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Credit cards for new immigrants

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You can get some credit cards without a credit history or Social Security number.

As a new immigrant to the US, getting a credit card can be a problem. Namely because of your lack of US credit history.

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.

Our pick for a credit card for new immigrants

Petal Visa Credit Card

  • Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score
  • Sync your bank account to show you're a responsible borrower
  • No fees: No annual, foreign transaction, overlimit or even late fees
  • Credit limits up to $10,000
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Compare credit cards for new immigrants

Name Product Filter values Purchase APR Annual Fee Recommended Minimum Credit Score
15.24% to 26.24% variable
$0
670
Build your credit with no fees: Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score.
17.74% variable
$0
580
Credit card for professionals relocating to America without a US credit history.
25.24% variable
$0
650
Designed to help build credit history with no deposit required. Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score over 650.
20.99% variable
$0
580
Designed for college students to build credit history and earn rewards.
34.99% fixed
$75
300
Enjoy manageable monthly payments with monthly reporting to all three major credit bureaus.

Compare up to 4 providers

Establishing credit history as an immigrant in the US

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.

What about secured credit cards?

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.

Secured credit cards for new immigrants

Credit cards for new immigrants

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.

CreditStacks Credit Card Mastercard®

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® Classic Card

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.

Secured Mastercard® from Capital One®

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.

Discover it® Secured

This is another strong secured credit card. You’ll earn cash back for your purchases, which is rare among the competition. Also, Discover will match all of the cash back you earn in your first card year.

Starting at eight months, Discover will review your card account. If it deems you’ve used your card responsibly, it’ll return your deposit. You can continue using your card, which means you essentially have an unsecured credit card.

Contact your current bank for US credit card offers

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.

What do I need to apply for a credit card in the US?

Required information for your card application depends on your credit card provider. It might include:

  • Permanent address. A mailing address for the provider’s records.
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). You can apply for one with the IRS and use it in place of a Social Security number.
  • Source of income. Most likely, a provider will ask about your employment and annual income.
  • Bank account. A provider may ask for your bank account details so it can evaluate your income, spending habits and other risk factors.
  • Immigration documents. After you apply, your provider may ask you for some immigration documents, such as your visa.

Bottom line

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 secured credit cards, among which there are many choices.

Frequently asked questions

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