If you’re an international student who is studying in the U.S., you’ll probably need a credit card during your stay. At least it will make life a little easier.
It’s difficult, but not impossible, to get a credit card as a foreign student in the U.S. Finding the best credit cards for international students can be done by following a few tips.
The best way to do get a credit card to use in the U.S. is to apply for one in your home country before your trip. Many international banks can provide credit cards that can be used in the U.S. – including MasterCard, Visa or American Express.
But, if your planning to stay in the U.S. after your study, you may want to consider taking the time and effort to build U.S. credit history. You have several options for doing this, although it can be tricky because many banks in the U.S. do require that you have a Social Security number.
Here are some of your options for getting a credit card in the U.S.
Citibank offers easy process
Citibank is one of the best banks for getting a card in the U.S. This bank does not require that students have a Social Security number. They can issue you a credit card that has not service fees.
In addition, the Citibank Global Transfer service also allows you to send money back and forth between accounts in different countries. That means that a students’ parents can send them funds from their home country to their Citibank account in the U.S.
How to get a Social Security Number
Students will probably need to have a Social Security number to get a credit card with most other U.S. banks.
That should not be a problem if you are authorized to work in the U.S. and are studying on an F-1, J-1 or M-1 student visa. To get the credit cards for international students with the best terms, you should first get a job so you can prove income. Income is a critical factor in getting approved for a credit card.
If you need to get a job off campus, you may need to get authorization from the Department of Homeland Security.
To apply for a Social Security number, you’ll need a letter of authorization from the school you attend. Or you may get a letter from your employer.
A Secured Credit Card May be Key
Once you have a Social Security number, you will need to establish credit. If you don’t have a strong credit history in the U.S., a secured credit card might be your best option.
With a secured credit card, you put down a deposit then you can spend as much as you put down on your credit card. It will function similarly to a debit card, but your payments will be reported to credit agencies and you will improve your credit history.
For example, you may put down $300 on a secured credit card. Then you will have $300 as your credit limit. If you don’t pay what you spend in full each month, you will be charged interest on what you owe.
With any credit card, including credit cards for international students, it’s important to pay your bills on time. That way, you can establish strong credit history. Within about a year, you should be able to apply for a non-secured credit card in the U.S.
The Bottom Line
International students may face challenges in finding the best credit cards for foreign students in the U.S, but it is not impossible. The key is to establish good credit.
Meanwhile, try to apply for a credit card that can be used internationally in your home country so that you can enjoy the convenience of using a credit card.