If you’re looking to get your hands on a US credit card for foreign nationals, you’re in luck. Foreigners and non-residents are eligible for US credit cards. In fact, they are eligible for credit cards with an ITIN number only.
And, with the perks and rewards credit cards in the US can offer, it’s no surprise that more non-residents want to get their hands on these cards.
But, accessing credit cards in the US isn’t easy, especially for foreigners. So, if this is a goal of yours, read on to learn how you can navigate the challenges and successfully access credit cards in the US as a non-resident.
- Credit cards in the USA offer attractive rewards programs
- Building credit as a non-resident individual and business owner is important to obtaining credit cards in the USA
- Some banks only offer credit cards to individuals who have an ITIN or SSN
- Some banks don’t allow foreign nationals to open a US bank account
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- US Credit Card for Foreign Nationals
- Can Foreign Nationals Apply for a US Credit Card?
- What Are the Benefits of US Credit Cards for Foreigners?
- What Are the Challenges of Getting a US Credit Card as a Non-Resident?
- How Do I Apply for a US Credit Card as a Foreign Non-Resident?
- Frequently Asked Questions on US Credit Cards
- Do You Want Help Opening a US Bank Account?
US Credit Card for Foreign Nationals
To obtain US credit cards for foreign nationals, several required prerequisites need to be met. Including, proof of a US bank account, US credit history, or a secured deposit. That said, only a small fraction of US banks issue credit cards to non-residents. So, it is important to choose the correct US banks before starting the application process.
In this article, we’re going to share the customer groups that are eligible for credit cards in the US. We will also share how to identify the best-suited banks for these groups. And, we’ll outline the benefits and challenges you’ll face during the application process.
Of course, before you’re able to get your hands on a US credit card, you will need to open a bank account in the United States. And, for non-residents account opening in the US isn’t an easy process. But, it is possible with the right information.
If you’re already a GlobalBanks USA member, you can start opening US bank accounts right now with real, brick-and-mortar banks without ever visiting the United States. If you’re not a GlobalBanks USA member, keep reading to learn how you can start the process of opening US bank accounts to access credit cards in the US today.
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 the US.
Can Foreign Nationals Apply for a US Credit Card?
When it comes to obtaining credit cards in the US for foreigners, several customer groups can confidently apply and expect to get approved.
But, unfortunately, receiving a US credit card as a non-resident isn’t as easy as submitting applications. First, you’ll need to open a US bank account.
If you’ve yet to open a US bank account and you’re interested in how to get started, you can review our free article “US Bank Accounts for Non-Residents [Start Here]” for more information.
Now, if you already have a US bank account, you’re one step closer to getting your hands on a US credit card. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re eligible for one.
With this in mind, here’s a look at seven different foreign national client groups that can get a US credit card.
Foreign Nationals Who Can Get a Credit Card in the United States
- Non-residents with or without an ITIN or SSN
- Non-residents with or without US credit history
- Foreign business owners doing business in the US
- Offshore companies with US operations
- Foreign companies with suppliers in the US
- Non-resident US LLCs with no US operations
- Non-resident student studying in the US
As you can see, the above list is fairly inclusive. In most instances, non-residents who aren’t members of the Unlucky Passport Club can typically access credit cards in the US.
Foreign-owned companies can also obtain business credit cards in the US. And, students studying in the US can apply for student credit cards.
But knowing where to start, which banks or credit card companies to approach, and how to best apply is the key to success.
To shape your approach, you need to know the credit card basics, which rewards you want to unlock, which challenges you can overcome, and (importantly), which credit cards you will realistically be approved for.
What Are the Benefits of US Credit Cards for Foreigners?
Undoubtedly, a US credit card for non-residents offers some of the most attractive rewards in the world. In fact, no other country even comes close.
This is due to the profitability of US credit card users. In other words, card issuers can offer such attractive perks because every credit card customer they acquire adds value to their bottom line.
And, if you’re a non-resident who falls into one of the above categories, this means you can access the same perks.
Here is a look at the top five perks of having a US credit card.
- The most lucrative travel rewards programs available
- Access to the highest possible sign-up bonuses
- Establish US credit history for you personally
- Establish US credit history for your business
- Gateway to further US credit products (mortgage, loans, etc.)
In most cases, non-residents looking to obtain credit cards in the USA are interested in the first two bullet points. Let’s take a closer look at these to better understand how you can benefit.
US Travel Rewards Programs
Travel rewards are points earned from charging qualified purchases to your credit card. These travel rewards can be used to obtain free hotel rooms, free flights, special bonuses, and even points themselves. Of course, the more you charge to your credit card, the more rewards you collect.
