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How do I get Instant Credit?

Many stores offer the chance for consumers to open a credit card account on the spot to pay for purchases.
Instant credit applications require an individual's Social Security number.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 18 August 2014
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How many times have shoppers heard the phrase “cash or credit” and been invited to open up a credit card on the spot to pay for a purchase? It happens regularly in retail stores around the world, and it is one method for getting instant credit. People who have high credit scores and no negative marks on their credit may be able to get near instant approval for very large purchases, and this option isn’t only available at retail vendors. The Internet has brought people numerous ways to obtain credit in a few minutes with a number of companies that offer to check credit and supply people with almost immediate credit card offers, or even things like car loans and personal loans.

First, instant credit card offers tend to depend on the creditworthiness of the applicant. Some lenders will want to review applications if credit isn’t considered excellent, which means a credit score of about 680-700. This doesn’t mean credit offers won’t be tendered, but they usually aren’t instant. People with really poor credit can get some quick loans, including things like paycheck loans. These tend to charge very high interest rates or service charge rates and may not always be good deals.

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For those looking for quick credit online, they should research reputable websites that have credit offers, and there are many of them. People may want to check status of any companies they use with the Better Business Bureau or similar organizations, and be wary of offers that seem too good to be true. A number of the instant credit sites generate several offers of credit, and people should compare them to see which are the most attractive and possess the lowest interest rates. Watch for fees for applications, annual fees, and exorbitant penalty fees. Consumers should compare the eventual rate of the credit card with any introductory rate to be sure the ultimate interest rate will be reasonable.

Most instant credit applications will require a few things. These include yearly income and social security number. Other information needed could be residence address and time at residence and workplace address and time at work. Some applications are more extensive.

Potential risks for applying for instant credit are significant. When it comes to department store cards, people should read all terms prior to accepting credit offers. Store cards may have very high interest rates and some even have application fees. When people have good credit, they may want to slow down and do some shopping on the Internet for the best credit offers, instead of accepting the instant credit offer of a retail store. The same holds true for auto loans, where better deals may come from banks, credit unions, and online, and aren’t as commonly offered by car sellers.

It’s also not advised that people apply for credit lightly. It may seem like a good idea to get instant credit, but it can come at a cost. When credit is awarded instantly, it might lead to excess spending and then high bills that will need to be paid.

The other risk associated with getting instant credit is that it can make identity theft much easier. On the Internet or in department stores, people with access to someone else’s personal information can use it to obtain credit quickly. One method to prevent this is available in the US and in some other countries, and this is placing a consumer credit or security freeze on credit card accounts. People should only do this if they feel reasonably certain that they will not need any form of credit quickly, as it can take some time to reverse a freeze and “thaw” credit.

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