an answer in as little as 60 seconds as to whether or not you’ve been successful.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Are instant decision credit cards only for those with good credit?
There are instant decision 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.
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.
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.