Get a Credit Card Without Social Security Number?

Q: Is it possible to apply for a credit card without an SSN? How can legal aliens, immigrants and/or non-citizens obtain a credit card, then?

A: Not too long ago someone on the forum from Canada was asking this same question. But whether you are from Canada, Mexico, or another country… this is a dilemma you are going to face.

Is a Social Security number required for a credit card?

To answer your first question, generally you cannot obtain a credit card in the United States without a Social Security number or equivalent. However this is a grey area because here is what is says on the Social Security Administration’s website, Publication No. 05-10096:

“Although many companies, such as banks and credit card, may ask for your Social Security number you are generally not required to provide one if you don’t have one.”

So according to the Social Security Administration you are “generally not required” if you don’t have one. But what’s not specified on those federal guidelines is whether or not it’s legal to require an alternative form of identification. Well, since we’re knee deep in government regs here let’s turn to the Patriot Act to answer that…


(b) STUDY AND REPORT REQUIRED- Within six months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary, in consultation with the Federal functional regulators (as defined in section 509 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) and other appropriate Government agencies, shall submit a report to the Congress containing recommendations for–

(1) determining the most timely and effective way to require foreign nationals to provide domestic financial institutions and agencies with appropriate and accurate information, comparable to that which is required of United States nationals, concerning the identity, address, and other related information about such foreign nationals necessary to enable such institutions and agencies to comply with the requirements of this section;

(2) requiring foreign nationals to apply for and obtain, before opening an account with a domestic financial institution, an identification number which would function similarly to a Social Security number or tax identification number;

That last sentence basically makes clear that if you don’t have a Social Security number, you need something equivalent. But what might that be?

A possible alternative: Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

This is a tax payer ID number that is considered to function similarly to a Social Security number. It won’t entitle you to Social Security benefits, but rather its purpose is for federal income taxes, but can prove that you are at least a resident alien. Here is what the IRS says about them:

IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code.

Once you have a Individual taxpayer ID number, you should legally be able to apply for a credit card without a social security number.

How to get a credit card using an ITIN

Keep in mind that you will be starting with a fresh slate once you get your ITIN, so you will probably have to start out with a secured credit card. This is a credit card where you put up a security deposit, thus offsetting any risk to the card issuer when they are unable to gauge your credit quality. The card issuer then will provide you with a credit line equal to this security deposit. The deposit is analogous to collateral for a regular type of loan. They often involve fees, as well but usually they aren’t too onerous. But on a positive note, secured credit cards typically offer guaranteed approval even if you have no credit history (but you will still need your ITIN to qualify). After you have managed the account responsibly for a year or so, you might be able to qualify for something better – a regular unsecured general use credit card that does not require a deposit and has no annual fee.

If you have an Individual taxpayer identification number, a bank does have a right to deny your credit card application if you have no credit history yet (in the same way a bank is allowed to deny applicants using a Social Security number who have no credit history). However, a card issuer or bank does not have a right to refuse acceptance of your application for using an ITIN instead of a Social Security number. If you get hassled for applying under an ITIN here are some things you can remind them…

  • Inform them you have terminated your SSN legally in accordance with 20 CFR 3 A7 404.1905, or you do not have one period.
  • Inform them that the bank can not be held legally responsible by anyone for failing to obtain a SSN from you if other valid identification (like an ITIN) is provided, pursuant to 31 CFR 103.34(a)(1).
  • Inform them that pursuant to 26 CFR 301.6109-1(c) they are under no legal federal or state obligation to specifically obtain a SSN from you, and doing so is actually against federal SSA policy.
  • Inform them that 42 USC 408 makes it a felony to use threat, duress, or coercion to try and force a person by fear or deceit to provide a SSN.

Without a SSN or ITIN?

