List of Credit Cards that Issue an Instant Card Number Upon Approval (2021 Update)

A big expense comes up, and you want to charge it on a credit card…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.

Alliant

Alliant does not currently offer instant credit card numbers, it’s something they are currently looking into.

American Express

  • Any Amex card can get an instant card number immediately upon approval. They even email you a link where you can continuously view your instant card number if you request one (1). You can also login and go to this link to get the instant card number after the fact (1).
  • Business cards more often don’t get the instant card number. (1, 2) Personal cards usually do.
  • 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 e-mail it to you on request (it e-mails a secure link where the card number can be viewed). American Express won’t give you the temporary card number over the phone.

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, not everyone always sees the instant card number option, likely based on various security factors.

Another trick for using an Amex card before receiving the physical card is this: if the card shows up in your Amex app, you can try adding it to Apple Pay without even knowing the card number. (Seems they rolled out a feature specifically to allow the card to be added to Apple Pay immediately – I assume it’s found at the time of card approval an option to add to Apple Pay.) Additionally, you can use Amex Checkout online at merchants who accept that form of payment.

Apple – Goldman Sachs

The Apple credit card issued by Goldman Sachs gives you instant ability to use the card for purchases from within Apple Pay.

Bank of America

  • Alaska Airlines card and Air France/KLM card and Amtrak card often give an instant card number. However, some readers report that these temporary cards can only be used for purchases on that airline, not elsewhere.

All other cards typically do not get access to an instant card number. Occasionally it might be possible to add the card to your mobile wallet from within the Bank of America mobile app; this works specifically when applying for the card from within the Bank of America app (1, 2).

Barclaycard

  • Barclaycard does not offer instant card numbers.
  • Barclay airline cards offer an instant card number only for use within that airline.

Bilt

The Bilt Rewards card offers an instant card number upon approval which can be found in the app.

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

Capital One

Some report getting an instant card number from Capital One. Even if not, everyone should be able to get an instant card number after logging in on the web or in app (1, 2). You can also connect your Capital One card to PayPal via the login and use it that way (1).

Chase

  • Chase generally does not offer instant card numbers.
  • You can add any Chase card to your mobile wallet like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay and use it instantly. (our original post on this)

A few specific cards:

  • The Chase Starbucks card instantly makes the new card available virtually, but only to load your Starbucks app, not for use elsewhere.
  • The Chase Amazon card becomes available instantly for use on Amazon (1). Again, you should be able to add it to your mobile wallet for use outside Amazon as well (1).
  • Other cobrands such as Southwest, Marriott, United, British, Disney might work for that specific partner.

Citi

You’ll sometimes be offered an instant card number for three cards:

  • Custom Cash (10% of your credit limit, subject to a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $1,000; usable for 10 days)
  • American Airlines
  • AT&T

Regarding the AT&T card, 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. (See also this comment.)

  • The Costco card can also get an instant card number, see Costco (below).

Costco Credit Card

The Costco credit card does get an instant card issued, only when you apply in a Costco store. They’ll print out a temporary card number/bar code right at the desk and you’ll be able to use that at checkout. (1)

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.

Final

Final is a company that specializes in offering unique card numbers under one account. They also issue a card number instantly upon approval so you don’t need to wait for the physical card to come in the mail to start using it.

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.

HSBC

HSBC will give you a credit card number after approval, unfortunately they don’t give you a CVV2 number or the expiry date so it’s largely useless.

Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU)

Reader Jason reports getting a virtual credit card number via email around 24 hours after approval from NFCU. Not sure if they always send this or it’s YMMV.

SoFi

SoFi offers an instant credit card number upon approval. (1)

Synchrony

  • Ebates credit card
  • Paypal/eBay 3/2/1 credit card will give a small credit line of $250, which can be used for Paypal purchases only (IIRC)
  • Paypal 2% cash back credit card will give an instant line or credit (probably a smaller one)

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).

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank does not typically offer instant card numbers; see this post for specific instances where they do. (U.S. Bank card number can typically be visible in your online login, but only after the card is activated.)

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo does not offer the card number instantly.

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 often be able to use them immediately upon approval for that day’s purchases.

For future purchases as well it may be possible to use, even before getting the physical card:

  • 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. Same with Kohl’s.
  • Cabela’s issues instantly a physical card when getting approved for their credit card in store (1).
  • Walmart Capital One card is available instantly for use (1)
  • Also, check out this list from ProudMoney for a list of many store cards and whether they offer the ability to use instantly.

