7 Credit Cards That Don't Require a Social Security Number

CREDIT CARDS - CREDIT CARD BASICS
It’s possible to get a credit card without a Social Security number. Learn more about your options.
Updated May 21, 2024
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If you’re an international student, a new immigrant, or simply don’t have a U.S. credit history, it may be difficult to qualify for a U.S. credit card. This is typically because you might not have a Social Security number (SSN), which many financial institutions require for credit card applications.

Fortunately, not all credit cards require an SSN for approval. Here are seven credit cards to consider that don’t have Social Security number requirements.

In this article

7 credit cards that don’t require a Social Security number

  1. Petal Visa Credit Cards
  2. Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students
  3. Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card
  4. Brex Credit Card
  5. Capital One Platinum Credit Card
  6. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  7. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Comparison of credit cards that don't require SSN

Card Best for Application requirements Annual fee
Petal Visa Credit Cards Immigrants with no credit score SSN or ITIN $0
Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students 
5.0
International students Other financial factors such as your bill payment history $0
Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card 
4.2

Building U.S. credit SSN, ITIN, or passport $0
Brex Credit Card Brex Credit Card 
3.5
Registered U.S. business owners EIN $0
Capital One Platinum Credit Card Capital One Platinum Credit Card 
4.4
Immigrants with limited U.S. credit SSN or ITIN $0
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Chase Freedom Unlimited® 
4.7
Immigrants with established U.S. credit SSN or ITIN $0
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 
4.9
Immigrants with established foreign credit SSN, ITIN, or foreign identification $95

Best for immigrants with no credit score: Petal Visa Credit Card

Pros Cons
  • Offers opportunities to earn rewards
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Confusing number of Petal cards

The Petal Credit Card1 is separated into three options: The Petal 1 Rise Visa® Credit Card, the Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card, and the Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card. When you go through the application process, you’ll see which one(s) you qualify for.

Why we like it: You don’t need a credit score to qualify for a Petal card, though it will be checked if you have one. If you don’t have one, Petal will have you link a bank account to check different factors, such as how much money you make and what bills you pay.

All three Petal cards provide opportunities for earning cash back on your purchases, but the Petal 2 has more robust benefits if you’re able to qualify for it. Either way, a Petal card could be a good credit card option if you don’t have an SSN (you can use an ITIN instead) and your U.S. credit history is nonexistent or short.

In order to apply for a Petal card with an ITIN, you need to be at least 18 years old, a legal U.S. resident, and able to access a U.S. bank account to make payments.

What we don’t like: There are three different types of Petal card and you won’t know which one you qualify for until you apply.

For more details, check out our Petal Cash Back Visa Card review.

Best for international students: Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students

Pros Cons
  • $0 annual fee
  • Simple rewards rate
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Limited redemption options

The Deserve EDU Mastercard provides an interesting credit option for college students, including international students who are studying in the U.S. You don’t need an SSN to apply because Deserve checks other factors to determine your credit risk potential. This includes seeing how you manage your money and whether you pay your bills on time.

Why we like it: The Deserve EDU offers free year of Amazon Prime Student after spending $500 in the first 3 months. It also has a $0 annual fee and you can earn 1% cash back on all purchases. This card is likely best for international students because they might not have many other credit card options that also offer rewards.

What we don’t like: You can only use your rewards to receive statement credits in $25 increments.

For more details, check out our Deserve EDU Mastercard review.

Best for building U.S. credit: Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card

Pros Cons
  • $0 annual fee
  • Reports activity to all three major credit bureaus
  • Requires security deposit

Why we like it: The Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card is similar to the Petal cards in that you don’t need a credit score to qualify. Zolve allows you to apply using an ITIN or passport, which is helpful if you don’t have an SSN and aren’t eligible for one. In addition, the Zolve Azpire Credit Builder has a $0 annual fee.

If you qualify for the Zolve Azpire Credit Builder, you can start using it to build credit history in the U.S., which could help you qualify for other cards and financial products from lenders. Zolve reports to all three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) and offers the opportunity to upgrade to an unsecured credit card with a credit limit up to $5,000.

If you’re new to the U.S. and looking to build your credit, the Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card could be a good fit for you.

What we don’t like: This is a secured credit card, meaning you have to put down a security deposit that acts as your credit limit.

Check out the Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card.

Best for registered U.S. business owners: Brex Credit Card

Pros Cons
  • $0 annual fee
  • High rewards rate on common business expenses
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Has certain business and funding requirements

Why we like it: Small business owners who don’t have an SSN still have options for credit cards, including the Brex Card. Brex uses employer identification numbers (EINs) instead of SSNs for its credit card application process. You can typically get an EIN if you have a business located in the U.S. and you have a valid taxpayer identification number, such as an SSN or ITIN.

