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Instant Approval Credit Cards

Written by: Joey Robinson | Edited by: Tracy Stewart

January 9, 2023

Best Instant Approval Credit Cards:

Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Our rating:4.1 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Recommended credit

(No Credit History) CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Rewards rate

Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.
Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

At A Glance

Intro offer
Cashback Match™ Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
Annual fee
Regular APR
27.24% variable
Self — Credit Builder Account

Recommended credit

(No Credit History) CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Rewards rate

This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points

At A Glance

Intro offer
No current offer
Annual fee
One Time $9 - $15 Account Fee (Varies by Product)
Regular APR
12.03% - 15.98% variable
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All information about the Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card and the UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.

Comparing the best instant approval credit cards

CardOur Favorite FeatureAnnual Fee
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressWelcome offer + no annual fee$0
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit CardNo credit check needed$35
Discover it® Secured Credit CardBuilding credit + no annual fee$0
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressCash back$95 ($0 intro annual fee for the first year)
Self — Credit Builder AccountImproving creditOne-time $9 – $15 account fee (varies by product)
Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit CardHigh credit lines$49
UNITY® Visa Secured Credit CardNo minimum credit score required$39
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature CardOnline shopping$0 (requires Amazon Prime membership)

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: Best for welcome offer + no annual fee

Why we picked it: Households can earn a decent amount of cash back using the Blue Cash Everyday Card: 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year in spending, then 1%), 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year in spending, then 1%), 3% cash back on U.S. online retail purchases (on up to $6,000 per year in spending, then 1%) and 1% cash back on other purchases.

Pros: There’s an enticing welcome offer to earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases within the first six months.

Cons: Compared to the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, the Blue Cash Everyday Card falls a bit short. In the battle of the Amex Blue Cash Everyday vs. Blue Cash Preferred, the Blue Cash Preferred offers higher rewards rates and a bigger welcome offer.

Who should apply? The Blue Cash Everyday Card is a good fit for people who are comfortable earning some rewards on their everyday spending in select bonus categories.

Who should skip? This isn’t the card for people eager to maximize the amount of rewards they can earn on their spending. And if you qualify for the Blue Cash preferred card, it makes more sense to enjoy all the features and benefits of that card for a moderate ongoing $95 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year).

Read our Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express review.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card: Best for no credit check needed

Why we picked it: There’s no credit check with this card, making it a great option for someone looking to get a credit card without a credit history.

Pros: The initial refundable deposit you make to secure the card (starting at $200) will serve as your credit limit, putting you in some control. It also comes with basic Visa benefits, such as $0 fraud liability.

Cons: This card comes with an annual fee of $35 per year.

Who should apply? If your credit is an obstacle to getting approved for a card, this secured option can be a great stepping stone to a card with more features and benefits. The simple approval process and lack of credit check make it extremely accessible.

Who should skip? This card isn’t for anyone who may make late payments, as there is up to a $38 late payment fee.

Read our OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card review.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card: Best for building credit + no annual fee

Why we picked it: The Discover it Secured Credit Card comes with plenty of features for credit builders. Top perks include no annual fee, free credit score and credit monitoring, automatic reviews after seven months, and $0 fraud liability, and no late fee the first time you make a late payment (up to $41 after that).

Pros: This is a secured credit card that also earns rewards: Cardmembers earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1%. All other purchases earn 1%. Plus, at the end of your first year, Discover matches all the rewards you’ve earned.

Cons: The $200 minimum security deposit could be a hurdle for some. And the variable APR of 27.24% means you could rack up high interest charges if you don’t pay your balance in full each month.

Who should apply?  If you need to improve your credit and want to earn rewards while doing it, the Discover it Secured credit card is a great choice.

Who should skip? You’ll need to have a bank account to make your security deposit. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to find a different credit card.

