Credit cards and instant gratification are often considered synonymous. Now some card companies are pushing the envelope with a product that gives consumers the ability to shop on-line the minute they are approved for a card.

A handful of the largest card companies - including Chase Manhattan Corp., Capital One Financial Corp., and the First USA division of Bank One Corp. - recently began assigning MasterCard and Visa account numbers to Web shoppers who apply through the Internet. But fraud concerns have led them to keep fairly mum about it. "Giving a person a card to start charging with immediately is a license to steal," said Janet McCabe, director of investor relations for Capital One in Falls Church, Va.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.