Living in the U.S., credit cards are an everyday essential, and if you’re good at using them, well, it might give you extra benefits! For foreign students living in the U.S. for the first time, applying for a credit card without an SSN number can be a difficult task. However, this situation is not absolute, and today I will describe how to apply for a U.S. credit card without an SSN number.
Several ways to apply for a U.S. credit card without an SSN number
Apply for a Security Card
When applying for a credit card at BOA Bank, you can ask the staff if you can get a Security Credit Card. Security Credit Card, not a real credit card, but like a debit card, requires a deposit before you can make a purchase. The purpose of this card is to help you build up your U.S. credit history when you don’t have an SSN number. Usually, this card will turn into a real credit card after 1-2 years of use. It is not difficult to apply for a Security Credit Card, as long as you pay part of the deposit to the bank, the staff will give you the process.
Apply for a student credit card
Some banks offer student-only credit cards to attract student users, such as Citibank’s student version of the credit card, which is only available to student users. Applying for a student credit card usually requires documents such as a passport and student visa, and is very low in difficulty. Student credit cards can also build up a U.S. credit history and make it easier to apply for general credit cards later.
Apply for credit cards through large deposits
If you are very rich, you can make a large deposit to the bank and some banks will be able to give you a credit card. Not many U.S. banks have this service at the moment.
Apply for a U.S. credit card via ITIN number
Foreigners cannot obtain a U.S. SSN number, but they can apply for an ITIN number, which is a federal tax number for foreigners filing taxes in the U.S. If you do not know how to apply for an ITIN number yourself, you can find a tax preparer to help you with the process. For example, Citibank and Capital one credit cards can be applied through ITIN number.
Apply for a credit card through a credit card supplementary card
If you are close to a friend or relative in the U.S. who has already applied for a credit card, then you can ask them for help and get a supplementary card. There is no credit history check and no deposit required to apply for a supplementary card, and you can get a supplementary card for someone else as long as the primary cardholder agrees. Once you get a supplementary card, you can build up your U.S. credit history and then you can apply for your own credit card. For example, I have friends around me who got their main card by first getting an American Express Supplementary Card.
Notes on applying for a credit card without a U.S. SSN number
Not having an SSN number does not affect a person’s ability to accumulate a U.S. credit history, which is matched based on your name, date of birth, and address. In the future, once you have obtained a SSN, all previous credit records will be matched with the SSN, so when you have a credit card, make sure you pay it off in a timely manner and develop a good payment history.
If you plan to build up your credit history by applying for a supplementary card, then I suggest that you make sure you find a trusted primary cardholder for the supplementary card, because the credit situation of the primary cardholder will affect the supplementary cardholder, otherwise a person with a bad credit history will bring harm to your own credit history.