When it comes to credit cards, guess what? They are not all created equal. When you are ready to apply for a credit card, you want to make sure you do your research to find the best match for you.
And because your time is valuable, you don’t want to wait a long time to be able to use your new credit card. Because of this reason, most people prefer instant approval credit cards.
It just takes a few short minutes to find out if you have been approved. No waiting…no hassle.
But, before you dive in, there are a few things you should now.
Today we will discuss…
- What is an instant approval credit card?
- Why use a travel credit card?
- The American Express (AMEX) credit card and features
- How to maximize the benefits of your credit card
What Is An Instant Approval Credit Card?
Typically when you apply for credit card, you can expect the credit card company to take five to ten business days to process your application. Assuming you’re approved, there will usually then be a waiting period of several more days before your card is issued by mail.
The entire process can be lengthy and time-consuming, and under most circumstances that’s not a big problem. But if you need credit now – whether for an emergency, an upcoming trip, or simply because you found a deal that’s too good to pass up – an instant approval credit card simplifies the application process.
Instead of waiting days or weeks for a verdict on your creditworthiness, you can expect to find out within minutes whether you’ve been approved.
When you apply for an instant approval credit card, the credit card company will begin by running a preliminary credit check. The higher your credit score, the likelier that your application will be approved. Assuming your score meets their requirements, the credit card company will likely issue “conditional approval” while they perform a more thorough examination of your credit history.
Your age, place of residency, income, and prior credit history are all used to determine your creditworthiness. If your financial history is riddled with debt, or if you have no credit history to speak of, it’s probable that you will not make it through the conditional approval stage.
Once your financial history has been thoroughly vetted and your creditworthiness established, you can expect to receive your new credit card in the mail in five to seven business days. At this point you can activate your card and start developing your credit history.
If you are trying to rehabilitate your credit score after past poor financial decisions, or if you’re a young person with no credit history trying to obtain your first credit card, there are options available for you including instant approval student and secured cards. These cards come with some additional restrictions including lower credit limits, higher interest rates, and obligatory deposits that must be made up front before your card can be issued.
While instant approval means you can expect to have a credit card in your hands sooner than the customary five to ten business days, it is no guarantee that you’ll be approved, nor does it mean a card will be issued to you the same day. Some card companies may allow you to make online purchases until you receive your actual card so it could be helpful in that case.
Depending on the financial emergency, instant approval may still not be immediate enough to get you out of a bind. In cases like these, we recommend seeking out alternative means of making up the difference while you wait for your card to arrive.
Before applying, we recommend evaluating your current credit score. This will give you a realistic assessment of whether you’re likely to qualify when you apply for instant approval credit card – an important consideration if you know your credit is poor.
This matters because every time you submit a credit card application, the credit card company performs what’s known as a hard inquiry into your credit report to determine whether you’re a qualifying candidate.
If you submit multiple applications, you will probably end up with multiple hard inquiries on your credit report. Each of these inquiries will cost your credit score points and stay on your credit report for up to two years.
If your credit is already in poor shape, a hard credit inquiry can damage it even further, making it even more challenging for you to be approved.
Why Use a Travel Credit Card?
Once upon a time, travelers’ checks were considered the mainstay for making purchases while traveling abroad. Nowadays, travel credit cards have eclipsed them in popularity. Not only are they safer than traveling with cash on your person, they can be used to make most purchases regardless of where you are in the world, sparing you the hassle of having to convert your cash to local currency.
Additionally, did you know the best travel credit card can enable you to pay for airfare exclusively in frequent flier miles? If you travel often for business or leisure, a travel credit card can make it possible for you to never pay airfare again. You can also take advantage of the other perks associated with travel credit cards, including discounted or free lodging at participating hotels and discounted or free rental cars.
Based on this description, you may think a travel credit card is the same as a credit card that offers cash back – and many of them do indeed offer cash back – but there are a few important differences to be aware of before you apply.
The majority of travel credit cards operate according to a points-based system, awarding you one point (equivalent to one mile) for every dollar you spend. Certain purchases can earn you bonus points, and additional extra points may be available if you are enrolled in a loyalty program. These points are redeemable for airline miles, but some credit card companies will offer alternative rewards including discounts on cruises, hotel rooms, car rentals, or airline seat upgrades.
The best travel credit card will commonly offer all of the above.
While most travel credit card rewards programs adhere to the one-point-per-dollar rule, some will give you the opportunity to collect additional points for certain purchases, such as a meal from a specific location, or gas purchased during your trip.
The best travel credit card will offer these perks and more.
