Getting approved for a new credit card is a great feeling, especially when there are some lucrative rewards involved. But before you grab your new card in the mail and try to make a purchase, make sure you to activate it first.
In general, you have to follow a certain process for the activation of the credit card:
- Receive your credit card in the mail.
- Find a sticker on the map with activation instructions.
- Follow the activation instructions online or by phone, depending on your preference.
- Wait for confirmation that your card has been activated.
The process should only take a few minutes. However, the exact steps and personal information required to verify your identity and activate the card vary by issuer. Read on to find out why you need to activate your credit card and how to do it.
Why do you need to activate credit cards?
Unfortunately, credit cards are not immune to theft and fraud. To protect your card information and make sure it ends up in the safe hands, card issuers require you to activate your card before using it.
“If you don’t activate your credit card, you won’t be able to use it,” says Nathan Clarke, owner of the personal finance blog Millionaire Dojo. However, this does not mean that the account is not open; your new credit card will immediately appear on your credit reports as an active account.
Until you go through the card activation steps, however, swiping an inactive card means the transaction will be declined, he says.
How do I activate a credit card?
Take advantage of your new line of credit and benefits, activate your card immediately. There are usually several ways you can accomplish this. “You may need to call a number and provide personal information, go to a web page and confirm the card or activate the card through the issuer’s smartphone app,” says Clarke.
When you activate the card over the phone, the number you call counts. It is better to use the phone number you provided on the app, otherwise the activation might not work.
“The process is generally the same with each issuer, although sometimes the personal information they ask you to verify may be different,” says Joyce Blue, a certified life coach who focuses on money. The whole process should only take a few minutes at most, she adds.
You should receive some sort of confirmation once your card is activated, either over the phone or from the web page or mobile app. Blue said if you try to use your new card but the transaction is unsuccessful, there may have been an issue with the activation process and you will need to call customer service.
Activate your card type
“The process usually differs from issuer to issuer, but you should receive instructions with the card,” says Clarke. Generally, you should be prepared with the following information:
- The credit card number.
- the security code, also known as the card identification number or the card verification value. This is usually on the back of your card, but may be on the front, depending on the issuer.
- Personal data, including your name, social security number, postal code and date of birth.
Often times, you will need to provide more details if you are a new cardholder.
Below are the general steps for activating cards for the main issuers.
American Express card activation
To activate an American Express credit card, visit the AmEx website, and enter your card details to confirm and set up your new account. AmEx will ask for your card number and the four-digit security code on the front of your card.
Bank of America card activation
According to Bank of America, the fastest way to activate a personal credit card is to do so online. Simply provide your online banking ID and password, and the issuer will verify your identity and activate your card. If you haven’t set up online banking yet, sign up to activate your card.
You can also verify your card by calling Bank of America at 800-276-9939. Provide your full account number plus the last four digits of your social security number or zip code, or you can enter your full social security number plus your zip code or CVV code. Once this information is provided, your card will be active.
Activating the Barclays card
Barclays cardholders can activate their cards by visiting the issuer’s website activation web page. If you are a new customer, you will need to provide personal information to activate your card, including your social security number, date of birth, account number, security code, occupation, and citizenship status. If you are an existing customer, simply log into your online banking account to verify your identity and activate your card.
If you prefer to activate over the phone, call Barclays Customer Service at 877 408-8866 and provide your personal information to the representative.
Capital One card activation
Like other issuers, Capital One offers its cardholders a few options. You don’t need to be registered for online banking to get a Capital One credit card. But you can activate online by providing the three-digit security code on the back of your credit card. If you have a existing Capital One card, you can link it to your new card by following the instructions under “consolidate your accounts” and then activate it.
If you are using the mobile app, log in, go to your profile, tap “Account settings”, then tap “Activate credit card”. Enter your card’s three-digit security code to activate it. You can also call Capital One at 800-227-4825.
Activating the Chase card
AT activate a Chase credit card online, you must be registered with online banking. Enter your username and password to verify receipt of your card and activate it, or create a new account if you do not already have one.
To activate a Chase card over the phone, call Chase Customer Service at 800-432-3117. When prompted, enter the last four digits of your card number and follow the instructions.
Activating the Citi card
As a Citi customer, you can activate your credit card by visiting the Citi activation page and entering your card number. You will then be asked for the three-digit security code on the back of your card and the last four digits of your social security number.
You can also log into the Citi mobile banking app, select “activate a card” and follow the instructions. To activate your card by phone, call the number on the back of your card.
Discover the activation of the card
To activate your new Discover credit card, go online to the issuer’s card activation web page. From there, you can choose to log into your online banking account or enter multiple personal information including your date of birth, last four digits of your social security number, card number, date of birth. expiration and the three-digit security code.
You can also call the number provided in your credit card activation instructions.
Activation of the American bank card
To activate a US Bank credit card, log into your online banking account and provide the requested personal information. If you don’t have an account yet, you’ll need to create one to verify your card.
There is also a specific phone number for each US Bank credit card, which you can find on the sticker on your card when you receive it. You can also call the US Bank credit card Customer service at 800-285-8585 to activate by phone.
Activating the Wells Fargo Card
There are several ways to activate your Wells Fargo Card. First of all, you can log into your account through the Wells Fargo Card Activation Page. If you don’t have an online bank account, create one first. You can also sign in to the Wells Fargo mobile banking app and select your card to activate.
To verify by phone, call the Wells Fargo activation line at 877-294-6933, enter your card number, and provide additional personal information when prompted.