Most people think non-resident Indians (NRI) can’t get US credit cards. So in this article, we’re going to share how you can navigate the process and get the best credit cards for NRI available.
In fact, we’ll even outline the steps to get US credit cards for foreigners while abroad (or even living outside of the US).
But first, why should you even consider getting US credit cards?
The US is home to some of the most lucrative credit card programs in the world, including the best offerings for sign-up bonuses, travel rewards, cash back rewards, and much more.
So, if you’re in the market for a new credit card that you can use around the world, you might want to consider whether you can qualify for US cards.
In this article, we’ll help you explore your options and determine whether US credit cards could be a good fit for you.
Feel free to use the table of contents to skip ahead to the topics most relevant to you:
Table of Contents
- US Credit Cards 101
- Can an NRI Get a US Credit Card?
- What’s the Best Credit Card for NRI?
- Frequently Asked Questions
US Credit Cards 101
While it might be a surprise to most readers, it’s entirely possible to obtain US credit cards as a foreigner or non-US resident.
In fact, in certain instances, foreigners without a US tax identification number can even apply for US credit cards 100% remotely.
That said, if you have an ITIN or SSN, the process for applying for US credit cards is easier to navigate and you’ll have more credit card options available to you.
If you don’t have an ITIN or SSN, you may be required to either show up in person at certain US banks or qualify for a card through one of the lesser-known card programs that accept non-residents.
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Can an NRI Get a US Credit Card?
Yes, as mentioned, an NRI can get a US credit card as long as they choose the right bank or credit card issuer.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at one of the most popular US credit card options that NRIs can consider.
American Express Credit Cards
American Express credit cards are accessible to most individuals. However, in most cases you do need to have qualifying credit history from one of a select number of countries.
Fortunately, India is one of the countries that American Express will accept. That said, only certain cards are available to individuals with Indian credit history.
In most cases, there are about ten American Express credit cards that NRIs can qualify for, depending on the characteristics of their client profile.
However, it’s important to note that there are still specific steps you’ll need to follow in order to get approved. We detail these steps in our advanced US credit card report, available to members of GlobalBanks USA and GlobalBanks Insider.
What’s the Best Credit Card for NRI?
Ultimately, the specific card that an NRI chooses depends on their goals, preferred benefits, desired credit limit, past credit history, previous banking relationships, and their ability to meet the application requirements.
That said, there are some general considerations that NRIs should review before choosing which credit card is best for them. Let’s take a closer look.
Card Travel Rewards & Benefits
If you travel frequently or plan to return to India to visit family on a regular basis, you might be looking for a credit card that offers more robust travel rewards and sign-up bonuses.
So, if you’re considering US credit cards, then you’re already looking in the right region of the world. US credit cards have the most lucrative travel rewards programs in the world. Literally, no other country comes close. Sign-up bonuses, ability to earn points, cash back percentages, travel rewards, and other benefits are significantly higher in the US than in other countries. Even the UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and Europe pale in comparison.
Alternatively, if you are making frequent international purchases, online purchases in foreign currencies, or using your card while traveling abroad, you might be interested in reduced (or zero) foreign transaction fees offered by certain US credit cards.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are two of the most common questions that we receive from non-resident Indians trying to decide between US credit cards. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.
Is There a Credit Card for NRI?
There are several banks in India that cater to non-resident Indians and offer special credit cards for their international purposes. However, Indians can also consider obtaining US credit cards, which offer some of the best credit card incentives globally. In other words, just because you are an NRI doesn’t mean you can only consider NRI credit cards.
Which Credit Card is Best for NRI?
To determine which credit card is best for a NRI, it’s important to weigh the specific factors that are most important to you. Next, you need to consider which credit card issuers have application requirements you can (and can’t) meet.
With this in mind, our team has published a dedicated report to help foreign non-residents sort out their US credit card options and build US credit history. This report is immediately available to anyone that joins GlobalBanks USA.
Ready to Open Accounts in the US?
If you would like assistance navigating your banking options in the United States, we can help.
You can access GlobalBanks USA, our dedicated US account opening service, in just a few clicks.
GlobalBanks USA is a 100% personalized account opening service that taps into our team’s expertise, provides direct banker introductions, and a library of advanced reports that help non-residents, business owners, and investors navigate account opening in the US.
Of course, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.