How to Apply for a Credit Card in the USA

Apply for a Credit Card

As an international student in the United States, you might consider having a credit card for your duration of stay. However, applying for a United States credit card tends to be a daunting concept for several international students, specifically, for those from countries that mostly operate on debit cards and cash. Since the United States is majorly a cashless society, as an international student, you have no choice but to get a credit card.

Below are the steps to follow in order to obtain a credit card in the USA:

Apply for a Social Security Number

The Social Security Number (SSN) is a vital requirement for banks while applying for a credit card in the US. These numbers are awarded to people permitted to work in the US, besides they are used in reporting your wages to the state and determining if you are eligible for Social Security benefits. In case you are a student in the US on an M-1, F-I or J-1 student visa, permitted to work in the US, you are liable for an SSN application.

Being employed is one of the important factors in applying for an SSN. In off-campus employment, you will receive approval from the Department of Homeland Security. In order to apply for Social Security Number, you will be required to complete a Social Security Care (Form SS-5) application. Then produce documents confirming your age, work-authorized immigration status, and identity. After that, submit your application and relevant documents to a local Social Security office.

Apply for Credit Cards

During this process, you will need to produce a lasting address; that can be your school address. With a stable income source saving account, boosts your chances of your application being accepted. However, it is not advisable to apply for several cards at a go, since a lot of rejections tend to negatively impact chances of another financial institution validating your application. Therefore, try to submit utmost two applications, specifically for cards meant for students with a reduced credit line.

Besides, consider applying online via a secure site. In this respect, your personal data automatically goes into your financial institute. Not only does it get rid of the peril of a prohibited third party getting your information but also minimizes the prospect of identity theft.

Time to Wait

As long you have adhered to the above-mentioned steps, you will be required to patiently wait for your approval decision. Being an International student in the USA, makes it so hard to secure credit and you may find your application being rejected frequently. However here are some tips that can assist you in overcoming such a scenario;

Secured Credit cards

Many international students studying in the US fail to obtain a credit card since they have not yet spent time creating a credit history and obviously the fact that they are not residents of the US. Using a secured credit card may be a perfect alternative for you. This card gives you some of the benefits of a credit card, but you have to secure your card with a deposit which then is assumed to be your credit line. Secured credit cards are regarded as normal credit cards on your credit report.

Building Credit History

This undertaking is a requirement in obtaining various things in the US, for instance securing utilities and housing. To assist you with this, you will need to efficiently manage your card balances. Because of the reliability of credit cards, you can easily overspend through impulse buying and fail to pay your balances within the set time frame. This is because whenever you use your credit card, you owe money to the place you purchased goods or services. Therefore, it is significantly a nice idea to prevent exceeding your 30% spending limit. For instance, if you have a set $ 300 spending limit, you are required to charge at least $90 to that card every month. Also, ensure you pay your balances in time.


The United States being a cashless state, you will really need to own a credit card. This will come in handy whenever you want to purchase various products and services. As an international student studying in the US, you will need to have this credit. Though applying is quite intimidating, you simply have to adhere to the set rules and regulation.

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