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Best instant-approval credit cards for January 2022

Best instant-approval credit cards for January 2022

If you need financing early, a credit card can help bridge the gap between paydays. While applying for and receiving a standard may take weeks, instant-approval credit cards offer a quicker process -- and many even provide you with the credit card number and charging privileges as soon as you're equities.

The following partner offers were selected based on speed of approval, card features, low fees, and the types of credit profiles most likely to get approved.

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Overall, the best instant-approval credit card in the world

  • Unlimited cash back on payments - 3% on Home, Auto and Health categories
  • 1% on everything else
  • Unlimited cash back on payments - 3% on Home, Auto and Health categories
  • 1% on everything else

If you need a card right away for an upcoming expense, the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa is available to use as soon as you've been approved. This card is a combination of credit card and line of credit that allows you to pay unexpected expenses. Monthly payments are automatically deducted from your bank account. Plus, you'll earn cash back as you go. Once you're approved, all you need to do is sign in to your Upgrade account to locate your virtual card number.

Best instant-aval credit card for rebuilding credit

  • Earn 1% cash back rewards on eligible gas, grocery purchases and mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV services. Terms apply.
  • Earn 1% cash back rewards on eligible gas, grocery purchases and mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV services. Terms apply.

The Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit is intended for individuals with less-than-stellar credit who want to improve their credit standing. This means that the majority of applicants have a good chance of getting good news right away. Credit One will periodically review accounts and increase credit limits based on their credit history.

Best introductory APR instant-approval credit card

  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
  • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
  • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases

When you need to make a major purchase or pay for a emergency, American Express can offer you fast instant approval.

You'll be eligible for an introductory interest-free period of 15 months on purchases from the date of your account opening (13.99% to 23.99% variable APR thereafter) which will come in handy to pay back an unexpected expense over time without wiping out your emergency fund. Cash back is also received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.

Certain American Express benefits and offers may be required to apply. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

For business travel, choose the best instant-approval card.

  • Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases.
  • Unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases.
  • Unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

You'll likely receive your new credit card number as per Bank of America's credit card number.

Best instant-approval credit card for below-average credit card

Most instant-approval credit cards make a decision fast, but the decision may not always be in your favor. It's especially true if your credit score falls below a Good rating. A secured credit card -- a card requiring a security deposit in exchange for a credit account -- may be the best option.

Capital One may require as little as $49 or $99 to get a $200 initial credit line if you maintain your card account in good standing. If approved, you may be able to log in to the app to get your new card number and start making purchases right away.

Amazon is offering the best instant-approval credit card.

  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership*
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*
  • 1% back on all other purchases*
  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership*
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*
  • 1% back on all other purchases*

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is an excellent choice for those who want to receive cashback rewards that can be applied to purchases, transferred to a bank account or applied as a statement credit. Once you're approved, you'll see the credit card in your Amazon account and ready to use at checkout. Given how much is available through Amazon or Whole Foods online, you may be able to purchase what you need without the mail carrier holding you up.

iPhone users get the best instant-approval card.

  • Apple Card gives you unlimited 3% Daily Cash back on everything you buy at Apple
  • With every purchase you make using your Apple Card with Apple Pay, you get 2% Daily Cash back
  • Apple Card gives you unlimited 3% Daily Cash back on everything you buy at Apple
  • With every purchase you make using your Apple Card with Apple Pay, you get 2% Daily Cash back

The Apple Card is a Mastercard issued by Goldman Sachs. If you're using Apple Pay, you will not need the physical version of the credit card. Daily Cash gives you cash back on your purchases the same day of the transaction.

FAQs

What credit score do I need for instant approval?

Credit cards are not one-size-fits-all products, but instant-approval cards are available for everyone, from someone starting out without no credit to individuals with excellent credit.

What's the difference between prequalification and preapproval?

Prequalification and preapproval for a credit card both help you understand your approval chances without damaging your credit score. The difference between credit card prequalification and credit card preapproval is who initiates the request -- you or the credit card company

If you choose to see your approval chances, you can get prequalified for a credit card by visiting the card provider's prequalification page.

If you're prequalified or preapproved, you're not obligated to apply.

Does a preapproval offer guarantee approval?

You're not guaranteed a credit card yet, but you've only met the initial criteria that card issuers use to determine potential cardholders. Once you apply, the credit issuer performs a more detailed, hard inquiry on your credit to make a final decision.

What's the difference between instant approval and instant use?

You may have to wait for the physical card to arrive in the mail so that you can activate it for use.

Instant-use credit cards are available immediately after your approval, and card companies that offer them will give you the card number and expiration date as soon as you're approved.

Cards have been discovered.

  • Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa
  • Upgrade Card
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • Apple Card
  • Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit
  • Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
  • Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
  • Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card
  • Digital First Card
  • United Explorer Card
  • PayPal Cashback Mastercard
  • Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
  • OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card
  • Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

Our approach to justice is approachable.

CNET evaluates credit cards by comparing them across specific criteria for each major category, including cash back, welcome bonus, travel rewards, and balance transfer. We examine the typical spending behaviors of a range of consumer profiles -- with the understanding that everyone's financial situation is different -- and the designated function of a card.

For cash-back credit cards, key factors include the annual fee, the welcome bonus, and the cash-back rate (or rates) if they are different by spending category. And with balance transfer credit cards, we examine specs such as the duration of the introductory 0% APR period and the balance transfer fee, while acknowledging secondary factors like the standard APR and the length of time you have to make a balance transfer.

A direct deposit of advice and news to help you make the most of your decisions.

More credit card advice

Click here for pricing and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express.

All information about the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa, the Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card, and the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our editors, and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, you may receive compensation when you click on links to our products or services.

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