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What are Instant Credit Cards?

Aug 17, 2007
Apply for a credit card online today! Instant approval! Gone are the days of sending for a credit card application and sending it off in the snail mail, then waiting weeks for an approval decision. Thanks to the internet and online credit approval systems, all it takes to get instant credit anywhere, anytime is good to excellent credit.

Before you go storming the internet to get YOUR instant credit card, though, there are a few things that you should know.

An instant credit card approval offer is designed specifically for those who already have established credit, and who keep their credit records spotless. If you're in that segment of the population, you can apply for a credit card online and have an approval within less than five minutes. Once you're approved for credit, you'll be issued a card number which you can use to shop online or by phone even before your plastic card arrives in the mail.

If your credit record has missed or late payments on it, or if your income doesn't fall within the ideal guidelines, then the issuing company will treat it as a regular application, doing a full credit check before making a decision for approval and rejection. The whole instant approval process makes it far too easy to apply for credit cards on impulse without considering the consequences, or even comparison shopping to find the best deal on a credit card.

And in fact, many people will wave you along and even nudge you toward applying for instant credit with promises of big discounts if you make a purchase today or a free gift for filling out our application. After all, they'll tell you, what can it hurt? All they can say is no! And they just MIGHT say yes.

The unfortunate answer to 'what can it hurt?' is 'your credit'. Here's why. Every time you apply for a credit card, the issuing company checks your credit score. With instant card approvals, they can run an abbreviated check, but it still shows up on your credit record that you applied for credit. Even if you're not instantly approved, even if the end result is that you're denied credit, the credit reporting bureaus note on your record that you applied for a card. Too many applications for credit cards signal one of two things to a lending company - either you're shopping around for credit because you're in financial trouble, or you don't take credit seriously and responsibly.

Does that mean that you shouldn't apply for instant credit online? Not at all! It simply means that you should take the application seriously enough to do it the right way.

1. Know your credit score. Knowing your credit score can help you choose a credit card that's aimed at people in your general credit range and avoid bunging up your credit record with applications for cards you'd no hope of getting in the first place.

2. Do your research. Don't apply for just any instant credit card offer. Compare instant credit offers and apply for one that suits your spending style and your chances of being accepted.

3. Before you apply, spruce up your credit. I know, I know - that seems to defeat the whole purpose of getting an instant decision. Remember though, just because you want THEM to make an instant decision doesn't mean that you should. If you take the time to do some quick credit repair, you'll enhance your chances of being approved online in just a few minutes.
About the Author
Jon Francis has been involved with finance for many years! With an in-depth knowledge of the credit card UK market help helps others get the best from a credit card.
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