How to Get a Credit Card Without SSN or ITIN

credit card without ssn

Looking to get credit cards without SSN? Well a credit card is one of the most important financial asset of every individual and having a US credit card without SSN is one of the best ways to start with finances if you are to migrate to the United States.

The same situation goes for banks as we find some few banks that allow you to open a bank account without SSN. However, these banks will require some additional information from you to identify you as an account holder with them. Generally, you will need an ITIN, a passport, residence ID or something similar that can identify you. 

However, there are some few US banks that do not require an SSN or ITIN from you to open a bank account since no law requires an individual to hold an SSN before opening a bank account. Many resident and even citizens are not eligible for SSN and for that, there must be banking solutions for these kind or persons. Fortunately, some few banks such as Citi, Bank of America come to rescue them since they let you open a bank account without SSN. These banks sound great but with banking regulations changing over years, you surely gonna need at least ITIN sooner or later.

Some banks that allow you to open such accounts also give you free US credit cards that you can use to better manage your finances. While most major credit card issuers will ask for a Social Security number (SSN) when you apply for a card, there are alternative forms of identification that might be accepted by the issuer or the bank.

Surely, when you are not in possession of an SSN, you gonna face some difficulties in getting a U.S. credit card, but there are surely some other methods of identification such as ITIN and many more. That said, in this article, we will show you how to get a credit card without SSN from the best issuers in the market.

Bank of America Credit Card Without SSN:
Bank of America offers credit cards without a social security number if you apply in person. Two cards that may be available with an ITIN are the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card.

Citibank Credit Card Without SSN:
It is possible to get a Citibank credit card without SSN. For certain cards, Citi will accept a copy of one of the following: passport, national ID card or other valid government-issued ID.

What is a Credit Card?

A credit card is a payment card issued to users to enable the cardholder to pay a merchant for goods and services based on the cardholder's accrued debt. The card issuer (usually a bank or credit union) creates a revolving account and grants a line of credit to the cardholder, from which the cardholder can borrow money for payment to a merchant or as a cash advance. 

There are two credit card groups: consumer credit cards and business credit cards. Most cards are plastic, but some are metal cards (stainless steel, gold, palladium, titanium), and a few gemstone-encrusted metal cards.- Wikipedia

How to Get a Credit Card Without SSN

Banks need to be sure of their customers credit history, if they did well managing finances with other banks and all of that is found in your credit history. Banks use your SSN to check up on your credit history and decide if you are eligible to open a bank account with them. They need to know that they can trust you before they authorize any type of credit. Unfortunately, for non-residents, if you have good credit back in your home country, this foreign credit history can’t be transferred to the U.S., so that is not a viable option.

Credit Card Without SSN or ITIN:
The two most popular card issuers for applicants without an SSN are American Express and Citibank. Both of these also offer cards in other countries and will consider your foreign credit activity if you have an open account with them outside of the U.S.

American Express is one of the only issuers that allows you to get a credit card without SSN or ITIN. However, you will need to get a friend to co-sign thus showing they know you are trustworthy and vouch for you if anything goes wrong.

So hopefully, your SSN isn’t the only way banks can check up your credit history. Your credit history is attached to your name, birthday, and address meaning even immigrants and international students can still apply for credit cards.

Credit Card Without SSN for International Students:
Can International Students Get a Credit Card in the U.S.? The short answer is "Yes". However, things may glue a little difficult for international students. That's because when issuers consider credit applications, whether the applicant is from the U.S. or not, they will want to know about your credit and borrowing history.

Though it may seem like more of a challenge, it's a challenge that is important for any student to overcome. Getting a credit card may seem like something simple, but it can be the key to many future problems.

By getting a credit card, you begin to build a relationship with the bank where you show them how responsible you are. This way, if you end up applying for citizenship or residency, having a credit card will help with something like a future loan for a house.

If you are an international student, you shouldn't feel discouraged because we got you too covered in this guide. Let's see the best card issuers that let you get a credit card without SSN.

