This is more common than you think. Part of my family is foreign and study in the US and most all have Bank Issued credit cards without any SSN or ITIN. I am sure that AMEX and CITI being as global as they are have these programs, but companies like Capital One and other US banks that arent so global will not approve a credit card to someone without a SSN, ALien registration Number, ITIN, F1 Visa, etc.
When I first did a research, I almost gave up as everybody said it was impossible to get a credit card without SSN. Some even said bank account as well. Then I heard about ITIN which is difficult to get when I don't live in the US.
Thankfully I'm only interested in Amex, Citi and Chase cards. Already in good term with 2. I was so stupid and didn't open an account with Chase last month when in the US. Walked past so many branches in Chigaco. I heard parking some $$ would make things easier there. I was trying to get Citi to issue me a letter about interest bearing account so I can apply for ITIN but they ended up sending a consular reference letter lol
With ITIN I was able to app online for Amex, Cap1 and Chase. Discover no longer give cards to people with ITIN, only SSN.
Some people say that if you have 10k with Chase, things get easier. Anyway, if your credit history started on March 2016, I will say wait 6-12 months before trying Chase. You need 6 months of credit history before you can get a FICO score.
I wonder if Amex will provide your EX FICO once it generates, or your file needs ITIN/SSN to get that information. Cap1 say that I can't get the "track my credit score" feature because I have ITIN and the bureau asks for SSN.
Just a bit of an update. After 5 months of holding these 2 cards, I decided to apply for more.
- Citi will not process my application (Phone) without SSN. Online application is not possible as well. I was told the only way is to visit the branch to apply. Maybe I go to the US next year. Not sure if I should do a HUACA.
- For Amex, online application returned an error (probably due to the lack of SSN/ITIN). I rang to apply for a Platinum card using PRG card as a reference. The agent couldn't give me the result straight away so I called the next day. The issue was there was no SSN in my application. I was asked for a Passport number and within 5 seconds, APPROVED! Seen 100k bonus in the past but I need the card quick so it will be 40k only but I'm very happy.
Amex approved a Platinum card for someone who has no SSN/ITIN and no credit score with 5 months of a credit history in the US Looks like they really value the relationship. Will apply for some non charge cards next year.
Edited: Just logged in and Amex is showing my credit score. Looks like I showed up after I applied for this card.