Our pick for new immigrants: Jasper Mastercard®
SSN not required
- Apply if you're new to credit
- Credit limit up to $5,000
- No annual fee
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Luckily, you have options. Some card providers don’t require credit histories for card approval, and you may not need a Social Security number either. In time, you can build a credit profile and qualify for better products.
If you’re new to the country, here are some of the credit cards available that can help you find your footing. Click on “View details” for more in-depth information about each card.
It depends. In late 2019, Amex announced a partnership with Nova Credit that lets users from select international countries use their existing credit histories for Amex personal-card applications. This means you won’t need a Social Security number to apply, though you’ll still need a US-based address.
As of this writing, these countries include Australia, Canada, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Amex and Nova Credit say they’ll add more in the future.
If you’ve recently moved from one of the countries listed above, you may now have many more cards to choose from. Amex currently offers nearly 20 personal credit cards, and you’ll find many excellent products in that mix.
Consider the following four options when looking for your first US credit card. The first two are unsecured cards, meaning you don’t have to put down an initial security deposit. The last two are secured cards.
This card is aimed at relocating professionals. You don’t need a credit history or Social Security number to apply, and you can apply for it up to 60 days before you arrive in the US.
Deserve looks at a variety of factors besides credit scores when evaluating applicants. That said, its Deserve® Classic Card can be a good choice for immigrants. You don’t need a credit history or US citizenship to apply.
This is one of the best secured credit cards you’ll find. It can be especially valuable because it comes with no annual fee.
You may be able to deposit just $49 or $99 and still get a credit line of $200. After five months, Capital One will raise your credit line if you make your first five monthly payments on time.
If you already have a relationship with a financial institution in your home country, check if it offers credit cards in the US. Since you’re already a customer, you may be able to open a card without a US credit history.
American Express and Barclays are two companies that might lend a hand for your move. Each company will check your existing payment history to see if it can extend credit to you in the US.
Consider these factors before deciding whether or not you really need to get a credit card in the US:
These factors can help you decide on your new credit card:
Required information for your card application depends on your credit card provider. It might include:
When you have a good credit score it does you much more good than boosting your chances at being approved for a credit card. It can help you secure housing, give you a lower interest rate on a loan, make you a more attractive candidate for a job and more.
By using your credit card responsibly, you’ll slowly build a credit history.
Getting a secured credit card is another great way to build credit. Because you can only get this type of card by putting down a security deposit, more providers are willing to offer it to consumers without credit histories.
Bear in mind that secured cards tend to have smaller maximum credit limits, typically tied to your security deposit. They also tend to have fewer perks and features. But if you don’t mind these limitations, a secured card is just as good as an unsecured card at building your credit score.
Card providers like CreditStacks and Deserve welcome applications from immigrants, and look beyond your credit score when deciding whether to lend to you. Also, consider one of the top secured credit cards, among which there are many choices.
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