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In today’s day and age, unless you’ve got a high number of recent credit card inquiries, issuers will typically give you an instant response when applying for credit cards. And if they don’t, you can always call and ask for a decision over the phone. However, one thing that they don’t all do is instantly provide you with your card number when you’re approved.

Having instant access to your new card number is extremely beneficial since it means that you can begin maximizing your purchases and working towards meeting the minimum spend requirement of a card’s welcome bonus right away. After all, the clock on welcome bonuses typically starts the day your account is approved — not on your statement closing date or when your card is activated. So, let’s take a look at which major credit card issuers offer instant card numbers upon approval and which don’t.

In This Post

American Express

American Express leads the pack when it comes to offering instant card numbers. Regardless which card you apply for, you will always have the option of getting the account number immediately after being approved online — assuming the issuer is able to validate your identity instantly. This means those who just got approved for a card like The Platinum Card® from American Expresscould begin earning 5x points on airfare right away, when booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, and get instant access to Centurion Lounges.

Just remember to take a screenshot or write down your card number since you can’t request it again later. The number will typically be the same as the one you’ll get in the mail, but the CID (card identification number — on Amex cards it’s the four-digit number on the front) will be different so you might want to hold off on using it to set up recurring payments. Note, the instant card number of some co-branded cards, such as the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express and the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express may only be used with the co-branded company.

Even if you’re not interested in getting your card number right away, you should still request it when prompted by the system. There have been numerous cases where Amex’s system was unable to issue card numbers. The silver lining with this is that if you’re lucky, Amex may give you a statement credit as high as $315 to compensate.

Bank of America

As reported by other sources such as Doctor of Credit and Crediful, the only Bank of America card that consistently offers an instant card number is the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card. There have been some reports of other cards offering instant card numbers, but it’s more sporadic and I wouldn’t necessarily count on it.

Barclays

Barclays never offers instant card numbers. However, if you apply for the Uber Visa Card directly through the Uber app, you’ll be able to start using it immediately to pay for Uber purchases.

Capital One

The issuer of cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card used to let you instantly gain access to your card number and expiration date immediately after being approved. But, as Upgraded Points explains, it’s now a hit-or-miss proposition, so don’t count on being able to see your card number upon approval. 

Chase

Although Chase will often give you an instant decision on whether you’ve been approved, it will never issue card numbers before your physical card arrives.

Citi

As with Bank of America, Citi has some cobranded cards that issue instant card numbers. According to Doctor of Credit, these include American Airlines card like the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, though there’s no hard rule on this and your experience may vary. Citi will issue a temporary card for the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi, but only if you apply in person at a Costco location and you’ll only be able use it in-store. ThankYou Rewards-earning cards like the Citi Premier Card don’t offer instant card numbers.

Discover

As with Barclays and Chase, Discover will often give you an instant decision on whether you’ve been approved, but it will never issue card numbers before your physical card arrives. I can confirm this based on personal experience.

Bottom Line

While some issuers will allow you to request expedited shipping for your card, in most cases, you’ll typically have to wait 5-7 business days for your new piece of plastic (or metal) to arrive in the mail so having instant access to your new card number can make a big difference. If you’re in immediate need for a new credit card, you can almost always depend on Amex to offer an instant card number, though there are some other issuers which will often do so as well. Just remember that this perk is not guaranteed and there’s no hard set rule on the compensation offered when not available. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary, so feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

Featured photo by Prykhodov / Getty Images.

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