Living overseas, whether permanently or for a short period of time, comes with many challenges as well as opportunities for U.S. citizens. Figuring out the banking system in a new country can be one of those obstacles. But if you prepare in advance by getting the right U.S.-based credit card, you can save yourself a bit of hassle along the way.
Having a U.S. credit card may make it easier to pay for goods and services without the need to take out cash and then convert those funds to the local currency. Additionally, keeping your credit profile active in the U.S. is beneficial if you plan to come back in the future. Smart and responsible use of credit cards allows these things to take place easily.
Securing a credit card after your international move can be a headache, but it is possible. For those who are planning to, or currently live abroad, here are a few considerations on how to get a U.S. credit card from overseas. You’ll also find tips for citizens and residents of other countries who are interested in getting a credit card from the United States.
How to Get a U.S. Credit Card From Overseas
The first step in getting any new credit card is researching the types of offers available based on your credit history, your need or desire for rewards, and the total cost of using the credit card. You also want to ensure the credit card you apply for and accept once approved has no foreign transaction fees.
Many travel and cash-back cards do not charge fees for purchases made overseas, but it’s best not to assume you won’t be charged. Check the fine print before selecting the credit card you want. Also, be sure to take the time to review credit card options from a few different companies that fit these general guidelines.
Compare Cash Back Credit Cards
PayPal Cashback Mastercard®
- No Annual Fee1
- Use your PayPal Cashback Mastercard to shop everywhere Mastercard is accepted. No Purchase Restrictions
- Earn 2% cash back* every day, every time you make a purchase with your card. No exceptions. No rotating categories to keep track of
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on all purchases
- Earn an Introductory 3% Cash Back on all purchases in the first 12 months from Account opening, up to the first $10,000 in purchases
Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus® World Mastercard®
- Unlimited 1.8% cash back on every eligible purchase
- 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 15 billing cycles
Once you have determined which credit card may suit your needs best, dig a little deeper into what the bank or card issuer requires as far as application documents or details. Some credit card providers may require a stateside address in order to qualify.
If you are already overseas, consider using a family member’s address for billing and other relevant communications. In most cases, a credit card issuer based in the U.S. will not accept a foreign address alone. Also, you may be required to provide proof of income while abroad, so be sure to have this information handy before submitting a new application.
After you’ve gathered the information you need to apply, simply submit your application online or over the phone. Most credit card companies are able to provide an approval within a matter of moments, although there are some instances where a “yes” can take a few days.
Be patient with the process, and be sure to promptly respond to any requests from the credit card company for follow up details or documentation. So long as your credit is strong, you have steady income, and potentially, a U.S.-based address to utilize, your credit card application should be approved relatively quickly.
What These Banks Require for Overseas Applicants
|US Bank||Available to U.S. residents only|
|Discover||Available to U.S. residents only|
Check out some of the best Discover credit cards that we have reviewed
|Citibank||Applicants are not required to have a U.S. address to qualify|
Details about income and banking information may be required
Check out some of the best Citibank credit cards that we have reviewed
|Chase||Applicants must provide a physical address in the U.S.|
Additional information about income and U.S. bank accounts may also be required
Check out some of the best Chase credit cards that we have reviewed
|Capital One||Applicants need to provide a physical address, not necessarily in the U.S.|
May require U.S. bank account and income verification
Check out some of the best Capital One credit cards that we have reviewed
|Barclays||Not available for U.S. citizens living abroad|
Check out some of the best Barclays credit cards that we have reviewed
|Bank of America||Available for U.S. citizens living abroad|
May require a U.S. bank account, verifiable income, and U.S. address
Check out some of the best Bank of America credit cards that we have reviewed
|American Express||Must have a valid U.S. residence to apply|
Strong credit and verifiable income
Check out some of the best American Express credit cards that we have reviewed
Many credit card companies offer credit cards to overseas applicants, but they each have a varied application process and eligibility requirements. The following list offers some detail as to what is required if an overseas applicant can apply for a new credit card.
Credit Cards for Non U.S. Citizens: Is It Possible?
If you are a non-citizen of the United States, establishing credit with a U.S.-based credit card can be just as complicated as a citizen traveling outside the U.S. This is because most U.S. credit card issuers require a physical address to be listed on an application, and if you have yet to move to the U.S., this requirement cannot be met.
However, there are some instances where a non-U.S. citizen may qualify for a credit card in the States. If a non-citizen has an existing relationship with a credit card issuer, they may be offered some assistance in establishing a U.S. credit card before moving to the country. Citibank offers this feature to customers who have a banking relationship but live elsewhere.
In addition to existing customer relationship benefits, some credit card issuers will allow an individual to submit an application for a U.S.-based credit card if they are applying together with a U.S. citizen or resident. In other instances, an application may be approved if the applicant had a previous credit card with the company but it is no longer an active card.
Moving overseas, whether to the United States or away from the U.S., can be a challenge when it comes to managing your financial life and credit. It is best to secure the credit card you want prior to moving. If that is not feasible, follow the steps listed above to improve your chances of getting approved for a U.S.-based credit card that meets your needs.
Author: Melissa Horton
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