Posted by Chuck on January 6, 2016
Credit Cards instant credit card number

Published on January 6th, 2016 | by Chuck

37

List of Credit Cards that Issue an Instant Card Number Upon Approval

A big expense comes up, and you want to use it as a way to meet a minimum spend…but you haven’t applied for the card yet.

Which credit card issuers will instantly issue the card number upon approval so that it can be used immediately for online purchases or at a vendor who is willing to accept the card number without a physical card?

Before breaking this issue down by card issuer, it’s important to bear in mind that getting the card number instantly will only happen if you get an automatic approval; if the application goes into pending and gets approved later, it’s unlikely that an agent will give you the card number over the phone.

Also, remember that many card issuers will expedite a new credit card, and it’s often possible to have the physical card at your doorstep in less than 48-hours, see Which Credit Card Issuers Offer Expedited Shipping? for more information.

Amex

  • Any Amex card may get an instant card number
  • Some co-branded Amex cards will get the card number only to be used at the co-brand location

The account number given out right away is the same number you’ll get in the mail, but the 4-digit code (and possibly expiration) is different. The system will ask you if you want a temporary number and will give it to you upon request.

Amex is the best about giving out card numbers instantly. In fact, they’ve even been known, occasionally, to give out hefty bonuses (automatically) if the system fails to offer the instant card number.

However, there isn’t a clear pattern as to when they do or don’t give out the account number right away. There are lots of conflicting data points, even for the exact same card, where sometimes they do offer the number and other times they don’t.

There are reports of just about every Amex card getting the account number instantly at the time of application (BCE, Everyday, SPG, Platinum, PRG, Delta, Hilton), and just as many reports indicating the reverse.

Also, some people report that for co-branded cards, they’ll issue the card number instantly for use only at the co-brand location. For example, the Hilton card only for use at Hilton, or the Delta card only for use at Delta.

Unclear if Amex business cards get this as well or if it’s limited to personal cards.

Bank of America

  • Alaska Airlines card often gives an instant card number

The only BofA card that’s commonly reported to get an instant card number is the Alaska Airlines card. Many have gotten an instant card number for Alaska while some have not.

Others report that all Bank of America cards will sometimes get an instant card number upon approval.

Barclaycard

  • Barclaycard does not offer instant card numbers

I’ve never seen a report for Barclaycard to offer an instant number and it probably does not exist.

BBVA

BBVA does not offer their card number instantly. However, I was told by a BBVA rep that it’s possible to get the card number by going into a physical branch and verifying your identity. This is very interesting for someone who applies right before the 5x promo and wants the card number right away for online purchases.

In practice, it’s reported that the folks at the branch won’t necessarily be willing to give out the card number.

Blispay 2% Card

Blispay gives out an instant card number to use until the physical card comes in the mail.

Chase

  • Chase does not offer instant card numbers

I’ve never seen a report for Chase to offer an instant number and it probably does not exist.

Citi

Based on my conversation with a Citi rep, they’ll sometimes offer an instant card number for two cards:

  • American Airlines
  • AT&T

Regarding the latter, I assume the logic is due to the fact that the AT&T card is especially aimed at online shoppers, making the card number more important than the physical card.

Discover

  • Discover does not offer instant card numbers

I’ve never seen a report for Discover to offer an instant number and it probably does not exist.

FNBO

A report that the MGM Resorts M life MasterCard gets printed out and issued instantly upon approval when you apply inside an MGM resort at the M life counter.

Synchrony

  • Ebates credit card
  • Paypal/eBay credit card will give a small credit line of $250, which can be used for Paypal purchases only (IIRC)

These two cards are known to give an instant number, probably because both are meant especially for online purchases.

USAA

USAA gives you an instant card number to use (card number, expiration, and 3-digit code). This has a maximum credit limit of $1,000 (increased when physical card arrives).

How it Works with Store Cards

Many stores offer their own branded credit card; either as a Visa/MC/Amex-issued card which can be used anywhere and more often they are for in-store use only.

When applying for a store credit card in-store or online, you’ll sometimes be able to use them immediately upon approval for that day’s purchases.

Even for future purchases, it may be possible to use it again in one of two ways:

  • Some stores may offer you a temporary card number to use. Dick Sporting does this (heard from PF Digest), and I’ve heard Target does this with their REDcard.
  • Some stores may allow you to use the card whenever you wish by verifying your personal info at the POS. Best Buy does this – if you don’t have your Best Buy store card handy, you input your info into the POS and make the purchase that way.
  • Cabela’s issues instantly a physical card when getting approved for their credit card in store (1).

Conclusion

If you want to get a credit card number instantly, prominent options would be: any Amex card, Alaska from BofA, American or AT&T from Citi.

As with everything else in life, YMMV, you may not always have success getting the number instantly. As noted above, you’re only likely to get the card number right away when getting an instant approval. Also, a Citi rep told me, that there may be other security factors, such as IP address, which determine whether the system will offer the instant card number.

