These credit card issuers show your card number as soon as you're approved - so you can start working toward your sign-up bonus right away

credit cards 5Crystal Cox/Business Insider

It's 2019, and sometimes I forget that not everything is instantly available. It's a pretty classic modern "problem" for me to order something online and then grumble about two-day shipping, or settle into a new coffee shop only to find out that the internet is down, or worse yet, never existed in the first place.

By that same logic, it's almost surprising that not every credit card offers you your card number immediately. Why do I need to wait for my physical card when I know that I've already been approved - couldn't I just have the number and go for it?

As it turns out, some rewards credit cards do offer instant numbers. This means that you won't have to wait for your card to arrive in order to use it, which is ideal for emergency situations and time-sensitive purchases. Plus, if you want to start putting your spending toward the minimum spending requirement to earn the card's sign-up bonus, this lets you get started immediately.

Not every credit card issuer does this though, so it's important to know who does. Here are a few that do, and equally as important, a few that don't.

Read more: The best credit card sign-up bonuses available now

Credit card issuers that don't offer instant numbers

If you want to get your credit card number right away, don't go applying to cards from the following issuers:

  • Alliant
  • Barclaycard
  • Chase
  • Discover
  • Wells Fargo

These credit card issuers don't offer numbers upon approval and won't disclose card information until your physical card arrives in the mail.

Credit cards that do offer instant numbers

However, there are quite a few cards - and one issuer - that do offer numbers on approval. Many of them are associated with store accounts as well as airline and hotel rewards programs.

American Express cards

American Express is probably your best bet for finding a card that offers an instant number. In fact, it doesn't matter which American Express card you're looking for; you'll instantly receive your number upon approval no matter which card you just opened.

It is worth mentioning at least one solid partnership. One major US partner is Delta, which offers a variety of cards co-branded with American Express. These include:

These cards are ideal for building a direct stockpile of Delta SkyMiles with everyday purchases, and they're getting updates in 2020, in some case adding new bonus categories.

However, standard Amex cards within the Amex Membership Rewards program can interface with even more airlines (Emirates, Etihad, Singapore) as well as Hilton and Marriott. So if you're not sold on Delta and would like more flexibility with your points redemptions, earning Membership Rewards points directly through Amex and transferring to your desired points currency later might be a better bet.

Here are some of the top cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards points:

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Not only will you have the ability to earn and redeem Alaska MileagePlan miles with this card, but it's also one of the only Bank of America cards that gives you your card number upon approval.

Right now, this card is offering a pretty sweet sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles and a companion fare (for $99 plus taxes and fees from $22) after spending at least $2,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening, which means having your account number right away could help you get a jump-start on meeting that minimum spending requirement.

Read the Alaska Airlines Visa card review

Citi/AAdvantage cards and the AT&T Access card

Citi offers credit card numbers on approval with American Airlines and AT&T cards.

American Airlines AAdvantage co-branded with Citi span the spectrum of card types from basic personal accounts with no annual fee to premium business cards. You can currently earn anywhere from 10,000 to 70,000 bonus AAdvantage miles after qualifying purchases, depending on the card you select.

Top Citi/AAdvantage cards include:

Citi's AT&T Access card also offers you your card number upon approval. It currently offers a sign-up bonus of 10,000 Citi ThankYou points after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of your account opening.

The Apple Card

Given that you apply for the Apple Card directly on your iPhone, it's not a surprise that you're given your card number as soon as you're approved. In fact, your physical Apple Card won't even include the card number; it lives exclusively in the Wallet app on your phone.

Read more: How the Apple Card compares to top rewards cards from Amex, Capital One, and more

Bottom Line

As you can see, many of the cards that offer an instant number upon approval are linked to airline rewards programs or stores/services. This makes sense; the faster the customer has access to a card number, the faster the customer can make target purchases to earn points and build loyalty. Luckily for consumers, this attention and immediacy is an aspect of our credit-based economy that can benefit us as long as we use it responsibly.

With that in mind, we should approach the idea of instant credit lines cautiously and intelligently; never accept offers you can't reasonably afford in the long term, and always use that convenient auto pay feature to make sure you stay on top of your bills.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

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