How Long Does It Take To Get a Credit Card?

Here’s how long you can expect to wait.

So you’re thinking about getting a credit card or you just submitted an application. You’re probably wondering, “how long does it take to get a credit card?” Each credit card issuer and bank is different, but there are general similarities among them. The real question is, why is it important to know how long it takes? If you’ve just been approved for a credit card, you’re might just be curious about when to expect your new credit card. However, if you’ve lost your credit card and need a fast replacement, then the question of how long it takes to get a credit card is pressing and crucial.

Read on to find out how long it takes to get a credit card, both in terms of approval and in the mail.

How Long Does It Take To Get Approved for a Credit Card?

In order to address the question of how long does it take to get a credit card, it’s important to make a distinction. Namely, there are two meanings to this question: How long it takes to get approved for a credit card versus how long it takes to get a credit card delivered in the mail.

The application and approval process varies in its timeframe depending on how you go about it. For instance, applying for a credit card online is much faster and more direct than applying through the mail. Plus, when you apply online, you can often find out if you’re approved immediately. Of course, you could find out if you’ve been denied immediately as well. Either way, all these things will cut down the overall time it takes to get a new credit card or get an answer.

However, if your application has to go through a manual review and is therefore pending, then you will not get your approval instantly. Applying by mail can also make credit card approval take a couple of weeks since the credit card issuer has to wait for the physical application and input your information manually.

The most straightforward way to make the credit card approval process to go faster is to identify credit card companies that offer instant credit approval. Major credit card issuers such as American Express, Capital One and Discover are just a few that offer instant approval credit cards.

Related: How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?

How Long Does It Take to Get a Credit Card in the Mail?

After you’ve submitted your credit card application, how long does it take to receive your new credit card in the mail? This naturally depends on the credit card company. In general, however, once you’ve been approved for a credit card, for the vast majority credit card issuers it takes 7 to 10 business days to receive your new credit card in the mail. Fortunately, this is an estimate and often credit cards arrive earlier than the posted timeframe. Some credit card companies offer expedited delivery services, but it varies a lot from issuer to issuer and is usually more common for replacement credit cards. However, it never hurts to simply ask for expedited delivery. Some issuers charge fees for expedited delivery, but you can always ask to have the fee waived — they may agree.

Here’s an overview of the average time it takes to receive a new credit card from top credit card issuers:

Credit Card Issuer Standard Timeframe Expedited Delivery
American Express 7 to 10 business days N/A
Chase 3 to 5 business days Varies
Bank of America 10 business days Up to 3 business days (no fee)
Citibank Up to 14 calendar days N/A
Capital One 7 to 10 business days N/A
Discover 7 to 10 business days N/A
US Bank 7 to 10 business days 2 to 3 business days ($25 fee)
Wells Fargo 7 to 10 business days 1 to 3 business days ($16 fee)
USAA 7 to 10 business days 3 to 5 business days ($14 fee)
Barclays 7 to 10 business days Next day ($15 fee)
PNC 7 to 10 business days Varies; upon request
TD Bank 7 to 10 business days N/A
Citizens Bank 7 to 10 business days N/A

Find Out: The Best High-Limit Credit Cards

How Long Does It Take to Get a Replacement Credit Card?

Typically, it takes a little less time to receive a replacement credit card in the mail, according to the estimated number of business days credit card issuers say it should take on their websites.

Here’s a look at the average time it takes to receive a replacement credit card in the mail from major credit card issuers:

Credit Card Issuer Standard Timeframe Expedited Delivery
American Express Up to 3 business days (no fee) Next day (no fee)
Chase 3 to 5 business days Varies
Bank of America 7 to 10 business days Next day (no fee)
Citibank 5 to 7 business days Next day ($6 fee)
Capital One 4 to 6 business days N/A
Discover 4 to 6 business days Next day (no fee)
US Bank 7 to 10 business days 2 to 3 business days ($25 fee)
Wells Fargo 5 to 12 calendar days 1 to 3 business days ($16)
USAA 7 to 10 business days 3 to 5 business days ($14 fee)
Barclays 7 to 10 business days Next day ($15 fee)
PNC 7 to 10 business days Varies; upon request
TD Bank 7 to 10 business days 2 business days ($25)
Citizens Bank 3 to 5 business days 1 to 2 business days

