How Does A Credit Score Work
Your credit score is a number related to your credit history. If your credit score is high, your credit is good. If your credit score is low, your credit is bad.;
There are different credit scores. Each credit reporting company creates a credit score. Other companies create scores, too. The range is different, but it usually goes from about 300 to 850 .;
It costs money to look at your credit score. Sometimes a company might say the score is free. But usually there is a cost.
How To Apply For A Credit Card Without A Social Security Number
The easiest way to apply for a credit card without a Social Security number is to use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number in its place. Also a nine-digit number, an ITIN is used for federal tax reporting purposes and its available to:
- Foreign nationals who dont qualify for a Social Security number but file a federal tax return
- Non-resident and resident aliens who file U.S. tax returns
- Spouses and dependents of resident aliens or non-resident alien visa holders
Applying for an ITIN doesnt cost anything and its a fairly straightforward process. You have to complete IRS Form W-7, verify your identity and provide a copy of your federal tax return. Bear in mind that an ITIN doesnt make you eligible to work in the U.S. or entitle you to retirement Social Security benefits in the future.
If youre a U.S. citizen who doesnt have a Social Security number, an ITIN is not an option. Your best bet is to fill out the necessary forms to obtain a Social Security number. As we mentioned earlier, youre not obligated to enter this number on a credit card application if you dont have one but the odds of getting approved for a card if you leave that part blank are virtually zero.
How To Check Your Credit Score With Your Itin
So how do you get a ? You can get a credit score if you have provided your lenders with sufficient personal information and if they report it to credit bureaus. You can apply at Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion for your credit score. Some of them may even grant you a free annual credit report.
Please note though that not having an SSN will affect the way your credit is reported to credit bureaus. They may not have all of your financial history reported. But having a credit score of any kind is a start.
Go online on the credit bureaus websites and check your credit score without SSN. Enter your personal information and provide your ITIN as another way to distinguish yourself. Pull your report and also verify the validity of the information. You can ask the credit bureaus to change incorrect information about your financial history. Be patient though, because it might take a while to correct errors on your record.
Recommended Reading: How Long Do Inquiries Last On Your Credit Report
How Do You Check Your Credit Score With Tax Id
Checking your credit score with a tax ID is easy. If youve built credit with your tax ID, youll check your credit score using that same tax ID as thats how the credit bureaus will identify you. Youll still need to provide other personally identifying information like your name and address.
As long as your creditors have been reporting your payments to the credit bureaus, youre building credit and youll have an account just like everyone else. Also, just like people who use a social security number, you are entitled to get one free credit report per year. However, you might need to pay a small fee in order to access your credit score. It depends on the bureau where you request your free credit report.
Anytime youre checking your credit history and/or score, its a good idea to get your credit report from all three credit bureaus. Some of your credit history might be reported to all three, while other accounts are only reported to one.
If you check your credit report, get your credit score, and notice some of your financial history is missing, dont panic. Its normal for people using a tax ID to not have their entire credit history reported to the bureaus.
Establish Your Financial History
Bank accounts also provide a personal financial history. Establishing this history is a financial essential. For one thing, youll need it if you want to make a large purchase in the future. For example, many mortgage companies will ask to see months worth of bank statements when deciding whether to approve you for a mortgage. In many cases, youll need a bank account to get a credit card or buy a car. Bottom line: establishing your financial history through an accredited financial institution is indispensable.
If at some point you decide to start a business, having a personal bank account open already can save you a lot of time and hassle. Your bank then has your monthly history readily available. This can make getting a business account approved with the same bank a much smoother process.
You May Like: How Long For Things To Fall Off Credit Report
Building Credit With A Secured Card
Galina Allie Petrova, an attorney in Greensboro, North Carolina, says newcomers to the U.S. and international students without a credit history here should consider;secured credit cards;as a way to help build credit.
A secured card works much like a traditional unsecured credit card, with one notable difference. When you take out a secured credit card, you must provide a deposit to the bank or financial institution issuing your card. That deposit acts as your cards credit limit. If you stop making your payments, the bank behind your card can pay itself back by drawing on this deposit.
