how to get a credit card or loan without SSN or citizenship?
July 11, 2005 12:08 PM   Subscribe

How can a non-U.S. citizen (or anyone without a social security number) get a credit card or a student or private loan?
posted by k8t to Work & Money (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Not an answer to your question, but note that you don't need to be a citizen or a resident to get a SSN.

As to your question, I'm a non-US citizen and I had a credit card in my hand within hours of getting off the plane, months before I bothered to get a SSN. Remember, the credit card companies are completely shameless. I went to the campus bookstore to buy some sheets (yes, yes, but when you're in a new country and new city, and it's the only place you know and it's within a few blocks of where you live...) and Visa had a booth there where they were basically handing out the cards.

Not sure what your situation is, but if you're a student, you can get a credit card.
posted by duck at 12:21 PM on July 11, 2005

Duck, was that pre or post September 11, 2001?
posted by k8t at 12:31 PM on July 11, 2005

Pre sept-11...good point, I don't know what the credit card companies are these days.
posted by duck at 12:39 PM on July 11, 2005

I moved to the US in 02 from the UK on a work visa and had a bank account within days (without a SSN) but it took a few months for the credit card. For the bank account (Citibank) all they wanted was the past 6 months records of my UK account, so I logged them onto my Barclays online banking and that was good enough.
posted by forallmankind at 12:41 PM on July 11, 2005

Oh...and I'm not sure if this was pre or post Sept-11, but I know someone who wasn't a student, who got a credit card quickly through a credit union.
posted by duck at 12:46 PM on July 11, 2005

My friend arrived from overseas about 2 weeks ago on a visitor's visa (No SSN of course). We couldn't open an account in BankOne, but we could at Comerica Bank. With it they automatically gave us a Visa Check card, which is a debit card, but is considered a regular Visa credit card as far as anyone is concerned, online or off.
posted by parma at 1:02 PM on July 11, 2005

Wait. What KIND of student loan? A FAFSA/SAR loan (i.e. government-backed, cheap)?

If so, straight from

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need your alien registration identification card.

Other alternative kinds of loans are available. Check that web site for "Citiassist" loans, which are privately-backed and require a credit check, but are a good alternative.

(disclaimer: I work for the SLC.)
posted by catkins at 1:13 PM on July 11, 2005

Clarification: you fill out a FAFSA for a FFELP loan. Gotta love those acronyms... :)
posted by catkins at 1:17 PM on July 11, 2005

That "Citiassist" loan is a great deal - no SS needed! Thanks Catkins.
posted by k8t at 1:23 PM on July 11, 2005

Assuming you have a TIN, which is pretty much a prerequisite, your problem will be establishing credit.

The usual and most convenient way is to open a secured credit card account. That is, you deposit a certain amount -- say, $1,000 -- in a frozen account and get a credit card with a $1,000 limit.

After a few months of using the card regularly and paying off the entire balance, in full and on time, the issuer will offer you an unsecured account, and the offers from other issuers will start to pour in.
posted by KRS at 1:49 PM on July 11, 2005

« Older Getting an HBO documentary without getting HBO.   |   Done with clickin', now time for pickin' Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.