Often when the time comes to search the internet for a credit card, it is for an immediate purpose. Maybe there has been a medical emergency, or something in the house has broken down, or a vehicle needs immediate repairs so it can take you to work. Or it could be smaller but just as important: needing to fill the gas tank or purchase groceries or pay the light bill.
Perhaps nothing so severe has taken place, but your current cards are less than ideal and you want minimum delay between closing one card and using the next. In any case, while looking at the abundant offers for plastic on the internet, instant approval credit cards can easily catch your eye. But what are they really?
The first cautionary word is that “instant” means different things to different providers. If you are offered a store credit card with instant approval, usually you can put charges on the card during that same trip. This is so the stores can encourage you to purchase big ticket items, taking advantage of promotional start up deals.
Online, however, “instant” sometimes means that you receive conditional approval – contingent on credit checks that may take weeks, followed by waiting for the physical card to arrive in the mail. Always read the fine print for any card offer, not only for instant approval credit cards.
A second note of warning is that too frequent requests for instant credit can have a negative effect on your overall credit score. While you may find constant reminders from advertisers to check your credit score to be tiresome, it is important to know your score at least roughly. The impact it has on credit card offers goes far beyond mere approval or denial.
If you have bad credit most cards may only grant you a secured account. This requires you to make a special account; the amount you deposit is the amount you can charge. This protects the bank in case you later cannot pay your bills. A bank that approves an unsecured application for someone with bad credit may use it as an opportunity to pile on the fees. This goes behind a high annual percentage rate, including shocking account start-up fees, late fees, and huge penalties for charging over your limit.
If you have good credit, then instant approval credit cards can work for you just as well as credit cards acquired by means of a longer application process. Just be sure the normal fees and percentage rates are acceptable to you, and that if you need to, you will have the ability to use the account at once without waiting for the post office to deliver your card.