That really is the best option for newcomers to the country to build credit, Petrova said. A secured card is limited. Your credit limit will usually be smaller. But it is a good way to slowly build your credit.
Tip: Secured credit cards are a great place for newcomers to start building credit. They usually dont require long credit history, so its easier to get approved.
Ty Stewart, CEO and president of Simple Life Insure in La Jolla, California, agrees that secured credit cards are often a good choice for immigrants. Since issuers have your deposit as insurance, they risk less when they approve you for a credit card.
Criteria for these differ from traditional cards and often dont require a long credit history, Stewart says. The model makes the approval rate on secured cards much higher.
How Is A Credit Score Tracked Without An Ssn
Some credit bureaus can locate your credit information with name, date of birth and address. There are several unique identifiers used to match credit account information to a credit file and SSN is only one of them. Having an SSN increases the accuracy of the matching process, but it isnt always required to compile your credit report.
Read Also: What Is The Highest Credit Score You Can Get
Where Do I Get My Free Credit Report
You can get your free credit report from Annual Credit Report. That is the only free place to get your report. You can get it online: AnnualCreditReport.com, or by phone:; 1-877-322-8228.
You get one free report from each credit reporting company every year. That means you get three reports each year.
Youre Our First Priorityevery Time
We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesnt feature every company or financial product available on the market, were proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward and free.
So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about , but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services.Here is a list of our partners.
Also Check: How To Help Credit Score
When Does A Credit History Begin
The moment you take out a loan is the moment your credit history begins. You will need a credit card to provide evidence in order to build your credit, which means that you can apply for a credit card that doesnt require a Social Security number to start building a credit score. Applying for a secured credit card is a great option for people without a credit history to get a credit score without SSN. In calculating a credit score, the length of your credit history is one of the major factors that affect your credit score.
Build Your Credit With Or Without A Social Security Number
Even if you don’t have a Social Security number, the;U.S. credit bureaus will use other information about you, such as your name, address and birthdate, to gather information about your credit activity all in one place.
To build good credit, youll need to show positive payment history over time. This means making regular purchases and paying off your balance on time every month.
It takes about six months of credit activity for a FICO credit score to be created. Once you have a FICO score the;score most;commonly used by lenders to determine your creditworthiness you may find a wider variety of credit cards available to you. You could move up to an;unsecured credit card and eventually cards that;offer juicy rewards.
Recommended Reading: Is 524 A Good Credit Score
Alternatives To A Credit Card
If you can’t get approved for a credit card, or you really only need one to make cash-free purchases, a debit card may be just as effective. Most debit cards are linked to a checking account, so you may need to obtain an ITIN beforehand. You can also opt for a prepaid credit card that uses the MasterCard, Visa, or American Express payment networks.
While prepaid cards don’t require a bank account, they offer similar benefits. Most are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and come with apps to check balances and review transaction histories. New rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau give users protection against unauthorized purchases, as long as the card is properly registered. The downside is you won’t build credit history. Also, prepaid cards come with a number of costs, from monthly charges to reloading fees, that can add up over time.
Why Should I Get A Copy Of My Report
Getting your credit report can help protect your credit history from mistakes, errors, or signs of identity theft.
Check to be sure the information is accurate, complete, and up-to-date. Consider doing this at least once a year. Be sure to check before you apply for credit, a loan, insurance, or a job. If you find mistakes on your credit report, contact the credit bureaus and the business that supplied the information to get the mistakes removed from your report.
Check to help spot identity theft. Mistakes on your credit report might be a sign of identity theft. Once identity thieves steal your personal information information like, your name, date of birth, address, credit card or bank account, Social Security, or medical insurance account numbers they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, get new credit cards in your name, open a phone, cable, or other utility account in your name, steal your tax refund, use your health insurance to get medical care, or pretend to be you if they are arrested.
Identity theft can damage your credit with unpaid bills and past due accounts. If you think someone might be misusing your personal information, go to IdentityTheft.gov to report it and get a personalized recovery plan.