Read our Discover it® Secured Credit Card review.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for cash back

Why we picked it: With consumer prices on the rise, the Blue Cash Preferred Card can help ease the pain we’re feeling with our everyday purchases. Cardmembers earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases, then 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back on transit and at U.S. gas stations, and 1% back on other purchases.

Pros: The amount of cash back rewards you can earn in your first year are truly impressive. There’s also a welcome offer of $250 statement credit when you spend $3,000 within the first six months of account opening.

Cons: The $6,000 spending cap in the U.S. supermarket category averages out to $500 per month in spending, then earnings revert to 1%. Families that exceed that amount will want to switch to another rewards card for their grocery spending. Plus, superstores and warehouse clubs don’t count as supermarkets. So you won’t earn 6% cash back if you shop at stores like Walmart, Target, or Costco.

Who should apply? Anyone who can meet the spend requirement for the welcome offer and who pays their balance in full each month will want to take advantage of the first-year benefits they can reap with this card.

Who should skip? If the spend requirement for the welcome offer is higher than your normal spending or you typically spend more in areas that fall outside the Blue Cash Preferred Card’s bonus categories (like travel and dining), this isn’t the card for you.

Read our Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review.

Self – Credit Builder Account: Best for improving credit

Why we picked it: You’ll know almost instantaneously whether you’re approved and won’t face a hard pull on your credit. And for its best credit-boosting perk, this account will report your habits to all three credit bureaus.

Pros: Through this unique account, Self will set you up with a small loan that’ll be saved in a certificate of deposit (CD) for 12 or 24 months, and at the end of the account term your CD savings will unlock. Similar to a savings account, but with the ability to build credit, you pay a minimum of $25 a month toward the CD. By the end of the account term, healthy habits and on-time payments should make strong contributions to growing your credit score.

Cons: This account doesn’t feature any ways to earn on your spending or bonus rewards. Also, there is a one-time account fee of up to $15.

Who should apply? Anyone looking for easy approval and who wants to focus on establishing a credit score with a set routine are a great match for this account.

Who should skip? Anyone looking for a rewards card should look elsewhere. And if you want an actual credit card you can use, consider the Self – Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa® Credit Card or any other secured card.

Read our Self – Credit Builder Account review.

Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card: Best for high credit lines

Why we picked it: This card features instant approval and a low APR of only 9.99% (fixed). You may also get a credit line as high as $5,000. This not only gives you financial freedom, but can also help improve your credit score by lowering your credit utilization ratio.

Pros: There’s no credit check when applying for this card, making it an easy and accessible process. And thanks to it being a Visa card, it comes with travel accident insurance, extended warranties and a travel and emergency hotline.

Cons: This card restricts you when it comes to getting started; you can’t set up your account with a deposit from an ACH bank transfer (a common practice). You’ll have to use a debit card, check or money order. Also, this card comes with a $49 annual fee.

Who should apply? Credit card newcomers looking for a way to grow their score with a high credit line would benefit from this card. Also, if you know you’re going to be forced to carry an occasional balance, this card’s low APR makes it a great choice.

Who should skip? If you’re looking for an easy card to get started with, this may be difficult due to the limitations around the initial deposit. Also, this is a bad choice for anyone looking for rewards cards.

UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card: Best for no minimum credit score required

Why we picked it: There is no requirement when it comes to credit score and applying for this card. You’ll have to get started with a minimum deposit of $250, but being approved instantly can ease the process.

Pros: This card comes with a six-month balance transfer rate of 9.95% APR, although you’ll need to consider if it’s better to put the refundable deposit toward the amount already owed. This card also reports your monthly habits to the three credit bureaus, an awesome perk for improving your score.

Cons: The UNITY Visa Secured has a relatively high APR for a card of its type (17.99%, fixed) and comes with a $39 annual fee.

Who should apply? If you’re looking for a card to simultaneously grow your credit with proper habits while having the opportunity to consolidate outstanding credit card debt, this card could be your safe haven.

