A number of major credit card issuers offer the ability to instantly get a virtual credit card, including Capital One, Chase and Wells Fargo. A virtual credit card is a unique card number, expiration date and security code to use when making purchases online (and sometimes in-store). Cardholders can instantly create such a card by using the issuer’s online tool or app. The virtual card details replace the actual card information at checkout. But the purchase still gets charged to the customer’s credit card account. The point of this is that if the merchant’s records are compromised, people who gain access to those records will only have the virtual card details. That information can’t be used anywhere else. The cardholder’s real card information is safe.
Credit card issuers that offer instant virtual credit cards typically let you create one for each merchant you use. Doing so costs nothing extra. And it’s worthwhile because it adds an extra layer of security to all your transactions.
It’s also good to note that the Mastercard and Visa networks offer their own ways to make virtual payments, called Masterpass and Visa Checkout. Both of these programs support credit cards from any network. They function just like a virtual card from a credit card issuer, but anyone can sign up. Credit card issuers’ virtual card programs are limited only to their own customers.
Where to Get Instant Virtual Credit Cards:
American Express Checkout: Amex provides a unique card number at checkout that can only be used at that merchant. It can only be used at select merchants like Walmart, Staples, Sears and Avis.
Capital One Eno: Lets you create a different virtual card number for each merchant. You can fill this information in instead of your regular card number at any website.
Chase Pay: Gives a virtual card for both online and in-store purchases wherever the Chase Pay logo appears. Places that accept it include Shop Rite, Best Buy, GAP, Walmart and Shell.
Citi Virtual Account Numbers: Available on some Citi cards. Log in to your Citi account to see if you are eligible. It generates unique card information to use at any merchant’s online checkout.
Wells Fargo Wallet: Works for payment at millions of participating merchants online and in-person. It offers a unique number to replace your actual credit card info during payment.
Masterpass: Allows people with cards from any network to shop online with a unique number for each merchant. Participating merchants include Dunkin Donuts, Office Depot and Walgreens.
Visa Checkout: Supports credit cards from any network and provides a unique payment token when checking out online. Participating merchants include Walmart, Staples and Marriott.
In an age of big data breaches and more and more advanced forms of fraud, it’s a good idea to be a step ahead by getting an instant virtual credit card whenever you shop online.
Not all credit card companies are fully embracing virtual card numbers, though. For example, Bank of America had a virtual card number program called Shop Safe but discontinued it in September 2019. Fortunately, there are several virtual wallet services that you can join no matter which bank or credit union issued your credit card.
The Fingerhut Credit Account is the easiest unsecured card to get. But it won’t suit everyone’s needs. Fingerhut is an online marketplace, and its card can only be used to make purchases on the site. So while it will give you an unsecured line of credit, it won’t really help you cover emergency expenses.… read full answer
If you’re looking for a card that can be used for anything, the Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card is your best bet. You can get approved for it with bad credit. It offers a $300 starting spending limit. And you can use it wherever Visa is accepted.
Those aren’t your only options, though. WalletHub’s editors compared all of the unsecured credit cards in our database of 1,000+ offers. And we selected our favorite easy-to-get offers.
Here are the easiest unsecured credit cards to get:
The easiest unsecured credit cards to get generally work best for minor emergencies. You will only receive a small amount of spending power, after all.
Unsecured credit cards for people with bad credit also tend to be very expensive, charging lots of fees and high interest rates. So if you don’t need a small emergency loan, the best course of action is to improve your credit inexpensively with a secured card. Secured cards are cheaper than unsecured cards, build credit just as effectively, and offer the closest thing you’ll find to guaranteed approval.
Instant credit card approval and use is rare. Instant approval is always possible when you apply for a credit card online or in person, but only American Express provides an instant credit card number with every card they offer. The instant credit card number allows you to use the account before your physical card arrives. With other issuers, you could get instant credit card approval and a card number to use right away but only for specific transactions. If a store invites you to apply for their card, they will often approve you instantly and let you use your card for purchases in their stores the same day.… read full answer
Some credit card issuers don’t offer any instant use credit cards. Others have only a few. Each issuer has their own restrictions for when you can get instant use.
Instant Credit Card Approval and Use by Issuer:
American Express: All cards have the potential for instant credit card numbers, but only if you apply online. If you are approved instantly, you will have a short amount of time to write down your account info. If you don’t, you have to wait for your card by mail.
Bank of America: You can instantly use the Alaska Airlines Credit Card to book a flight through Alaska Airlines if you apply online and are instantly approved.
Barclays: If you apply for the Uber Visa through the Uber app and are approved, you can immediately use the card for Uber purchases as it will be linked to the app.
Blispay: If you are approved for the Blispay Visa, you will be able to access and use a digital version of your card right away. You can use it online or at any store that is set up to accept digital Blispay cards. You will also get a physical card by mail.
Capital One: You can see account details for any Capital One card through its mobile app, even cards you’ve just been approved for. However, you must have an existing Capital One card account for this to work. You can’t do it for your first card. Also, this feature only appears on some accounts, not all.
Chase: You can instantly use the Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card and United Credit Card. But this is only if you book a flight through the airline website and apply for the card during checkout. If you’re approved, you can pay for that flight only with your card before it comes.
Citi: You can only get instant use for the Costco Anywhere Visa. If you apply in store and are approved right away, the representative will give you a temporary code to scan at checkout. It functions as your card until the card arrives.
Discover: There are no options for instant credit cards to use right away.
First National Bank of Omaha: You can get an instant number with an M Life Rewards Mastercard, but only if you apply in person at an MGM resort M Life Rewards Desk. You can only use it on MGM properties until you get your physical card.
Synchrony: If you’re instantly approved for a Synchrony-issued store card, you may receive an instant number or at least be able to complete your purchase using the card.
USAA: You can instantly use any USAA credit card, but only for purchases made through USAA. For example, you could use it for USAA auto insurance. But any purchases outside USAA have to wait until you get the card.
U.S. Bank: There are no options for instant credit cards to use right away.
Wells Fargo: There are no options for instant credit cards to use right away.
Store Cards: You can also ask your favorite retailer if their store card works instantly after you’re approved. Some stores such as Target will issue a temporary store card that you can use right away.
Even if you’re not able to find a credit card that will approve you instantly and give you an instant credit card number for immediate use, don’t despair. At most, a credit card will only take 7-10 business days to arrive after you’re approved. And many credit card companies provide expedited delivery for a small fee or sometimes even for free.
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