New Student Special: Which Credit Cards Are Easy to Get Approved As a Newbie? (2017 Update)

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Which credit cards are suitable for newbies with no credit history? This post will briefly tell you how to apply for your first credit card.

The first card is difficult to get, because when you just arrive in the US and have no idea about credit card and credit history, it’s hard to accept so much information.

But here, I’ll just keep everything simple and easy. What is the key point for a suitable first credit card?

Here I need you to remember one important fact: Having an Social Security Card (SSN) does NOT mean you have a credit history; without SSN, you can still have a credit history, too! Your credit history starts from the day you borrow money from banks, with or without an SSN. With an SSN it would be much convenient for the banks to check your records, but even if you don’t have an SSN, banks can still pull your credit history by name, birth date, address, etc.

Therefore, there’s no need to worry if you don’t have an SSN. The key for you is to find a card that can be approved without an SSN.

According to the standards listed above, only four popular credit cards are available for you:

They are in particular order according to the difficulty while applying for a credit card, and the top ones are the easiest ones. I rank the cards with no SSN requirements higher. After all, SSN is not available to every new student in a short time.

 Discover itBoA Cash RewardsCiti ThankYou Preferred for College StudentsDeserve Edu
SSN required?YesNoNoNo
Have negative effects for future applications?NoNoYes*No
Required to go to a local branch if no SSN?N/AYesYesNo
Cashback rate?Very goodGoodNormalJust so so
Has foreign transaction fee?NoYesNoNo
Acceptance?A little limitedEverywhereEverywhereEverywhere

*Note: If you get approved for the Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Student, you will lose the opportunity to apply for Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, or Citi ThankYou Preferred within 24 months.

If you have an SSN, then you can directly apply for Discover it as your first card. If not, go ahead for BoA Cash Rewards or Deserve Edu. But without an SSN, BoA requires you to go to a local branch to apply for any credit card. So if you don’t have a nearby BoA local branch, your only option will be Deserve Edu.

I’ve talked so much here already. I have mentioned four cards, but why didn’t I give reviews for them? Too much information in this post may mess up your brain! For more info about the cards, please click these links:


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