WalletHub's editors compared 1,000+ offers based on those criteria to find the best cards for different types of students. You can see the results below.
2019's best credit cards for international students:
|Best For…||Card Name||Annual Fee||ID Required|
|Cash Rewards||Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®||$0||SSN or ITIN|
|Anniversary Bonus||Discover it® Student chrome||$0||SSN|
|International Travel||Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students||$0||SSN, ITIN or Passport|
|No Annual Fee||Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students||$0||SSN, ITIN or Passport|
|Bonus Cash Back||Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students||$0||SSN, ITIN or Passport|
|0% APR||BankAmericard® Credit Card for Students||$0||SSN, ITIN or Passport|
|Secured Card||Capital One® Secured Mastercard®||$0||SSN or ITIN|
|No Credit Check||Green Dot primor® Visa® Classic Secured Credit Card||$39||SSN or ITIN|
Fortunately, we've got some tips that will help you get the most out of your card. You can check them out below. And you can track your progress by checking your latest credit score for free on WalletHub. No other site offers free credit scores and reports that are updated on a daily basis.
6 Credit Card Tips for International Students
- Apply for a Social Security number. If you have a U.S. work permit, you can apply for an SSN. As long as your information is accurate and valid, you should receive your number within “several weeks,” according to the SSA website. Foreign students with an SSN can apply for a credit card from any of the 10 largest issuers.
- Find a part-time job. Credit card companies need to know that you can afford the monthly payments. And having a job is the only way you'll be able to get an SSN.
- Look into getting an Individual Tax Identification Number. You're eligible for an ITIN if you're not employed in the U.S. but still need to pay U.S. taxes. This could be the case if you have investments or property in the U.S. or if you're earning any income, which includes scholarship money.
Most major credit card companies accept an ITIN in lieu of an SSN for at least some of their cards. But you may have to apply at an actual bank branch.
- Consider other methods of identification. A few issuers will even accept just your passport and student ID, along with some basic information such as where you work. American Express and Bank of America are two examples. And the SelfScore Student Mastercard accepts passports as well.
- Become an authorized user. If you can get someone you trust to add you as an authorized user on their credit card, you may not need your own account.
- Talk to your school's credit union. Credit unions base their membership on some kind of shared quality – in this case, going to a certain school. So you might be able to get your school's branded credit card without jumping through a lot of hoops. After all, your school's credit union shouldn't have much trouble verifying your identity since you're enrolled in class.
- Get a secured card. Secured credit cards require you to put down a security deposit that serves as your credit line. Because this prevents you from going into debt, these cards don't always require an SSN or ITIN.