Home Study in US [Study in the US] Can international students also apply for credit cards? 4 credit cards for international students

[Study in the US] Can international students also apply for credit cards? 4 credit cards for international students

by Jack
credit cards international
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Last Modified 2021年12月1日

Which Credit cards for international students? When you first come to study in the United States, you may hear “credit score”. What impact does it have on an international student? Why is it important? How can I start accumulating my credit score? How to apply for a credit card without SSN ( Social Security Number )?

This article will first introduce what a credit score is, and which 5 indicators will affect the credit score. After understanding the credit score, I will introduce two common ways to build a credit score.

For international students who have just come to study abroad, introduce 2 cards that can be applied immediately to start accumulating credit records.

It usually takes 3-6 months to establish a credit record before the first credit record report is generated. It is recommended to apply for credit cards for international students as soon as possible.

International students who have just obtained the Social Security Code (SSN) or those who have just worked have two more cards to choose from. While accumulating credit, they can have higher cash rewards or points rewards.

Extended reading: If you just got the SSN, you can take a minute to apply, [Study Abroad Credit Card] DISCOVER IT Credit Card, a must-have card for international students in 2020

Priorities to do when entering the U.S.:

“Visualization Overview” Guide to Study Abroad

  1. Buying air tickets : [U.S. Travel] How do I buy air tickets in the United States? 3 steps to buy cheap air tickets
  2. Report to school
  3. Looking for a long-term rental house :
  4. Open a bank account :
  5. Phone number
  6. Apply for a credit card (start to accumulate credit records):
  7. My website for studying abroad
    1. [Study in the U.S.] 40 essential websites for studying in the U.S.
    2. [美国求职] #0 A collection of job hunting resources in the United States, 15 must-have websites, 2 books, and 4 PROJECTS
    3. [Money-saving teaching] Rakuten cash back, saving USD500 in teaching a year
  8. U.S. Medical Insurance :
    1. [Study in the US] US study abroad insurance, 4 common insurance types, 5 cost keywords
    2. [Apply for teaching] Student Medicover US medical insurance, how to save $1500 a year? Easy application 5 steps
  9. U.S. stock ETF investment account opening: [Account opening teaching] Firstrade, an American brokerage firm, a 5-minute easy account opening tutorial
  10. Changing your driver’s license: [Study in the US] Taiwan’s driver’s license is exempted from the test and the US driver’s license is easily changed in 33 states

1. What is a credit score?

credit cards for international students
credit cards for international students

1.1 The meaning of representation

The United States is a credit society, the credit history (Credit History) and lives, and measure the most common indicators of credit history is a credit score (Credit Score).

1.2 5 common credit ranges

The credit score is between 300-850, and usually more than 700, it will be regarded as an indicator of good credit. The following takes FICO credit score as an example:

FractionRankingRepresentative meaning
<580PoorMuch lower than the average American consumer, who is at high risk for borrowing
580 – 669FairBelow the average American consumer, many lenders (Lender) are willing to lend to you
670 – 739GoodClose to and slightly above average, most borrowers (Lender) will be regarded as those with good credit
740 – 799Very GoodAbove average, the borrower thinks you are a fairly reliable person
800 +ExceptionalMuch higher than average, lenders feel that lending to you is low risk

Usually, at least 6 months of accumulated credit history will have a corresponding report.

1.3 The 3 largest credit reporting agencies in the U.S.

There are three major credit reporting agencies in the United States, namely ExperianEquifax, and TransUnion 

2. Why is credit score important?

credit cards for international students
credit cards for international students

2.1 The importance of credit scores

A credit score is an indicator tool for lenders (government, bank, etc.) as a reference for decision-making, helping them to measure whether you will repay “on time”.

Many international students, when renting a house, may be required to provide a credit record or credit score certificate to ensure that the rent will be paid on time.

Common effects on international students:

  • Renting a house: The landlord may ask for a credit score (but not every landlord will ask for it)
  • Credit card application: certain bank applications require applicants to have a certain credit score or above before they are willing to let you apply

If I don’t have a credit score or social security code, can I still apply for a credit card?

