Steps to Take to Apply for a Credit Card in the United States
Before attempting to get your first credit card, you must have a Social Security Number (SSN.) You cannot apply for a credit card without registering an SSN to your identity.
- If you cannot obtain a Social Security Number, you can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to use instead.
You can open a bank account in an international bank in the United States.
- If you or someone in your family has an account in your home country that is an international bank, you can open a new account with that bank in the United States. This will allow you to use your financial information easily from your home country, and may make the process of getting your credit card easier, or increase your spending limit!
If you do not have an international bank to use, you can open a bank account at a United State’s bank instead.
- You will be required to bring select documents and funds to open a new bank account, depending on the financial institution you choose. Call your local bank, or read their information on opening a new bank account online before going in.
- United State’s banks commonly have ATMs placed around city and towns, so consider choosing a bank that is well versed in your home city.
If you have a family member, spouse, or close friend that has already started a credit line, it would be helpful to get them to cosign for you when applying for a credit card. Since these individuals have already started building credit, their endorsements can help you get a larger spending limit on your credit card. While not required, this is suggested.
If possible, you will want to find employment before applying for a credit card.
- Having consistent income will show financial institutions you can pay off larger amounts on your credit card, potentially earning you a higher spending limit.
- Many credit card providers will not give you a credit card without employment.
Credit Cards are not do or die, but can be an extremely helpful resource to have in case of emergencies. If you are in a situation where you need to fix a car, need to pay a form of medical bills, or need to make a payment you cannot afford to pay fully at the time it is due, a credit card is handy to have. Credit cards will allow you to make these payments, and then pay off that amount on your credit card over time. Doing this with payments will also slowly build your credit score, allowing you to get larger spending limits, and larger loans.