You can earn 7X points on rideshare, 4X on Brex Travel, 3X at restaurants and on eligible Apple products, 2X on software subscriptions, and 1X on all other purchases with Brex Exclusive.

What we don’t like: Brex requires your business to be organized and registered within the U.S., which includes C-corps, S-corps, LLCs, and LLPs. You also typically need a $50,000 or $100,000 balance in your business bank account to qualify.

Learn more about the Brex Card.

Best for immigrants with limited U.S. credit: Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Pros Cons
  • $0 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No rewards program

Why we like it: Capital One is one of a few credit card companies that doesn’t require an SSN for certain card applications. With the Capital One Platinum Credit Card, you can use an SSN or ITIN to apply.

This card doesn’t offer much in the way of rewards or benefits, but it has a $0 annual fee and could help you build your U.S. credit history if you’re just getting started. Capital One describes the credit requirements for this card as “fair,” which includes a limited credit history. Someone new to the U.S. who barely has any credit history might find this card to be an ideal fit.

What we don’t like: You can’t earn rewards with this card.

For more details, check out our Capital One Platinum Credit Card review.

Best for immigrants with established U.S. credit: Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Pros Cons
  • $0 annual fee
  • Elevated rewards in everyday spending categories
  • Has foreign transaction fees

Chase is another card issuer that includes options on many of its card applications for either an SSN or ITIN. This opens up some opportunities for anyone who doesn’t have an SSN to see whether they qualify for valuable Chase credit cards. However, you still need to meet the credit requirements. For the Freedom Unlimited, that’s typically a good or excellent credit score.

Why we like it: This card has a $0 annual fee and offers the opportunity to earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).

You can also earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. If you’re an immigrant and already have an established U.S. credit history, this rewards credit card might be a good fit.

What we don’t like: Cardholders have to pay foreign transaction fees (3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars) on applicable purchases.

For more details, check out our Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

Best for immigrants with established foreign credit: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Pros Cons
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Up to $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • $95 annual fee

If you don’t have an SSN and aren’t eligible to obtain one, you could still qualify for the Chase Sapphire Preferred with an ITIN. Note that the Sapphire Preferred typically requires a good or excellent credit score, so you would need some established U.S. credit history.

Why we like it: If you’re able to qualify, the Sapphire Preferred is an excellent travel rewards card. It provides the opportunity to earn valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points with 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases.

You can also earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

What we don’t like: You have to pay a $95 annual fee as a cardmember.

For more details, check out our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.

How to apply for a credit card without a Social Security number

You won’t have as many options for applying for a credit card if you don’t have a Social Security number. But you still have a few options, including using an ITIN or another form of verification. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you work toward getting credit cards and building your credit without an SSN.

Double check that you can’t get an SSN

Are you sure you don’t qualify for a Social Security number? Here are a few ways you might qualify for an SSN:

  • You’re an immigrant applying to enter the U.S., in which case you have to request a Social Security number card during your immigrant visa application.
  • You’re an immigrant and authorized by the Department of Homeland Security to work in the U.S.
  • You’re an immigrant and have a valid non-work reason for needing an SSN

Get your ITIN

If you’re a noncitizen who doesn't qualify for an SSN, you might qualify for an individual taxpayer identification number. The Internal Revenue Service issues ITINs if you’re required to file a U.S. tax return, but don’t have an SSN and aren’t eligible for one.

Both ITINs and SSNs are accepted by many credit card issuers on their card application forms. For more information on how to get an ITIN (and who qualifies), visit the ITIN page on the IRS website.

Apply using your passport

Certain card issuers may allow you to use your passport to apply for a credit card rather than an SSN. You aren’t likely to see this option on most online credit card applications, but it could be possible if you’re applying over the phone or at an in-person location.

Start with a secured credit card

Even if a card issuer accepts methods of verification that don’t include an SSN, they are likely to check your credit report and score. For example, if you have an ITIN but haven’t yet built up your credit, you may not qualify for most credit cards.

If you start by applying for a secured credit card, you’re more likely to be approved. If you’re approved, you would need to deposit funds with the card issuer, which would be held in an account to secure your credit card. Because of the deposited funds, secured credit cards typically have more lenient credit requirements compared with other types of credit products. As you use the card, you start building your credit history in the U.S.

To see available options, check out our list of secured credit cards.

