If you are an immigrant to the US, or even an international student studying at university, having access to financial services and products is essential. However, without a Social Security number (SSN), you will have far fewer options available. Not only that but getting an SSN is a complicated, lengthy process.
Without an SSN, you can’t open a bank account, build your credit, apply for a loan, or get a credit card. However, there are a few credit card providers that are willing to consider applicants without an SSN. NovaCredit.com explains where to find these cards and how to apply for them.
Apply For AmEx Cards With International Credit History
No matter your status, American Express may be able to help. Even without an SSN, you could qualify for any AmEx personal credit cards if you previously built a history of credit in one of these countries:
If you didn’t live in any of these countries, AmEx would accept your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). When you apply, Experian and TransUnion, two of the three major credit reporting agencies, will trace and pair your name, birthday, and address to your international credit history. Still, having an SSN or ITIN ensures the bureaus submit the correct information on your report.
As you compare credit cards, think about how you will use it, your spending habits, and your lifestyle. Your situation may also play a part in which card you select. For example, if you’re an international student, a student card would be ideal. But if you don’t have a credit history in the US and the card issuer doesn’t take international credit history into account, a secured credit card may be your best bet.
Regardless of your preferred credit card, there are several factors to keep in mind.
- Interest rate
Find Other Credit Card Companies That Accept ITINs
Depending on the provider, you may be able to use your ITIN if you don’t have an SSN. ITINs are for non-US citizens who need to file US taxes. If you were previously employed in the US, even as a contractor, or obtained a taxable scholarship for school, you can get an ITIN when you file your taxes through the IRS. When you receive an ITIN, you can use it to apply for select credit cards. Some card providers may take your passport if you apply for a card in-person or over the phone.
Deserve, CreditStacks (or Jasper), and several other credit card companies provide cards designed for international students or professionals who move to the US for their job. These issuers permit different types of ID, like your visa details and passport.
File Your Application
After you picked the right credit card for your needs, your next step is to submit an application. You can do this online, over the phone, or in person. If you apply online, the process will take just a couple of minutes. However, most applications require an SSN. If you have an ITIN, the company may let you use that instead.
If you don’t have an SSN or an ITIN, you could use your visa information or passport, but these may not be enough to satisfy the issuer’s requirements. If you are uncertain about applying online, you can contact the card provider over the phone and talk to customer service or visit a branch in-person.
Fulfill The Credit Card Isser’s Criteria
Having proper identification information is one crucial part of the application process. However, becoming eligible for a credit card is another. Card issuers assess a wide range of factors when determining your creditworthiness, or your ability to repay what you borrowed. The most rewarding credit cards typically call for good to excellent credit and low debit-to-income-ratios.
If you are an international student, the card issuer may approve you for a student card. Secured credit cards are another option for students and non-students alike. These typically do not require a credit check. But, the credit card company will look at your income to determine your ability to afford monthly statements.
If you built a solid credit history when you lived in your home country, several international institutions or card providers might consider that information when reviewing your application.
- DeNicola, Louis. “How to Apply for a Credit Card without a Social Security Number .” How to Apply for a Credit Card without an SSN, 8 Oct. 2020, www.novacredit.com/resources/credit-card-without-ssn/.