List of Best Card Issuers to Get Credit Cards Without SSN

There are some few card issuers that let you get a credit card without an SSN. These card issuers are as follows:

No Card Issuer Credit Card Without an SSN?
1 Bank of America Yes. ITIN can be used for local applications but not for online applications.
2 Capital One Yes. ITIN can be used for online applications.
3 Chase Yes. ITIN can be used for online applications.
4 Citibank Yes. ITIN can be used for local applications but not for online applications.
5 American Express Yes. ITIN can be used for online applications.
6 Wells Fargo Yes. ITIN can be used for online applications.

Chase, Capital One, American Express and Wells Fargo allow online credit card applicants to enter an ITIN when asked for an SSN. These card issuers provide the easiest route for consumers seeking to apply for a US credit card online, and they're a good place to start when looking for credit cards if you don't have an SSN. Some of these cards may be difficult or impossible to qualify for those will rocky credit history. That doesn't mean those with bad credit cannot have a US credit card. Better still, they can have guaranteed approval credit cards with bad credit score.

Bank of America and Citi will allow you to apply for their credit cards using an ITIN only if you visit a branch office. In both of these cases, applicants can expect a delayed processing of their applications.

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6 Best Credit Card Options for International Students Without SSN

We have seen how international immigrants, non residents and even US residents can get a credit card without SSN for verification but that doesn't mean these credit card providers can be used by international student. Since they are students, they won't be able to afford some fees and provide some professional information required by the card issuer. Just as non residents, students will surely not have an SSN to get a credit card so they definitely gonna need the best card issuer for international students that won't require SSN or even ITIN.

In that path, international students wanting to migrate to the USA or UK will need credit card options for international students. Many major banks offer a credit card for international students, and, depending on the bank, you can apply with your passport or your I-20 form. These card issuers are as follows:

1. Bank of America: Cash and Travel Rewards Cards

Bank of America is one of the major banks that has taken international students into consideration since they understand they might find it difficult to get a US credit card or even a US bank account. For that, they provide financial solutions for them with their numerous options.

Bank of America has two types of credit cards that you can apply to without an SSN; Cash and Travel Rewards cards. Both of these cards allow you to apply even if you don’t have a credit history. Their Cash Rewards card is a better choice for those who are getting a credit card for the first time.

2. Citibank

Citibank has been a great financial option thanks to the easy process it provides for international students. Citibank offers a credit card for international students and does not charge you any extra fees. They also have a great Global Transfer service that makes it easier for you to move money back and forth between international accounts, which is a plus.

3. Deserve Edu

Deserve Edu has an international student card option that allows international students to get a US credit card with them without having an SSN. Deserve Edu doesn't dissect your credit history before giving you a chance.

4. American Express

American Express is one of the best card issuer that allows you to get a US credit card without SSN or ITIN. This can be a great advantages for international students that do not have SSN or ITIN and without a credit history. However, you will need a friend to co-sign thus showing they know you are trustworthy and vouch for you if anything goes wrong.

5. Capital One Credit Card

Capital One is one of the best US banks that offer credit card without SSN. They have 3 US credit card options for international students which allows them to start a financial life in the United States. All Capital Once Credit Cards require you to have an ITIN if you do not have an SSN. These Capital One Credit Card types are as follows:

  • Capital One Journey Student Credit Card: Capital One offers a Journey Student Credit Card that is a great option for international students. They don’t charge any annual fees and give a 1% cash-back on any purchase you make. They accept ITIN for those that do not have an SSN.
  • Capital One Platinum Credit Card: Capital One also offers a Platinum Credit Card that is very good for those who are just starting out. You won't have to pay any annual fee with them and they allow you to get a US credit card without credit history.
  • Capital One Quicksilver Card: The Capital One Quicksilver Card is yet another good option for international students who don’t have an SSN. This card is meant for those who don’t have amazing credit. You do get rewarded for every purchase including a 1.5% cash-back on your purchases. This cash-back is slightly higher than their Journey Student Card, but this card charges an annual fee of $39. This card is worth it if you have a more substantial income.