Ok, let’s keep reading

Further reading: [U.S. Rental Housing] How to find a suitable place to live? 6 common steps to rent a house

2.2 5 common indicators of credit score

Most of the three major credit record institutions in the United States use the following five indicators to measure the borrowing risk of borrowers.

indexProportion
Payment history35%
Amount you owe30%
Length of credit history15%
New credit opened10%
Types of credit you have10%
credit cards for international students
credit card
Take Discover FICO as an example

After applying for the Discover it card, he will provide free real-time FICO score reports, which means that FICO scores will change over time.

Length of Credit: I just held a Credit Card in the first year, and this indicator is all Low. It was about the second year of holding a credit record that I arrived at Fair.

How long can I accumulate the first credit report? Ans: You need to hold the card for normal consumption and repayment for 3-6 months.

It is recommended that the earlier you accumulate credit history, the credit history will improve over time (time accounts for 15% of the record score)

Extended reading: [Study Abroad Credit Card] DISCOVER IT Credit Card, a must-have card for international students

2.3 Two common methods for establishing credit scores

For international students who have just landed, how can they start accumulating credit history? The two most common ways,

  • Apply for Deserve Edu (SSN is not required): International students generally do not have an SSN when they first arrived in the United States. The following will introduce how to apply.
  • Authorized account : relatives in the United States who have a Credit Card can add you as an authorized account. This is the easiest and fastest way.

3. 2 common credit cards for international students(without SSN)?

SSNOnline applicationGive backCard opening ceremony
Deserve EduNo needCan1%USD 30
BoA Cash RewardsNo needIn-store application1-3%USD 200
Discover itneedCan1-5%USD 50
Chase FreedomneedCan5x pointsUSD 80
credit cards for international students

3.1 Deserve Edu

International Student Credit Card
credit cards for international students

Deserve Edu is a Credit Card specially designed for students. There is no annual fee and you can apply without SSN. It is most suitable for international students who have just arrived in the United States. At the beginning, the credit limit will start from USD 1000. With consumption and payment on time, the limit will also increase.

This is also my first Credit Card when I was studying in the United States. The first-year Student Amazon Prime gave me this card.

3 reasons for applying :

  • Online application: convenient and fast, about 15-30 minutes
  • No SSN required
  • Amazon Prime Student free for the first year

Extended reading: [Study Abroad Credit Card] Deserve Edu credit card, no SSN, easy application in 3 steps

Cumulative credit history

After holding the card for about 3 months, the credit records will be reported to Experian (EX) and TransUnion (TU) to start accumulating credit records.

3 steps to apply: online application

International Student Credit Card
credit cards for international students

Prepare documents :

  • passport
  • Valid visa
  • Form I-20
  • Bank account information

This is an online application, Deserve Edu application link (there will be a USD 30 card opening ceremony after application), prepare the above information, and complete the 3 steps

  • Prequalify: Fill in the basic address, birthday, name, Email
  • Apply: In addition to the basic information, school information and bank account information
  • Decision: After a few working days, we will reply to your application result.

5 features

  • Annual fee: USD 0, no annual fee
  • Card opening gift: USD 30
  • Feedback: Regardless of the type of consumption, 1% feedback
  • Overseas handling fee: USD 0, no handling fee for overseas consumption
  • Others: Free one-year Amazon Prime Student membership (USD 59)

3.2 BoA Cash Rewards

International Student Credit Card
credit cards for international students

When I opened a Bank of America bank account, I asked Banker to help me apply for this card. When I applied, I could also choose the pattern of the card. I chose the campus of the school I was studying at NYU.

This is the second card I applied for when I was studying abroad. I will apply for this card because I don’t have an SSN yet and I want to get rewards when I consume.

3 reasons for applying :

  • No SSN required
  • You can choose school drawings
  • Cash back: 1 – 3%

Application method: Apply in person

If this is your first Credit Card, you need to go to the bank to apply in person if you don’t have a credit history.

Further reading: [Study in the United States] 3 steps to open an account in a bank of the United States, 4 common banks in the United States

4 features

  • Annual fee: USD 0, no annual fee
  • Card opening gift: USD 200 (with a consumption of USD 500 in three months)
  • Cash back:
    • 3% feedback: online shopping, travel, drugstore, refueling, eating, traveling
    • 2% feedback: supermarket
    • 1% feedback: other types of consumption
  • Overseas handling fee: USD 0, no handling fee for overseas consumption

Detailed information: Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

4. 2 common “beginner” credit cards (just got SSN)?