Lastly, if you want to apply for a credit card without a Social Security number and without a ITIN, then you will be out of luck. Re-loadable prepaid debit cards will also require a Social Security or ITIN, thanks to the US Patriot Act, as they can be used as portable checking accounts and facilitate cross-border remittances and money laundering. If you really, really must have plastic to buy things online or offline then your only option would be a gift card issued by Visa, MasterCard or American Express. These can be purchased in various fixed amounts up to $500 either online or from retailers like Walmart, Target, Walgreens or CVS for a nominal fee ($4.95) and used for purchases anywhere Visa/MasterCard is accepted. These gift cards are not re-loadable, however, so you would need to buy new cards when the funds were exhausted.

Last updated on April 11, 2016

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got a secured credit card from bank of america< secured deposit of 1500$ and the limit is the same as my deposit… not bad to build a credit score… NO SSN OR TIN NUMBER NEEDED. just sowed my foreign passport from the Philippines, and bank statement from TD BANK. can i apply for AMEX CREDIT CARD too without SSN AND ITIN?

Just a quick FYI, since I saw some people still had problems with BoA and AMEX. For Bank of America, you need to speak to an agent at the bank and you will have to start with a basic bank account, so the card is somewhat “guaranteed”. You will pay for the first year, but you cancel it before the second year kicks in and this generates a credit profile; meanwhile AMEX is the same and you need to speak to an agent. The “lie” about putting 000-00-0001 in the online form does not work and they will set you up over the phone, but both cards worked with a foreign passport. Finally, Comcast does not require a SSN, but if you order online then you need to include the professional installation, because someone has to come and verify VALID ID so you might have to head into office to do the self-install. Either way, you will need a valid ID for them to give you service, so if you do not have a driver’s license, then head down to the DMV and get a STATE ID, because you do not need to drive to get ID. Hope that helps someone… 🙂

This is an FYI for everyone else out there, but you do not need a SSN for either Bank of America or American Express. I just helped someone get both cards with their foreign passport, so you do not need a SSN to get credit cards and I am now setting her up with Comcast Triple Play, because you do not need a SSN either. You just use the Credit Card you just got – without a SSN – to pay the deposit of 100$, so you can be independent and do everything without a SSN. Whether you are a resident or not, just know that your SSN is only for your Social Security when you retire, but you do not need to use it everywhere in case you are concerned about “identity theft” or are here on some form of “VISA”. In both cases, you MUST speak to an agent to get a credit card without a SSN, but Comcast you can do all online – Good Luck.

This article is not accurate. My husband has a debit card from Wells Fargo and has no SSN or ITIN. He came here initially on a student exchange program around 2010 and has had the same debit card for years. He came back on B2 visa and I was able to add him as authorized user on my WF and AMEX. We also opened a joint WF account in 2014 and have debit cards for that account too. Cap1 said they don’t allow users without a SSN, but now he has been receiving mail offers for non secured cards… 6 months after I added him to AMEX and WF

I applied for an AMEX US over the phone through my existing AMEX Canada accounts, and was granted $1000 credit on a BlueCash card.

This article is not true. Several banks, including Bank of America and Banner Bank ( western US) gladly issue you credit cards with no American SSN. These banks will use other numbers (such as Canadian SIN) to identify you. Just contact these banks and they will tell you that no SSN is required for a regular (unsecured) credit card. The credit bureaus will also give you an American credit score without a SSN. My bank ( Banner) confirmed that.

I recently tried exactly what you stated. The only bank willing to do this was PNC and a visa was required. BoA and every other bank required SSN regardless of US law (it is in the interpretation of the US patriot act — aka lets us remove privacy and freedom under the guise of security act).

I believe depending who you talk to in boa.
My husband has no SS and only a ITIN #
And got qualified first card $500 6months later he applied again
With boa for another credit card and was approved for $5000
I dont know if all boa have the same rules or what but we’re located in Portland Oregon and so far he has no promblem with boa. And he also banks with wellsfargo and no promblem their either.

I am a businessman I want to utilise debit card by my own cash for security reason ,so may I get prepaid debit card without social security number?

