Are you a non-resident looking for information on how to get a US-issued credit card?
If so, you’re not alone.
Credit cards in America are known to offer some of the best benefits in the world. Including higher cashback rates, better travel perks, and much more.
And, what many people don’t realize is that you can be eligible for a card even without being a US resident or having any ties to the country. In fact, you can even apply for a US credit card with an ITIN number and not an SSN.
But, unless you have the right information and know which credit card provider to choose, you’re going to have a difficult time navigating how to obtain a US-issued credit card as a non-resident.
Worse yet, if doing it the wrong way, you can actually mess up your credit report score and have yourself blocked from the system completely. Leaving you unable to build a credit history to unlock the card (or cards) you’re after.
- It is 100% possible for a foreign non-resident to obtain US-issued credit cards
- Many requirements need to be met in order to obtain American credit cards
- Non-residents can experience many challenges during the application process
- It’s important to understand the process of how to build credit history to obtain the right credit card
Read on below to find out what you need to apply for a credit card as a non-resident and how to do it the right way.
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- How to Get a US-Issued Credit Card for Non-Residents
- Who Can Apply for American Credit Cards?
- Challenges of Getting a US-Issued Credit Card
- How to Apply for a US-Issued Credit Card as a Non-Resident
- Ready to Explore Your Options?
How to Get a US-Issued Credit Card for Non-Residents
If you are a foreign non-resident, you can get a US-issued credit card by first having a US bank account. From there, you need to know which credit providers will accept you and to be able to meet their specific requirements. However, without inside knowledge, it can be a very difficult process to navigate, but if you know exactly where to go it can actually be surprisingly simple.
In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about how to obtain US-issued credit cards for non-residents. Including who can apply, the challenges you’ll need to overcome, and of course, the specific steps you’ll need to take.
But, before diving in, if this is your first time visiting GlobalBanks, don’t forget to download your FREE USA Banking Starter Guide. It’s designed to help non-residents open accounts with top banks in America.
Who Can Apply for American Credit Cards?
The first step in figuring out how to obtain a credit card in America is to determine if you are eligible to apply for one and what client group you belong to.
This is important because credit companies have very specific criteria for vetting applicants. If you apply to one that does not accept your client group you will be rejected immediately.
Not only is this a waste of time, but it will put a mark on your record that can block you from being accepted by other credit companies.
Because of this, it is essential that you do not apply for any cards until you are sure that you’re choosing the right card for your client group.
To begin, let’s look at the client groups that can apply for US-issued credit cards.
Who Can Apply for US-Issued Credit Cards:
- Permanent residents of the US
- Individuals with a US bank account
- Individuals with a US credit history
- Non-resident business owners doing business in the US
- Foreign companies with US suppliers
- Foreign individuals with or without an ITIN or SSN
- Offshore companies with US operations
- Foreign businesses with no US operations
- Foreign non-residents with a Canadian social insurance number (SIN)
- Non-residents with a Canadian credit history
- Non-residents with zero ties to America
Now, although you may be eligible for an American credit card if you belong to any one of these client groups, this alone is not a guarantee that you will be approved.
You will still need to overcome a strict due diligence process. Not to mention, submit proper identification, and meet specific requirements.
Now, this may sound daunting. But, if you know which specific credit companies to apply to and what information you need to provide, it can be a smooth process to get a credit card.
With that said, let’s look at the challenges you will likely need to navigate when you apply for US credit cards for foreign nationals.
Challenges of Getting a US-Issued Credit Card
It can be difficult to know how to successfully obtain a credit card as a non-resident, but it’s 100% possible.
The key is in preparation so that you can avoid the most common mistakes that non-residents typically make when they apply for credit cards in America.
So, with that said, let’s look at some of the most common challenges non-residents face when preparing their credit card applications.
Challenges of Getting US-Issued Credit Cards as a Non-Resident:
- No US credit report history
- Don’t have a US bank account
- Don’t have a Social Security Number
- Don’t have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
- Apply for the wrong credit card
- Specific credit cards may only be available to US permanent residents
- Unable to meet specific requirements when applying
- Unable to afford the annual fee of the card
- And more…
Let’s explore the top four challenges a little further…
No US Credit Report History
Many non-residents have zero credit history in the United States. Which also means you’re invisible to all of the credit bureaus and banks in America.
This means that there is no way for a credit card provider to determine your creditworthiness. Unfortunately, this makes it nearly impossible to get a US-issued credit card as a foreign non-resident. Especially, any cards with attractive perks that you would want a card for.
That said, there are different ways non-residents can overcome this challenge. One of the simplest is to open an account in America as a non-resident.
Don’t Have a US Bank Account
Yes, to obtain credit cards here, you’ll need to open an account. But unfortunately, as a non-resident, it is not as simple as flying to America and walking into the nearest bank and asking them to open an account. Each bank, branch, and even banker has different standards when it comes to accepting non-resident clients.