Who should skip? If you think there’s any chance you won’t be able to manage your outstanding balance, there are better cards out there.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card: Best for online shopping

Why we picked it: People who already love Amazon for the fast and free shipping and amazing selection of products will not want to miss out on the benefits of carrying this card. The two biggest perks? An unlimited 5% back at Amazon and an Amazon gift card worth up to $100 that you can begin using immediately upon approval.

Pros: On top of the savings at Amazon.com, cardmembers receive 5% cash back at Whole Foods along with special promotions and discounts to help further take a bite out of the grocery chain’s prices. This card also comes with Visa Signature benefits like auto rental collision damage waiver, roadside assistance, travel/emergency services and concierge services.

Cons: You’ll need to pay for an annual Amazon Prime membership (currently $119). Plus, the 2% cash back on purchases at gas stations, drugstores, and restaurants isn’t impressive. If you spend a lot in those areas, you’ll need to add one or more rewards cards to your wallet to maximize your earnings.

Who should apply? Any fan of Amazon and Whole Foods can benefit from using this card.

Who should skip? If you’re happy doing the bulk of your shopping elsewhere and don’t want to spend money on an Amazon Prime membership, this isn’t the card for you.

Read our Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card review.

What is an instant approval credit card?

With an instant approval credit card, you can learn within seconds if your application is accepted or denied. A preliminary credit check is run, and the better your credit score, the more likely you will be granted the card.

Once approved, some credit cards provide you with instant access to your account, allowing you to make purchases immediately. Other credit cards make you wait until the card arrives in the mail. This can typically take 7 to 10 business days.

Not everyone will get an instant decision. Some people may need to provide additional information and then wait to hear from the credit card issuer. This can happen for numerous reasons, like when you need to verify your income. If that’s the case you may be asked to provide documentation which may include:

  • W-2, Form 1040 or Form 1099 from the most recent tax year
  • Two consecutive pay stubs issued in the last three months
  • Three of your most recent consecutive bank statements

Does an instant approval credit card guarantee you’ll be approved?

No, instant approval doesn’t mean you are guaranteed approval. Once the lender gets your score and approves your application, you are granted conditional approval. But your application could still be denied in the event a more thorough check of your credit file suggests you don’t meet the lender’s terms.

What is the difference between preapproval and prequalify?

Instant approval isn’t the same as preapproval or prequalify.

Prequalification is when you provide information to a lender and they conduct a soft pull – a credit check that doesn’t affect your score. The advantage is that you have an idea of whether your application will be accepted before you formally apply (even if you are prequalified for a card, this is still not a guarantee that you will be approved when you apply). When you formally apply for a credit card with instant approval, a hard pull is conducted, meaning your score is slightly affected. It’s a necessary process for a formal application.

Elements of prequalification

  • You initiate the application.
  • Your credit isn’t impacted unless you formally apply.
  • This is not a firm offer – the lender may decide not to grant you the line of credit once your application is formally reviewed.

Preapproval means a lender has looked at your data and decided to extend a conditional offer to you. To be accepted, you have to formally apply.

Elements of preapproval

  • The lender initiates preapproval.
  • This doesn’t affect your credit score unless you formally apply.
  • This is a firm offer of credit unless there is a dramatic difference in your credit or if your income can’t be verified.

Pros and cons of instant approval credit cards


  • Improve your credit. Some instant approval credit cards are easier to qualify for and can be a great option for people who need to improve their credit score. This includes people new to credit or in need of rebuilding their credit history. Managing your spending and making proper on-time payments will better your credit thanks to the cards here reporting your habits to the major credit bureaus.
  • Cover emergency expenses. Nothing beats an emergency fund to help cover surprise costs. But if you’re unable to build up a rainy-day fund, an instant approval credit card with a low interest rate or an intro 0% APR offer may give you fast access to finances, especially if it’s an instant use card. This can give you peace of mind that you’ll be able to cover an emergency when it arises.