4.1 Discover it

International Student Credit Card
credit cards for international students

This is a credit card that can also be applied for with a zero credit record. When the identity verification is completed, the application will be passed.

After I got the first job, with the SSN, to apply for this card, but also because this card compared to the feedback I applied before Deserve Edu with BoA Cash Rewards is even higher, each season has a corresponding 5% cash rebate, free real-time report of FICO score is also provided.

3 reasons for applying :

  • 剛建立信用紀錄的入門卡
  • 5% rebate in different seasons
  • In the first year, there will be match feedback, and all my feedback in this year (ex: if I am in the first year, all the feedback amount is USD 100, at the beginning of the second year, Discover it will give me another USD 100)

Application method: online application

This is an online application, Discover it application link (after the application completes the first purchase, there will be a USD 50 card opening gift)

5 features

  • Annual fee: USD 0, no annual fee
  • Card opening gift: USD 50
  • Cash back:
    • 5% feedback: different types every season
      • 1-March: Supermarket, Walgreens, CVS
      • April-June: Come on, Uber, Lyft, Wholesale Clubs
      • July-September: Restaurants, PayPal
      • October-December: Amazon, Walmart, Target
    • 1% feedback: other types of consumption
  • Overseas handling fee: USD 0, no handling fee for overseas consumption
  • Others: Good Student Award USD 20/year (GPA 3.0 and above)

I don’t like the second season the least because I take the subway. I like the fourth season the most because I use Amazon to buy things very often.

New York engineer Jack daily

4.2 Chase Freedom

International Student Credit Card
credit cards for international students

When many friends first started working, they would suggest applying for this first. Chase’s first entry card will also be helpful for applying for Chase high-end cards later. They can also exchange points for air tickets, and for those who want to start using points to exchange mileage The person with the ticket is a starting point.

Application method: online application

This is the online application, the Chase Freedom application link (after the application is completed, the card opening ceremony conditions are completed, there will be a USD 200 card opening ceremony)

3 features

  • Annual fee: USD 0, no annual fee
  • Card opening ceremony: 20000 Ultimate Rewards (UR) (approximately worth USD80) (USD 500 for three-month consumption)
  • Points feedback:
    • 5 times feedback: different types each season

Detailed information: Chase Freedom ®  credit card

5 Conclusion

International Student Credit Card
credit cards for international students
SSNOnline applicationGive backCard opening ceremony
Deserve EduNo needCan1%USD 30
BoA Cash RewardsNo needIn-store application1-3%USD 200
Discover itneedCan1-5%USD 50
Chase FreedomneedCan5x pointsUSD 80
credit cards for international students

The cards introduced above are free of annual fees and are very suitable for the initial application for credit record establishment.

New friends who have not yet SSN started to accumulate credit records

For newcomers without SSN, I personally recommend applying for Deserve Edu first. You can apply directly online, and Amazon Prime Student will be given away for one year. 

If you happen to open a bank account and Bank of America, you can also ask Banker to help you do BoA Cash Rewards. Although the two limits are not high, you usually start to hold the card, but there are normal consumption and payment records.

There will be a credit record report every month, which is the starting point for accumulating credit records.

How long can I accumulate the first credit report? Ans: You need to hold the card for normal consumption and repayment for 3-6 months.

It is recommended that the earlier you accumulate credit history, the better, and the score will increase with the time you hold the card

Further reading: [Study in the United States] 3 steps to open an account in a bank of the United States, 4 common banks in the United States

Friends who just got SSN, want higher feedback

If you have just got an SSN, you can apply for Discover it first, and there will be a different 5% feedback every season. 

If you want to start a journey of credit card points, you can consider applying for Chase Freedom, but it is recommended to apply after having credit history for a period of time.

I hope that when you just come to the United States to study, you can quickly start accumulating credit records, and you will never be blocked by your credit records (I myself am a lot of friends when renting a house, the landlord asks for records), I hope this article is for you.

“Credit history” and “credit card application” are helpful and allow you to find a suitable card.

More Study in the US Articles

You may also like

Leave a Comment