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Whether applying for a new credit card or ordering a replacement card, the time it takes to receive a new card varies from issuer to issuer. When credit cards are sent to the cardholder’s billing address, a cardholder can generally expect to receive a card within seven to ten business days. It can take longer to receive a card in certain circumstances. That said, some issuers will offer instant access to your account.
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How Long It Takes to Get a Credit Card
The Approval Process
Most credit card companies make it easy for nearly anyone to apply for a new card online. Arguably the fastest way to get a new card, online applications typically ask for personal information like name, date of birth, social security number, annual income and monthly expenses. An applicant who fits the issuer’s criteria can receive approval in minutes and receive a card in the mail within a one to two weeks, if not faster.
Applying by phone or mail may result in a longer waiting period to receive a new card. It can take as long as several weeks to receive an approval or rejection from a card issuer, though many approvals take only days, if not hours. An additional seven to 10 business days to receive the new card by mail can be added to this waiting period.
If the applicant is not approved right away whether online or over the phone, the card issuer will manually examine the application to make a final decision. This could extend the waiting period by two weeks or more.
Receiving a Card in the Mail
The actual waiting period to receive a new card in the mail varies from issuer to issuer. Discover and Bank of America each advertise on company websites that it can take up to 10 business days for a new card to arrive—a standard waiting period among many issuers.
Some issuers offer expedited service if someone needs a new credit card faster than in the standard waiting time. Some issuers may offer it for free (often to existing account holders) while others charge a small fee. Call customer support to find out whether expediting a new card is possible and what the potential charge could be.
Replacement cards can arrive faster than a brand new card. This is because replacement cards are processed soon after the request is made (often on the same day), while new cards can take a few days for an application to process. Those who already have an account don’t need the same approval as those applying for a new account.
A new Chase credit card, for example, may take seven to 10 business days to arrive, but a replacement card should arrive within three to five business days. Some issuers have services to issue emergency replacements in the event of a lost card and can, sometimes for a fee and sometimes not, overnight a new card.
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How to Get a New Card Faster
Get Instant Access
Some card issuers offer instant access to the credit card number after approval. This way the new cardholder can start making purchases online or by phone while they wait for the physical card to show up in the mail. The information can be added to digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, which would enable a new cardholder to make purchases in stores that accept those forms of payment.
Some retail store credit cards can be applied and approved in-store, then used the same day to make a purchase, like the My Best Buy credit card.
If the card issuer has a brick-and-mortar bank branch, then the cardholder can ask if they offer temporary cards that can be used until the actual card arrives in the mail. There may be a fee associated with temporary cards. This service may not be available at every bank or even every branch of a bank, so always ask beforehand.
What to Do If the Card Doesn’t Arrive
If a new or replacement card doesn’t arrive within the expected timeframe, it’s best to contact support by phone or online. Some issuers offer an online status check expectant account holders can use to get more information.
When contacting the issuer, try asking these questions:
- Is the mailing address correct? An incorrect address could be the reason why a card hasn’t been received yet.
- Can the card be expedited? If the mailed card was lost or stolen, ask if the next shipment can be expedited. There may be a fee.
- If there are bank branches nearby, can they issue a temporary card? A temporary card can be used to make purchases until the new card is activated.
When applying for a new credit card, make sure there’s enough time to go through the approval process and wait for it to arrive. Some applicants will be approved in minutes, then wait a standard seven to 10 business days for the new card to arrive in the mail. Replacement cards can arrive in as few as three to five business days and be expedited even beyond that in an emergency (possibly for a fee). If the card is needed right away, ask the issuer whether it can provide instant access or a temporary card, or check out one of the cards that offers instant access.