Our top picks of timely offers from our partners

More details
UFB Secure Savings
Learn More
Terms Apply
Up to 5.25% APY on one of our top picks for best savings accounts plus, no monthly fee
Accredited Debt Relief
Learn More
Terms Apply
Accredited Debt Relief helps consumers with over $30,000 of debt
LendingClub High-Yield Savings
Learn More
Terms Apply
Our top pick for best savings accounts for its strong APY and an ATM card with no ATM fees
Choice Home Warranty
Learn More
Terms Apply
Protects 25+ systems & appliances. Free quote + $50 off + 1 month free
Freedom Debt Relief
Learn More
Terms Apply
Freedom Debt Relief can help clients get started without fees up front
Select independently determines what we cover and recommend. We earn a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links. This commission may impact how and where certain products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). Read more about Select on CNBC and on NBC News, and click here to read our full advertiser disclosure.
Credit Cards

Best credit cards you can get without a Social Security number: Start earning rewards or developing your credit history

You can earn travel rewards, cash back or build your credit history with these cards, even if you don't have an SSN.

Share
Cavan Images | Cavan | Getty Images

If you are a recent immigrant to the U.S., an international student or another noncitizen and don't have a Social Security number (SSN), you may still be able to apply for a credit card with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Many of the top credit card issuers have rewards credit cards you can apply for using an ITIN, including Chase, American Express and Capital One.

But if you're getting a credit card without an SSN, you'll still need to meet the card issuer's other application requirements. That means the lender may review your credit history, request alternative forms of identification, require a checking and/or savings account and factor your income into its decision.

The good news is, that regardless of the type of credit card rewards you want to earn and the state of your credit score, or lack thereof, there's a credit card without a Social Security number requirement for you.

Best credit cards without a Social Security number requirement

Best for travel rewards

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points at Restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees, terms apply.

 

Who's this for? If you're interested in earning travel rewards, the American Express® Gold Card is an excellent option for you. It earns Amex Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to 21 airline and hotel rewards programs and you can apply online using your individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).

Standout benefits: It's easy to quickly earn rewards with the American Express® Gold Card as it offers generous returns on common spending categories, such as dining, groceries and airfare. It also comes with up to $120 in annual dining credit ($10 per month) to cover food from select restaurants and food delivery services and up to $120 in credits for Uber. Enrollment is required. Terms Apply.

If you don't have an extensive credit history in the U.S., you may have an easier time getting approved for an American Express card because it can access credit history from a handful of other countries. Through a partnership with Nova Credit, American Express can review credit histories from Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Dominican Republic, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Korea, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Find the best credit card for you by reviewing offers in our credit card marketplace or get personalized offers via CardMatch™.

Best for cash back

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, up to 6 months of complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $39

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    29.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    $0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Average, Fair, or Limited

See rates and fees. Terms apply.

Who's this for? The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a solid cash-back card to consider if you have average credit or are building your credit history. You can apply for this card online using your ITIN number instead of a Social Security number.

Standout benefits: With this card, you'll earn a straightforward 1.5% cash back on every purchase. It also has no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees). The APR for this card is 29.99% variable (see rates and fees), which is high, so it's not a good choice if you think you may end up carrying a balance.

Best for no annual fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Enjoy 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; and 3% cash back on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 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.

  • Welcome bonus

    INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    20.49% - 29.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • Member FDIC. Terms apply.

Who's this for? The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a top-rated cash-back card that has no annual fee. It's a good choice for anyone who prefers cash-back rewards but may be interested in a travel credit card in the future. If you pair this card with another Chase credit card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you'll be able to transfer your cash-back rewards to Chase's dozen-plus airline and partners. You can use an ITIN to complete an online Chase credit card application.

Standout benefits: Cardholders can take advantage of a three-month free DoorDash DashPass membership, discounts with Instacart and earn 5% back on Lyft rides or travel booked through the Chase site. Cardholders also earn 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery service), and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 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.

While we recommend paying off your credit card balance each month in full, cardholders can take advantage of an introductory 0% APR period for the first 15 months from account opening on new purchases and balance transfers(after, 20.49% - 29.24% variable APR). 

Best for small businesses

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases up to $50,000 per year, then 1X point per dollar

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening

  • Regular APR

    18.49% - 26.49% variable; APRs will not exceed 29.99%

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2.7%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

See rates and fees, terms apply.

Who's this for? The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is a simple, yet rewarding card that's ideal for anyone with a small business, side hustle or freelance gig. If you don't have a Social Security number, you'll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and an ITIN to apply online.

