Guide to Obtaining a Credit Card for the Undocumented

When we take our first steps in the United States, it is usually necessary to have support that helps us find stability and allows us to better assimilate the adaptation process. In this sense, credit cards are an important tool to achieve this mission, since they allow the ability to access the different goods and services necessary to have an adequate lifestyle in the country.

Importance of having a credit card

Having a credit card is an essential tool in the United States, since it is the way in which both banks and lenders examine their possibilities of obtaining financing to access different services such as mortgage loans or renting a vehicle. Your credit score will measure your payments to the bank that generates the credit card as well as the date on which you canceled possible credits obtained, being an essential document to obtain the financing you require.

Likewise, credit cards are very important because they allow you to purchase basic products for your home and for the well-being of your family. This is one of the reasons why you decide to obtain a credit card in the initial stage of your life in the United States, since it will help you to consolidate many of the projects that you want to materialize.

How to build credit as an immigrant

One of the best ways to build credit in the United States as an immigrant is to obtain a credit card. This is an affordable way to do this considering that many financial institutions allow you to get a credit card without having a Social Security number (SSN). This card will allow you to report the payments you make to the bank and help build your credit.

Likewise, you can also build credit through a mechanism that some organizations or lenders have known as credit-builder loans (credit construction loans). In this way, you receive a certain amount of money that you can pay at low interest rates, becoming an accessible and effective mechanism.

SSN and credit card

The SSN is the number assigned to you by the US Government through the Social Security Administration (SSA) for the purpose of counting and recording your income. This allows you to receive benefits related to how much you earned during your working years at the time the law dictates. This number is also important to more easily opt for many banking and financial services, the health system or even to access assets such as houses or cars.

One of the financial services that you can request with your Social Security number are credit cards, since it is a way in which banks evaluate if you are a suitable candidate to receive this tool. However, there are ways to get a card without having an SSN.

Requirements to obtain a credit card for foreigners

To apply for a credit card for foreigners, it is necessary to meet some requirements so that banking entities can adequately verify your activities and personal information in the country. Among the main requirements to obtain your credit card as an immigrant are:

  • full name
  • ITIN
  • mailing address or the state where you are located
  • Estimated annual earnings based on your job
  • employment status
  • phone number and email
  • home address
  • credit score

What you should know: Most of these requirements are requested by most of the banks that can grant you a credit card without presenting your Social Security number.

How to get a credit card for the undocumented

To obtain a credit card if you do not have an SSN, you only have to follow the steps:

1. Apply for an ITIN number

Within the steps to obtain a credit card without an SSN, obtaining an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) is essential. This number is a mechanism that the Government makes available to foreigners and people without legal status in order to monitor their tax contributions and the income they have from the work they do.

The ITIN is requested through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To request it, we recommend you consult our article, where you can check the requirements and processes necessary to make this request. In general, the issuance of the ITIN should not take more than two months, as long as you submit all the documents and complete the processes properly.

What you should know: Take into account that the ITIN is not a document that is used to apply for work in the United States nor is it a substitute for the SSN, it is a mechanism used to facilitate compliance with current tax regulations and applied in the country.

2. Contact a bank that accepts the ITIN as identification

There are a number of banks that allow you to have a credit card only with your ITIN. In general, these banks have companies that are in charge of tracking their tax verification mechanisms, so they approve cards for those who have an ITIN without having to present another relative requirement.

Among the banks that accept the ITIN to grant you a card are:

  • amexpress
  • Bank of America
  • chase
  • Jasper
  • Capital one
  • citi

3. Make sure you have good credit

Having good credit is important since many of the companies that accept the use of the ITIN as a verification mechanism will want to know if you have the necessary income to face the possible debts that you assume at any given time. The credit can be repaired through companies specialized in this type of situation, based on completely legal mechanisms to achieve it.

4. Apply for a credit card

If you have the possibility of completing the previous steps, now you only have to apply for a credit card at the bank that suits you. This credit card will allow you to access the benefits related to the construction of your credit score, access to greater goods and services together with the possibility of continuing to add elements to the construction of your stability in the United States.

Obtaining a credit card does not usually take long, you just have to wait for the bank to review the documents you provide. This is a very important opportunity for your life in the country, so it is necessary to be aware and make the payments that the bank requires based on your expenses and manage yourself properly to avoid committing defaults or delays.

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