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Best credit cards for international students in the US


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Exactly what the title says. Suggestions? I have a SSN and I've just completed my first year in a PhD program.

 

I am moving to Brooklyn this August and while my next lease will be in the name of my friend/roommate, thus getting around the credit history issue, I'd like to start building credit ASAP as I plan to eventually look for a lease on my own.

 

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I recently saw a post on a blog that mentioned two credit cards for students:

 

Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card for Students

This card offers 0% intro APR for the first 7 months that you have the card. You'll get 1% cash back on all purchases with a $300 limit unless using retailers in the Citi Bonus Cash Back Center, in which there is no limit on how much you can earn, plus there will be bonus cash back in certain categories each quarter you enroll, like gas, movies, or grocery shopping, up to 5%. Enrollment is free each quarter. Also, there are no liability charges for unauthorized purchases. There is no annual fee and no overlimit fee

 

Discover it Card for Students

The Discover It card has an intro rate of 0% APR for the first 6 months. There is 1% cash back on all purchases, plus for certain categories each quarter you will earn 5% cash back with a $1,500 limit. There is no annual fee and no overlimit fee, plus for those students who are looking to study abroad, there is no foreign transaction fee, making it perfect to use in a different country. There is no late fee for your first payment, and if you do pay late, it won't affect your APR. Plus, you can use your rewards at Amazon.com to pay for whatever items you want, be it textbooks or something not school related.

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To add to this, if you have an Amex in your home country (in my case, Canada), then you can simply call them and ask them to transfer it over for you.

 

Gold Rewards

 

The card that I have at the moment is really good for collecting travel rewards so it'll be perfect for saving up enough points to visit home (or elsewhere!) every once in a while.

 

ETA: Out of curiosity, I just googled and found that there's a referral bonus for those cards. The referee (you) would get 60,000 points (equivalent to about... 2 and some change economy flights within North America) and I'd get 15,000 points.

 

Not spamming, but just thought some of you may be interested. Getting 2 free flights ain't bad for signing up for a credit card!

 

PM me if you want a referral link :)

Edited by 1Q84
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I recently saw a post on a blog that mentioned two credit cards for students:

 

Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card for Students

This card offers 0% intro APR for the first 7 months that you have the card. You'll get 1% cash back on all purchases with a $300 limit unless using retailers in the Citi Bonus Cash Back Center, in which there is no limit on how much you can earn, plus there will be bonus cash back in certain categories each quarter you enroll, like gas, movies, or grocery shopping, up to 5%. Enrollment is free each quarter. Also, there are no liability charges for unauthorized purchases. There is no annual fee and no overlimit fee

 

Discover it Card for Students

The Discover It card has an intro rate of 0% APR for the first 6 months. There is 1% cash back on all purchases, plus for certain categories each quarter you will earn 5% cash back with a $1,500 limit. There is no annual fee and no overlimit fee, plus for those students who are looking to study abroad, there is no foreign transaction fee, making it perfect to use in a different country. There is no late fee for your first payment, and if you do pay late, it won't affect your APR. Plus, you can use your rewards at Amazon.com to pay for whatever items you want, be it textbooks or something not school related.

 

It seems these offers only apply to college students. Too bad...

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Credit card companies generally don't distinguish between college (undergrad) and graduate students when it comes to eligibility for the "Student" credit cards. They would want some kind of proof that you are enrolled in a school, such as a letter from the registrar (which you can usually get online by logging into the system and printing out now).

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  • 2 weeks later...

The first time I got a credit card in the US my ex-pat Canadian friends told me that the US banks are willing to give students credit cards with no annual fees (though, this was in 2009, and even then some of them were dubious that this was still true what with the current economic situation in the US). Unfortunately I was in the US for work so I couldn't apply for a student credit card, so instead I decided to get a secured credit card. I had to give BoA a $99 deposit and it cost me $29 to have the card for the year. During the year I got an offer for a credit card with no annual fee, which I took, and then I cancelled my secured credit card. 

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The hardest thing for international students, I believe, is that we don't have any credit history in the US when we initially go. In order to build up credit in the US I got a secured card with Capital One and then I graduated to another card.

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I don't know specifically about which card to apply for, but something from Bank of America is very useful because they literally have ATMs eeeeverywhere. In every city, all over the place. (Or at least, every city I've ever visited, which is quite a lot).

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The first time I got a credit card in the US my ex-pat Canadian friends told me that the US banks are willing to give students credit cards with no annual fees (though, this was in 2009, and even then some of them were dubious that this was still true what with the current economic situation in the US). 

 

This is still true, I got my no annual fees student credit card from Citi Bank in Fall 2012.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know specifically about which card to apply for, but something from Bank of America is very useful because they literally have ATMs eeeeverywhere. In every city, all over the place. (Or at least, every city I've ever visited, which is quite a lot).

 

None in Columbus, Ohio.  Which was most annoying since my home bank has fee-free ATM withdrawals arrangement with BoA.  I think when I looked it up there was one ATM in Ohio, in Cincinnati.  

 

The hardest thing for international students, I believe, is that we don't have any credit history in the US when we initially go. In order to build up credit in the US I got a secured card with Capital One and then I graduated to another card.

 

I've already run into this problem. Think I'll look into the Citi and Capital One cards though.  

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