Credit Cards Offering Instant Card Numbers So You Can Start Spending Immediately Credit Cards Offering Instant Card Numbers So You Can Start Spending Immediately

Credit Cards Offering Instant Card Numbers So You Can Start Spending Immediately

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Offers for Bank of America cards mentioned in this post have been updated as of 09/27/2023

When applying for a new credit card, the excitement that comes from getting a “Congratulations, you've been approved!” message can be quickly tempered when you realize that you have to wait 7–10 business days for that new card to arrive in the mail. That time also cuts into ticking clock for earning your new card's sign-up bonus. Thankfully, some credit cards offer an instant card number, allowing you to start spending right away — even before you receive the physical card. Let's look at the options you have.

American Express

American Express is by far the easiest bank when it comes to getting an instant card number. All cardmembers receive immediate access to their card number upon approval, assuming Amex can verify your identity. Also, it's wise to take a screenshot or write the number down since you may not be able to see the number again without requesting it from Amex.

Interestingly, the rules vary slightly for co-branded Amex cards. In this case, while you'll still receive an instant card number, you might only be able to use it for the brand it's good for. For example, your new Hilton credit card might be usable for Hilton purchases only.

It's also important to note that the three-digit security code will likely be different from your physical card, so only use the card for one-time purchases. Your payment may be denied at a further date if you link your new card to ongoing payments with an invalid security code.

Related: All of the Cards That Earn American Express Membership Rewards Points

a customer pays by mobile wallet inside a small shop
Credit: Christiann Koepke/Unsplash

Bank of America

Generally speaking, the only Bank of America card that offers an instant card number is the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card. However, if you already have a Bank of America account, there's a chance you may be able to access your newly-approved credit card number through the Bank of America mobile app. Your results may vary.


Barclays does not offer any instant card numbers. Instead, several co-branded Barclays cards allow you to access your credit line immediately after approval when using it to make reservations with the associated brand — assuming your application occurred on the associated brand's website through an offer during the reservation process. Some examples include:

You can apply for these cards during the checkout process, then use the credit limit to pay for the purchase. You will not be able to use the card for any other purchases until you receive the physical card in the mail.

Capital One

Similarly to Bank of America, the only option to instantly access your card number is through the Capital One mobile app if you already have an existing account. Again, your results may vary.

It's worth pointing out that these instant credit card numbers are different from Capital One offering virtual card numbers as an ongoing benefit for customers.


Chase makes it quite easy for a large number of cardholders to instantly access their new card. This is done through the Chase mobile app by adding a new card to your digital wallet, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal. This can be done with many popular cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve®, as well as co-branded cards like The World of Hyatt Credit Card and United℠ Explorer Card.

Here's how to do it:

First, log on to your Chase account in the mobile app. Then, select the card you'd like to add to your mobile wallet. Next, click “Manage account.”

screenshot of Chase card management in the mobile app with "manage account" highlighted

From here, select “Digital wallets.”

screenshot of Chase card management in the mobile app with "digital wallets" highlighted

Finally, select the wallet you'd like to add your card to, then select the card from the list and hit “add.”

Screenshot of Chase mobile app showing waht digital wallets are available for your new card

Unfortunately, there's a decent list of cards you can't use instantly with digital wallets.

There are some card exclusions when trying to add cards to your digital wallet through the Chase app. All cards on the Mastercard network are excluded, along with a few Visa cards, plus all small business cards. These cards are excluded:

Related: Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the Best Beginner's Travel Rewards Card


Several Citi cards offer you to instantly view your card number upon approval, including the Citi Custom Cash® Card, and the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. It's technically not available with small business cards or American Airlines credit cards, unfortunately, but we've seen some readers get an instant card number with the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®. Note: The instant credit card number is only available if your application is approved instantly and if Citi is able to verify your identity.

Be ready to take a screenshot or write down the number, because you have one chance at it. If you don't take note of it, you'll have to wait until your card arrives in the mail. Additionally, you are limited in the amount of credit usage allowed without your physical card.

Readers have also noted that they were limited to only using a travel card's numbers for travel purchases until they got their physical card in the mail. One caveat, though: the Citi Costco gives you a temporary barcode to use in-store, and this gives you full access to your card when making purchases.


Discover does not offer instant card numbers on any of its cards.

Goldman Sachs

The Apple Card from Goldman Sachs can be used immediately in Apple Pay upon card approval.


Synchrony issues both the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® and a Venmo Credit Card. These cards can be used immediately upon approval through their respective apps.

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank offers instant card numbers for its credit cards, as long as your identity can be verified by the bank. This applies across the spectrum, from the premium U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card to the $0-annual-fee U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card.

overhead view of a person paying by mobile wallet at a cash register; some credit cards offer an instant card number that you can use with mobile wallets before your physical card arrives
Credit: Blake Wisz/Unsplash

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo does not offer instant card numbers, with just one exception: The Bilt Mastercard®. This card is a fan favorite because it has a $0 annual fee and allows you to earn points while paying rent with no fees involved. Upon approval, you can access your card number directly in the Bilt mobile app.

Why Would You Want an Instant Credit Card Number?

There are a few reasons why you might want to access your card number immediately after approval.

First, immediate purchasing power. Most credit cards offer some kind of sign-up bonus, and this bonus has a time limit. It's usually something like “Spend X in the first three months from account opening.” This time window starts the day the account is approved — not the day you receive your card. Understandably, you do not want to lose those days waiting for your card to arrive.

Second, virtual card numbers can be safer for online purchases. Oftentimes, the instant card number you receive will be different from the physical card number or will have a different security code. This adds a layer of protection when you make purchases online.

Third, emergency funds. Instant card numbers are incredibly useful when unexpected expenses pop up. Open a new card (ideally with a 0% APR in this situation), and you can instantly cover the expense without having to wait for a card to arrive in the mail.

Wrapping Up

There are multiple reasons you may want an instant number from your credit cards. Thankfully, there are quite a few options between most of the popular banks. Whether adding it to your digital wallet or writing down the number you're given upon opening the card, there's sure to be an option that works for you.

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