If you are coming to the United States to study, you may want to purchase things with credit cards. Well, the easiest way to do this is to apply for credit cards before you leave your home country to come to America. There are several international banks that offer credit cards that can be used in the U.S. such as VISA, MasterCard, and the American Express. But if you plan on staying in America longer than after you finish with your study, you’ll probably want to spend a little time researching which credit card you should apply for. You should also put in the time and effort to build American credit history. However, for international students, this could be a problem because most U.S. banks require you to have a Social Security number before you can become a member to build your credit history.
The Easiest Credit Card: Citibank
After you’ve gotten to America, applying for a credit card can be a very intimidating procedure. Many people agree that the best option available is Citibank. Unlike most American banks, Citibank does not require a Social Security number before they issue a credit card as long as you’re an international student. They also offer an extra perk to international students: a no annual fee credit card and no monthly fee bank accounts. Citibank also has a transfer service called the Citibank Global Transfer service that makes it easier for you to send your money back and forth between your accounts and your families’ bank back in your home country. Visit Citibank’s website to see the full details of their credit card requirements.
Getting a Social Security Number
With all other American banks, you will need a Social Security number. It is easier than one would think to obtain a Social Security number. The only requirements are a student visa (either F-1, M-1, or J-1) and be authorized to work in the U.S. It is easier to start the process if you first obtain a job. However, this can be difficult for international students. If you can’t get a job on campus, you’ll need to apply for jobs off campus, and this requires authorization from the Department of Homeland Security. You’ll need a letter of authorization from your school or future place of work before they will allow you to work. If you can’t find any place that will let you work for them, you can still obtain a Social Security card, but it will be marked that you are not eligible for work. However, this could be your only option, and at least it will allow you to get a credit card from banks. Please keep in mind that even after obtaining a Social Security number, there are only certain banks that will give out credit cards to international students.
Expect a Secured Credit Card at First
After you complete your first hurdle and obtain a Social Security number, you’ll have to complete your next hurdle: your lack of credit history. You will need to apply for a secured credit card. A secured credit card requires you to deposit a sum of money equal to the credit line that you want at the bank that issues the card. (A $800 credit line will require a $800 deposit) Keep in mind that it is not a prepaid card in that your money will stay untouched and will continue to earn interest as long as you pay your bills on time. You’ll probably want a bank that is located close to your school because they will probably be more likely to have experienced services with other young students like you. Always pay your bills on time to be sure you raise a good credit history. If you always pay all your bills on time, from 6 to 12 months you’ll have accumulated enough good credit to get a regular unsecured credit card, and you will be able to choose if you want to get it from the same bank or somewhere else.
Other Ways to Build Your Credit History
You may be able to build your credit history by paying rent if you live off campus, or paying your utility bills such as your phone bills. If you pay them all on time, your credit history should improve over time.
As an international student, you will face many challenges and many hurdles while you’re trying to get your credit card in America. The best option is probably getting a credit card that can be used internationally from a bank in your home country. However, if that is not an option, Citibank is a great option that offers student credit cards without needing you to have a Social Security number first. But all other banks do require you to have a Social Security number. And once you get your credit card, you will need to begin building a solid American credit history by paying all of your bills on time.