BANK OF AMERICA do issue credit card without an ITIN or SSN. Just take a passport and go to any BOA branch. they will take payment for a deposit and within 10 days you will have a secured credit card. This will generate a credit history. awesome!

I Have A Bank Of America Credit Card Limit 1400$ Without A SSN Or Tin No.Basis Of My Checking Account.
Can I Applied For Another Cards Using This Credit Card Details.

I have an itin number since almost 1 year, I have two secured card with cap 1 and wells fargo, the last month I applied for an unsecured amex card and it was approved instantly. My advice is once you have an itin number, apply for a secured card with cap1(they requires deposit $49,$99 or $200) ,so you begin to build your credit history and when you have 6 months with that secured card and good history payment, you can to apply for a unsecured card.

I used my passport number by accident one day when I didnt have my social. Then I learned that a credit profile was built under my passport ID number which looks like a social

AMEX = 5000.00
Credit Union Credit Card = 2000.00
Capital One = 300.00
Firestone = 800.00
Nebraska Furniture Mark Card = 300.00
Discover IT Card = 800.00
Auto Loan Through Credit Union = 23000.00

Took me all but a year but I did the above using my Passport ID number. My credit score is a 719

Hello,, Where did you get your credit card?

I mean, all of those places requires a SSN. Where did you get only with your passport number?. Thank you

I applied for the Discover card and they said I need to call them to complete App … I used my passport ID# did you have to call them or was it instant approval for you????

We’re these secured cards? Also, did you require a US address and did you indicate on credit application that it was your passport # not a SSN?

You’re most likely not Canadian. I just looked at my Canadian passport and it has 3 letters followed by 6 numbers which looks nothing like a SSN

hey i have an itin number but don’t know what places accept them, any suggestions?

I have cards with Bank of America, Discover, American Express and Chase with my ITIN. Did BofA and Chase at branch, Discover by phone, American Express online form (put ITIN where they asked for SSN). My next try will be Capital One.

I was scammed by a 419 asshole and he has my driver license information. Will I be a target for credit fraud if he doesn’t have my ssn? Should I contact a collection bureau?

I’m from Venezuela. No SSN or ITIN. I got 2 unsecured credit card from BOFA after a year and half with a secured credit card.

Hi Joms, I was wondering what infos then did they ask from you? Just a passport? I don’t have an ssn or itin also and am planning to apply for a credit card

I didn’t have an ITIN when I opened my Bank of America Secured Card, they asked for my general information, passport, visa, date of birth, permanent address (home country), address in the USA, income (I told them that my income is from my home country and an estimate). Good luck.

I got an ITIN 4 years ago, I opened CCs at Capital one, Chase and Amex. They give me a large credit limit on my CCs. I’m from Colombia.

Capital one: $3200
Chase: $2500
Amex Blue: $5500
Amex Premier Gold Rewards: Not spending limit.

How can I get ITIN ?

Do your taxes.



How you must have very good credit

Is there any reloadable prepaid cards that allow credit card to add funds?

Yes. The Google Wallet Debit MasterCard. You must have a Google Wallet account, which you can get here Once you sign up for account, you can add funds to your prepaid Google MC with another credit or debit card or your checking account.

I got my ITIN over 16 years ago… And now I have a 2 credit cards from Capital-One, 1 Visa and 1 Master.

I also have a Bank if America Visa Credit Card, a Discover Credit Card and 2 American Express Credit Cards… and my score is 752

You can do it, it is easy… all you need to do is, first get your ITIN at any IRS office, then open a checking and a saving account… then apply for a credit card!

Do not forget to NEVER get behind on your payments and keep working your credit cards (spend-pay) they will increase your limit and also other banks will offer you credit cards!

Good luck to you all!

How do I get a ITIN number? And where do I apply for these credit cards?

Hi Ana have you gotten your itin number already?

I just got approved 3 unsecured credit cards in BofA and I don’t even live here, I come like once every year for tourism. I have had a checking and savings account for 2 years though.