  • Not instant for everyone. Some people will be disappointed to discover their application for an instant approval credit card will take more time. But sometimes, credit issuers can’t confirm an applicant’s identity or finances. When that happens, more information will be requested, and you’ll have to wait for a decision.
  • Delayed use. Instant approval doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use your credit card right away. You may have to wait until your card arrives in the mail before you can begin using it. And that can take a minimum of 7 to 10 business days. Some card issuers like Amex provide an instant credit card number that eligible members can immediately use upon approval to make purchases. But those are instant use credit cards.

How to choose an instant approval credit card

Who should get an instant approval credit card

  • The plan-ahead spender. It’s always a good idea to have a budget and know how you’ll pay off upcoming expenses. From home renovations to vacations, an instant approval credit card with an intro 0% APR or sign-up bonus can help give you some peace of mind.
  • The emergency spender. It’s hard to build up a savings you can use for emergencies. When your water heater goes kaput or your car needs repairs, an instant approval card can take a little stress off your plate by quickly letting you know if you’ll be able to get back on track.
  • The money saver. Balance transfer cards with intro 0% APR offers can save you money by letting you make interest-free payments for a limited period of time. If you have credit card debt, a budget and the right instant approval credit card could be a winning combination.

Who should skip an instant approval credit card

  • The debt holder. Credit cards come with fees that can slowly eat away at your finances. If you’re carrying a lot of debt and don’t have a plan for paying it off, adding an instant approval credit card to your wallet isn’t a good idea.
  • The late payer. Some instant approval credit cards may also come with a penalty APR. Make a late payment, and you could be stuck paying an increased interest rate on your balances for at least six months.
  • The non-saver. Credit cards come with a lot of features and benefits that make them valuable tools for the right user. But don’t be too reliant on other people’s money, especially when you could get stuck paying interest and fees. Make sure you’re setting aside some of your own money and building up your savings.

What do credit card companies check when they process your application?

Card issuers vary in what they check when you apply for a credit card. In addition to your credit history, they’ll want to confirm basic information such as your name, phone number, date of birth, address, and income, as well as some deeper-level details such as your liquid assets, Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, citizenship status and more.

Reasons you might be denied

If you are denied a credit card, the card issuer must give you the reason why. Other than a credit score that is too low, the reasons can be:

  1. High credit utilization ratio. When you are using most or all of your available credit, that can be a sign that you are living on credit and that the card you are applying for is for furthering that debt.
  2. Thin credit file. If this happens, your best bet is getting a secured card or becoming an authorized user.
  3. Too many hard inquiries. When you have a bunch of requests for credit in a short amount of time, it can appear to lenders that you are desperate for credit.
  4. Bank-specific application requirements. Some issuers, such as Chase, have requirements for how many cards you can get in a certain amount of time.
  5. Too much credit with the same bank. If a bank sees that you have too much credit on multiple cards, you can be denied.
  6. Identity or other details can’t be confirmed. If this occurs, call the bank. Also, if you have a checking or savings account with the bank, you can ask for that information to be used to confirm your information.
  7. Recent negative items on credit reports. Although issues such as late payments and bankruptcies can influence your application, know that the older these negative events, the less important they are.
  8. Income too low. Credit card issuers look at your income to verify that you are able to make timely payments on your debt. If your income is considered low, a credit card cosigner may improve your chances of approval.
  9. Too young to apply. You must be at least 18 to apply for your own card.
  10. Errors on application. If this happens, call the issuer and see if you can correct the situation.

Although there are a number of reasons why you might be rejected, the biggest factor is your credit score. The better your score, the more likely you will be accepted.

How to increase your chances of instant approval

Follow these steps to boost your odds of getting approved for an instant approval credit card.

Be able to show income

Lenders need to know that you are able to pay off any debt you take on. So they will factor income into their decision to grant or deny your application. This can come from a number of sources, including:

  • Personal income
  • Income from a spouse
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Retirement fund distributions

And while income isn’t a part of your credit report, if the amount of income you provide on your application doesn’t fall in line with the information that is found in your credit report, it will cause a delay in your application until you can provide additional information.

