Best Credit Cards for International Students in USA

Credit card is becoming a vital thing in today’s economy. You can buy anything within the limit and pay later. Your monthly budget will not affect that, even if you buy goods of high value on credit. One of the most essential benefits of a credit card is you can convert the total amount of your purchases into low-cost EMIs to enable you to repay them easily over a period of time. This can help revolutionize the shopping experience for us. This is even more critical when you land in the USA as an international student.

Getting a credit card, a bank loan, or an apartment can become complicated without a Social Security Number (SSN) – a nine-digit number that is only assigned to American residents and citizens by the US Govt. Earlier, we discussed the best credit cards for college students. In this post, we will go deep into the best credit card for international students in the USA.

Benefits of having a credit card as a student

The benefits of credit cards are important nowadays, and some points are below:

  1. Buy on credit
  2. The most accepted method of payment
  3. Interest-free cash withdrawals
  4. Unlimited reward points
  5. Insurance coverage
  6. Make travel easy
  7. Discounts and cash backs
  8. Improve your credit score
  9. Offers safety
  10. Keep track of your expenses

What is the credit card interest rate for international students?

It’s difficult to determine what a good rate is. You shall have to do research and compare the rates of different card issuers. As of 2020-2021, the average credit card interest rate was 21.59% in the US.

Are international students eligible for credit cards?

As long as the credit card issuer accepts Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) as a substitute for Social Security numbers, international students are also eligible to apply for credit cards. However, if you have a very limited either credit history or no credit at all, it could be difficult to get approved.

How to Get a Credit Card without a Social Security Number?

One of the main points that banks can ask for your Social Security Number (SSN) is so they can check up on your credit history. They need to know that they can trust you before they authorize any type of credit for anything. Luckily, your Social Security Number (SSN) isn’t the only way they can check up on your credit history. Your credit history is attached to your name, birthday, and address meaning international students can still apply for credit cards for sure.

Best Credit Cards for International Students in the USA

Here are the best credit cards for international students in the USA.

1. Bank of America Cash & Travel Rewards Cards

Bank of America has two types of credit cards that you can easily apply to without a Social Security Number (SSN) i.e. Cash and Travel Rewards cards. Both of these cards can allow you to apply even if you don’t have a credit history. You can earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere, every time, and no expiration on points. It’s a great pick for international students who are frequent travelers.

2. Citibank

Applying for a credit card in the U.S. can be daunting. Citibank is one of the best options because it offers an easy process. Plus, you don’t need a social security number.

Citibank offers a credit card for every international student and doesn’t charge you any extra fees. They also have a Global Transfer service which makes it easier for you to move money back and forth between international accounts. It’s one of the best picks for everyday purchases.

3. Capital One Journey Student Credit Card

You can earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target), with 1% on all other purchases. There is a limited-time offer i.e. you can earn $100 when you spend $100 in the first three months. You can enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges & there is no annual fee, foreign transaction fees, or hidden fees.

It’s a great option for students who are disciplined with on-time payments. The card offers cash back rewards to cardholders and incentivizes international student credit cardholders to make on-time payments with an offer of extra cashback.

4. Barclay Card

Barclaycard provides multinational credit card and payment services. Barclaycard accepts some cases where students have no Social Security Number (SSN). This credit card is really hard to obtain since the application process is tough and rarely approved.

5. American Express

If you don’t have either an SSN or ITIN, you could get a credit card like American Express by getting a friend to co-sign thus showing they know you are trustworthy and vouch for you if anything goes wrong.

6. Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card

The Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card requires a min. of $300 security deposit in the account. The security deposit number is the same as your credit availability so the more you deposit the more credit you have it. But they only offer this credit card to those that already have a savings or checking account with their bank and charge an annual fee of $25.

7. Deserve Edu Mastercard

The Deserve Edu Credit Card doesn’t require any deposit or annual fees. You can receive one year of Amazon Prime Student on Deserve after spending $500 in the first three billing cycles with your EDU card (Lifetime Value of $69). You can earn 1% Cash Back on all purchases with your Deserve EDU Mastercard. It’s a great option for students who don’t have the authorization to work in the US and can’t get a Social Security number (SSN). Additionally, there is a $0fee on foreign transactions.

8. Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom® Student credit card is a decent credit card for students who have a limited credit score. Freedom Student has a $0 annual fee and gives a $20 bonus after each account anniversary, for up to five years, to cardholders who keep the account in good standing.

9. Discover It

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like, grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically. No credit history is required and $0 annual fee.


Choosing a credit card as an international student in the U.S. all comes down to finding the best one for you. If you prefer to dine out with friends, stream Netflix or Amazon Prime, and go to concerts, then students will get the most rewards for their spending. However, plenty of credit cards for every international student also offer unlimited, flat-rate cash back rewards for all spending, making it easy to reap the benefits of everyday purchases.

As long as the credit card issuer accepts ITINs as well as Social Security Numbers (SSNs), you can apply for a credit card from a U.S. card issuer and begin to improve your credit or build new credit in the United States as a student.

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