Please let us know if you’ve had other experiences in this realm and we’ll add it to the post.

Further Reading: (1, 2, 34, 5, 6, 78, 9)



37 Responses to List of Credit Cards that Issue an Instant Card Number Upon Approval

  1. Paul says:

    Great content as always. You guys rock!

  2. keith says:

    Just got an AMEX card and card number did not appear upon approval.

    Called AMEX and they would not give me number, told to wait for card in mail.

    No mention of reward for card number not appearing.

  3. Sa says:

    That is always the case with me, having to do a big expense and no card ready to meet minimum spend. However, even when I did have the card/account number, i did not have the expiration date and security code to be able to use online. And yet you say it can be done. How? thanks for these articles by the way,

  4. Jack says:

    Responded to a Citi AAdvantage offer with instant approval but no virtual account number. I created an online account but it just gives an error. I called and got the run around from customer service and new accounts. They refused to expedite or to provide a VAN. I have a $3k bill due in two days that I wanted to use this card for. Any tips on dealing with Citi? I am thinking of just calling to cancel the card since they were so unfriendly over the phone.

  5. Jack says:

    It turns out that you must have a current bank account or another card with Citi to immediately receive a VAN. Already called Citi and closed the account. They didn’t even try to stop me. I immediately went to check out BoA’s offers. They provided me with a temp. account number with their Alaska Airlines card in less than 60 seconds. The current Jan 2016 offer is a $100 credit after $1k spend plus 25k miles including first checked bag free on their flights .

    • Chuck says:

      Did you hear this from Citi that you need an existing account to get the VAN?

      • Jack says:

        Yes, from the second of four people I spoke to at Citi. I believe it was from a tech support person with online accounts before I was transferred back to new accounts. I can see now why I shouldn’t have applied expecting to receive a VAN. I was already apprehensive about the card with the AA devaluation and dealing with Citi was the nail in the coffin for me. Amex, Chase, and BoA have all been willing to at least expedite a card once it was in their system.

        • AsianGlow says:

          Citi has nice signup offers, but their customer service is terrible. I’m sure their retention rate is horrible. I closed my Citigold after I got the bonus, then closed the account. They put a stop payment on my closeout check, because I never spoke with a Citi retention officer. Never again.

  6. Mike says:

    I am leaving here the info that Chase will give a credt card number at a branch, with valid photo ID. They will only give you the account number, but the exp date will 3 years and 0 months from your date of approval. The card will not be usable until the following day of approval (24 hours after approval)

    Also, BofA will give any card number over the phone within a few hours of approval – some CSRs will NOT offer this but some will. I have never failed calling several times and getting one that will. They will give you the exp date.

    • Red says:

      Also for Chase, if the card shows up in your online account, you will be able to get the full card number from software that accesses your account such as Quicken.

  7. Heather says:

    I was approved for the Amex EveryDay Card last night. I applied because I had read they issue numbers right away, and will expedite a card. I have expensive equipment that I need to replace right away and they are offering 0% financing for 12 months.

    I tried chat first, who told me to call 877-399-3083. The representative at this number did not even look up my account information. Just right away said that because I was approved online, the system does not allow them to access card information and there was no way they could expedite the card. I would just have to wait the 7-10 days.

  8. Pingback: Credit Cards Issue Number Mastercard | New Credit Card

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  10. mr3u33lez says:

    Amex Delta Gold gives you the number ass well as Expedia credit card and Orbitz …. Some other cards saves on file after approval and ready to use are Walmart amazon.com Amtrak

  11. don_alberto says:

    CSR…

  12. Elias says:

    Amex everyday here. Chat rep says I have virtual account number and to call amex. Called amex they said this is only for delta cards and not mine. She didnt even see my account and she didnt wanted. Phone rep was from India, probably too busy doing customer service for best buy, sears, and all others at the same time.

  13. Jelena says:

    When I applied for Amex BCP (not targeted) they gave me an instant card number. Just got approved instantly for Amex SPG biz, and AMEX BGR and neither times was I given an instant card number. Reps said no way they can give me one and no rewards for not being offered one. Bummed I need these to pay down student loan debt before they take away the ability on the first.

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  15. Carl says:

    SPG Personal (the new 35k link, and yes, I used a referral) did provide me with an instant card number!

  16. Lady in red says:

    Cabelas Store offers instant physical credit Visa credit card upon approval at the physical store. I applied, within 5 minutes able to have card in hand ready to use anywhere VISA is accepted.

  17. Tom says:

    Anyone a DP on US Bank cards?

  18. AsianGlow says:

    February 2017:
    Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles via Delta.com – YES during checkout w/ online instant approval.

    Amex EveryDay Card via AmericanExpress.com – NO option for an instant temporary card number w/ online instant approval.

  19. AsianGlow says:

    August 2016:
    MGM Resorts M life MasterCard – YES applied inside an MGM resort at the M life counter, instantly approved and provided a printed physical, plastic card.

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