If you want a credit card but have no credit history, there are plenty of options — as long as you limit your search mostly to secured and student cards. Use our table to compare your options and narrow your search by clicking "Show filters" to see products that fit your credit range and have features that will benefit you most.
|Rewards||Up to 10% cash back|
|Minimum credit score||New to credit|
Tomo Credit Card
|Minimum credit score||New to credit|
How do I get a credit card if I’m an immigrant in the US?
If you’ve recently moved to the US, you’ll want to look at credit cards that cater to those without prior credit history and a Social Security number. Though your choices are more limited than traditional credit cards, you do have several strong no-credit options for immigrants.
Use an ITIN if you’re without a Social Security number
If you want to apply for a credit card but don’t have a Social Security number, there’s another option: Get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Once you start building a credit history, you’ll eventually able to apply for a wider variety of financial products.
What’s an ITIN?
An ITIN is a nine-digit tax processing number issued by the IRS. Many people who can’t obtain Social Security numbers opt for ITINs instead.
An ITIN can be useful if you want to apply for a credit card. Most card providers require a Social Security number in their applications, but some let you use an ITIN instead.
How to get an ITIN
Follow these steps to get an ITIN:
- Fill out IRS Form W-7.
- Mail the form to the IRS along with your immigration documentation and proof of identity, such as a visa or passport. Or, submit the required materials to an IRS walk-in office or Acceptance Agent.
For more information about applying for an ITIN, visit the IRS website.
3 steps to get a credit card with no credit
To get a credit card with no credit:
- Look for a card that’s open to those in your financial circumstances. These typically include secured and student cards, but may include unsecured and store products. Avoid cards that are stacked with features, as they usually require strong credit.
- Check the requirements. Depending on the type of card, you may need to supply a security deposit.
- Apply for the card. Have information such as your contact details, Social Security number and total annual income on hand. If you’re applying for a secured card, you’ll need to provide info from the bank that’s funding your security deposit.
Here are a few tips to increase your odds of approval:
- Check reviews to see if a card is open to applicants new to credit. We include this information with every review at Finder.
- Read the issuer’s requirements to see if you qualify. Issuers often include details on their card pages on guidelines for getting approval.
- Apply for one card at a time. Take your time and research cards you have a high likelihood of qualifying for. Then, narrow your choice to one card and apply only for that one.
3 steps to start building credit
If you have no credit history, follow these steps to start building it:
- Decide on a credit account. Compare different types of credit accounts that can help you start accumulating data on your credit report. One option is to get a credit-builder loan.
- Compare lenders or issuers. Make sure your lender reports your activity to the three major US credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Over time, these bureaus provide information to create your credit score. Your score with each bureau is important because lenders often pull credit reports from only one when making approval decisions.
- Be consistent with your payments. Once you’re approved for a credit account, make your payments on time and keep your account in good standing. This will ensure your lender reports positive activity to the credit bureaus. After at least six months of credit activity, you’ll get a credit score.
Additionally, keep your card balance low, retain your card accounts for a long time, open other types of credit accounts and new accounts sparingly to keep your score in great shape. The aim is to eventually build a good credit score — at least 670 for your FICO score.
A 670 gives you the opportunity to apply for more valuable credit cards and get better interest rates on loans. There are four types of credit-building credit cards that are especially useful if you’re just starting out.
4 types of credit cards for no credit
Apply for credit cards that offer a good chance of approval for your financial situation. These include:
- Secured credit cards. A secured card requires an upfront deposit — typically at least $200. While the deposit is a bummer, you’ll have many secured cards to choose from. Most of these cards require no prior credit history.
- Student credit cards. These can be great options if you’re enrolled in a college or university. Most student credit cards don’t require security deposits, unlike secured cards.
- Business credit cards for no credit. If you’re a business owner, you might want this type of card to separate your personal and business expenses. While you’re mostly limited to secured cards, you might also want to consider a line of credit.
- Unsecured cards for no credit. If you don’t want to put down a deposit for a secured card, look for providers that welcome applicants new to credit.
How to choose a credit card for no credit
When you’re looking for the right credit card for no credit, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions to narrow down your choices:
- Do you have a Social Security number? If you’re a newcomer to the US, you’ll want to see if the card requires an SSN to apply.
- Are you still in school? There are a variety of credit cards designed for students. These are often preferable options if you qualify for them.
- Do you need a business card? You’ll find a few no-credit options designed specifically for businesses.
- Do you intend on carrying a balance? If so, you’ll want to choose a card with a low APR. It’s also wise to look for a card with low fees just in case you’re worried about missing payments in the early months.
What’s considered “no credit?”
If you have no credit, it means you have no history on your credit report.
Your credit report is a record that shows information such as your debt, payment history and how long you’ve had credit accounts. If you haven’t borrowed money — for example, through a loan or credit card — you won’t have a credit history.
A credit history is important because it’s similar to a report card. It’s something lenders can use to judge your reliability as a borrower. If you have no credit, you’re a question mark to lenders, and they’ll be more hesitant to accept you as a customer.
Why it’s important to build credit?
Your credit score plays an important role in whether providers are willing to lend to you when it comes to making big purchases. Personal loans, mortgages, and auto loans are only a few of the big-ticket items you’ll need to consider as you make life’s big purchases. Depending on your credit score, the amount a provider is willing to loan you can increase or decrease.
Use one of the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian or TransUnion — to check your credit score.
How credit cards can help you build credit
One of the best ways to beef up your credit report is by opening a credit card.
Look for a product that’s available to someone new to credit — such as a secured card. Unlike an unsecured card, a secured card requires you to put down a deposit which serves as your credit limit.
As you spend with your card and pay your card bill on time, your provider will report your positive payment activity to the credit bureaus. Eventually, you’ll get a credit score. And as you continue being a responsible cardholder, you’ll steadily see your score rise.
Scott Nelson, CEO of MoneyNerd Ltd, tells Finder that building credit is important for several reasons.
“In today’s society, it is very rare for an individual to be able to go through life without the need for credit, a mortgage or any other financial product,”
“For this reason, in order to qualify for the best financial products and, more importantly, the lowest interest rates granted to prime
borrowers, one must have a strong credit history.
“Without a strong credit history, you may be declined loans, receive extremely high interest rates and end up in greater debt through being forced into taking out poor financial products like payday loans.”
If you have no credit, there are plenty of good credit cards to start with. As you make card payments on time, you’ll steadily build your credit score. With a strong score, you can apply for better credit cards, including cashback and travel products.
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