6. Barclaycard

Barclaycard provides multinational credit card and payment services. Barclaycard credit cards can be really hard to get since they do not issue credit cards without SSN in most cases which makes their application process have difficult for approval. For me, this wouldn't be a first option to go in for and that should equally be the case for you.

Secured Credit Card Options for International Students

It is not a game over for those that did not have much luck in getting a regular credit card as they can still get secured credit cards. These cards aren't considered as credit cards but they can show a bright path to get started and start building a credit history before applying for a regular credit card. The reason they call them secure credit cards is simply because they will require you to do a minimum deposit known as security deposit to ensure that you can better manage finances.

The best secured credit card for International Students are as follows:

1. Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card

The Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card requires a minimum of $300 security deposit. The security deposit number is the same as your credit availability; the more you deposit the more credit you have which is an excellent requirement to hold apply for a regular credit card. They only offer this card to those that already have a savings or checking account with their bank and charge an annual fee of $25.

2. Primor Secured Visa Gold Card

The Primor Secured Visa Gold Card accepts applications from applicants with rocky credit history and you can take this as a major advantage to get a credit card. They also have a large range of credit you can choose from; from $200-$5,000. Their fixed interest rate of 9.99% is pretty high, but they don't penalize you for your late payments. They have a very simple application process so it won't sound complicated for anyone.

CHECK ALSO: How to Open a US Bank Account as a Non-Resident

3. OpenSky Secured Credit Visa Card

OpenSky Secured Credit Visa Card are issued by the provider and they don't even check your credit history. This literally increases your chances of getting this secured credit card. Like all other secured cards, your security deposit decides how much credit you are allowed to use. A minimum secure deposit of $200 is required and they do charge an annual fee and have ongoing APR of 18.64%. Which means, you will get extra cash with them.

4. First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard

The First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard does not perform a credit check before issuing you this secure credit card. The application process is pretty easy and straightforward letting you to get your card very fast. They charge a $39 annual fee and a regular rate of 13.99%. This is a commonly used option, but it’s not the most recommended credit card option for international students.

How to Activate a Credit Card Without Social Security Number (SSN)

An individual’s social security number (SSN) has, in many ways, become the official identity for people looking for financial services across the US. Without it, your application to activate a debit or credit card may sound almost impossible.

However, things have changed remarkably in the banking industry. You no longer need an SSN to activate a credit card. That is thanks to the number of financial institutions that accept alternative forms of identity including an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or foreign passport.

Moreover, If you are a U.S. citizen or noncitizen with a work permit, you are eligible for an SSN. Everyone else is free to apply for an ITIN, which has nine digits just like the SSN. When activating a credit card, you can use your ITIN or foreign passport number.

How to Get Debit Cards Without SSN

There are many banks that let you get a debit card without SSN or even ITIN. You will just need to focus on the best choice. There are many online banks that offer online bank account with instant virtual debit card. Some of these banks mail a physical debit card to your US resident address. Some of the best banks that offer debit cards without SSN are as follows:

  • Chase Bank
  • Bank of America
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs
  • Self-Help Federal Credit Union

Where to Get Debit Cards Without Social Security Number SSN or ITIN:
Capital One and Citi both offer cards for people without a Social Security number. Those include student cards and cards for people new to credit. You probably won’t get a premium rewards card without a good credit history and some sort of tax ID though.

Also, check out Deserve, a card issuer designed for students (including international students) and people new to credit, as another alternative for those without a Social Security number.

Final Thoughts on How to Get Credit/Debit Cards Without SSN or ITIN

Credit cards are very important and used by individuals managing finances. Linked to bank accounts, their usage can be even perfect. We have seen the best providers that provide credit and debit card that will not require SSN. Card issuers such as American Express let you get a US credit card without SSN or ITIN. This card issuer is equally a perfect choice for international students wanting to migrate to the US or UK.

For those that fail to get a regular credit card, they should consider applying for secured credit cards. They help you better build a credit history which will qualify you for the next stage to apply for a regular credit card.

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