Standout benefits: The Blue Business Plus Card keeps things simple by offering a flat 2X points on up to $50,000 in eligible purchases each calendar year, then 1X points. There's no annual fee and it has 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months from account opening, 18.49% - 26.49% variable thereafter; APR will not exceed 29.99% (see rates and fees). Terms apply.

If you preferred to earn cash back for your business expenses, the Blue Business Cash™ Card from American Express may be a better fit for you. It's similar to the Amex Blue Business Plus card, except you'll earn cash-back rewards instead of Membership Rewards® points. It earns 2% cash back on up to $50,000 in eligible purchases per calendar year (then 1%), has no annual fee and 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months from account opening, 18.49% - 26.49% variable thereafter (see rates and fees). Terms apply.

Best for building credit

Who's this for? You can be approved for the Petal 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa Card even if you have no credit history. It has no fees to worry about and earns cash-back rewards, which is rare for a credit card you can get with no credit history. You can also apply online for the Petal 2 Visa Card using an ITIN.

Standout benefits: What makes this card special is what you don't have to worry about — credit card fees. The Petal 2 Visa Card has no late payment fee, no foreign transaction fee, no annual fee and no returned payment fee. Plus you'll earn cash back on every purchase.

The cash-back rewards structure is a bit more complicated than what you find with other cards. You earn 1% back on all eligible purchases and up to 1.5% back after making 12 monthly payments on time, plus 2% to 10% back at select merchants.

Best for students

Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Information about the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024, 1.5% cash back on all purchases, every day.

  • Welcome bonus

    Early Spend Bonus: Earn $50 when you spend $100 in the first three months

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Promo APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    19.99% - 29.99%  variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    $0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Average, Fair, Limited

See rates and fees, terms apply.

Who's this for? The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good fit for college students without an extensive credit history because you'll typically only need fair credit to be eligible for this card. Plus, you can apply online using an ITIN in place of an SSN. (see rates and fees)

Standout benefits: As with the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, the student card earns an unlimited 1.5% back on all purchases. Cardholders also earn 10% back on purchases with Uber and Uber Eats and can take advantage of a free Uber One membership through Nov. 14, 2024. (see rates and fees)

FAQs

Why do most card issuers require Social Security numbers?

Banks and other credit card issuers typically require a Social Security number (SSN) as part of the application as a fraud and identity theft prevention measure. By providing a Social Security number on your card application, the lender can easily verify your identity and review your credit history.

How to get a credit card without a Social Security number

To get a credit card without a Social Security number you'll need to verify your identity another way, which is typical with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). A number of major credit card issuers allow you to apply for cards online using an ITIN as a replacement for an SSN. However, other card issuers may require you to apply in person or over the phone if you don't have an SSN.

Keep in mind, an SSN or ITIN isn't the only requirement you'll need to meet to be approved for a credit card. Card issuers can consider income, credit history, employment status and whether or not you have a checking account or savings account in their decisions. There can also be application requirements based on the lender and even the specific card you are applying for.

What is an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or ITIN?

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number is the number the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gives to anyone who is required to pay U.S. taxes but doesn't have a Social Security number or who isn't eligible to receive a Social Security number. An ITIN can be used as a substitute for a Social Security number with many (but not all) credit card issuers. If you require an ITIN, you can apply by completing a W-7 form and submitting it to the IRS.

How long does it take to get a credit score?

If you're starting from scratch, it will generally take between two to six months of credit activity to establish a credit score. However, it may take a bit longer to actually achieve a good credit score.

Bottom line

There is no shortage of credit cards you can qualify for even if you don't have a Social Security number. Many card issuers allow applicants to use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number as a substitute. And with an ITIN you'll still be able to apply for various types of credit cards you'd like, be it a travel rewards credit card, cash-back card or small business card.

That said, the best rewards credit cards often require an excellent credit score, even if you don't need an SSN to apply. So if you've just started building your credit history, you'll want to apply for a credit card with less strict requirements, like a secured credit card.

Subscribe to the CNBC Select Newsletter!

Money matters —  so make the most of it. Get expert tips, strategies, news and everything else you need to maximize your money, right to your inbox. Sign up here.

Our methodology

To determine the best credit cards without a Social Security number requirement, CNBC Select analyzed over 230 of the most popular credit cards available in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including: rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

Catch up on CNBC Select's in-depth coverage of credit cardsbanking and money, and follow us on TikTokFacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

For rates and fees of the American Express Blue Business Plus, click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express Blue Business Cash Card, click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
Chime
Learn More
Terms Apply
Chime offers online-only accounts that minimize fees plus, get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposits
Find the right savings account for you
Learn More
Terms Apply
Help your money grow by finding the savings account that offers the best rates and features for you