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Credit cards that offer instant card numbers upon approval

March 22, 2023
28 min read
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On some credit card applications, you may be instantly approved. Even better than instant approval is instant access to your new credit card.

Instant access to your new card number lets you start working on spending requirements to earn the card's welcome bonus. After all, the clock on sign-up bonuses starts the day your account is approved — not when you receive your card in the mail and activate it. Thus, getting instant access to your new credit card may provide 1-2 weeks of additional time to work toward its bonus.

Let’s look at the credit card issuers to see which ones offer instant card numbers upon approval.

What's the advantage of an instant credit card number?

An instant card number allows you to start using your new card immediately. This provides extra time to work on earning the card's welcome bonus.

It's also a great feature if you're applying for a card with an introductory 0% annual percentage rate (APR) offer, which you might need if financing a large purchase in the near future. In the case of store-brand credit cards, you also may receive a discount on your purchases — beginning as soon as you start using the card.

American Express

American Express provides your new account number immediately after approval of your online application, assuming your identity can be verified. Previously, you needed to take a screenshot or write down your card number since you couldn’t view the number again. However, some readers have received emails from Amex that allowed them to view the instant card number again upon request.

The instant card number will be the same as the physical card you’ll get in the mail, but the four-digit card identification number on the front of the card will be different. Thus, you might want to avoid using this card for recurring payments. Note that instant card numbers of some cobranded cards may only be used with the cobranded company (for example, Hilton or Marriott).

In addition to instant numbers for new cardholders, Amex gives existing cardholders access to their card information when ordering replacement cards.

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Related reading: Choosing the best American Express card for you

COURTESY OF AMERICAN EXPRESS

Even if you’re not interested in getting your card number immediately, you should still request it when prompted by the system.

Here are a few popular Amex cards that offer instant card numbers:

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership. However, you might be able to earn a higher welcome offer through a friend or loved one’s referral link through June 7.

Earning rates: 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases each calendar year, then 1 point per dollar) 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.

Annual fee: $695 (see rates and fees).

THE POINTS GUY

Why we like it: Besides offering one of the best returns on flight and hotel bookings, the Amex Platinum provides access to the largest number and variety of airport lounges. You can use a screenshot of your card number (or show it in the Amex app) to gain instant access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs (though some Delta lounges have asked to see the physical card in the past), before your physical card arrives. The card also provides automatic elite status with Hilton and Marriott, which you can try to activate before your card arrives. Other benefits include annual credits for incidental fees on airlines, monthly Uber Cash and shopping credits for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases, as well as several shopping and travel insurance benefits. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

Read TPG’s Amex Platinum review for more details.

Apply here: The Platinum Card from American Express

American Express® Gold Card

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership. However, you might be able to earn a higher welcome offer through a friend or loved one’s referral link through June 7.

Earning rates: 4 points per dollar on dining at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 of purchases annually, then 1 point per dollar), 3 points per dollar on flights purchased directly with the airline or at amextravel.com and 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees).

RYAN PATTERSON/THE POINTS GUY

Why we like it: The Amex Gold offers up to $120 annually in dining credits (enrollment is required in advance) and up to $120 annually in Uber Cash, which can be used toward Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. The card must be added to the Uber app to receive this benefit. Earning 4 points per dollar on dining equals a terrific 8% return on spending, based on TPG valuations.

Read TPG’s American Express Gold review for more details.

Apply here: American Express Gold Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Welcome bonus: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after $3,000 in purchases in the first six months of card membership. Offer ends April 5.

Earning rates: 12 points per dollar on eligible purchases at Hilton properties, 6 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets and 3 points per dollar on other purchases.

Annual fee: $95 (see rates and fees).

Why we like it: The card offers a slew of benefits, with the most notable being automatic Hilton Gold status, which automatically activates a few hours after you’re approved. Hilton Gold status is among the most valuable mid-tier hotel statuses, providing an 80% points bonus, a fifth night free on award stays, space-available upgrades, free breakfast and more. You can upgrade to Diamond status by spending $40,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year. Other benefits include a free night certificate after spending $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year and 10 complimentary Priority Pass lounge visits yearly. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

Read TPG’s Hilton Amex Surpass card review for more details.

Apply here: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after making $2,000 of purchases in the first six months of card membership.

Earning rates: 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases, 2 miles per dollar at restaurants (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 2 miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases.

Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee, then $99 (see rates and fees)

THE POINTS GUY

Why we like it: This card provides casual Delta flyers elite-like benefits, such as a free checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights. You can use your instant card number to book Delta flights immediately and begin to take advantage of these benefits before your physical card arrives simply by adding your Delta SkyMiles number to your reservations.

Read TPG’s Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex Card review for more details.

