The idea of a credit card for international students on F1 visas is a topic of interest in the news. Recently, SelfScore has been the subject of writeups in blogs like NerdWallet and TechInAsia. Both articles highlight the financial challenges that international students face when they come to America to study. Together they outline 3 primary benefits of the SelfScore Mastercard and explain how it can put international students on equal financial footing with their U.S. peers.
- Security and Convenience: The Everyday Advantages of Paying With Credit
In the case of Abhishek Bhaker, a SelfScore card holder and UC Irvine international student, there were many short-term advantages to having a U.S. credit card. As Bhaker explains to Kylee McIntire from the blog TechInAsia, using credit is a matter of safety.1 “We have a two bedroom apartment with five guys. It’s hard to live with cash in a not so secure environment. My cash was stolen.” Having a credit card that is not tied to his bank account enables him to protect his cash in the case of theft. Because Bhaker did not have a social security number when he arrived, he had considered a secured credit card, which requires a security deposit to open. The only problem is that he doesn’t have access to extra cash for a deposit. “It’s not easy for my parents to send money frequently,” he explains. When he learned that SelfScore offers a credit card with no SSN or deposit required, he quickly signed up. He had found a credit card that met his needs exactly: “Some months, you have extra expenses. The [credit] card takes care of that.”
- The Best Alternative for Getting Credit Now
NerdWallet lists SelfScore as one of several options for international students seeking a U.S. credit card.2 The alternatives, however, can present more challenges, especially for those who are busy with academics. These include finding a cosigner for your application (usually a relative with an established financial history in the U.S.), connecting with an international bank that also has a presence in your home country, or building credit by renting an apartment first. Each of these options puts obstacles in the way of international students on F1 visas and delays their access to credit. To qualify for a SelfScore credit card, international students only need to complete an online application and submit four identifying documents: a student visa, passport, form I-20 and a recent statement from a U.S. bank.
- Building Your Credit History Now is the Key to Your Financial Future
As Virginia McGuire at NerdWallet explains “you can’t bring your credit history with you” from your home country. Building credit quickly and early is the easiest way to show the U.S. financial system that you’re financially responsible. She goes on to mention the long-term advantages of establishing that financial responsibility, especially if you intend to stay in the U.S.3:
“Having good credit smooths the way when you’re looking for housing, employment, a mobile phone plan and, in some cases, insurance — not to mention favorable terms when you apply for a loan. The first major hurdle is getting an American credit card.”
Read more about how we’re paving the way for international students to build credit in the U.S. at the links below. If you’re a blog or a news outlet reporting on issues relevant to a growing population of 1 million+ international students in the U.S., feel free to contact [email protected] and we’ll be glad to share our input.
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SelfScore offers a credit card for international students (F1, J1, M1 visa) — no SSN or deposit required, $0 annual fee. Learn more at selfscore.com/mastercard.