Best Instant Decision Credit Cards

Read on to find out more.

Updated: May 21, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

|
Rebecca Goodman

Edited By

Rebecca Goodman

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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 the approval process takes.

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, how they work and the best way to pick one. .

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.

How do instant decision credit cards differ from traditional credit cards?

The main difference between these two credit cards is the time it takes to apply. Traditional credit card providers can take days or even weeks to give a decision and set up a new account.

This is because when you're applying for a credit card, the lender always has to take a few factors in consideration first, like your credit score, 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, and other requirements of the card.

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, which means you will usually receive an answer sooner.

How does the application process work for instant decision credit cards?

The application process for these cards is usually quick and straightforward. Not only can you get a response almost instantly online, you can also apply for an instant credit card by visiting your local bank or credit union.

You will usually have to show the following information: address, name, and any other basic personal information that can prove your identity like a passport or driving licence.

After you've submitted your application, the automated system 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 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

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

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

Credit score

All credit card providers will look at your credit score when you apply. 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.

As a general rule of thumb, the higher your credit score, the more likely you are to be approved for a credit card. Banks like high credit scores because it means you're not as much of a liability to them, so they put in more of an effort to accommodate you.

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 missed any payments, or 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.

Income

How much you earn is something that needs to be taken into account when you're applying for any credit card, not just instant credit cards.

Past reliability is one thing, but it's vital for them to know where your money's coming from so they know you will be able to make repayments.

Employment history

Credit card providers also like to take a look at where you've worked before, to get an overall feel of your financial stability.

When looking at this, the algorithm will check how long you've been at any past employers.

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 and how long you have had a credit history for.

Using an automated tool can save both you and a bank time and money, and in some cases patterns and trends can be found in your data that might not be obvious at first glance.

These systems are always being updated to improve their accuracy to ensure the credit card company stays making sound lending decisions.

Fees associated with instant decision credit cards

Your credit card application process should be quicker with one of these cards but you'll want to take a look at any fees that may be applied.

This includes anything from 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.

Interest rates

Interest rates also need to be considered, they vary depending on the type of card and the person's credit history. Typically, interest rates are 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 is vital, as they have significant implications on the amount of money you owe the bank because you will pay interest on any outstanding balances.

Pros and cons of instant decision credit cards

To help you decide if these cards are right for you, here's the main pros and cons:

Pros

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 longer to be approved but with an instant card you'll usually get an answer within minutes.

Convenience ✔️

The beauty of these cards lies in their convenience and they usually have streamlined application processes making the whole thing a lot quicker and more convenient than traditional lenders.

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 help if you pay it off on time. Many of these cards are designed for people with fair or poor credit scores and can help you to build a positive credit history.

Rewards programs ✔️

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

Cons

Higher fees and interest rates ❌️

You'll normally expect to find higher fees and interest rates on these kinds of cards when compared to a traditional credit card

Lower credit limits ❌️

Instant approval credit cards tend to have fairly low credit limits in comparison to other kinds of credit cards.

Potential scams ❌️

Cards that are designed for people with bad credit are often used by fraudsters. They may target people and pretend to be from a credit card provider to con the person out of personal or financial details. Therefore it's even more important to check the card provider is genuine before applying.

Temptation to overspend ❌️

With the convenience of instant approval and the ability to make purchases right away, it can be tempting to overspend. But 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 poor financial decisions.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Read the small 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 only use these cards to buy things you would be buying anyway, such as petrol or your weekly grocery shopping. If you absolutely need to make a large payment for something, we advise using a different card entirely.

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

There are lots of credit cards on the market and the right one for you will depend on your financial circumstances, what you need from the card, your credit score, and your credit history.

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

Fees

Check for annual fees, late fees, and over-limit fees

Rewards

Some instant decision credit cards offer rewards such as cashback, points, or miles

Credit limits

Make sure the credit limit is high enough to meet your needs, but be careful not to exceed your budget and build up 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
£1,500
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.

If you pay your first five monthly payments on time, you may also qualify for a higher credit limit.

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

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