Build credit by becoming an authorized user

Another way to start building your credit is to become an authorized user on another individual’s credit card account, such as a family member. Becoming an authorized user allows you to build your credit as long as the card is used responsibly. Many card issuers, such as Chase and Capital One, allow you to add authorized users to their credit cards without the need for an SSN.

Once you’ve built up enough credit, you might qualify for certain credit cards of your own. Learn more about how to add an authorized user.

Apply for a business credit card with an EIN

If you’re a small business owner and have an ITIN, it’s possible to apply for an EIN, or employer identification number. This number is used to identify your business, but it can also be used in place of an SSN to apply for certain credit cards.

For more information, read about the best business credit cards with EIN only.

How to choose the best credit card without a Social Security number

Consider these factors to find the right credit card for you that doesn’t require a Social Security number.

Application requirements

The most important factor is to find out whether a credit card requires a SSN to qualify. You can typically click into an application to see what the requirements are. If a credit card requires an SSN, move onto the next credit card on your interest list.

Credit requirements

While some credit cards might not require a SSN, you will still likely need to have a certain credit score to qualify. Having a certain credit score isn’t always a guarantee of approval, but many credit cards generally require at least a good credit score to be eligible.

Rewards

If you think you can qualify for a credit card without a SSN, it’s time to look at other details while you compare cards. For example, do you want to earn cash back, points, or miles?

Cash back makes a lot of sense if you don’t care about redeeming rewards for travel. Points and miles make sense for frequent travelers.

Benefits

What kind of card benefits are important to you? Here are some different types of benefits to consider:

  • Travel benefits: Could include perks such as airport lounge access or travel credits.
  • Protection benefits: Could include purchase protection, cell phone protection, or extended warranty protection.
  • Insurance benefits: Could include any number of travel insurance benefits, such as travel accident insurance, travel cancellation or interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and more.

Fees

Here are two types of fees to compare between different cards:

  1. Annual fee: An annual cost that cardholders have to pay. It could be worth paying an annual fee if there’s enough value to earn from a card’s benefits. But it’s often easier to manage a no-annual-fee card.
  2. Foreign transaction fee: A cost you have to pay for using your card to make purchases abroad or from foreign merchants. This fee doesn’t matter if you never travel abroad or make foreign purchases. But if you take international trips, it makes sense to avoid this fee.

FAQs

Can I add an authorized user without an SSN to my credit card?

Certain credit card issuers require a Social Security number to be able to add an authorized user, but some card companies don’t require this information. For example, Chase and Capital One typically require personal information, including name and date of birth. But American Express requires an SSN or ITIN for additional cardmembers.

Can you build credit with an ITIN?

If you don’t have a Social Security number, it’s possible to apply for credit accounts with an ITIN, or individual taxpayer identification number. If you’re approved for a credit card with an ITIN, you can start using it to build your credit.

What credit card issuers don’t require a Social Security number?

These credit card issuers may not require a Social Security number when applying for certain credit cards:

  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Citi
  • Wells Fargo

Can I become an authorized user without SSN?

Certain credit card issuers don’t require you to provide an SSN to become an authorized user on one of their credit cards. For example, adding an authorized user with Capital One requires your name, date of birth, and phone number. You can provide your SSN if you want, but it’s not required unless you want online access.

What credit card can I get with ITIN number?

American Express, Capital One, and Chase clearly show that they accept ITINs on credit card applications in place of Social Security numbers. Other card issuers, such as Bank of America and Citi, might also accept ITINs, but it’s not as clear from their card applications. Discover requires an SSN for its card applications.

Bottom line

It’s not always easy to qualify for financial products if you don’t have a Social Security number, which is often a big problem for people who aren't U.S. citizens, like international students living in the U.S.

Fortunately, certain companies have identified this issue and currently offer credit cards that don’t require an SSN. If you can take advantage of these opportunities, you should be able to start building your U.S. credit history. Once your credit score is high enough, you could qualify for more credit cards with better benefits.

For more information on available cards, check out our dedicated page where you can compare credit cards.

Methodology

To determine the best credit cards for individuals without a social security number, we analyzed credit card offers from major issuers and identified credit cards that do not require a social security number. This includes cards that allow applicants to use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or other forms of identification.

Next, we evaluated the features and benefits of each credit card, including its best potential use, rewards, annual fee, foreign transaction fee, and other details. Our goal is to provide a starting point for individuals researching credit cards they can get without a social security number to help readers make informed decisions about their credit card choices. Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list of all available options.

Great for Flexible Travel Rewards

4.9

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Current Offer

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

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