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Who Can Apply for a U.S. Credit Card?

Credit card applications can come with various obstacles and hurdles. Beyond the credit score requirements, many issuers place other limits on potential applicants, including geographic restrictions. Are you wondering who can apply for a U.S. credit card? Here is everything you need to know:

What Information Do You Need to Apply for a Credit Card?

Before discussing geographic restrictions on specific credit cards, it’s essential to mention what information most credit card applications require. Typically, you’ll need to provide the following when applying for a U.S. credit card:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • U.S. mailing address
  • Contact information (phone number, email address, etc.)
  • Citizenship (and passport information, if applicable)
  • Social security number or ITIN (more on that later)
  • Employment status
  • Income
  • Monthly housing payments (if applicable)
  • Bank information

Can Puerto Ricans Apply for U.S. Credit Cards?

One of the most asked questions is whether Puerto Rican nationals can apply for credit cards from the mainland United States. Because Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and possess Social Security numbers (SSNs), for many major issuers, the answer is “yes.”

Banks like Wells Fargo, American Express, and Discover welcome applicants from Puerto Rico for all their credit card products. Amex also welcomes Puerto Rican applicants for its charge cards, including the Platinum Card, the Gold Card, and the Green Card.

Some issuers, however, have restrictions on who can apply for their credit cards. These limitations include age restrictions for Puerto Rican applicants or constraints on specific cards.

Major Issuers with Specific Rules for Puerto Rican Applicants

The following credit card issuers allow applications from Puerto Rican nationals, but specify rules that differ from other U.S. citizens:

Credit Card Issuers Which Don’t Allow Applications from Puerto Ricans

Currently, the only major credit card issuer that does not allow Puerto Rican nationals to apply for their U.S. credit cards is Barclays. Many smaller issuers may also reject Puerto Rico applications, though these banks also limit who can apply depending on the U.S. states they reside in.

Related Article: New JetBlue Credit Cards for Puerto Rico Market

Can Foreign Nationals Apply for a U.S. Credit Card?

Like Puerto Ricans, foreign nationals also face setbacks when applying for a U.S. credit card. Some of the limitations foreign citizens might experience include:

Not Having an SSN

Most credit card issuers require applicants to have a U.S. Social Security number. Since foreign citizens likely lack an SNN, they may receive an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead. An ITIN is an ID number the IRS issues to anyone who needs to file income tax returns in the United States but doesn’t qualify for an SSN.

Which U.S. Credit Card Issuers Accept an ITIN When Applying?

The following banks accept foreign national applicants with an ITIN number, according to Experian:

  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • OpenSky
  • Wells Fargo

Which U.S. Credit Card Issuers Don’t Accept an ITIN When Applying?

Currently, only two major card issuers don’t allow applicants with an ITIN:

  • Barclays
  • Discover

No U.S. Credit History

Another major hurdle for non-U.S. citizens is having no credit history in the United States. For those without a credit score in the U.S., getting a credit card can be challenging – if not impossible. Opting for an international bank or issuer, like HSBC or American Express, might make the processes easier in these situations.

Related Article: Report: Immigrant Credit Applicants Facing Restrictions

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About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.