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Instant Approval or 7 Days Approval?

How does the approval process happen when you apply for a credit card?

When you apply online for a credit card, how long does it take to be approved? How does the approval process work? Here is what happens. Once you have filled up the necessary information (like SSN, household income etc) and pressed the apply or submit button, your credit report will be pulled by the credit card issuers. Which one is pulled depends on the issuer and your location. Then there could be three outcomes.

Instant Approval - You could be approved instantly. In your credit report score is good and there is nothing negative that the issuer can find from their proprietary information, you could be approved instantly. All major issuers like Discover, Citi and American Express can approve you immediately. You will simply be directed to a page where it says that you are approved. But here is the catch, being approved instantly does not mean that you get your card immediately. You will probably receive you credit card in the mail within 7 to 10 business days. You will then have to activate the card online or by calling the number provided on the little sticker that is attached to your card. For you to get approved instantly, your credit score not only has to be good, but there should be no negative remarks like recent late payment in your credit reports.

Notified in 3 to 7 days - If your application needs further investigation, you will get a note (from the website and your email) saying that you will be notified of their decision in 3 to 7 days. The reason could be due to them requiring more investigation of your credit situation. There could be a variety of reasons why you are not approved immediately. It could be that your credit score is too low, or your profile is considered too risky. It could also be that you have negative items in your credit report.

Another reason could also be that you have applied for too many credit cards recently and it shows up as a red flag in the issuers' computer systems. It could very well be that you have applied for too many of their cards too soon (perhaps to take advantage of their sign up bonus).

You Many Be Declined - If you are declined, you will also be notified. The issuer will then inform you that you could receive a free credit report that they pulled. It is a chance for you to check if there are any errors. You could also called the issuers for reconsideration if you feel the reason is due to things like you have been churning their cards!