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Best Credit Cards For Immigrants With No Credit Score

Updated on Feb 10, 2021
credit score

Many immigrants come to the United States with no credit history, let alone a good credit score. Also, credit isn't easily transferable from one country to another. Although one can have an excellent credit history in their origin country, many have to build their credit from scratch when they arrive in the U.S. This may take 3 to 6 months or even longer to get a decent credit score.

Why Should You Have A Good Credit Score?

A key to better financial life in the U.S. is keeping your credit scores as high as possible. High scores mean you are more likely to qualify for loans and credit cards with the most favorable terms like lower interest rates, lower fees, a larger loan amount, and many benefits. 

Immigrants with no credit history mostly have to rely on secured credit cards which require them to put down a security deposit or they have the option of becoming an authorized user on someone else's account. Once they have a score of 680, they can go for better cards. The U.S. average FICO score is above 700.


credit score

Building credit history is essentially about having a good payment history and a high score tells the lenders that you have a good track record of paying back your debts on time and you are more likely to do so when they lend you money.

Without a credit history in the U.S., immigrants find it difficult to get loans to finance major purchases like buying a house or a car, even getting a student loan. That's why it is necessary to start building a credit history and credit cards are the best way to build one.

It is crucial to use credit cards wisely and pay off the bill on time every month to avoid credit card debts.

Read here for the best credit cards for international students.

Here are the top 5 credit cards for immigrants that do not require credit. 

  1. Discover it Secured: Best for Rewards and Upgrading

Discover credit

If you want to start building your credit while earning rewards without an annual fee, Discover it Secured card is the card for you. You can earn up to 2% cashback at gas stations and restaurants and get an introductory bonus as a new cardmember. After 8 months as a cardholder, you can upgrade to an unsecured credit card. Similar to almost all secured credit cards, no credit is required to qualify.

Introductory Bonus: Unlimited Cashback Match-Discover will automatically double the cashback you have earned at the end of the first year.

Key Features

  • Regular APR: 22.99% variable
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Minimum Deposits: $200
  • Credit Limit: Up to $2,500
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 10.99% for 6 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: $0
  • Pay Deposit in Installments: No
  • Upgrade to an unsecured card: Yes
  • Rewards Earning Rate: Earn 2% cashback at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1000 in combined spending each quarter. Earn unlimited 1% cashback on all other spendings 

Benefits

  • Automatic reviews after 8 months of usage to determine if you can upgrade to an unsecured credit card and return your deposit
  • Build credit history with the 3 major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • Get Free FICO Credit Score
  • Discover is accepted by 99% of the places that take credit cards in the U.S.
  • Get an alert if your Social Security Number (SSN) is found on thousands of risky websites. You can activate for free. 

Discover it Secured is a great option if you want to start or rebuild your credit and get rewards for your frequent visit to gas stations and restaurants. The cashback on all purchases does add up, especially since the cashback is matched at the end of your first year since the account opening.

You can also transfer your balance to this card if you are paying a high-interest rate on other cards. 

The minimum deposit of $200 can be difficult to put together all at once. The security deposit also serves as your credit limit. If your security deposit is $200, your credit limit is set at $200. There are other cards available that allow a higher limit than the security deposit.

2. Secured Mastercard from Capital One: Best for Low-Security Deposit


Capitol One credit

The Secured Mastercard from Capital One has been designed for those that might struggle to come up with the typical deposit amount to qualify for a secured credit card. As with secured cards, no credit history is required. The upfront deposit can be as low as $49 and get you a credit line of $200. You can pay the deposit in installments. And be considered for a higher credit limit just in 6 months.

Key Features

  • Regular APR: 26.99% variable
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Minimum Deposit: $49
  • Initial Credit Limit: $1,000
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: $0
  • Pay Deposit in Installments: Yes
  • Upgrade to an unsecured card: Yes
  • Rewards Earning Rate: No Rewards Program

Benefits

  • Since Secured MasterCard from Capital One has no foreign transaction fee, it is best suited for trips abroad. Plus Mastercard is a widely accepted card in the world
  • Regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • Minimum deposit requirement and still get the starting credit line of $200 (the deposit can be $49, $99, or $200 for a starter credit line of $200) 
  • Automatically review after 6 months for a higher credit line with no extra deposit
  • 24-hour travel assistance services 
  • Extended warranty 
  • Manage your account 24/7 online or via phone or app

Do keep in mind that you need a bank account to apply for this card. Also, the initial credit limit is set at $1,000 regardless of the upfront deposit. With no rewards and bonus but a relatively low-security deposit, the Secured MasterCard from Capital One is a basic secured card that is easy to acquire and build credit. Go for this card if you want to build a credit history or repair your bad credit record.