Additionally, many offer bonuses if you exceed their minimum spending requirements within the first few months of opening your account, or give you additional bonus points or statement credit if you refer a friend.
Loyalty programs afford cardholders another way to collect bonus points. If you have a loyalty branded travel credit card and you dine at a participating restaurant or make a purchase from a partner store, you can increase your points. Many of these cards are also linked to “shopping portals,” allowing you to earn additional points when you make online purchases through certain websites.
How those points can be redeemed varies from one credit card company to the next. Many companies will simply transfer your points to whichever partner program you select, converting your points into airline miles, hotel room accommodations, or something else. It’s important to note that these conversions aren’t typically one-to-one. In other words, if you redeem 20,000 points, that may equate to only 16,000 airline miles.
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with a travel credit card company’s policy for redemption before you apply to ensure you’re getting a deal consistent with your preferences. The more informed you are, the easier it will be for you to select the best travel credit card.
The American Express Credit Card and Features: Selecting the Best Credit Cards
No list of the best credit cards would be complete without talking about the American Express Credit Card (AMEX), one of the best cash back credit cards available today – and also one of the most exclusive.
For years, the name American Express has been associated with a certain level of prestige, and for good reason. Only high-income applicants with good credit scores qualify, and being a cardholder generally comes with perks. If your application is approved, you can soon be enjoying a variety of incredible perks including cash back, travel miles, and more.
Unlike your average student credit card or secured credit card, the American Express credit card can be exceptionally challenging to qualify for. Approved applicants generally have a credit score of 680 or higher from all three credit bureaus, as well as a higher income than other creditors require. This is because American Express offers a number of perks that don’t come with your average credit card. It’s widely recognized as being one of the best credit cards available around the world, and with that reputation comes a degree of exclusivity.
There are several different tiers of AMEX card, and the higher up the ladder you go the more challenging they become to obtain:. However, the returns they yield also become more profitable, and if you manage your spending wisely you can reach a point where your travel-related expenses practically pay for themselves thanks to the rewards you get back.
- The American Express Green Card: This is the most common American Express card and the easiest to obtain. Qualifying applicants have a credit score in the mid- to high 600s and a high income. With the Green Card, you have the choice of paying your minimum balance, full balance, or anything in between, and you can have a balance with interest on certain charges of $100 or more. Plus, you’ll get membership reward points that can be applied to future travel, hotel bookings, cruises and more. Secure your card now!
- The American Express Gold Card: This “perks” card gives you three to four times the membership rewards points as the Green Card and includes travel, dining, and shopping discounts through participating retailers. Your credit score should be between 720 and 750 in order to qualify. You can get up to $120 in dining credit each year and $100 in airline fee credit. Best of all, there are no foreign transactions fees, making this card ideal for use while abroad. Secure your card now!
- The American Express Platinum and Sapphire Cards: Though the typical qualifying applicant has a credit score of around 730, qualification at this level is not based on your credit score but your income, making it considerably more exclusive than an ordinary American Express card. With this card you can receive up to 60,000 bonus points when you spend $5000 within the first three months of opening your account, enjoy airline fee credit, Uber credit, hotel upgrades, and entry to any American Express airport lounge, among other perks. Secure your card now!
- The American Express Blue Cash Card: This is one of the best cash back credit cards for high-income applicants, but it’s also one of the most exclusive. You must have a very high income and a very high credit score in order to qualify, and even if you meet those qualifications you may still be granted a credit limit of only a couple thousand. The upside is that if you qualify, you’ll receive cash back after your first $1000 in purchases in the form of a credit on your account.Secure your card now!
- The American Express Centurion Card: Also known as the “Black Card,” this American Express card has alternated between being open-signature and invitation-only over the years and is arguably one of the best cash back credit cards there is, if not the best. This card offers 1.5% cash back on every purchase excluding airfare redemptions, which yield 2% back. To qualify, you must be able to pay a $7500 initiation fee as well as an annual $2500 fee for each card you have. To keep the card, you must meet an annual $250,000 spending minimum. Secure your card now!
These cards all come with an impressive assortment of perks including cash back, travel rewards, hotel rewards, restaurant rewards, and more. In the case of the American Express Centurion Card, cardholders can also enjoy the Centurion Lounge found in many airports.
Though it’s challenging to qualify, American Express makes it worth the investment for those deemed creditworthy. These are just some of the reasons why American Express has long enjoyed a global reputation for offering the best credit cards.
