Our top picks of timely offers from our partnersMore details
Information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
If you're looking to finance an emergency expense, such as a broken fridge or car repair, you may want fast access to a new credit card.
However, most credit cards arrive in the mail within 10 business days, which may be too long to wait if you need to pay for an expense right away.
But if you apply for certain cards, you may receive an instant card number, allowing you to complete purchases right after approval. Instant credit cards are a great way to pay for unexpected expenses or new transactions without checking the mail everyday for your card.
Keep in mind, instant card numbers are temporary, but you should receive your physical card in the mail before it expires, so that won't likely be an issue. It's also important to note that you may only be able to use a portion of your credit limit while you wait for your physical card.
Below, we'll list credit cards that offer instant access, without waiting for the physical card to arrive in the mail.
Most credit card issuers offer an instant decision on whether you're approved or denied, but don't frequently offer instant use of your card.
However, certain types of cards offer instant card numbers, which we list below.
All Amex cards have the ability to receive an instant card number once your identity is validated. If you're approved for a card and are eligible for instant access, you'll receive your card number, temporary four-digit card identification number and expiration date that allows you to use the card anywhere American Express is accepted.
Take note that Amex co-branded cards may only be used with the brand until you receive your physical card. For instance, a temporary co-branded Delta Amex card may only be valid at Delta.
Here are some Amex cards offer the ability for an instant card number:
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- American Express® Green Card
- American Express® Gold Card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
- American Express Cash Magnet® Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
If you open a co-branded or store credit card at checkout (online or in-store) you can begin using your card right away. You'll typically receive a temporary card number or barcode on your receipt that allows you to use the card at the retailer.
Store cards can only be used at the retailer, but co-branded cards can be used anywhere the card is accepted. However, a temporary co-branded store card might only be accepted at the store, as is the case with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi (see rates and fees). You'll have to wait to use the card elsewhere until it arrives in the mail.
There are exceptions to that rule, such as the Apple Card. New Apple cardholders receive access to the card instantly after approval and can load it to their Apple Wallet for immediate use anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
Here are several popular co-branded and store cards that offer instant access:
As you'll notice from the cards mentioned above, instant card numbers primarily come with Amex cards, co-branded cards and store cards. That leaves out many major card issuers, such as Discover and Chase, so you'll have to wait roughly 10 business days to receive those cards in the mail before being able to use them.
However, you may be able to get your new card sooner if you're approved for a premium card. Many issuers provide expedited shipping for high-end cards or upon request for any card.
Keep in mind, if you request faster shipment, you may have to pay a fee. Before submitting your request, consider whether you really need the card ASAP and whether the fee is worthwhile. If it's not, you can simply wait for it to arrive in the mail.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Green Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express Cash Magnet® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.
Information about the American Express Cash Magnet® Card, Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, Apple Card, Bloomingdale's Credit Card, Target RedCard™, Walmart Rewards Card, Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card, Prime Visa, Amazon Visa , Amazon Prime Store Card and Amazon Store Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication. If you purchase something through the Amazon credit card links, we may earn a commission.