At a Glance

Applying for a credit card without a Social Security Number (SSN) may seem challenging, but it’s not impossible. In this guide, we will explore the options available to individuals who do not have an SSN and still wish to access credit. We’ll also answer some common questions about this process.

In this article, you’ll learn:


358 million

The total number of Social Security Numbers left to be assigned, should last for around 70 years.

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Is an SSN necessary to get a credit card?

If you’ve ever applied for a credit card, you may have encountered a request for your Social Security Number (SSN). Your SSN helps lenders verify your identity, track your credit history, and assess your creditworthiness. Without this piece of personal information, it may be difficult for lenders to approve your application or extend you the best possible terms and rates

How to apply for a credit card without a Social Security Number?

1. Apply for ITIN

One of the most common alternatives to an SSN is obtaining an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). ITINs are issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and are primarily used for tax purposes. Many financial institutions accept ITINs as a valid form of identification when applying for credit cards.

To apply for an ITIN, complete Form W-7 and submit it to the IRS along with the required documentation. Once you have your ITIN, you can use it to apply for credit cards.

2. Research banks that consider ITIN or other identification proof

Not all banks or credit card issuers accept ITINs or other forms of identification instead of an SSN. It’s essential to research and identify financial institutions that are more inclusive in their application requirements. Some may even accept foreign passports or other government-issued identification.

3. Check your credit

Before applying for a credit card, it’s a good idea to check your credit score. Even without an SSN, you may have a credit history if you have used credit. Some credit reporting agencies can use alternative identification methods to match your credit history to your application.

Related: Can You Check Your Credit Score Without an SSN?

4. Apply for a credit card

Once you have your ITIN, you’ve selected a suitable bank, and checked your credit, you can apply for a credit card. Be sure to provide all required documentation, including your ITIN, and be prepared to explain your credit history if requested.

5. Still can’t get approved for a credit card? Consider a prepaid card

If you cannot get approved for a traditional credit card, consider applying for a prepaid credit card. Prepaid cards do not require a credit check or an SSN, as they are not technically credit cards. Instead, you load funds onto the card and spend within your balance. While they won’t help you build a credit history, they can be a valuable financial tool.

Other options to build credit with or without an SSN

1. Secured credit card

A secured credit card is an option for individuals looking to build or rebuild their credit. With a secured card, you make a deposit that serves as your credit limit. Responsible use of the card can help improve your credit score over time.

2. Authorized credit card

If you have a trusted family member or friend with a credit card, they may be able to add you as an authorized user. This allows you to benefit from their positive credit history and can help you build your credit.

3. Alternate cards

Some credit card issuers offer specialized cards designed for individuals without an SSN or with limited credit history. These cards may have higher interest rates and lower credit limits but can be a valuable stepping stone toward establishing credit.


Yes, many financial institutions accept ITINs as a valid form of identification for credit card applications.

While it may be more challenging, it is possible to apply for a credit card without an SSN or ITIN by exploring alternative identification options.

Some banks may accept an ITIN, foreign passport, or other government-issued identification as an alternative to an SSN.

It is possible to obtain a credit card if you are undocumented by using an ITIN or alternative forms of identification. However, acceptance may vary by the financial institution.

If you have no credit history in the U.S., consider starting with a secured credit card or exploring other credit-building options mentioned above. Responsible credit use will help you establish a credit history over time.