Apply here: Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

Bank of America

The only Bank of America card that consistently offers an instant card number is the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card. Occasionally, those with Bank of America checking accounts may receive a targeted promotion offering an instant card number for cards like the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card; however, this is not standard practice.

Related: The best Bank of America credit cards

Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card

Welcome bonus: Earn 70,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare (from $122: $99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Earning rates: 3 miles per dollar on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, 2 miles per dollar on gas, local transit, ride-hailing apps, cable and some streaming services and 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases. Plus, earn 10% bonus miles on purchases with an eligible Bank of America account.

Annual fee: $95.

Why we like it: Besides offering some of the most valuable airline miles around, you'll also get a free checked bag and priority boarding if you use the card to pay for your flight.

Read TPG’s Alaska Airlines Visa credit card review for more details.

Apply here: Alaska Airlines Visa credit card

Barclays

Barclays never offers instant card numbers.

Related: Uber Credit Card review

However, you may have access to your card's spending limit (without having access to the card number itself) if you apply for a Barclays-issued card while making a reservation. Examples include the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®, Holland America Line Rewards Visa® Card and JetBlue Card. If you apply for and are approved for these cards while making a reservation, you may be able to pay for your trip with the new card but won't be able to use the card for purchases elsewhere.

The information for the Uber Visa, Frontier Mastercard, Holland America Visa and JetBlue cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

MOMO PRODUCTIONS/GETTY IMAGES

Capital One

It may be possible to use your Capital One card number instantly, but not everyone will have this opportunity. You must be an existing account holder and use the Capital One mobile app to access an instant account number. Note that this differs from the virtual card numbers offered by Capital One.

There is one card that consistently offers instant access to your card number, however: the Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®.

The information for the Capital One Walmart Rewards card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: The best Capital One credit cards

These are the best Capital One cards offering instant card numbers to eligible applicants.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening.

Earning rates: 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked with Capital One Travel and 2 miles per dollar on other purchases.

Annual fee: $95.

WYATT SMITH/THE POINTS GUY

Why we like it: Earning a minimum of 2 miles per dollar on all purchases is a great return on spending. Other benefits include two complimentary visits to Capital One lounges or Plaza Premium lounges each year and reimbursement for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.

Read TPG’s Capital One Venture card review for more details.

Apply here: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening.

Earning rates: 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked with Capital One Travel, 5 miles per dollar on flights booked with Capital One Travel and 2 miles per dollar on other purchases.

Annual fee: $395.

THE POINTS GUY

Why we like it: Building on the benefits of the Venture card (covered above), you'll also enjoy up to $300 in annual travel credits, 10,000 bonus miles on each account anniversary, access to Capital One and Priority Pass lounges, and cellphone protection.

Read TPG’s Capital One Venture X card review for more details.

Apply here: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Welcome bonus: Earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within three months of account opening.

Earning rates: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Annual fee: $0.

THE POINTS GUY

Why we like it: You'll get up to six months of complimentary Uber One membership (through Nov. 14, 2024), access to extended warranty and travel accident insurance — all without paying an annual fee.

Read TPG’s Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card review for more details.

Apply here: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Cardless

Cardless focuses on cobranded credit cards that you can use without needing the physical card — instantly upon account approval and throughout the life of the card. Through the Cardless app, you can access these cobranded cards instantly and can even get a new card number instantly in the app if your card is ever compromised.

Cardless provides cobranded credit cards for brands like Simon Malls, LATAM Airlines and even sports teams from the NBA and the English Premier League.

Chase

It is possible to use popular Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and World of Hyatt Credit Card instantly upon account approval by adding these cards to a digital wallet. However, the issuer notes that several cards cannot be used instantly, including:

  • Aeroplan Credit Card.
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card.*
  • Amazon Rewards Visa Card.*
  • Chase Freedom Flex.
  • Disney Premier Visa Card.*
  • Disney Visa Card.*
  • IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card.
  • IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card.
  • Chase small-business credit cards.

Related: Maximize your wallet with the perfect quartet of Chase cards

*The information for these cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Here are a few popular Chase cards that offer instant card numbers:

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Earning rates: 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel and on dining purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025) and Peloton equipment and accessory purchases (through March 2025) of $250 or more (with a maximum of 50,000 points), 5 points per dollar on flights purchased through Chase Travel, 3 points per dollar on all other travel (excluding the $300 travel credit) and dining purchases worldwide and 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

Annual fee: $550.

WYATT SMITH/THE POINTS GUY

Why we like it: On top of an annual $300 travel credit and access to Priority Pass lounges and Priority Pass restaurants, you'll enjoy top-notch travel insurance, a free DoorDash DashPass subscription through Dec. 31, 2024, Lyft Pink All Access membership for two years, spending credits with Gopuff and Instacart and reimbursement for your application fee to TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

Read TPG’s Sapphire Reserve review for more details.