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.

It’s worth noting that with the emergence of mobile wallets, once you have the card number, you can add it to your mobile wallet and use it in stores as well. 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)

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Tyler
Tyler

Can confirm, for Citi Custom Cash, received $700 temporary limit on $6300 limit card instantly. Total of 11.1%. of my limit.

Starr
Starr

Capital one is offering $250 Bank bonus for 2/$250 direct deposits.i think it ends the 17th. Approved online.

William Charles

Lin?

DanV
DanV

For Navy Federal Credit Union, confirming what a prior commenter stated. I received online approval for the Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Credit Card on Aug. 4, 2021, and then I received an email the next day letting me get my credit card number, expiration date and 3 digit security code right away online. (The promotion was to earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days of opening an account, plus 1 year free Amazon prime, $49 annual fee not waived).

Woori
Woori

Citi Custom Cash offers Instant Number – and it works! (Amazing, Citi IT got something right)
If you signed in to your account when you applied, and you are approved, you will see this page:

*Citi Custom Cash Card*

Instant Access to a Portion of My Credit Limit
Start using a portion of your new credit limit right away!

(All fields are required unless specified optional)

Start using a portion of your new credit line right away!
You can use your account immediately for purchases.

Use up to 10% (subject to a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $1,000) of your credit limit for the next 10 days while you wait to receive your new credit card in the mail.

To receive Instant Access, you’ll need to provide the code we send to you and, once verified, you can use your card information to make immediate online purchases with:

Your new credit card number
A temporary expiration date (valid for up to 10 days)
A temporary security code (valid for up to 10 days)
You can also add your new card information to Apple Pay and start using it for in-store purchases. When you activate your card, the information in Apple Pay will automatically update to the expiration date and security code on your card.

When you receive and activate your physical card, you’ll have access to your total credit limit. The available credit amount will take into consideration any purchases made with this portion of your credit limit available for immediate use, and any ACH or balance transfer amounts you’ve requested.

PLEASE NOTE: If your balance transfer request(s) plus the portion of your credit limit that you have used exceeds your total credit limit, we will not process your balance transfer request.

Instant Auth Options
Get card now!
No thanks, I will wait for my card in the mail.

Copyright ©2021 Citigroup Inc.

Arnaud
Arnaud

BoA also give instant number for the Air France/KLM card

Troy
Troy

Chuck William Charles I can confirm that this is correct – just signed up for the Air France/KLM card today because the Mint deal popped up for Thursday and I was out of cards to do minimum spend on. Instant approval and able to print a temporary card number/expiration that is for the full limit I’m approved for.

Troy
Troy

Chuck William Charles Please update to state temp card ONLY works on Air France/KLM purchases.
BofA never fails to disappoint me…they specified NOWHERE that the temporary card was only usable on AF/KLM at any point, but I decided to do an Amazon reload to ensure it was working today before mint goes live tomorrow…and it’s not working. Called in to see if it was a fraud hold and to do a large purchase notification and was told the temp card is not usable on anything besides AF/KLM. Sorry for this everybody. I cross-posted this in the Mint thread also.

Kent
Kent

Under Synchrony, I’m guessing the Ebates card should be updated to Rakuten card.

Sid
Sid

Was just approved for a Citi AAdvantage card. When I called the rep to ask if it was possible to get a temporary number, they said their system updated and they are no longer able to do this. Not sure if I got unlucky with the representative but will try again in a day or so.

Jason
Jason

Cardless makes this available in the iPhone app immediately after approval. It is mentioned on the Cardless posts and I also found it to be the case

Harry
Harry

Data point for Bank of America Customized Cash rewards. I applied the card with BOA app. Upon approval I was immediately able to add the card to Apple Pay.

DWT
DWT

Data point for a new Barclays JetBlue card– upon approval I was able to log into the app and add the card to ApplePay. (It didn’t work right away, but it did work a few hours after I was approved.) Now I already had a Barclays login from having previous cards with them (though no active card at the time of this app), so I was able to log in using my old credentials and saw my new card in my profile upon approval– not sure if this will work for people who don’t have existing logins.

DWT
DWT

Forgot to add– at the Apple Wallet verification stage I had to call in for verification (though I seem to recall having to do this with Barclays in the past, for cards already in my possession). The Agent was actually surprised when I mentioned I hadn’t received the physical card yet and said he wasn’t sure it would work, but would try anyway– and yes, it was successfully verified and I was able to start using it.