Not having a social security number or SSN is a major impediment when you want to lead a normal life in the United States and you want to obtain financing. This is the case of credit cards, which mostly ask you for this document in order to apply.
However, there are banks and financial entities that allow you to request a credit card with an ITIN number, the individual taxpayer identification number that is easier for a foreigner to obtain than the SSN.
Below we explain how you can obtain one of these plastics, and in the list above you can consult the best credit cards with ITIN and without SSN.
How to get the ITIN instead of the SSN
When you're not eligible for a social security number, your individual taxpayer number can help you get a credit card.
Although we have an exclusive post about the ITIN and how to apply for it, we will review some essential aspects of this identification number.
It is granted to people who live permanently or temporarily in the USA and want to pay taxes or have a business. It is a card with a unique 9-digit encoding, starting with the number 9, and is issued by the IRS.
Regarding your request, we leave you the main alternatives:
- In person. This is done by completing the W-7 form (online download) and adding information about your identity and immigration status. You can go to the nearest taxpayer assistance center to deliver the documents or send them by mail to the corresponding address.
- Through an authorized processing agent. They are institutions (banks, accounting firms, universities, etc.) endorsed by the IRS inside and outside the United States. They are in charge of reviewing your papers, verifying that the information is correct, and sending it for due processing.
On the other hand, international students with F-1 (conventional programs) and M-1 (vocational programs) visas can apply for the ITIN with the IRS. To do this, they must fill out the W-7 form and provide documents for identity verification. This can be done by mail in person.
Which banks offer credit cards with ITIN
In the United States there are many issuers of credit cards with ITIN, among which Citibank and American Express stand out for their flexibility in terms of requirements. Also, they offer these banking products in other countries, so they would mind your history with them.
Others that might consider an ITIN or other form of identification to apply for a credit card without SSN include Bank of America, Capital One, Chase Bank, or Wells Fargo Bank.
Finally, the application process will depend on the entity you choose and if you have the minimum credentials to choose the credit card you want. If the bank does not accept an alternative history (timely payment of rent, bills or loans), apply for secured credit cards to build a score that makes things easier for you.
How to apply for a credit card with ITIN
The process of requesting and contracting a plastic using the individual taxpayer identification number is exactly the same as with the social security number.
Some entities will allow you to enter one or the other in the same box, in others you will have to previously select which document you are going to use to then enter its number.
From there you must fill in the rest of the form fields with your personal and work data, and provide the documents that the bank requests.
If your application is approved, in a few days you will receive your card at home, if it is rejected, they will inform you of the reason so that you can try to solve it or try other alternatives, such as secured credit cards if you do not have a credit history or have a bad score.
You can also opt for loans with ITIN
Another way to get financing without social security is to use personal loans with ITIN, which are also granted by many credit institutions in the United States and work the same as those that request the SSN.
At Busconomico we have a special section for ITIN loans where you can consult information on how to request them and see the best possibilities available to hire one.
Opt for a secured credit card
Even if you have an ITIN, credit card issuers can still deny your application if you do not have a credit history in the United States. In fact, these institutions do not have access to your home country's credit record, which basically means you have to start from scratch and build it all over again.
In this sense, a good option is secured credit cards, which ask for a deposit as a guarantee (collateral) and which works as your credit limit. As you pay responsibly, they can increase your limit or even offer you an upgrade to an unsecured credit card.
Although these financial instruments ask you for money in advance, it has more advantages than prepaid cards. In principle, because it is a simple way to start or build your FICO score, which will help you with other kinds of loans in the future. In addition, its protection against fraud offers you greater security than having a prepaid card.
Secured credit cards can also be used to improve your credit score if you have a bad score.
Español: Tarjetas de crédito con ITIN number, sin seguro social