3. Petal 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa Credit Card: No-Deposit Starter Card Plus No Fees


Visa credit

You need not worry about your credit score to be eligible for Petal 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa Credit Card. Your credit score doesn't determine your creditworthiness, instead, it is based on your income, expenses, savings, and debts. There is no deposit required and it offers decent cashback on on-time payments. You don't have to worry about fees.

Key Features

  • Regular APR: 12.99%-26.99% (variable)
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Minimum Deposits: Not Required
  • Credit Limit: $500-10,000
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: $0
  • Rewards Earning Rate: Earn 1% cashback on eligible purchases right away. Earn up to 1.5% cashback after 12 on-time payments. Get 2%-10% cashback from select merchants 

Benefits

  • There is no annual fee, foreign transaction fees.  
  • Visa Local Offers: Earn Uber Cash with your purchases at select merchants after adding the Petal card to your Uber App
  • Reports your payments to 3 major credit bureaus
  • Petal's cash flow technology that looks at bank account records can help you get approved 
  • Build credit history alongside thousands of Petal Cardholders
  • You see if you are pre-approved in minutes without impacting your credit score
  • The card is issued by WebBank, Member FDIC
  • Manage your spending, automate your payment easily on Petal's mobile app 
  • Free Credit score 

Currently, you cannot request Petal to increase your credit limit. This may not be appealing if you like to maintain a good payment history to upgrade your credit line.

4. Jasper Mastercard: Best for Newcomers to the U.S.

Jasper Mastercard is an excellent choice for any newcomers relocating to the U.S. You don't need a credit history or SSN to qualify for the card. You do need to get your SSN and provide it to the credit card issuer within 60 days of card activation. There is no security deposit and no annual fee.

You can even apply for the card before coming to the U.S. Submit an application up to 60 days in advance.

Your creditworthiness is based on your debt-to-income ratio, your income, and your expenses.

Immigrants living in the U.S. for at least a year can apply. For this, there will be a credit check and the applicant's SSN needs to be provided. In fact, any U.S. citizen with limited or no credit history who are planning to improve their credit scores can go for this card.


Jasper

Key Features

  • Regular APR: 15.49%-24.99% (variable)
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Minimum Deposits: Not Required
  • Credit Limit: $5000
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: $0
  • Rewards Earning Rate: Earn 1% cashback on eligible purchases (Terms Apply)

Benefits

  • Best suited for immigrant professionals with no credit history who are starting a new job in the U.S.
  • There is no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • The credit limit is up to $5,000
  • Enjoy all the benefits of a premium Mastercard
  • Shopping, travel, and cell phone protection
  • No credit history, No security deposit
  • Manage your account effectively with unique autopay settings, push notifications, alerts and improve your credit score
  • Issued by WebBank, Member FDIC

5. OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card: No Credit Check


OpenSky credit

It can be tough for immigrants who have no credit to get a credit card. OpenSky Secured Visa is one credit card where you don't even have to show your credit reports when you apply. There is no credit check, giving a chance to people who have no credit or have terrible credit.

Since it is a secured card, there is a security deposit of $200 to $3000. The credit line will be similar in value to your deposit amount. You don't need to have a bank account, which is a rare case for secured cards.

An annual fee of $35 has to be paid which is worth the opportunity to build your credit score.

Key Features

  • Regular APR: 17.39 (variable)
  • Annual Fee: $35
  • Security Deposits: $200-$3,000 
  • Credit Limit: $3,000
  • No Credit Check
  • No Bank Account needed 

Benefits

  • No credit check necessary
  • Refundable deposits start from $200 which becomes your credit line on your card. You can deposit up to $3,000
  • Build your credit with all 3 major credit bureaus. 99% of OpenSky customers who started with no credit build credit score in just 6 months
  • You can join OpenSkys Facebook community to get insights from others and share experiences
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