Are there credit cards, as for online shopping only, that one can apply to online and get the card number immediately, without waiting for a physical card to arrive via snail-mail?

  • I don't know for sure, but I doubt it. Most credit cards require you to activate the account by entering the number, CVV, and some personal data like SSN digits, in order to verify that the correct person received the correct physical card.
    – BrenBarn
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 19:55
  • It may help if you include what you are trying to purchase. Many stores, airlines, and hotels partner with credit card providers and allow for this type of instant use. Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


Most card issuers will not offer "instant credit", because it increases the risks from fraud; requiring both a delay of several days and requiring you to retrieve the card from the mailing address makes fraud less beneficial and more difficult.

Many retailers, however, do give instant credit; for example, Amazon.com offers instant credit on purchases on Amazon.com if you get their card. These have less risk of fraud (due to some of the same reasons as above - you don't get your stuff instantly, and you have to have a verifiable mailing address). There is also more benefit to the retailer (you're more likely to spend money at their store if you get their card), so they're willing to take a bit more risk of fraud.

  • I did that with Sears, many years ago, when I didn't have the cash on hand for a repair I needed... so, yeah, I think that's the closest you're likely to come.
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 4:51

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