Some may reject you right at the door. While with others, you can spend hours going through the process of opening an account only to have your application rejected because of a minor due diligence detail that didn’t come up until the end.
Needless to say, you can waste a significant amount of time and money if you don’t know where to go.
The good news is, unlike what you may have read elsewhere, non-residents can open accounts in the United States. And, in some cases, without even stepping foot in America.
Now, if you’re not sure how to open an account as a foreign non-resident in the USA, you’re in luck. We cover everything you need to know in our free article “US Bank Accounts for Non-Residents [Start Here]”.
Don’t Have an SSN or ITIN
To start the process of opening an account here, many banks require applicants to have a Social Security Number or Individual Tax Identification Number.
So one of the most common ways that a non-resident can have their applications rejected is if they make the mistake of choosing an account with a bank that requires this.
However, as a non-resident, it is possible to apply for an ITIN online or through a service provider.
But, if you would like to save time or if you’d prefer to stay out of the US tax system, an alternative is to look for a bank that does not require non-residents to have an SSN or ITIN to open an account. This way, you’ll also be able to get a card without needing either.
If you’d like to take this approach, you can check out our free article “Open a US Bank Account Without an SSN or ITIN” for the steps on how to do this.
Apply for the Wrong US Credit Card
The next most common mistake we see when non-residents apply for credit cards in America is choosing the wrong card for their client profile.
It is key to know the right credit cards to apply for to improve your chances of being accepted. But also, to get the benefits and credit card services you’re seeking, and to make sure that the card matches your needs.
This is critical because choosing the wrong card not only can waste your time and money, but can block you from being able to apply for other cards.
Each time you apply for a credit card, a credit check is noted on your file. This can bring down your credit score and if you have enough hard checks on your file, any further applications you submit will be automatically rejected. Regardless of your score or profile.
So please, do not take this lightly. Do not apply for credit cards without knowing your chances of approval.
Also, be sure not to apply for credit cards that do not match your needs or do not provide you with the services and benefits you’re looking for. This can land you with outrageous fees, rates, and limited access to benefits.
With this in mind, if you’re interested in learning more about the specific benefits and services American credit cards can offer foreign non-residents, be sure to check out our recent article “US Credit Card for Foreign Nationals”, which outlines the benefits specific customer groups can unlock when getting an American credit card.
Now, if you want to learn more about how to obtain a US-issued credit card, keep reading to find out what you need to get one today.
How to Apply for a US-Issued Credit Card as a Non-Resident
Whether you’re looking to obtain a US credit card for a European resident, a Canadian resident, or a US resident, it’s important to choose the right card for your client profile.
Depending on the provider you choose to apply with and the specific card you apply for, requirements can (and will) vary. In fact, requirements can also vary depending on your citizenship and residency.
So, it’s important to know what you need to successfully get a US-issued credit card. More on this below.
What You Need to Get a US-Issued Credit Card:
- Two forms of government-issued identification
- US bank account
- Acceptable U.S address
- Application form (varies between credit providers)
- SSN or ITIN (not necessary if you know which banks to apply with)
- Employment status & proof of income
- And more…
Now, before you apply, it’s important to know which of these documents you can provide. This way, you’ll be able to determine which credit card providers are best suited for you.
And, not only will this save you time and money, but it will save you from choosing the wrong cards.
But, it’s also important to understand which benefits you’re after. Not to mention, which providers will accept you and the specific steps you need to take to successfully get a US-issued credit card.
If this is something that you are looking for, our premium report “US Credit Card Strategies for Foreigners & Non-Residents” dives into the actual application and credit strategies you need to build out a credit card portfolio in the USA. This includes which specific cards you should apply for based on your client type. And of course, the step-by-step process on how to obtain a US-issued credit card.
But, that’s not all.
This report also covers the following topics:
- How to obtain a US-issued credit card without any US credit history
- How to access the many benefits American credit cards can offer
- How to establish a good credit report score to build credit history in America
- The specific strategies non-residents use to successfully get a US-issued credit card
- Which specific credit cards to apply for, when, and in what order (based on client profile and needs)
- The mistakes non-residents make before, during, and after they apply for US-issued credit cards (and how to avoid them)
You can access this report immediately when you join GlobalBanks USA (more on this below).
Now, if you’re ready to learn how you can get your hands on a credit card in the United States, here’s how…
Ready to Explore Your Options?
Whether you’re ready to learn how you can get a US-issued credit card today or you’re just starting to explore your options, we can help.
GlobalBanks USA is our dedicated US bank account opening service.
GlobalBanks USA gives you everything you need to start finding and opening US bank accounts for you and your business.
When you join GlobalBanks USA, you receive a dedicated account manager to help you navigate your US account opening options.
Plus, you receive access to our library of premium (members-only) US banking reports. This includes proven account opening strategies, client-specific lists of banks, and successful tactics to make the most of opening an account in America.
Of course, you’ll receive direct introductions to US bankers who are ready to help you navigate the account opening process at top US banks.