Apply here: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Earning rates: 5 points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Travel, 5 points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025) and Peloton equipment and accessory purchases (through March 2025) of $250 or more (with a maximum of 25,000 points), 3 points per dollar on dining, select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 2 points per dollar on travel and 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

Annual fee: $95.

Why we like it: You'll enjoy top-notch travel insurance similar to that of the more expensive Sapphire Reserve, $50 in hotel credits annually, a 10% annual points bonus, a one-year complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription and spending credits with Gopuff and Instacart.

Read TPG’s Sapphire Preferred review for more details.

Apply here: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

United Explorer Card

Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Earning rates: 2 miles per dollar on United and dining purchases, 2 miles per dollar on hotels booked directly and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases.

Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee, then $95.

THE POINTS GUY

Why we like it: You'll receive elite-like benefits without a hefty annual fee, receiving benefits like a free first checked bag (for you and a traveling companion), priority boarding on United flights, reimbursement for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, 25% back on inflight and Club premium drink purchases, two one-time passes to the United Club annually and the ability to earn 500 Premier-Qualifying Points (PQPs) toward elite status for each $12,000 spent on the card annually (with a maximum of 1,000 PQPs).

Read TPG's United Explorer review for more details.

Apply here: United Explorer Card

Citi

Several Citi cards offer instant card numbers if your application is approved instantly. However, note that you'll have just one opportunity to view this number, so be sure to write it down. Plus, instant credit card numbers are not available on small-business or American Airlines credit cards, according to a Citi spokesperson.

If your credit card application is approved instantly, there is an option to click on "Get Card Number Today" to access your new card's virtual number. Verification may be required to access your instant card number.

Once you see a green check mark, click on "See Card Summary" to view your temporary card number and card verification value (CVV) number. However, you won't have access to your card's full spending limit until you receive the physical card.

A caveat here is that the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi and AT&T Points Plus℠ Card may offer instant approval and instant access to purchases with the card. However, this applies only to purchases made at Costco or AT&T, respectively.

The information for the AT&T Points Plus Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: The best Citi credit cards

Here are the best Citi cards offering instant account numbers:

Citi Rewards+® Card

Welcome bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $1,500 on purchases within three months of account opening.

Earning rates: 2 points per dollar at supermarkets and gas stations (up to $6,000 of combined purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar) and 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

Annual fee: $0.

THE POINTS GUY

Why we like it: No-annual-fee cards typically lack powerful benefits, but that's not the case here. Your points are rounded up to the nearest 10 on each purchase, meaning you'll earn 10 points after buying a $1 pack of gum. You also get 10% of your redeemed points back each year — valid on the first 100,000 points redeemed, and this can be paired with other Citi ThankYou points-earning cards in your wallet.

Read TPG’s Citi Rewards+ review for more details.

Apply here: Citi Rewards+ Card

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Welcome bonus: Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases within six months of account opening.

Earning rates: 5% back in your top spending category each billing cycle — up to $500 of purchases, then 1% back — and 1% back on other purchases. Eligible categories include drugstores, fitness clubs, gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores, live entertainment, restaurants, transit, travel and select streaming services.

Annual fee: $0.

THE POINTS GUY

Why we like it: There aren't many perks on this card, but you'll have access to Citi Entertainment — helping you find and purchase exclusive tickets for concerts, sporting events and more — and free access to your FICO credit score.

Read TPG’s Citi Custom Cash review for more details.

Apply here: Citi Custom Cash Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Welcome bonus: You won't earn bonus points or cash from applying for the Citi Diamond Preferred. Instead, there are often introductory APR offers.

Earning rates: You don't earn points or cash back on this card.

Annual fee: $0.

Why we like it: Extended introductory APR periods can help you pay down credit card debt. The Citi Diamond Preferred often has a long introductory period on both balance transfers and purchases; these can save you considerable money, thanks to avoiding interest.

Read TPG’s Citi Diamond Preferred review for more details.

Apply here: Citi Diamond Preferred Card

Discover

While Discover often gives you an instant decision on whether you’ve been approved for a credit card, it does not issue card numbers before your physical card arrives.

Goldman Sachs

The issuer of the Apple Card allows you to use this card instantly with Apply Pay after account approval. In fact, having a physical card is completely optional.

Apple Card

Sign-up bonus: None.

Earning rates: 3% daily cash back on Apple purchases, 2% back when paying with Apple Pay on your iPhone or Apple Watch and 1% on all other purchases. You'll also earn 3% back on purchases with these merchants when paying with Apple Pay: Ace Hardware, Duane Reade, Exxon, Mobil, Nike, Panera Bread, T-Mobile, Uber, Uber Eats and Walgreens.

Annual fee: $0.

WYATT SMITH/THE POINTS GUY

Why we like it: You can use the card to make purchases immediately, and the cash-back rewards are available right after each purchase.