Work on your credit score

The better your credit score, the better your chances of getting approved for an instant approval credit card. There are a number of ways to check your credit score. Card issuers like Capital One will even provide it for free to cardmembers. Once you have it, take some time to improve your score by continuing to make on-time payments and by not using too much of your available credit.

Check your credit reports

You can get your credit reports for free by going to annualcreditreport.com. This will give you a chance to see what lenders look at. There may even be things that hurt your credit score, including errors that need to be corrected before you apply for an instant use credit card.

Make sure credit reports aren’t locked or frozen

A credit freeze or credit lock can help protect you from identity theft and credit fraud by restricting access to your credit reports. But these tools also prevent lenders from being able to review your reports, which will certainly impact their ability to give you an instant response. If you’ve set up a credit freeze or credit lock on your accounts, you’ll need to contact each credit bureau to make sure they’re lifted.

Apply for the right instant approval card

The right credit card for you starts with your credit score. If your score falls in the fair credit range but you apply for an instant approval credit card that requires excellent credit, your chances of getting approved are slim to none.

When comparing credit cards, make sure you look at cards that fit your credit profile. To make it easier, use CardMatch™, an online tool that helps match you with credit cards you may be eligible for. The tool quickly uses your credit profile to see if there are credit cards you could be approved for – with no impact to your credit score. And depending on your score, CardMatch may also help you find cards with elevated welcome offers.

How to make the most of an instant approval credit card

  • Know your spending habits. When you know how you spend your money, you can find an instant approval credit card that fits your lifestyle. For example, if you spend your days managing a busy household, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers high cash back rewards in two important areas: U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.
  • Take full advantage of the card’s benefits. Make sure you know all the perks that come with your instant approval credit card. Some cards feature benefits like free credit monitoring or exclusive discounts from merchants you shop at. Take some time to go over your card’s features and benefits and don’t miss out on chances to save money.
  • Pay on time. When you don’t make your payments on time, you may get charged a late-payment fee. You may even get stuck with a penalty APR. Plus, it could impact your credit score, not to mention your credit report (late payments stay on your credit report for seven years). So pay at least the minimum payment amount on your bill by the due date.
  • Pay in full. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a low or even average credit card interest rate, interest charges take money out of your pocket and can increase your chances of landing in credit card debt. That’s why it’s always best to pay your balance in full each month and avoid interest charges.
  • Watch your credit utilization. Don’t charge too much on your instant approval credit card. Your credit utilization is the amount of debt you owe compared to your credit limits. Using too much of your available credit can impact your credit score. So try to keep the balance on each of your credit cards below 30% of the card’s total limit and lower if possible.

How we picked the best instant approval credit cards

We evaluated a selection of credit cards for instant approval to identify the top products available. The criteria we considered in our analysis include:

  • Reasonable costs: The costs associated with most credit cards (purchase APR, balance transfer APR, penalty APR, annual fee, foreign transaction fees, etc.) were assessed to see if a card’s offer was competitive.
  • Overall value: Fees (including annual fees and interest charges) were looked at to see if those fees were justified. The cards we considered all have reasonable fees and enough features and benefits to let users recoup any annual fee.
  • Credit-building features: We found cards that would reward your good habits and eventually lead to a better credit score. Regular reporting to credit bureaus and other credit-savvy perks come with several options here.
  • Affordability: In order to get going with instant approval cards, it often requires an initial fee or regular charges. We tried to find the most user-friendly cost structures to help shoppers save.
  • Accessibility: We wanted to be sure to find cards that accepted users of all kinds, so we searched for instant approval cards that were lenient in who they’ll take on as a cardholder.

Other criteria considered: Annual fee, regular APR, promotional APR (if any), ease of application process, rewards rates, ability to improve credit line, tools to track credit score, customer service, security, other features and benefits.

Additional information on instant approval credit cards

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