*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
This article was last updated Sep 30, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
Applying for a new credit card can be exciting. There’s the prospect of rewards, bonuses, intro 0% APR periods and other perks that make card membership favorable.
Many credit card applications brag about fast decisions, sometimes in as little as 30 seconds, but that’s not always the case. No two applicants are the same, so one may receive an instant decision while another may have to wait several days.
If you’ve applied for a credit card but received a notice saying your application is under further review or pending, it can be frustrating. No one wants to hit a bump in the road when they need extended buying power or want to take advantage of an introductory interest-free financing period to buy high-cost items.
We’ll explain why you may not receive instant approval on a credit card application and provide steps you can take that may speed up the process.
In this post:
- What ‘application pending’ and ‘under further review’ mean
- Why your application may need further review
- What to do if your application is pending
- How about an instant approval card instead?
- The bottom line
If you’ve been fortunate enough to be immediately approved for a credit card, learn what happens when you open a credit card account.
What ‘application pending’ and ‘under further review’ mean
If you don’t receive an instant decision on your credit card application, don’t jump to the conclusion that your application has been denied. “application pending” and “under further review” mean the card issuer hasn’t approved or denied your application yet. The issuer is still reviewing your application so that it can make a decision.
Why your application may need further review
You may wonder why a card issuer needs to further review your application. Here are a few possible reasons:
- Recent credit inquiries. If you’ve applied for several credit cards within a short period of time, you’ll have multiple inquiries on your credit report. The card issuer may want to take a closer look into the recent inquiries.
- Verify income and personal information. While income doesn’t impact your credit score, it does affect new credit applications. Issuers look at your debt-to-income ratio — all your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income — to decide if you’re able to repay debt. Issuers may also need more time to review other personal information listed on your application.
- Mistakes on your application. When you submitted your application, you may have made a typo, which can delay the card issuer’s verification process. If that’s the case, look out for a request from the card issuer for additional documentation, like your Social Security card or a copy of your driver’s license.
- Overflow of applications. Sometimes card issuers receive numerous applications as a result of limited-time offers and bonuses. The card issuer may need more time to process all the applications, causing a delay.
- You forgot to unfreeze your credit reports before you applied. If you have taken steps to freeze your credit reports with the big three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), you must unfreeze them before applying for a credit loan or other loan to allow the issuer to access them. Know that you can set up a time frame of a couple days or weeks before the freeze is reinstituted.
What to do if your application is pending
While it largely may be out of your hands to speed up the card issuer’s decision process, a few actions may help:
- Call customer service. Pick up the phone and dial customer service to check the status of your application. You can inquire about the reasons your application is pending and see if you can provide additional information or documentation. This may speed up the decision process and remedy any mistakes you may have made on your application.
- Monitor your email. The card issuer may reach out with additional questions or requests for documentation. It’s important that you regularly check your email and be prompt with providing any requested information. Also be sure to check your spam folder.
How about an instant approval card instead?
Instead of waiting (sometimes up to several days) to learn whether your credit card application has been approved or denied, you could try a credit card that provides instant approval. With a credit card offer that provides instant approval, you’ll receive an immediate decision on the status of your credit card application – usually within minutes or even seconds.
If you are interested in a card that provides instant approval, there are several to consider. Just keep in mind that these offers are typically designed for individuals with bad or limited credit.
First PREMIER® Bank Credit Card
According to First Premier Bank’s website, you can receive an application response for the First PREMIER® Bank Credit Card immediately. The card, which is designed for users with less-than-perfect credit, does not require a deposit. However, it comes with several fees, including a $95 one-time program fee, then annual and monthly fees that vary by your credit limit (program fee is waived if you fund a security deposit). Additionally, since the card has a high purchase APR of 36% fixed, you’ll want to pay your balance off in full each month whenever possible.
Total VISA® Credit Card
The Total VISA® Credit Card’s site states that, after completing a short application, you will receive a response online in seconds.
Get a Response in Seconds
Reports to all Three Major Credit Bureaus
- Checking Account Required
- Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
- A genuine Visa credit card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
- Manageable monthly payments
- $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
- Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
See additional details for Total VISA® Credit Card
Read: Best store credit cards
The bottom line
After applying for a credit card, waiting to receive approval so you can start earning rewards and take advantage of card perks can be nerve-wracking. However, there are steps you can take in advance to help reduce the chance that your application will need further review. For example, you should avoid applying for several credit cards in a short period of time. Also, you should carefully review your application for mistakes prior to submitting it.
If you have less than perfect credit, you may opt for a credit card that offers instant approval. However, since instant approval cards often come with high APRs and fees, they aren’t always the best choice.