You have to go to an agency to apply, as they ask for your SSN in the application. I’m not sure if filling the field with 9 zeros will do it.

Get a western Union debit card. you just type zero’s as your SSN in the application and it will work!

Hey does this really work… I just want a reloadable card cause i need to buy some small things like subscriptions sometimes and dont want it on my real credit card/don’t want to share my real card with the sites.

Will the SSN be a problem putting 0’s?

I’m having similar pains at the moment, except I have an SSN. In my case, I can’t open a savings account because… my SSN is too NEW!!!! What a crock of sh.. – either the rule is, you need an SSN, or it’s that you need to have it for a certain amount of time.

Yet I have a checking account, a debit card with overdraw authorization, and apparently got approval for a secured credit card. But I want to save? Hey pal, that makes you public enemy number one, screw the fact that you’re doing things legally and that you’ve gone through the hoops to get legal in our systems, you can kiss our @zz if you think you’re getting considered for a savings account.

Damn hippies.

I can confirm, my friend was visiting from Russia and got a secured CREDIT card in Bank of America without SSN or ITIN, or TaxID, just a passport and address in Russia.

>> The bank is not required to obtain your SSN _from you_. It can get it from a credit reporting company, or from anywhere else it normally gets SSNs.

Banks DO NOT get SSNs from anywhere but from the customer, then verify it and use to report your activities to Credit Bureaus. Not sure in which way her information was shared, but she started getting lots of credit card offers from various banks right away.

Can anyone advice me can I get a car financing without social security number,
I m on business visa in usa and have bank account with debit card,

I live in Brazil. I have an account at Chase Bank in Miami FL, debit card, US B1/B2 and ITIN for business. Can I apply for credit card in US?
Here in Brazil I have Visa and Master Card but the fees for international payments are very high.
Thank you.

Jonas Danielsson


What is the possibillitys to get creditcard in Brazil for person from


You can apply for a CPF in Brazil even if you are a foreign, which is similar to a SSN.
With that you can apply for a credit card in Brazil.

BofA offers unsecured credit cards without having a SSN or ITIN

How is that Albert??

Yeah I am going through that process, I am Free National Alloidial American, first of its all about keeping citizens in debt as debtors-you purchase a valueless plastic card that worthless until you load your federal reserve notes onto it, and social security cards are voluntary, its legally not s form of identification, its a trust. There are credit cards not associated with mega-banks

The point is to build credit not just get a card I got a bank debit card but everything works on credit here.

So, how do you get ITIN?

You ever heard of google? In the time it took you to comment you probably could have learned how on your own

Shlomo did you ever get an itin?

can i have a prepaid credit card with no social security included

If you have a Canadian credit file, you might be able to get a store credit card like Macy’s or Sears and let them know about the Canadian credit history so when they do a credit check, it will appear on your Canadian credit file. I know someone who did apply and wasn’t asked for a SSN.

PS: I had thought US would be easier than Canada to get a credit card and it beats the living daylights out of my mind why people since a few years are not able to get one in US. </3

I applied with a credit union and received a visa debit card as well as cheques with my current and savings account. No issue besides few addl forms to sign.

We are Brits with a new home in the US to be near family. We are here under the VISA waiver programme. We have an ITIN but we cannot get a credit card. We tried through HSBC who went through Orchard (now Capitol One)and were refused a SECURED credit card for lack of credit history! I thought the whole reason for a secured card was for people who DON’T have a credit history but want to build up one?! We then applied to CHASE and they have turned us down too for lack of credit history. How on earth do you get a credit card here in the USA? Very frustrating.

Open a debit account with your ITIN, and wait a couple months, and then apply in the same bank for a credit card! That worked with me..

Hi there, which bank did you do this with???

Which bank was that??

