Best Instant Approval Credit Cards of 2021

Best Instant Approval Credit Cards
GUIDE
Aaron Crowe
By: Aaron Crowe
Updated: July 8, 2021
Advertiser Disclosure

You don’t have to have excellent credit to get the best instant approval credit cards. Whether it’s a secured card or an unsecured credit card, all kinds of credit cards are created specifically for people with bad credit. A secured card requires a cash deposit for approval whereas an unsecured card does not.

An instant approval credit card lets you know whether you’re approved for the card within seconds of applying. You can quickly prequalify for a card before applying to see your approval chances, though the issuer will often need more information for final approval, which can still happen within minutes.

Unsecured Cards | Secured Cards | FAQs

Unsecured Instant Approval Cards

An unsecured card doesn’t require a cash deposit to secure a line of credit as a secured card does. Your credit score is a large determinant of which unsecured card you qualify for.

Applicants with bad credit are generally charged higher interest rates and may face fees not commonly found on cards for applicants with a good credit history. Here are seven unsecured instant credit cards worth considering if you have bad credit.

  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000* (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 Minutes 24.99% - 29.99% (Variable) Yes 8.5/10

The Surge Mastercard® is a subprime card option that welcomes applicants of all credit types. It’s designed to help people rebuild their credit. If you pay the balance off on time each month, positive payment history will be reported to each major credit bureau.

As an unsecured card, the Surge Mastercard® does not require a security deposit to access the $300-$1000 credit limit, regardless of your credit score and history.

  • Easy pre-qualification process with fast response
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • Online servicing available 24/7 at no additional cost
  • Unsecured credit card, no security deposit required
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.6

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 Minutes 24.9% Yes 8.0/10

Prequalifying for the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® only takes a few seconds on its online form, and prequalifying for the card won’t impact your credit score. The issuer will review your credit file, which will determine whether you’ll be charged an annual fee and how much it will be.

If you’re preapproved for the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®, you can then submit a formal application and will learn instantly whether you’re approved for the card. Every cardholder is given an initial $300 credit limit, no matter what their credit score is.

  • Find out if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score
  • Earn 1% cash back rewards on eligible gas, grocery purchases and mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV services. Terms apply.
  • Get a credit line between $300 and $3,000 based on your credit history
  • Accounts are automatically reviewed for credit line increase opportunities
  • Choose your monthly payment due date for added convenience, terms apply
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Manage your account on-the-go with the Credit One Bank mobile app
  • Looking to rebuild credit? We report to the major credit bureaus monthly
  • View your Experian credit score online for free, terms apply
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 17.99% to 23.99% Variable Yes 9.0/10

The minimum credit limit of the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit card is higher than many other cards we’ve reviewed for people with bad credit. Applicants in the very poor credit range are unlikely to qualify for the card’s maximum limit of $3,000 but may be approved for its minimum credit limit of $750.

The card has cash back rewards, which is a rare feature for an unsecured card for bad credit. With such a high initial credit limit, cardholders can start using it immediately for bigger purchases than they could with many other cards for people with poor credit.

  • See if you Pre-Qualify in less than 60 seconds—without affecting your credit score. It's fast, easy, and secure.
  • Earn 1% cash back rewards on eligible gas, grocery purchases and mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV services. Terms apply.
  • This is a fully functional, unsecured credit card—not a debit card, prepaid card, or secured credit card with deposit requirements.
  • Credit One Bank evaluates every account for credit line increase opportunities. We'll let you know as soon as you're eligible for a higher credit line.
  • Take advantage of free online access to your Experian credit score and credit report summary so you can track the key factors impacting your credit health. Terms apply.
  • Zero Fraud Liability protects you if your card is ever lost or stolen. Rest easy knowing you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges.
  • Access your account easily from your computer, smartphone, or tablet at CreditOneBank.com or the Credit One Bank Mobile App. You can make payments, see recent transactions, and update your account preferences all at the click of a button.
  • Carry a card that makes you smile by choosing from over 20 unique card designs in Credit One Bank’s card gallery. A fee may apply.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 Minutes 17.99% to 23.99% Variable Yes 9.0/10

The Credit One Bank® Visa® With Free Credit Score Access helps users build credit by giving them free access to their Experian credit score and credit report summary. You can see what affects your credit score and adjust your behaviors accordingly, which may include paying bills on time.

The card pays cash back rewards for every eligible purchase made with the card, including gas, groceries, and mobile phone, internet, cable, and satellite TV services.

  • Prequalify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • 24/7 access to your account information, even on mobile
  • Card designs to fit your personality at no extra charge
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.2

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 24.9% Yes 9.0/10

The Milestone® Mastercard® is designed for subprime applicants with low credit scores who are considered a high credit risk. As such, no minimum credit score is needed for approval.

Its credit line is only $300 and can’t be increased. This instant credit card, like others aimed at people with poor credit, also charges an annual fee that is based on an applicant’s FICO score.

