How long does it take to get a credit card?

By   |   Verified by Debbie Duncan   |   Updated 16th February 2022

  • Understand what happens after applying for a credit card.
  • Learn the difference between instant and conditional approval of a credit card.
  • Compare credit card providers and their approval and dispatch times.

What happens after your application is submitted and how long before you get your credit card? This usually depends on the documentation required by the banks and their various approval processes.

Some banks offer instant approvals and conditional approvals, which means that you will receive an automated verdict on your application after 60 seconds. This approval is conditional. If all your supporting documents are in order, then the credit card application will be approved and mailed to you. But, how long will this take?

Read on to find out.

Check what the latest offers are before you apply. Compare credit cards with Finty.

What happens after I have applied for a credit card?

Once you have applied for a credit card, the credit card issuer will evaluate your credit score and current financial standing. Based on these two factors, the credit card issuer will decide whether you are eligible for the credit card.

Once your eligibility has been verified by the card issuer, they will allocate a credit limit based on your credit score and finances.

You could gain conditional acceptance for the card within 60 seconds of filing an online application if you meet all of the main application conditions.

If you don't, you might get a call or an email from the credit card company asking for more information or documentation.

You may have to upload supporting documentation to complete the application process.

You will get your card sooner if you upload the documents as early as possible. You would need to upload the following:

  • A copy of your passport or driver licence
  • Payslips from the past few months
  • Bank statements from the previous few months
  • Your most recent tax assessment notice or PAYG summary
  • A letter from your employer confirming your employment

What is a conditionally approved credit card application?

The credit issuer doesn’t entirely approve conditionally approved credit card applications. Once you send in your credit application, you receive a response within 60 seconds confirming whether or not you qualify for a credit card.

This system is used to filter applicants before moving on to the next step of requesting supporting documents. They will look at your employment status, bank accounts, and your current debts.

Providing all your documentation meets the criteria set out by the credit issuer, you will receive full approval for your credit card application and your card will be mailed to you.

When will I get my credit card?

The following table compares credit card application waiting times of different credit issuers and banks.

IssuerMinimum approval timeMaximum approval timeMaximum card despatch time
American ExpressInstant10 days14 days
ANZInstant5 days5 days
Australian Military BankInstant1 day5 days
Auswide Bank1 day1 day1 day
B&E Personal Banking2 days2 days7 days
Bank Australia2 days2 days2 days
Bank of MelbourneInstant1 day2 days
BankSAInstant1 day2 days
BankVic1 day1 day5 days
BankwestInstant2 days2 days
bcu2 hours12 hours10 days
Bendigo Bank1 day5 days1 day
Beyond Bank1 day1 day3 days
BOQ5 days5 days5 days
Citi5 days5 days1 day
ColesInstantInstant3 days
CommBankInstantSame day1 day
Community First Credit Union2 days2 days5 days
CUA1 day1 day7 days
Defence Bank4 hours4 hours7 days
ECU Australia2 days2 days2 days
First Option Credit Union1 day1 day10 days
G&C Mutual Bank1 day1 day5 days
Heritage Bank1 day1 day1 day
Holiday Coast Credit UnionSame day1 daySame day
Horizon Credit UnionSame day1 day5 days
HSBCSame day5 days2 days
Hume BankSame day1 day3 days
Hunter United1 day1 day5 days
IMB1 day1 day1 day
Intech Credit Union1 day1 day5 days
JetstarSame daySame day1 day
Latitude Financial ServicesInstant5 days7 days
Macquarie BankSame day2 days1 day
Macquarie Credit Union2 days2 days7 days
ME Bank2 days2 days2 days
MyState1 day1 day1 day
NAB2 days5 daysSame day
Newcastle Permanent2 days3 days1 day
Northern Inland Credit Union1 day1 day10 days
P&N Bank4 hours4 hours5 days
People’s Choice Credit Union1 day1 day1 day
Police Bank2 days2 days1 day
Qantas Money5 days5 days1 day
QBANK1 day1 day2 days
QT Mutual Bank1 day1 day1 day
Qudos Bank2 days2 days5 days
Queenslanders Credit Union1 day1 day1 day
SCU1 day1 day10 days
Select Encompass Credit UnionSame day1 day4 days
SERVICE ONE Alliance Bank1 day1 day2 days
St.George BankSame day1 day2 days
Summerland Credit Union2 days2 days2 days
Suncorp BankSame day3 days1 day
Teachers Mutual BankSame day1 day10 days
UniBankSame day1 day10 days
Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank1 day1 day5 days
Virgin Money2 days7 days2 days
WestpacInstant1 day2 days
Woolworths Employees Credit UnionInstant1 day5 days

What are instant approval credit cards?

Instant credit card approval streamlines the credit application process for those who want their credit cards quickly. When you apply for a credit card online, the credit issuer performs a preliminary credit check and sends an automated response within a few minutes.

This saves plenty of time in the process because once you have been conditionally accepted, you can proceed almost immediately by uploading your supporting documents.

Generally, instant credit cards are only for those with high credit scores since that is the deciding factor for conditional approval. If your credit score isn’t high enough, you need to improve it for instant approval.

Otherwise, you can also go the general route of applying for a credit card. Only certain banks offer instant credit cards.

Are there credit cards with immediate access after approval?

Several banks now offer virtual credit cards that are available immediately after your application has been approved. This is how it works.

  • After applying, the bank decides whether or not to approve your application.
  • Immediately after approval, a virtual card is made available in the bank's app or online banking.
  • You can add the card to your phone's digital wallet, e.g. Apple Pay or Google Pay, and start using it.
  • The physical card — if there is one — will arrive several days later.

You can compare credit cards with immediate access here.

Can you use a credit card number without a physical card?

You can use a credit card number without the card, especially for electronic payments. However, you will also need to add other card details, such as the cardholder’s name, expiry date, and the card verification value (CVV) number.

If you go to the store and forget your credit card, you might be able to use your credit card number and a form of identification. However, this is not advised because you should avoid giving anyone your credit card information. In this instance, it is best to use your physical card.

Are credit cards valid if they are not signed?

Most credit card companies, such as Visa, consider unsigned credit cards as invalid. Signing your credit card is a necessary security precaution if your card is stolen.

Traders need to check that your signature matches the signature on the till slip. Merchants aren’t required to process a payment with an unsigned card. Therefore, it is best to sign your credit card.

The bottom line

Applying for a credit card is a relatively straightforward process. You should have no problems getting a credit card if you have a decent credit score and have all your supporting documents in order.

If you want instant approval, you may require a higher credit score. Overall, getting a credit card is exciting as it gives you some financial freedom and the opportunity to improve your credit score.