Read TPG’s Apple Card review for more details.

Apply here: Apple Card

The information for the Apple Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

SoFi

Those approved for the SoFi Credit Card get instant access to a digital card, with physical cards arriving in the mail within 10 business days. On top of not paying an annual fee, you'll earn 3% cash back on up to $12,000 in annual purchases during the first year (then 2% back) if you set up direct deposit to an eligible SoFi account.

The information for the SoFi Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Synchrony

There are two cards from Synchrony that you can use immediately upon approval. However, you'll only be able to use them instantly within their respective apps: PayPal (for the PayPal Cashback Mastercard®) and Venmo (for the Venmo Credit Card).

You'll need to wait for your card to arrive in the mail for purchases with other merchants.

The information for the PayPal Mastercard and Venmo Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

U.S. Bank

When it's possible to verify your identity and your application is instantly approved, U.S. Bank offers instant credit card numbers on its consumer cards. Here are some of the best cards to consider.

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening.

Earning rates: 4 points per dollar on dining, takeout and delivery, 2 points per dollar at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services, gas stations and EV charging stations and 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

Annual fee: $0 (See rates and fees).

THE POINTS GUY

Why we like it: This is one of few cards offering bonus points on streaming subscriptions combined with a streaming credit — $15 per year after 11 consecutive months of streaming purchases. It's not much, but if you're paying for streaming services anyway, it's a nice touch. Plus, you can redeem points instantly with U.S. Bank's Real-Time Rewards.

Read TPG's Altitude Go Visa card review for more details.

Apply here: U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

Sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 reward bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 120 days from account opening.

Earning rates: 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked in the U.S. Bank travel portal, 5% back on your first $2,000 spent in two categories of your choice each quarter (then 1% back), 2% back on one category of your choosing and 1% back on other purchases.

Annual fee: $0 (See rates and fees).

THE POINTS GUY

Why we like it: While many credit cards offer 5% back in bonus categories, most don't let you choose those categories. Picking categories that align with your spending habits is a great way to maximize your purchases.

Read TPG's U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa card review for more details.

Apply here: U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card

Wells Fargo

While most Wells Fargo-issued cards don't offer instant card numbers, the Bilt Mastercard® is an exception and has no annual fee (see rates and fees).

Bilt Mastercard

Sign-up bonus: None.

Earning rates: 3 points per dollar on dining, 2 points per dollar on travel and 1 point per dollar on rent payments (up to 50,000 points annually). You also can earn bonus points through "Rent Day" promotions. See rewards and benefits for more details.

Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees).

THE POINTS GUY

Why we like it: There are many benefits for a no-annual-fee card, including travel insurance and cellphone protection. However, the main perk for most people is the ability to earn points when paying rent by credit card and doing so without fees. You'll also have instant access to your card number in the Bilt Rewards app.

Read TPG's Bilt Mastercard review for more details.

Apply here: Bilt Mastercard

FAQs

What is a credit card instant approval, and how does it work?

As soon as you apply for a credit card, your application is processed by a computer and you’ll typically receive one of three responses: immediate approval, some form of “pending” status or denial. Receiving instant approval doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to begin using the card immediately. If you receive instant approval, you may be presented with the option to view your card number right away; otherwise, you’ll need to wait until your physical card arrives in the mail before you can begin using it.

How long does it take for me to get my credit card?

It can take five to ten business days to get a new credit card after approval. However, that timeframe can vary depending on the card and issuer. For instance, American Express uses overnight shipping for the Amex Platinum. Some issuers offer expedited shipping on request, but there’s no guarantee — and you may need to pay when requesting expedited shipping.

What is the difference between pre-qualified and pre-approved offers?

The terms pre-qualified and pre-approved are similar and sometimes even used interchangeably. They both help you determine which cards you are most likely to be approved for and find targeted offers that aren’t available to every applicant. Neither a pre-qualified nor a pre-approved offer guarantees approval for a card. Pre-qualified offers tend to require a less-extensive check; meanwhile, pre-approved offers typically require you to provide additional personal information or have a financial history with the issuer. A pre-qualified offer is based on a soft pull on your credit report and will not affect your credit score, but initiating a bank’s pre-approval process may result in a hard pull on your account.

Related reading: How to find the best pre-qualified credit card offers

Bottom line

Some issuers offer expedited shipping for your new card. In most cases, though, you’ll have to wait roughly a week for your new card to arrive in the mail. Having instant access to your new card number can make a big difference. If you’re in immediate need of a new credit card, consider one of the options above.

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Amex Hilton Surpass card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold card, click here.

For rates and fees of the U.S. Bank Altitude Go please click here.

For rates and fees of the U.S. Bank Cash+ please click here.

For rates and fees of the Bilt Mastercard, click here.

For rewards and benefits of Bilt Mastercard, click here

Featured image by LIUBOMYR VORONA/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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