Secured Instant Approval Credit Cards

A secured card requires a deposit as collateral before receiving instant approval. When used responsibly, it can help people with bad credit rebuild their credit. It can also help people with no credit history establish a line of credit.

The credit limit is primarily based on the deposit amount. If a $300 deposit is required, then the credit limit will be $300. The security deposit is completely refundable after the account is closed or upgraded to an unsecured account.

  • Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Quick and Complete Online Application; No credit inquiry required!
  • Includes Free Real-Time Access to Your Credit Score and Ongoing Credit Monitoring powered by Experian
  • Full-Feature Platinum Mastercard® Secured Credit Card; Try our new Mobile App for Android users!
  • Good for Car Rental, Hotels; Anywhere Credit Cards Are Accepted!
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 -- $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Just Pay Off Your Balance and Receive Your Deposit Back at Any Time
  • 24/7 Online Access to Your Account
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI ** See Card Terms.
  • Get a fresh start! A discharged bankruptcy still in your credit bureau file will not cause you to be declined.
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★

3.0

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 19.99% (V) Yes 7.5/10

The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® approves applicants with any credit history or none at all. Credit limits for this secured Mastercard range from $200 to $2,000, based on the amount of a cardholder’s refundable security deposit.

Submitting a credit card application doesn’t hurt your credit score because no credit inquiry will be recorded on your credit report. You determine how much of a deposit you want to make on the card.

  • Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Quick and Complete Online Application; No credit inquiry required!
  • Includes Free Real-Time Access to Your Credit Score and Ongoing Credit Monitoring powered by Experian
  • Full-Feature Platinum Mastercard® Secured Credit Card; Try our new Mobile App for Android users!
  • Good for Car Rental, Hotels; Anywhere Credit Cards Are Accepted!
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 -- $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Just Pay Off Your Balance and Receive Your Deposit Back at Any Time
  • 24/7 Online Access to Your Account
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI ** See Card Terms.
  • Get a fresh start! A discharged bankruptcy still in your credit bureau file will not cause you to be declined.
  • Click for for official site, terms, and details.
★★★

3.0

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
8 minutes 9.99% (V) Yes 7.5/10

The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® is another type of secured Mastercard that doesn’t require a minimum credit score or credit history for approval.

The online application is quick and easy to fill out, and you can be quickly approved even if you have damaged credit or no credit history. The card has one of the lowest APRs for a secured card, which will lower your cost of credit if you carry a balance.

What is an Instant Approval Credit Card?

Instant approval isn’t always as instant as it sounds. An instant approval credit card may require a few more steps after you fill out the initial application.

Most unsecured credit cards offer instant prequalification, which requires you to provide some basic information about yourself. While not a final approval, prequalification is a good indicator that your application will be approved. Basic requirements for preapproval include:

  • Being 18 or older
  • Having a Social Security number
  • Providing your permanent address
  • Disclosing your gross monthly income and housings costs (rent or mortgage payments)

A hard pull on your credit report isn’t done in this early step, so your credit score won’t be affected. The card issuer may later ask for more detailed information about your finances so it can make a final decision, but processing this extra data should take less than a minute.

Approval can be faster when applying for a secured card account. The main requirement is that you make a cash security deposit as collateral, and a credit check may not be required.

Another version of an instant approval card is one in which an instant card number is given to you upon approval. You can reach out to the issuer directly to see whether this is an option. If you need access to your spending limit right away, you may also be able to request expedited shipping.

How Do I Qualify for an Unsecured Instant Approval Credit Card?

Qualifying for an unsecured instant approval credit card is easy. You fill out a short online form, which should only take a few minutes or less, and prequalification is usually done within a minute.

But that’s only a prequalification. You may still need to provide more information to the card issuer, such as verifying your income. Your credit score will also be checked.

Surge Prequalification Form

You can prequalify for most cards on the issuer’s website without affecting your credit score.

Some unsecured cards don’t require a credit history for approval, and being approved allows you to start building your credit profile. These cards will have basic features and low credit limits, but making timely payments on them can help build your credit score within six months. That can help make you eligible for better cards with more benefits and rewards.

What is the Easiest Credit Card To Get Approved For?

If you can afford a cash deposit, a secured credit card is the easiest kind of credit card to get approved for.

The deposit can be as low as $200 and is fully refundable when you cancel the card, minus any outstanding balance. If you don’t make a payment, the issuer will likely withdraw your missed payment amount from your deposit. If you continue to miss payments, the account will be closed.

Almost all secured cards set the credit limit at the cash deposit amount. If you come up with $500 cash, say, from a tax refund, you can send the cash to your secured card issuer and raise your credit limit. It’s kind of like using a debit card or a prepaid card, though the deposit is only used if you don’t make a payment on the amount due each month.

Unsecured cards can be a little more difficult to get, though the issuers we recommend all offer cards to people with bad credit. If you have fair credit to excellent credit, you should qualify for a card elsewhere that doesn’t have a high interest rate characteristic of cards for people with low credit scores.