But, not all travel rewards programs are created equal. And, depending on what you ideally want to use your points for, certain travel rewards programs (and credit card companies) may be better suited to your needs. So, it’s important to know which card matches your goals before applying.
US Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses
Just like US citizens, foreign nationals can earn sign-up bonuses from US credit cards after they pass a certain threshold. These sign-up bonuses typically come in the form of reward points. But, they can also be cash, points, and travel credit.
Importantly, US credit card issuers often issue rewards between 2 and 5 times higher than credit card companies elsewhere. In other words, by meeting the same thresholds, you can earn up to 5 times more than in Canada, the UK, or elsewhere.
Of course, not all card issuers offer the same perks. And, sign-up bonuses can change throughout the year. So, it’s important to know how you’re looking to benefit and which cards you can access.
But, as we’ve already mentioned, credit cards in the US are not easy to obtain. And, which cards you can access can vary depending on a wide range of different factors.
So, before applying for a US credit card, you need to understand the challenges.
What Are the Challenges of Getting a US Credit Card as a Non-Resident?
Although a foreign non-resident can get a US credit card, it doesn’t mean it’s an easy process. In fact, it’s the opposite.
There are critical obstacles non-residents have to overcome to get their hands on a US credit card. We outline eight common challenges below.
Challenges of Obtaining a US Credit Card for Foreign Nationals:
- Usually required to open a US bank account first
- Identifying which credit card providers issue to foreign nationals is very difficult
- Establishing a US credit history (not required for all credit cards) is very time-consuming
- Each US credit card provider has specific requirements you need to overcome
- Identifying a credit card strategy right for you is difficult
- Executing the correct credit card strategy takes time and patience
- Choosing the wrong credit card company can lower your chances of redeeming the rewards you are after
- Being unable to support the annual or monthly card fee
While this isn’t a long list, these challenges can have a significant impact on you and your application. In other words, they can determine whether or not you can obtain a US credit card as a non-resident.
As mentioned, if you don’t have a US bank account, you won’t be eligible to obtain most credit cards or benefit from the lucrative rewards these credit cards offer. And, even if you do get a card, you still need a US bank account to pay your monthly bill. So, opening a US bank account is the first step in obtaining a US card as a non-resident.
How Do I Apply for a US Credit Card as a Foreign Non-Resident?
The burning question everyone is asking is “How can you obtain a US credit card for foreign nationals?”
As a bonus, it would be great to understand which credit cards match your client profile and goals. In other words, are you looking for a student credit card, business card, secured credit card, or travel rewards card?
Whichever card you’re after, it’s important to understand whether or not you can qualify for it.
And then, if possible, wouldn’t it be nice to have a step-by-step process to apply for and obtain these credit cards?
Well, lucky for you, we have the answers you’re looking for.
We uncover everything you need to know about US banking in our premium USA banking reports. And, when it comes to knowing how to get US-issued credit cards as a foreign non-resident, we share everything you need to start applying in “US Credit Card Report for Foreigners & Non-Residents”.
In this report, we outline the best strategies for your specific client profile. Plus, we share the step-by-step process on how to successfully apply for credit cards in the US. And, we even outline how to start building a US credit history as a foreign non-resident to obtain the credit cards you’re after.
You can access this report immediately when you join GlobalBanks USA (more on this below).
That said, if you’re looking for more information or you have unanswered questions, we can help.
Frequently Asked Questions on US Credit Cards
Below are two of the most common questions we receive from people exploring US credit cards for foreign nationals. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
How Can I Get an International Credit Card Without a Social Security Number (SSN)?
You can get an international credit card without a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) by following one of three strategies and submitting relevant documentation. Certain banks will allow applicants to apply from abroad for an international credit card while others require an in-person application. Additionally, only a small number of banks will accept applicants without a US credit history. Contact us to learn more.
Do You Want Help Opening a US Bank Account?
If so, you can get access to GlobalBanks USA (our dedicated US account opening service) in just a few clicks.
GlobalBanks USA is a 100% personal account opening solution. It provides direct access to our team of US banking experts.
When you join, you receive…
+ Expert suggestions on where to open US bank accounts.
+ Step-by-step support to navigate US account opening.
+ Direct introductions to helpful and responsive bankers.
+ Plus, detailed guides to maximizing the value you get from your new USA bank account.
And “yes!” GlobalBanks USA helps foreigners and non-resident individuals open accounts.
In fact, GlobalBanks USA even helps non-resident US LLCs and foreign & offshore entities.
To learn more about opening accounts with GlobalBanks USA, just click here now. Or, contact us directly with any questions!