How to Get a Credit Card Faster

Unfortunately, most credit cards will take roughly seven to 10 business days to arrive in your mailbox. The vast majority of credit card issuers have this timeframe, though notably, Chase’s standard timeframe is shorter. If your credit card application requires a manual review and is therefore pending, then it’ll definitely take longer than seven to 10 business days — if you even get approved.

You can only do so much to get a credit card faster. Here are some tips to get a credit card faster, plus alternative solutions:

Request a Credit Card As Soon As Possible

This is a simple and obvious tip, but the sooner you apply for a new credit card or request a replacement, the faster you’ll receive it. This is especially relevant if you’re replacing a lost, stolen or damaged card. The faster you request, the more you cut down on how long it takes to ship the credit card to you and the less time you spend in a difficult financial situation. If you find yourself in this situation, you might consider getting a second credit card for emergencies.

Apply Only for Credit Cards You Have a Good Chance of Approval

A good strategy to ensure you’re approved very quickly is to only apply for credit cards for which you have a good chance of approval. It’s not a strict guarantee of being faster, but generally, if your credit score is high or your credit score clearly qualifies for the card you’re applying for, then the approval process will have fewer chances of a hiccup. Monitoring your credit score and working on improving it will help in this area.

See: The Best Low-Interest Credit Cards

Ask for Expedited Mail

Some credit card issuers offer expedited delivery of your new or replacement credit card. However, it is not standard everywhere and many credit card companies charge a fee for expedited delivery. With replacement credit cards, expedited delivery is more common. The key thing is that it never hurts to ask for expedited mail delivery, especially if you talk to a person working in customer service or company representative. Often credit card issuers handle this on a case-by-case basis and will offer expedited delivery if you ask for it. And, of course, being polite doesn’t hurt.

Ask for Branch Pick-Up

Some credit card issuers may let you get a new or replacement card from a branch location. For example, in many cases, TD Bank branches can print your new credit card on the spot, making it much faster than even expedited delivery. Though it does require you to put some work in.

Read: The Very Best Travel Credit Cards

Ask for a Temporary or Digital Credit Card Number

If you don’t feel like or can’t wait for your credit card to arrive in the mail, some credit card companies offer temporary or digital credit card numbers that you can use while you wait on the physical card to arrive. A perfect example of this is American Express’s Instant Card Number. Other times, higher-end credit cards will offer this service but lower-end brands will not so do your research.

Read: The Best Airline Rewards Credit Cards

What Causes Delays With Getting Your Credit Card?

The reasons why you might not receive your credit card within the estimated business days are fairly straightforward. One obvious reason is that your application was denied. If you weren’t immediately denied applying online, then it’s possible that you won’t hear you were denied until you receive mail around the same time your credit card — had you been approved — would arrive. It’s always worth calling the credit card issuer if you think your credit card is delayed. It could be an honest mistake or it could alert you early on that you might need to make some changes with your credit behavior.

Other issues with delayed credit card receipt is that it was lost in the mail — or sent to the wrong address. When applying for a credit card or requesting a replacement, double-check your contact information, making sure it’s consistent and up-to-date across your various credit and banking accounts. You can also call the credit card company to verify they have the right address on file; this is especially key if you have moved recently or rely on your computer to auto-fill information, such as your address, online.

Learn: The Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

The Bottom Line

There’s no set amount of time for how long it takes to get a credit card. There are, however, general timetables and processes that most credit card companies and banks adhere to. The main one is that delivery of your new credit card usually takes between seven and 10 business days, and a replacement credit card generally less time. While it is difficult to actually make getting a physical credit card in your hand any faster, there are preparations you can take and alternatives — like a digital credit card number — that can help you shorten the time you’ll spend waiting to get your credit card.

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