Though the restrictions are tight, there are a few ways you can increase your chances of being approved for an American Express credit card:
- Have a robust credit score. By American Express standards, this means your score should at least be in the 600s, but 680 or higher is optimal. If you’re unsure of your credit score, you can pull a free annual credit report from all three major credit bureaus to get a more detailed overall picture of your credit. We recommend doing this before you apply for credit card, since a hard inquiry can lower an already compromised credit score.
- Limit the number of credit card applications you submit. Shopping around might seem like a good idea in that it will expand the number of credit card options available to you, but in reality the opposite is true. The more credit inquiries appear on your credit report, the less likely you will be to qualify for an American Express card. Ideally, your credit card applications should be spaced out, as numerous recent applications can appear to creditors to be a sign of potential financial turmoil.
- Don’t overuse your credit on your existing credit cards. Most of us know we should keep our credit usage rate at around 30% of our available credit, and this is especially true if we hope to qualify for an American Express card. Maintaining a moderate level of usage, reliably paying off your balance, and maintaining a high score will all help increase your chances of approval from the more exclusive credit card companies.
- Don’t submit multiple credit card applications to the same issuer. Credit card companies are reluctant to approve applicants who have too many recent inquiries on their credit reports, and they are likewise reluctant to approve those with numerous existing accounts. In the case of American Express, those with four active credit card accounts are unlikely to be approved for a fifth one. Your best bet in this instance is to submit an application with another issuer with more relaxed restrictions.
- If you’re rejected, find out why. When you apply for credit card, it can be easy to simply walk away once you’ve been declined, but in fact this information can come in handy in your financial future. Creditors are required by law to give applicants a reason for being rejected, and you can use what you learn to increase your odds of being approved in the future. If your credit history is too new, you can open a couple of accounts with other creditors before reapplying with American Express. If your credit score is too low, you can rehabilitate it by settling any existing accounts and trying again.
Getting your credit card application approved is likely to be the single biggest hurdle standing between you and the many benefits that come with being an American Express Cardholder.
Of course, we believe in you.
And once you’ve overcome that obstacle, you’ll discover the incredible awards American Express has to offer its loyal consumers, including cash back bonuses, travel rewards, referral bonuses, and more.
The specific perks you can expect to receive vary depending on which American Express card you have, but even at the most basic tier you can enjoy exceptional payment flexibility and numerous rewards.
How to Maximize the Benefits of Your Credit Card
Once your credit card application has been approved and your creditor has issued your card, you’ll want to strategize your usage to ensure it yields the maximal possible payoff. Here are some tips for making the most of the benefits your new credit account.
- Use your card to pay for recurring monthly expenses. One of the biggest traps people fall into is using credit cards to make large, non-essential purchases they’re unable to afford. This leads to a cycle of debt it can feel almost impossible to break out of. Prevention is the key to getting locked in that cycle in the first place, and it begins with taking stock of your monthly expenditures and seeing what recurring payments you can charge to your credit account. Electric bills, gas, groceries, and other necessary purchases are all ideal for this step. You can plan for them, budget accordingly, and make sure you can afford to pay off the balance to avoid interest fees and help increase your credit score over time.
- Earn points by using your American Express card to book flights with Delta. Another perk of American Express is its Delta SkyMiles program. This loyalty program reimburses you with airline for each Delta purchase you make with your American Express card. These miles can be redeemed for travel with Delta as well as thirty other participating airlines. If you’re a frequent flier, the SkyMiles program will help your travel expenses pay for themselves over time. You’ll also receive a statement credit once you’ve met the minimum spending requirement, making the Delta SkyMiles card one of the best cash back credit cards as well as one of the best travel cards you can get. Learn more now.
- Consider using the “Pay It Plan It” feature for larger purchases. Pay It Plan It is a tool that lets cardholders pay off their credit card balance through a mobile app. It gives you the option of paying off smaller charges immediately and in full while also letting you break down purchases of $100 or more into a series of installments that can be paid back over time. If you expect that you’ll have a balance on your credit card at the end of the month, this tool can help you avoid accruing interest fees. The “Plan It” feature lets you choose one of three installment plans with time limits ranging from three to 24 months to ensure you have ample time to pay your balance in full. Learn more now.
- Refer your friends. American Express’s Refer-A-Friend program makes is another easy way to collect bonus points and maximize your earnings. Each time your friends apply for credit card through your referral link and are approved, you can receive a referral bonus of up to 15,000 points. Depending on how many friends you refer, you can be rewarded with as astonishing number of bonus points in total. Learn more now.
At the end of the day, the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself is to use your credit card moderately and pay off the balance faithfully each month. This will ensure that your credit score remains intact – if not increases – and that your creditworthiness never declines, so you can keep enjoying the many wonderful rewards American Express has to offer.