How do you get a ITIN number

Hey, believe it or not, I don’t live in the US, I just come often beacuse I like it. I approached to Bank of America and they offered me the full package: checks, savings and secured credit card. One year later, the cc was ‘upgraded’, my deposit returned, and I was offered (and approved) a new credit card.
I have no SSN and no ITIN, I’m from Ecuador, and I’ve got everything in BofA, Orlando.
Hope this helps.

If you are new to US, better to apply for secured credit card through your banker. After a year they convert to non secured…in two years of using a credit card, you will eligible for all good cards.. then try Amex it gives with an ITIN.

How did you get permission to live here under the VISA waiver programme? We want and need to live here and cannot find a way to do so. I would be very grateful if you could help us.
Thank you so much

People from countries of the E.U. don’t need a Visa to come to U.S.A. Visas are waived and the can live here, but not work, up to 6 months. After their time is up, they must leave, but some of them overstay, becoming illegals.

In Canada this is way easier. I am an international student there and just in a couple of weeks after getting there in 2011, I went to the bank and I applied for a credit card and got approved for a $1000 limit credit card right away INSECURE.

I am however now trying to get a credit card in the US with a US address of my friend, and every time I call, they turn me down for not having an SSN which just sucks.

It could be because, in Canada, as a student you are still issued with a SIN number that starts with a 9 where banks clearly identify you as a non immigrant of Canada on Student Visa. Thus you received Credit Card. That temp SIN was used as your identification.
Since you have no such identification in USA, they might not be accepting your application. If you have a SSN or at least an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number), they can sufficiently identify you and thus provide SECURED or UNSECURED card of THEIR choice.

Hope this helps.

P.S.: I came to Canada as an International Student, became an immigrant and a Citizen later and now moved to United States. I had similar issues with applying cc here in USA until I obtained ITIN.



Hi I have both debit cards with bank of america and wells fargo previouse wachovia. And I dont have ssn or tax id. So yes debit cards are very posible, NB it might be a diffrents laws in diffrents states. For your information My accounts are in Florida.

Can you apply for a best buy card with your tax ID number?

I tried to use my Tax ID to apply the secured credit card but was denied due to there is no credit history. I thought the secured credit card is to help people to build their credit line, isn’t it? In addition, since I need to pay for the security deposit, there is no risk for bank, right? What should I do next? Thanks

I am a Canadian citizen with property in Florida. I spend 5-6 months a year here and am retrying to get a reloadable VISA. I went to WALMART and they sold me a card leading me to believe I was able to reload it, to no avail I could not. Do you know whom has a program for people like me?

Maggie, I believe you can get re-loadable cards with the MasterCard logo at Western Union. You just pay a fee of about $4.95 every time you load money into it. All Western Union ever asks me is for my name, US address, and US phone number. They sometimes call me the next day to verify.

Read the USA Patriot Act more closely. Section 326(a) tasks the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe regulations to meet the customer identification requirements of the Act, and Section 326(b), quoted above, tasks the Secretary to recommend an adequate alternative for a SSN for a foreigner (should the SSN otherwise be required).

The Secretary did promulgate 31 CFR 103 in response. In particular, Section 103.121(b)(2)(i) reads: “Except as permitted by paragraphs (b)(2)(i)(B) and (C) of this section, the bank must obtain, at a minimum, the following information from the customer prior to opening an account: … a taxpayer identification number [SSN]”.

But pay attention to those exceptions. 103.121(b)(2)(i)(C) reads: “Credit card accounts. In connection with a customer who opens a credit card account, a bank may obtain the identifying information about a customer required under paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A) by acquiring it from a third-party source prior to extending credit to the customer. ”

The bank is not required to obtain your SSN _from you_. It can get it from a credit reporting company, or from anywhere else it normally gets SSNs.

A few years ago, Bank of America, recognizing where its growth lay, went so far as to offer credit cards to people without SSNs.

thank you for the information, there is something at wells fargo bank to get a depit card with no ssn, my cousin just got one

DS. Do you have a # where to call Wells Fargo on that. They had previously mentioned it to me but i did not care for it at the time and now I’m interested.