Best Instant Decision Credit Cards

Read on to find out more.

Updated: June 8, 2023

If you're in the market for a new credit card or simply just looking to build on your current credit score, you've likely come across the term “instant decision credit card”.

Generally speaking, these types of credit cards have become fairly popular in recent years due to how quickly you can be done with the approval process and instantly get started using the card.

But what exactly are instant decision credit cards, and how do they work?

Throughout the course of this article, we'll be going over all the features of instant approval credit cards that you need to know about. This includes things like their benefits, drawbacks, and how you can look at your own financial situation to pick the best one for your needs!

So, let's get started and see what all the hype is about.

What Are Instant Decision Credit Cards?

In today's fast-paced world, we want everything to be quick and convenient, and that extends to credit card applications too, which is where instant decision credit cards come in. Put simply, these are basically just like normal credit cards but with much faster approval times.

They're specifically designed to provide quick responses to your application when you're trying to sign up for a new credit card, typically giving you a verdict in a matter of minutes.

So, if you're feeling pretty disillusioned with traditional credit card providers, it might be worth seeing how an instant approval credit card can transform things.

How Do Instant Decision Credit Cards Differ From Traditional Credit Cards?

As mentioned, there's a pretty significant difference in the process you'd typically expect with your average credit card application in comparison to an instant credit card.

We all know how frustrating it can be sitting around, waiting to hear back from someone. Instant messaging services and phone calls have made us impatient when it comes to getting a reply, and a credit card application is no different.

In fact, the frustration of waiting around actually feels even more amplified when it's for a credit card. We may need to be making quick transactions or be in a rush to take out a loan, but traditional credit card providers can take days or even weeks to get back to you.

Normally, this waiting process is actually for good reason – they're not just trying to make things awkward for their customers. When you're applying for a credit card, the lender always has to take a few factors in consideration first, like your credit scoring, current income, and any other personal details that could influence their decision.

The lender usually takes all this into account so they can work your credit limit, which is the total amount of cash you are able to borrow from them.

Naturally, this is something you'd really want to think about if you were a bank manager about to give a loan out – “How do I know this person is trustworthy enough to pay back any borrowed funds in a timely manner?”

That's not to say it'd be impossible to receive a loan if you had a relatively bad credit report in comparison to some people, it just means you might only receive low credit limits so the lenders' potential losses are mitigated if there's any foul play on the borrowers' behalf.

Finally, once they've taken a look at your credit history and track record of making fast payments, then the banks will let you know if your application has been approved or if it hasn't.

On the other hand, instant approval credit cards completely bypass the human review process that you'd find with a normal credit card provider. These cards often utilise a range of automated tools and algorithms to assess your creditworthiness within seconds, providing them with an answer to whether you've been approved or not instantly.

How Does The Application Process Work For Instant Decision Credit Cards?

As you may have realised by this point, the application process for these cards is incredibly straightforward. Not only can you get a response almost instantly, but you can easily apply for an instant credit card by visiting your local bank or credit union.

Better yet, if you don't feel like doing it in-person, there's the option of filling in an online form with all the relevant information too.

This typically involves having to provide your social security number, address, name, and any other basic personal information that can prove your identity.

After you've submitted your application, the automated system they use will piece all the information together to deduce your creditworthiness. If you're ultimately approved by the algorithm, you'll get a response back in mere minutes.

This is how it works for the vast majority of the applications, but there's still occasions where you'd have to provide a bit of additional documentation or information to get the process over the line.

How Instant Decision Credit Cards Work

So, how exactly does the algorithm know whether or not you're worthy or receiving a credit card? Is it okay to have my financial health in the hands of a machine learning robot? Well, actually, yes it is.

Credit card companies have invested in these automated systems heavily, and they use all the same metrics to determine creditworthiness as the human in your local bureau would.

Let's take a closer look at what exactly the AI is taking into consideration when evaluating your application:

Credit Score

Generally speaking, this is the big one as far as credit card companies are concerned. There's plenty of options out there if you don't currently have the best credit score, but it does mean you might have to jump through more hoops in order to secure a particular credit card.

It also means you probably can't utilise the account opening speed that those with high credit scores can.

As a general rule of thumb, the more substantial that your credit score is, the more likely you're going to be approved by the card. Banks like high credit scores as you're not as much of a liability to them, so they put in more of an effort to accommodate you.

The algorithms will run a quick credit check from all the major credit card bureaus in the country to get an overall sense of your creditworthiness. As mentioned, this is exactly what traditional credit card providers do, but just at a slower speed because it's not an automated process.