As An International Student New Immigrant Or Other Noncitizen You May Have Given Up Trying To Apply For A Credit Card When You Got To The Application Box Asking For Your Social Security Number
But what about noncitizens? Are they simply out of luck when it comes to applying for a credit card?
It can be tough to get a credit card as a person who doesnt live here, says Linda Sherry, director of national priorities with the consumer education and advocacy organization Consumer Action. Other countries dont have the same system as we do here when it comes to establishing credit, and its hard for anybody to trust you when they dont know your credit history.
As the Social Security Administration notes, generally only noncitizens authorized by the Department of Homeland Security to work in the U.S. can get an SSN.
Fortunately, theres more than one way to get a credit card without a Social Security number. Some credit card companies accept an alternate form of identification in lieu of an SSN. Read on to learn how to get a credit card without a Social Security number and how you can start building a credit history in the U.S.
Why Is My Credit Report Important
Businesses look at your credit report when you apply for:
- loans from a bank
If you apply for one of these, the business wants to know if you pay your bills. The business also wants to know if you owe money to someone else. The business uses the information in your credit report to decide whether to give you a loan, a credit card, a job, or insurance.
You May Like: How To Report Unauthorized Credit Card Charges
Can You Get A Credit Score Without An Ssn
- Banks Editorial Team
You can get a credit score without an SSN. Although in most cases a social security number is required, some banks offer special credit cards for those who dont have an SSN. This can help build your credit history and FICO or other credit scores. In addition, by availing rent reporting services, taking auto loans, purchasing a car through a credit card or by opening well-managed bank accounts, you can get a credit score. Most foreigners, immigrants, and students in the U.S. who dont have social security numbers think they cant get a credit score, but there are several options available.
What Can I Do If I Believe My Credit File Has Been Mixed With Someone Else’s
If you believe the information on your credit report has been mixed with that of someone else, you should submit a dispute with all of the credit bureaus that have incorrect information on your credit reports.When submitting your dispute, identify the information that does not belong to you. This may include addresses, other identification information, and credit accounts.Youll need to provide documentation to verify your identity.; The documents required will depend on the information you are disputing, but required information may include: ;
- Your full name, including middle name and suffix, such as Jr., Sr., II, III
- Your date of birth
You May Like: Which Credit Score Matters The Most
Apply For An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number Or Itin
If youre unable to get a Social Security number, you may still be able to apply for a credit card by using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, a tax-processing ID number assigned to individuals by the Internal Revenue Service.
Depending on the bank or credit card company, you can sometimes use an ITIN instead of a Social Security number when applying for a credit card. There are a few easy ways to apply for an ITIN.
- Through an IRS-authorized certified acceptance agent in the U.S. or abroad
- At a designated IRS taxpayer assistance center
After applying, sit tight. You should hear back from the IRS within seven weeks if you qualify and your application is complete.
Are There Other Ways I Can Get A Free Report
Under federal law, youre entitled to a free report if a company denies your application for credit, insurance, or employment. Thats known as an adverse action. You must ask for your report within 60 days of getting notice of the action. The notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the credit bureau, and you can request your free report from them.
- youre out of work and plan to look for a job within 60 days
- youre on public assistance, like welfare
- your report is inaccurate because of identity theft or another fraud
- you have a fraud alert in your credit file
Outside of these free reports, a credit bureau may charge you a reasonable amount for another copy of your report within a 12-month period.;
Ways To Build Up Credit
Your credit score, also known as your FICO score, is a three-digit number between 300 and 850 which tracks your credit habits. Some of the factors that this score takes into account are:
- How much money you spend
- How consistently you pay back money
- If youve had late payments and how many
- The percentage of your credit limit that you have used
A good credit score can be linked to being seen by others as a good and responsible person who cares about how their life can turn out. In essence, lenders and employers will want to see on paper you will be able to pay back your loans. The higher your credit score, the better the chances are you will receive a loan. Therefore it is important to build up your credit score. There are ways to build up your credit score which we have set out below.