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Best Credit Cards for New Immigrants


As a new immigrant in the United States, you should know that getting a credit card is an excellent way to help build your credit score. (Insert Link to “How to Build Credit in USA as an Immigrant” Article Here). It helps by establishing your financial background and credit history in the USA. A good credit score will come in handy when you want to make significant purchases like a car or home and ask for loans. You will need a credit card to handle a financial emergency, which is much safer than cash. Here, you will learn the best credit cards for new immigrants and what you need to consider before getting one. 

Q & A

Even if my immigration status is uncertain, can I own a credit card? 

Yes, non-citizens can have credit cards. If you have no credit history, a secured credit card may be your only option, but that will change.

Can I transfer my credit history from my country of origin?

Credit history in the United States is not transferable from other countries.

American Express has been an exception for ex-pats applying for a consumer credit card since 2021. It launched an international credit-feature for AMEX members from Mexico, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and India to translate specific international credit reports into U.S. equivalent credit reports.

Do I need a Social Security to have a Credit Card?

No, some banks will allow you to use an alternative form of I.D., such as an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer’s Identification Number) instead. (Link to ITIN article).

Can I have a debit card instead of a credit card to build credit?

You can only build credit with a credit card or other type of loan, which is not the same as a debit or prepaid card. 

A great way to build or rebuild credit in the U.S. is obtaining a secured credit card; this means a card is secured with a money deposit known as a security deposit. Think of it as the deposit you make to a landlord to rent an apartment as collateral. In other words, it’s easy; you must make a deposit to open an account. In some cases, when using your card responsibly, you can have your security deposit back. 

What to consider before getting a Credit Card?

As you want to build credit, make sure that your new card reports to at least one of the major credit bureaus like TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax.

Line of Credit

is essential as each card offers a different amount of money. Determine your needs and how you plan to spend your money with the credit card before applying.

Annual Fee

Some cards are more expensive than others yearly. Take this into consideration if you are planning to save every bit possible. 


This feature is loved by many because although you need to spend your money, you get a percentage back. 

APR (Annual Percentage Rate)

This is the price you pay to borrow money from a bank instead of your own. Each card has a different APR fee as a cost of having access to a credit card. Familiarize yourself with your card’s annual and monthly interest rates so you don’t have surprise fees at the end of each month. 


Some cards might be more attractive to you due to their rewards program. Some offer discounts at restaurants and retail stores or even for gas. 

Credit cards available for immigrants:

Considering the rewards and perks that credit cards offer you, here is a list of some of the ones that might better suit your needs. Remember to analyze the six considerations mentioned above before choosing your new card. 

  • Discover H Secured MasterCard
  • U.S. Bank Secured Credit Card
  • Opensky Secured Visa Credit Card
  • CapitalOne Secured Credit Card 
  • First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard Secured Credit Card

What do I need to Apply for a Credit Card?

Each lender has its policies, but this documentation you will mainly need is:

  • Applicant’s foreign passport
  • Driver’s license (link to driver’s license article) 
  • Mail with your name on it
  • Proof of income

5 Tips for using your Credit Card 

  1. Spend time on the application process (understand your needs and determine which card works best for you)
  2. Be responsible with your credit. Only spend money you know you can pay right away. 
  3. Don’t get too close to your credit limit. 
  4. Only apply to the credits you need, and don’t apply to too many quickly.
  5. Make solid payments (avoid late fees and late payments)

Getting a credit card can quickly start you on your process of building your credit. It is important to remember that a credit card is not free money and requires self control. If you show responsible use of your secured card and have built a good credit history, after six months of using your secured card, you may qualify for an unsecured card.

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