Payment History

In addition to your credit file, the algorithms will also consider your payment history. This means analysing whether you've made previous payments on time, checking if you've actually missed any payments, or worse, defaulted on any past loans. This helps the credit card company know how reliable you're going to be when it's time to pay back any debts.

Once again, this is what any online credit card applications look like, so there's nothing concerning about it being handled by a robot.


Naturally, this is something that needs to be taken into account when you're applying for any credit card, not just instant credit cards. Think, why would the bank give you any size of credit limit without first knowing whether you've actually got the means of paying it back?

Past reliability is one thing, but it's vital for them to know where your money's coming from to give the banks peace of mind. This not only includes your current income from whatever job you might have, but also any additional sources of income you've got coming in.

Employment History

They also like to take a look at the past locations you've had a job at. It doesn't necessarily matter what the job role is specifically, but it's more to get an overall feel of your financial stability.

When looking at this, the algorithm will check to see the time duration of each job you've had, as well as whether you've got a history of job-hopping.

Obviously, the credit card providers want to keep you banking with them for as long as possible (if you're approved), so it's in their interest to know if you might consider jumping ship to a different credit card, as you might for a job.

Other Factors

Aside from the factors we've just mentioned, there's a few additional bits that get taken into account as well. This includes your current debt-to-income ratio, how long you actually have a credit history, and various other potentially negative items that contribute towards your credit rating.

All of the aforementioned factors analysed with the powerful machine learning algorithms that banks have invested so much in. These automated tools save the banks a lot of time and money, and can actually find patterns and trends throughout your data that might not be obvious at first glance.

They're always being updated and given little tweaks to improve their accuracy and ensure the credit card company stays making sound lending decisions. This means you don't need to worry that there might be some glaring technical error in the AI that prevents you from getting a physical card.

Fees Associated With Instant Decision Credit Cards

It's true that your credit card application process will be nothing short of rapid, but that doesn't take away from any of the fees you'll get from using these cards.

This includes anything from your general annual fees, balance transfer fees, costs for making foreign transactions, cash advance fees, and any fees you'd have to pay if you're late on making debt repayments.

An annual fee is nothing unusual in the world of credit cards, and is basically just a yearly charge for the privilege of using their credit card in the first place. Balance transfers, on the other hand, aren't something you'll always be charged for, just when you're deciding to switch balances from one credit card to another.

Moving on, foreign transaction fees are exactly what they sound like – fees for using your credit card to make purchases outside of your home country. This goes for most credit cards, so there's nothing unique about this in the case of instant approval credit cards.

Cash advance fees are charged automatically whenever you take out money from an ATM using your credit card, and this is normally charged at a rate of 3-5% of the total amount you’re withdrawing. Lastly, ending on a simpler note, late payment fees are just charges that get inflicted when you've not made your minimum payment on time.

Interest Rates

Unfortunately, the potential fees and charges don't stop there – there's interest rates to be considered too. This can generally vary depending on your credit history and whoever's issuing your card, but the interest rates do seem to be slightly higher with instant approval credit cards compared to more traditional options.

This is often because instant decision credit cards are made for people with less than perfect credit scores, so their higher rates of interest reflect the higher risk of default.

It goes without saying that having an understanding of these interest rates are vital, as they have significant implications on the amount of money you owe the bank.

When you're carrying a balance on your credit card, you're going to be charged interest on it every single month until you eventually pay it off, which obviously isn't ideal.

This monthly interest charge can stack up incredibly quickly, especially when you consider any of the unexpected financial pitfalls you might face in the meantime. If you're not careful, you may actually end up paying more in interest than you'd originally borrowed in the first place, so it's crucial to keep on top of this.

Pros & Cons Of Instant Decision Credit Cards

While there's certainly an understandable level of appeal to these types of credit cards, they do still come with a few cons. To help you make a more informed decision, we'll be exploring both sides of the equation in this next section of the article.


Fast Approval ✔️

It's no surprise that the first pro on the list is the fast approval rate. As mentioned earlier, traditional credit cards can take days, if not weeks, to respond to your application process, and even then there's still no guarantee that you'll actually get approved.

On the other hand, you'll get an answer within minutes, sometimes even seconds, when you make use of instant decision credit cards.

Convenience ✔️

Although the option is there if you'd prefer speaking to a member of staff in person at a bank, the beauty of these cards lies in their convenience. There's an incredibly streamlined application process when you're applying online, so you can sign up from the comfort of your own home rather than having to wait in long lines.

