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Without a credit card in your wallet, online shopping would be impossible. And who can live without online shopping these days!

Credit cards are also convenient financial tools to have when you want to book travel, dining, or any other service remotely. Plus, you may also be able to use your credit card to collect points with every payment you make and redeem those points for freebies down the road. 

But, getting approved for a credit card requires that you meet certain criteria that the credit card issuer will want to assess. The thing is, this can take time. In the meantime, you’ll need to wait patiently until you finally receive a response, which can take days or longer. 

What if you need a credit card ASAP to pay for an extra-large expense or for any other reason? 

Luckily, there are credit cards out there that provide instant approval, as long as all your credentials meet all criteria. 

What Is An Instant Approval Credit Card?

An instant approval credit card allows you to secure a card within seconds after applying online, as long as you supply all the required information. The speed of approval is possible thanks to the automated online process that requires no human underwriter to analyze your application. Instead, the algorithms will take care of the approval process. 

There’s no need to wait days or weeks to find out if you can secure a credit card or not. If you need a credit card quickly to help pay for things such as travel bookings, an instant approval credit card can come in really handy. 

It should be noted, however, that these cards do not guarantee approval. You will still have to meet the eligibility criteria to get approved. If you do, you can expect to receive your credit card in the mail in a week or two. 

Instant Approval Vs Guaranteed Credit Cards

Instant approval credit cards are not the same as guaranteed credit cards. Instant approval credit cards typically don’t guarantee approval and are based on your financial health. On the other hand, guaranteed credit cards are usually used to describe secured credit cards like the Neo Card with Credit Builder. These cards have very few requirements and base their approval on the consumer’s ability to provide a security deposit, which can be as little as $100.

If you have bad credit and have a hard time qualifying for regular credit cards, then a secured credit card may be the perfect solution for you. It’s easy to get approved and can help you build your credit.

Best Instant Approval Credit Cards

Annual FeeIncome Requirement
American Express Cobalt$12.99/monthNot specified
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card$0$12,000
CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite$120$60,000
Scotiabank Gold American Express$120$12,000
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard$20Not specified

If you’re considering applying for instant approval credit cards, the following make our top picks.

American Express Cobalt

The American Express Cobalt allows you to earn points with every dollar you spend and the ability to earn up to 30,000 points in the first year as a new cardholder.

Annual fee: $12.99/month

Purchase rate: 19.99%

Cash advance rate: 21.99%

Earn rate: Earn 5 points for every $1 spent on dining and food delivery; 2 points for every $1 spent on transit, travel, and ride-sharing; 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Income requirement: Not specified

Perks: Get up to $100 USD hotel credit; trip cancellation/interruption insurance and other travel coverages; protection plan on purchases.


Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card makes it easy to save money on your purchases thanks to the Money-Back Rewards program. Plus, getting approved instantly is easy when you apply.

Annual fee: $0

Purchase rate: 19.95%

Cash advance rate: 19.95%

Earn rate: Earn 2% cash back on purchases in up to three categories; 0.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Income requirement: $12,000

Perks: Unlimited cash back rewards; personalized points categories

Special Offer

Apply for a Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card by January 31, 2024. If you’re approved, you’ll earn an extra 10% back on up to $1,000 in everyday purchases made within your first 2 months.*

CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite

The CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite comes with a robust rewards program to help you maximize your savings while taking advantage of exclusive perks.

Annual fee: $120

Purchase rate: 19.99%

Cash advance rate: 22.99%

Earn rate: Earn 4% cash back on groceries and gas; 2% cash back on transit, dining, and recurring payments; 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Income requirement: $60,000

Perks: Save up to 10 cents/L on gas; save up to 25% off car rentals; pay off big purchases with Installment Plans.

Scotiabank Gold American Express

Not only can you get approved for the Scotiabank Gold American Express instantly after applying, but you can also take advantage of a comprehensive travel insurance package, and gain access to VIP airport lounges across the globe. 

Annual fee: $120

Purchase rate: 19.99% 

Cash advance rate: 22.99%

Earn rate: Earn 5 points per $1 spent on groceries and restaurants; 3 points per $1 spent on transit, gas, and streaming services; 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Income requirement: $12,000

Perks: No foreign transaction fees; insurance coverage; free concierge services; airport lounge access

BMO Preferred Rate MasterCard

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard

If you’re looking for a no-frills credit card in exchange for very low fees and rates, then the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard is for you. While there are no rewards points to be earned, you can take advantage of an ultra-low interest rate of just 12.99% and $20 annual fee.