Another easy type of credit card to be approved for is a store credit card. A store card is tied to a retailer, such as Target, Walmart, Apple, or Amazon, and can be approved in minutes in the store or online.

Department store clerks often ask customers at check-out whether they’d like to apply for a store credit card and get an immediate discount on their purchases. The cards can only be used at the retailer they’re tied to.

Can I Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit?

Yes. That’s the point of an instant approval card aimed at consumers with bad credit. The card issuers expect applicants to have bad credit, and make that clear on the credit card application.

The Milestone® Mastercard®, for example, doesn’t require a minimum credit score for approval. It even accepts applicants with bankruptcies.

The average Milestone cardholder reported a FICO credit score below 600, with more than one-third of reviewers reporting having a credit score below 550.

Milestone Cardholders Average Credit Score Graphic

The Milestone® Mastercard® has few cardholders with credit scores above 650, which makes sense for a card that’s meant to be a credit-rebuilding tool. With a score above 650 and good credit, consumers may be more likely to qualify for an entry-level prime credit card with better features and little or no fees.

Do I Need a Credit History to Get a Secured Credit Card?

No. Secured credit cards are meant for people with poor or no credit, so not having a credit history won’t be a problem.

More than 26 million Americans have no recorded credit history to generate a credit score, a status known as being credit invisible. Building a credit history and credit score through a secured card, which usually happens within six months of opening an account, will help the credit invisible.

After establishing a credit score, it will likely fall in the fair to good range. A bad credit score will only be issued if the card is used irresponsibly by missing or making late payments, or by using up most of the card’s credit limit.

Having a lot of recent negative factors on a credit report can take several months to years to repair. Some negative items stay on a credit report for seven to 10 years, but they’ll have less impact as they age. As new, positive information is reported to the credit bureaus, a credit score will gradually improve.

Eventually, you won’t worry when a credit check is made in your name.

Will I Have to Pay a Deposit to Open an Account?

For a secured card, yes, you’ll need to pay a deposit to open an account. The credit card is secured by your cash deposit, which is what the issuer requires to offset the risk it’s taking by giving a credit card to a consumer with a low credit score.

The deposit is refundable when you close the account, minus any outstanding balance or fees owed. Unsecured credit cards don’t require a deposit.

Secured vs Unsecured Chart

Paying a deposit generally makes obtaining the card much easier, and may not require a credit check for approval.

Will a Secured Credit Card Build My Credit Score?

Building credit is one of the main reasons to get a secured credit card. Most credit card companies report to the three major credit bureaus.

This is important because not every potential creditor uses the same credit report when performing a credit check to see whether you’re eligible for a loan or credit card. If the three major bureaus receive information from the new secured credit card you’re getting, then on-time payments and other credit report information from the card will be available to any future creditor.

Just as a secured card can help you build your credit score, it can also lower it if the card is mismanaged. Always pay your bill on time and keep your balance below 30% of the available limit. That means, if you have a credit limit of $300, never carry a balance above $90 on the card.

Pay for a small recurring bill, such as a Netflix or Spotify subscription, with the card and set up automatic payments so you’ll never miss a card payment. After a few months of this positive behavior being reported to the bureaus, you should have an improved credit score.

Can I Get a Business Credit Card With Bad Credit?

Operating a business can be difficult without a credit card. A bad credit score appearing during a credit check can make it harder to get a credit card, though not impossible.

Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit CardThe easiest type of business credit card to get with bad credit is a secured business credit card. One example is from the bank and credit card company Wells Fargo, which offers the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card. Credit lines can be as low as $500 and as high as $25,000, depending on how big of a secured deposit you want to make.

Using a secured business credit card responsibly by paying the credit card bill on time each month will help you rebuild or establish your credit as a business owner. After six months to a year of paying your bills on time and staying within your credit limit, you should be able to move on to an unsecured card and improve your credit score even more.

Your Best Options For Instant Approval Credit Cards

The best instant approval credit cards are aimed at people with bad credit and make it easy for them to apply and be approved for a line of credit.

But because a bad credit score is seen by credit card companies as a sign that you won’t pay your credit card bills, many of these cards charge interest rates of 25% or higher, fees to set up an account and maintain it each month, and an annual fee. And unsecured cards often provide a low initial credit limit.

Don’t expect to earn Delta Skymiles or other rewards with these cards. Expensive perks are usually given to people with excellent credit. Some cards have modest perks, however, including fraud protection and monthly reporting to each major credit bureau. Many cards don’t allow a balance transfer nor do they offer a 0% introductory APR.

Secured cards can be easier to get, requiring a deposit of $200 or more to open an account. The hope is that you can graduate to better credit cards by using these cards to build your credit and raise your score above 600. Once there, you should be able to get a better credit card with lower interest rates and fees, and more perks.

All of your hard work responsibly using your secured card will be worth the effort when you can get a better card with better terms.

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