This is especially convenient for those with busy schedules who can't take the time off to visit a branch in person. Remember, they're called “Instant decision credit cards”, not “wait around in the bank for an hour to get a decision credit card”.

Ability To Build Credit ✔️

If you're just starting out with credit or you're looking to improve your credit score, an instant decision credit card can be a good option. Many of these cards are designed for people with fair or poor credit and can help you build a positive credit history.

Rewards Programs ✔️

Some of these cards offer various different rewards programs that let you earn points or cash back on your purchases. This can be a great way to save money or earn rewards on the things you would normally be buying anyway.


Higher Fees & Interest Rates ❌️

We've touched on this earlier, but it's worth reiterating that you'll normally expect to find higher fees and interest rates on these kinds of cards than any other traditional credit card. Because they're made for people that may have slightly worse credit ratings than other people, the banks have to have some way of offsetting the risk involved.

For them, a good way of doing this is simply to charge higher interest rates to any potential borrowers.

Lower Credit Limits ❌️

In addition, instant approval credit cards tend to have fairly low credit limits in comparison to other kinds of credit cards. Similarly to the high interest rates, this is because the banks are not willing to give out more substantial loans to people who may not be the most reliable at paying it back on time.

Naturally, this can be pretty frustrating if you're trying to use your card to make a large purchase, but think of it as a natural deterrent to stop you from overspending and increasing your balance.

Potential Scams ❌️

Like most kinds of credit cards, there's still plenty of bad actors out there that try to take advantage of the average person with limited credit card knowledge.

Unfortunately though, it's actually more likely you'd find fraudulent credit card offers with instant decision credit cards, or any credit card that's designed for people with bad credit.

This is because they're aware of how many people are signing up to these cards out of desperation, knowing that low-credit borrowers are scrambling for alternative options because their application was denied by the traditional banks.

Just make sure you're doing research when looking at all the available options, and only ever apply for cards that come from reputable lenders with a past history.

Temptation To Overspend ❌️

With the convenience of instant approval and the ability to make purchases right away, it can be tempting to overspend. This can lead to high credit card balances and difficulty paying off your debt.

Tips For Using Instant Decision Credit Cards Responsibly

If you decide to apply for an instant decision credit card, it's important to use it with caution to avoid making any poor financial decisions. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Read The Fine Print

Before applying for any credit card, make sure you understand the fees, interest rates, and rewards programs.

Pay Your Balance In Full

To avoid paying interest and fees, try to pay your balance in full each month.

Only Use Your Credit Card For Small Purchases

If you're trying to avoid overspending on this specific card, it's wise to only use it for smaller purchases like petrol or your weekly grocery shopping. If you absolutely need to make a large payment for something, we advise using a different card entirely, even a debit card.

Keep Track Of Your Spending

Make sure you keep track of how much you're spending with your credit card, and stay within your budget.

Choosing The Right Instant Decision Credit Card

With all the different types of credit cards available, it can be slightly challenging to know where to begin.

In this final section of the article, we'll explore some of the variables you should keep in mind when choosing an instant decision credit card, and we'll also highlight one of the top cards on the market.

Factors To Consider

Before you start applying for instant decision credit cards, it's important to consider a few key factors. These include:

Interest Rates

Make sure to compare the APRs (Annual Percentage Rates) of each card you're considering. Try and look for cards with a low APR if you think you might carry a balance.


Check for annual fees, late fees, and over-limit fees. Avoid cards with high fees that can eat into your credit limit.


Some instant decision credit cards offer rewards programs that can earn you cashback, points, or miles. Look for a card with rewards that match your spending habits.

Credit Limits

Make sure the credit limit is high enough to meet your needs. However, be careful not to exceed your budget and accumulate too much debt.

Top Instant Decision Credit Card – Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Capital One Platinum Credit Card
Max Credit Limit
Representative % APR (variable)
28.9% APR
  • For people with bad credit or building credit.
  • £200 to £1,500 credit limit.
  • No annual fee.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 28.94% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 28.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

If you've got a fairly average credit score, the Capital One Platinum credit card is a fantastic option to get you started. This card offers instant decisions in your application process, as well as relatively low APR.

Furthermore, if the fact that you can only borrow a small amount of capital was getting to you, you may be able to qualify for higher credit limits if you pay your first five monthly payments on time and without any trouble.

Lastly, you can also get access to a bunch of useful features like fraud coverage, extended warranty coverage, and 24/7 customer service!

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