Short Review of Best Credit Cards for International Students
|Name||Best for||Rewards Rate||APR||Apply|
Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card |International students||1.5% Cash Back on every purchase.||19.74% - 29.74% Variable||Learn more|
on our partner’s site
Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card |International students||3% Cash Back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services & at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®).1% Cash Back on all other purchases.||19.74% - 29.74% Variable||Learn more|
on our partner’s site
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card |Single mom, Without SSN||This card doesn't offer cash back, miles or points.||29.99% Variable||Learn more|
on our partner’s site
WebBank Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® |Beginner, No history||1% - 1.5%:Cash Back after making 12 on-time monthly payments.2% - 10%:Cash Back from select merchants.||17.99% - 31.99% Variable||Apply now|
On WebBank‘s site
WebBank Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® |For bad credit||2% - 10%:Cash Back at select merchants.||24.99% - 34.49% Variable||Apply now|
On WebBank‘s site
|Cash Back, Without SSN, Student||1% Cash Back on all purchases with your Deserve EDU Mastercard. Once approved, you'll automatically start earning Cash Back on all purchases.||22.99% Variable||Learn more|
|First time applicants||1% Cash Back on all purchases.||18.74% Variable||Learn more|
Who should apply
Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
This credit card may be a great option for you if you are a foreign student who plans to use this card outside the United States, not only within the country. It also provides valuable coverage for those who value various types of protection,from accidents to card fraud.
Read more about Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
This card was created by one of the leaders in the credit card industry. It’s an excellent choice for foreign students who want to spend their money wisely and earn rewards. If you value decent cash back, this card might be the best choice for you.
Read more about Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
It is the best credit card for immigrants, those on a student visa, and residents with poor credit. If you need simplicity in getting a card, then the Capital One Platinum Platinum Secured Mastercard® can be a good choice. In addition, if you do not want to risk your application being rejected, this card offers the ability to check if you are pre-approved without any impact to your credit.
Read more about Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
WebBank Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa®
This credit card is most suitable for brand-new customers as it can help them build their credit histories. In addition, the card is perfect for those who have little or no experience in dealing with such a financial product — everything is extremely clear and simple.
Read more about WebBank Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa®
Celtic Bank Deserve EDU
The Deserve EDU is aimed at college students because they typically don't have a credit history or have low credit scores.
Read more about Celtic Bank Deserve EDU
Chase Freedom® Student
This credit card is best for college students who don't want to worry about activating or keeping track of spending categories but want to earn rewards. Because of the foreign transaction fees, this card will most suit people who aren’t planning to travel outside the USA often or those who want to continue to use their local cards when traveling home.
In addition, if you make minimum payments on time, the Chase Freedom® Student card may offer an increase in the credit limit as a reward for responsible use.
Read more about Chase Freedom® Student
Best Credit Cards for International Students
If you are a student studying abroad, you may have many pressing questions related to finances. Of course, it is still too early for you to engage in far-reaching plans, such as buying an apartment or a car. However, having a student credit card can open up a lot of opportunities for you in your daily life.
How limited are your options in obtaining such a card? What is the role of credit history? Why do you need a student credit card, and how should you choose the right one? Read on to get all the information you need.
How to Choose the Best Credit Card If You're an International Student
Choosing the best credit card if you are a student studying abroad may be tricky. First of all, you will have to acquaint yourself with the requirements prescribed by the company that issues the card. Examine these requirements thoroughly and carefully because they can differ. You should keep a few things in mind: the type of credit card, interest and fees, paperwork and documentation, and security deposit requirements.
To summarize, here’s what you should keep in mind:
- Do you have SSN or ITIN? Some banks issue a card without requiring you to provide an SSN — your ITIN is enough. For example, foreign students without an SSN will still be able to apply for the Capital One Platinum Platinum Secured Mastercard®.
- Are you an international student in the US, or are you a resident traveling outside the United States to study? If you are not a resident, you should pay attention to cards that do not require a credit history. Some of such cards on our list include the Deserve EDU, the Capital One Journey Student Credit Card, and the Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa®.
- Are you interested in receiving rewards for using the card? If the answer is “yes,” cards like Discover it® Student Cash Back and the Freedom® Student offer decent cash back programs and other bonuses.
Do I Really Need a Credit Card If I'm an International Student
Many foreign students have long-term plans for their lives in the USA and want to stay there after they graduate. Having a credit card may be a smart step for your future because it will be essential to have a positive credit history to make significant financial decisions going forward, such as buying a home or a car.
