[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
You’ve found the perfect credit card and have been approved, but now the wait begins for it to actually arrive in the mail. Perhaps you are in a hurry to earn a great sign-up bonus, or you just want to utilize its travel benefits on your next trip, so it’s important to have an idea of when you can expect your card.
Recently, Chase introduced its new Sapphire Reserve card to such tremendous demand that it quickly ran out of its signature metal cards and started shipping plain old plastic ones to new applicants. It even notified some account holders to expect a delay in receiving their cards. When can you expect to receive your new card?
The Steps It Takes to Get a New Credit Card
The first step to getting a credit card is applying for a new account. Once your application is submitted, it may be approved instantly, or it may be listed as “pending” for several days or more before a decision is made. Once approved, an account is opened and the bank orders a card to be personalized and mailed to you. The bank itself doesn’t create the card, it contracts this process out to companies that specialize in printing payment cards.
While many credit cards are already pre-printed, it may take a day or two for your card to be personalized with your name and account number before it is mailed to you. Most credit cards are delivered in nondescript envelopes that arrive in the regular mail, which can take seven to 10 days for delivery. However, some premium credit cards are sent out via overnight parcel services such as UPS and FedEx, so you might receive your new card in just a few days.
Ways You Can Speed Up the Process
If you are in a hurry to get ahold of your new credit card, there are some things you can do help the process move along. First, make sure your application is considered immediately. If your online application isn’t instantly approved, contact the card issuer and ask for decision over the phone. And even if your card is approved online, you can still call the card issuer and request expedited shipping. Not all card issuers will offer this service, but it can’t hurt to ask.
Benefits You Can Use Before Receiving the Card
A credit card is not just a physical object, it’s a financial instrument that is created when your application is approved and an account is opened. And while you will need to wait until you have your card in-hand to make most purchases, there are some benefits you can request soon after your account is approved.
For example, cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Platinum (you can read our review here) offer elite status benefits with hotel and rental car programs that you can request online immediately after your application is approved. These cards also offer Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, and new account holders do not need to wait for their card to arrive before requesting their Priority Pass membership. (Check out our expert guide to the best rewards credit cards.)
In addition, Bank of America and Citi both offer temporary account numbers you can use to make purchases. These numbers can be ordered online once your account is opened and used to make purchases before you receive your card. (Full Disclosure: Citibank, as well as Chase and American Express, advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
It’s never fun to wait for anything you order through the mail, including a credit card. By taking steps to speed up the process, and using some of the cardholder benefits that are immediately available, you can enjoy your new credit card sooner than you may have thought.
Remember, it’s always a good idea to see where your credit stands before applying for any new credit card. You don’t want to apply for a card you don’t qualify for only to be turned down and take a ding to your credit for the inquiry. You can check two of your credit scores for free, updated every 30 days, on Credit.com.
At publishing time, the American Express Platinum card is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.