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How to Activate a Credit Card

If you have an inactivated credit card lying around your office or home, you're leaving yourself susceptible to identity theft because someone could steal the card and activate it. You can activate your new credit card online or over the phone within minutes. Following this step-by-step guide will help save you from identity theft and keep your card secure.

Method One of Two:
Activating Your Card Online

  1. 1
    Find the activation information on your card. Your card should have a website where you can activate your card. Often, it is on a sticker on the card, but it may also be in the packet of information that came with the card.[1]
  2. 2
    Set up an online account. You will likely need an online account with the company to activate your card.[2] To set up an account, you'll need information like your date of birth, your Social Security number, an email address, a password, and an account number. You may also need to set up a username that is separate from your email.[3] Some websites do not require you to have an online an account to activate your card. Check to see if yours does by visiting the activation website listed on the card.[4]
  3. 3
    Log in to your account. If your credit card company requires it, you'll need to log into your account once you reach the website to active your card. Enter your new username and password to access your account.[5]
  4. 4
    Enter the information to activate your card. You'll need information such as your credit card number, your name, and the security code, which you can find on the back of the card. You'll also may need your Social Security number and your date of birth.[6]
  5. 5
    Submit the information. Once you've entered the information, review it to make sure it is correct. Hit the submit or the activate button, and your card will be activated.[7]
  6. 6
    Confirm that you have activated your credit card online. Financial institutions will call you or send you an email to verify the activation. If you don't receive an email, you can contact the company to verify that your card was activated.
  7. 7
    Remove the sticker, and sign the card. Take the sticker off the card that had the activation information on it. Sign the back of the card with your name.

Method Two of Two:
Activating Your Card by Phone

  1. 1
    Find the phone number. Like the website, the phone number to activate the credit card will likely be on the card. It may also be in the paperwork with the card.
  2. 2
    Have your information ready. You'll likely need your credit card number, your account number, and the security code on the back of the card. The account number should be with the information that came with the card. You may also need your Social Security number or your date of birth. You may be asked to give your full name.[8]
  3. 3
    Call the number. Once you dial the number, you will likely reach a recorded service. Follow the directions given by the system. You may have to input information with the keypad, such as your credit card number or security code.[9]
  4. 4
    Complete the process. Finish giving the system your information. Once you've given all the information, your card will be activated.
  5. 5
    Take off the sticker, and sign the card. Peel the sticker back from the card with the activation information on it. Add your signature to the back of the card.

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • What's the phone number used to activate credit cards?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • It is completely different for every credit card. Contact the provider of the credit card or the bank that it is run through. They should allow you to activate the card in a timely manner.
    Thanks! 14 6
  • What should I do if the info sticker on the card was taken off and there is no other information?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • If the sticker on the card was taken off then you should contact the bank or go online to the bank's website. The credit card activation paper should have all the information you need including the bank's contact information.
    Thanks! 6 4
  • Where can I find my card account number?
    Answered by Donagan, Top Answerer
    • It's the same thing as your card number.
    Thanks! 4 5
  • Is a bank account necessary for creating a new ATM card?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • An ATM card is not a credit card. Since you can't withdraw money out of thin air, you always need a bank account.
    Thanks! 2 3
  • Can I register for and activate a prepaid card without a Social Security number?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • It's possible if you get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to use instead. Without either of these things, it's generally not possible to get any type of credit card, although you can always buy a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express gift card, which doesn't require any personal information and can be used for purchases and payments the same way as a credit card.
    Thanks! 1 1
  • How soon should I activate my card after receiving it?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Whenever you want to. Most people do it right away.
    Thanks! 1 1
  • Will my old card stop working right after I activate my new card?
    Answered by Donagan, Top Answerer
    • No, the old card will continue to work as long as the account remains open.
    Thanks! 0 0
  • Do I have to wait until the following business day for the confirmation e-mail?
  • Why can't I use my card?
  • When do I get credit card after filling out online banking?
  • Hello good afternoon how can i active my credit card even my credit card is not here but i have that number of the credit card
  • I don't get a message that show my balance. What must I do?
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  • If you have trouble, call customer service, and click through until you get a live person. That person can talk you through the process or activate your card for you.
    0 Helpful?  0


  • Activate your credit card on your own computer with your internet connection, as it is more secure than public WiFi connections.
    6 Helpful?  2

Expert Review By:

Entrepreneur & Retired Financial Advisor

This version of How to Activate a Credit Card was reviewed by Michael R. Lewis on January 28, 2017.

151 votes - 56%
Co-authors: 11
Views: 133,284
Categories: Credit Cards

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    Feb 24, 2017

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    Sep 21, 2017

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    Jan 26, 2017

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