If you don't have such plans, it can still be a good idea to apply for a credit card. It is a good option for a foreign student who doesn't plan to stay in the USA for a long time but wants to move some expenses to credit or earn attractive rewards for their spending.
However, it is worth saying there may be situations where a credit card may not be the best choice for you. For example, if you came to study for a short time and do not want to deal with the application process, it may not make sense for you to apply for a credit card.
Why Is It Challenging for International Students in the USA to Get a Credit Card
There are several reasons why international college students may have difficulty obtaining a card:
- International students in the USA may face difficulties in applying and getting approved because most credit issuers require a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
- Another challenge you may face is not having a checking or savings account in the USA. Before getting a card, you should open one. It will make it easier to manage your money and keep track of what you owe.
- The lack of credit history is also something most newcomers face. Fortunately, there are banks that issue credit cards to people with no credit history or even with bad credit.
How Do I Get a Credit Card as a Foreign Student
If you have an SSN or ITIN, you can apply for most credit cards. This is a simple process that includes a few easy steps. Please note that your income, credit history, assets, and other factors will be used to evaluate your application.
However, if you don't have an SSN or ITIN, you still have options. Some credit card issuers offer cards for foreign students; all that is required is your passport. Your chances of approval will increase if you apply for a secured card.
How Can I Make the Most of International Student Credit Cards
First of all, when choosing the right credit card, it is necessary to acquaint yourself with the options that meet your needs.
The best way to get the most out of a credit card is to earn rewards and maximize them. Rewards available to international student in the U.S. predominantly come in the form of cash back. The more you spend, the more cash back you get.
Immediately paying off your credit card billin full allows you to avoid interest charges. If you don't pay off the balance monthly, the interest you pay will absorb all the rewards.
It is best to pay all your bills on time, so you don’t fall into a debt trap, pay a considerable amount of money, and hurt your credit.
What Happens to My U.S. Credit Card If I Move Out of the USA
If you genuinely don't have long-term plans for the USA, you will still be able to use it in the country you are leaving for. The main advice is to maintain a credit card with no international transaction fees but with travel rewards.
Besides, make sure that you make on-time payments (to leave without any debt) and check if your card is accepted in the country you are moving to. Visa® and Mastercard® are the most widely accepted credit cards.
There are many reasons why an international student should apply for a credit card. As a rule, student credit cards usually have a $0 annual fee and lower income requirements, making them the best option for students studying abroad.
With proper management, credit cards for international students in the USA are a great way to create a credit history. Having a positive credit history improves your credit score, makes it easier to get approved for loans, and enhances the quality of credit cards you can qualify for.
A number of credit cards are targeted toward international students in the USA and have a system of bonuses. These often include cash back on everyday purchases,such as with the Discover it® Student Cash Back program, which earns 5% in rotating categories that require activation (up to $1,500 in combined spending per quarter, then 1%). Some also include a welcome bonus, such as extra points or increased cash back for a limited time.
The best cards for international students do not require an SSN. Plus, some banks provide an opportunity to check if you’re preapproved for a card without danger to your credit history.
Сan International Students Get a Credit Card in the USA?
Yes, international students can get a credit card in the USA. But the process can be a little tricky.
When credit card issuers evaluate applications, they check a credit report as they need to consider the applicant’s borrowing history. If you don't have a U.S. credit report and credit score, it will be more complicated for issuers to determine if you meet the requirements.
However, a number of card issuers allow you to apply without any history. You should check specific requirements for international students with each individual credit card issuer.
Can I Get a Credit Card Without a Social Security Number?
If an international student can't get an SSN, it is still possible to get a student credit card. You can request an ITIN as several credit cards allow applicants to use it.
Will International Students Have to Use a Secured Credit Card?
International students don’t have to use a secured credit cardHowever, this is one of the best options for establishing a credit history in the USA. If a student shows responsibility in credit use with time, it can help with getting access to higher credit lines and unsecured credit cards.
Secured cards are similar to traditional cards, but you need to pay a security deposit at the time of the application. By doing this, the issuer gets a collateral to use in case you fail to repay your debt. Commonly, the deposit is refundable.
What Is an Acceptable Credit Card Interest Rate for International Students?
The answer to this question depends on many factors. However, the average interest rate for student cards ranges between 17% and 20%, based on reports from various sources.
Sometimes the interest rate is not the main factor when it comes to using a credit card, especially when you have few card options due to your credit. Either way, you should do your research and compare credit cards first. Then, make sure you pay your card balances in full to avoid paying any interest at all.