Annual fee: $20

Purchase rate: 12.99%

Cash advance rate: 12.99%

Earn rate: No rewards

Income requirement: Not specified

Perks: 3.99% introductory rate on balance transfers for 9 months; annual fee waived for the first year; free extended warranty and purchase protection; Zero Dollar Liability.

How Do I Increase My Odds Of Getting An Instant Approval?

Your credit score can have a tremendous impact on your ability to get instantly approved for a credit card. Usually the better your credit score, the better your odds of receiving approval. Checking your credit score ahead of time can help you choose which credit card companies you’d have the best chance of approval.

You can get your credit score for free in Canada with Equifax. Rest assured, checking your own credit score will not hurt your score or affect your ability to gain instant approval.

Credit ScoreApproval Probability
Under 650
With a low credit score, your probability of getting instant approval is low. Try increasing your credit score before applying. 
651 – 725
With an average credit score, your likelihood of being approved instantly does increase, but you’re unlikely to be approved for all credit cards. 
726 – 800
With a good credit score, you won’t have any problems being approved for most cards. 
800 – 900
With an excellent credit score, you should be able to be approved for almost any card. However, do keep in mind that your income can also affect your eligibility. 

Process Of Getting An Instant Approval Credit Card

If you’re interested in applying for an instant approval credit card, follow this process to ensure a streamlined application and approval. 

Research Your Options

There are a few instant approval credit cards available. As such, take some time to compare them before deciding which one to choose. When comparing card options, assess the following factors:

  • Fees. There’s usually a cost associated with holding a credit card, including annual fees, foreign transaction fees, and balance transfer fees.
  • Interest rate. Look at the purchase rate, cash back rate, and balance transfer rate to see where you can save. 
  • Perks. Many credit cards come with perks, including rewards programs, welcome bonuses, and travel insurance.

Find Out If You Meet The Minimum Requirements

Generally speaking, credit card issuers will want to make sure you meet certain criteria, and as such, they’ll look at the following:

  • Income
  • Credit score
  • Age
  • Residential status (ie. Canadian citizenship or permanent residency)

Prepare Your Documents

Certain pieces of information may need to be supplied when applying for an instant approval credit card, including the following:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Contact information
  • Employment information
  • ID (such as your driver’s license or social insurance number)


You should be able to apply for a credit card online after you’ve verified that you meet the eligibility criteria and have provided the required documents to proceed. If you’ve completed your application accordingly, you should receive a response within a couple of minutes. 

Instant Approval Credit Cards FAQ

What if I’m declined? 

If you were not approved for a credit card, you may want to find out why and make improvements accordingly. After making the necessary adjustments and improving your financial situation, you can consider re-applying at a later date. That said, you shouldn’t re-apply shortly after your initial rejected application, as this can have a negative impact on your credit score. 

Can I get credit cards with instant approval in Canada with a bad credit score?

Possibly. Some credit card issuers may have specific products that are designed for consumers who have a low credit score. However, you will still likely have to meet other qualifications for your application to get approved.

Are 60-second credit card approvals real?

Yes, it’s possible to receive approval in as little as 60 seconds, as long as your application was completed in its entirety and you meet all criteria for approval. If the credit card issuer feels that your information is adequate, there’s no reason not to expect a response in as little as 60 seconds. 

Which issuers offer instant approval credit cards in Canada?

In Canada, TD, BMO, RBC, CIBC, Scotiabank, Tangerine and American Express all offer instant approval credit cards.

Final Thoughts

Finding out whether or not you are approved for a credit card almost instantaneously after applying is extremely convenient, especially when you’re in a rush to get that plastic in your wallet. With an instant approval credit card, that’s exactly what you’ll get. As long as your profile meets the credit card issuer’s standards and your application was completed appropriately, getting a near-instant response is easy with these credit cards. 

Priyanka Correia avatar on Loans Canada
Priyanka Correia

Priyanka Correia is a Marketing Coordinator and personal finance expert at Loans Canada. Priyanka completed her Bachelor's degree in Marketing at Concordia University and has published work that has been mentioned in various news media. She is passionate about money management and educating Canadian consumers about how to take control of their financial lives.

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