6 Things International Student Nannies Need To Know About U.S. Credit Cards

August 27, 2016

You’ve been in the United States several months. You’re adjusting to the bewildering culture and food. Fortunately, you decided to obtain a part-time job as a nanny while you continue your studies. In addition to your nannying, you have all of the cares and concerns that other students have, including coursework and professors who seem like they get enjoyment out of seeing you fail.

You hardly have any free time, but one evening, while out with a friend who happens to be an international student as well, you notice that she pays for dinner using a credit card. You didn’t even know that international students could obtain credit cards. During the conversation, you explain that you’ve heard that credit cards are bad news and that even American college students have problems with them.

You have questions:

  • Am I eligible for a credit card?
  • Do I need a social security number to get one?
  • Can I get a credit card without a social security number or credit history?
  • Are credit cards dangerous?
  • Why do I need to build a credit history?

In this article, we’ll take a look at some things migrant nannies who are attending college need to keep in mind when it comes to credit cards.

1. Get a Social Security Number

According to AARP.org, non-U.S. citizens can obtain a social security card as long as your in the country legally and apply for one of three cards:

  • Basic or Standard
  • Temp Work
  • Not Valid for Employment

2. Credit Card Without Social Security Card?

No SNN Card? No problem. According to the US Credit Card Guide international students who don’t have a social security number can apply for a credit card by supplying:

  • Passport
  • I-20

Other factors may include a bank account and employment history in the United States.

3. A Secured Credit Card

Lita Epstein at Investopedia recommends that International students consider a secured credit card first. A secured credit card is a great way to build credit history in the United States, which can enable you to get an unsecured credit card. Nannies will find out that although a secured card doesn’t have the power or flexibility of a traditional card, it helps provide a foundation for a credit history.

How do secured credit cards work?

  • Make a deposit at the bank issuing the card
  • Pay your bills on time
  • After 6- 12 months of not missing any payments, it may be possible to get a traditional credit card

4. Credit History is Important

After you have finished your studies, whether you decide to pursue another career, you have to keep in mind that building a stable credit history is an integral factor when it comes to your financial stability in the United States. Building a credit history is especially important for international students, U.S. News contributor Anum Yoon said…

“If you don’t have a credit history or if you have bad credit, banks will likely turn you down when you ask for a loan. This means, buying a house or a car, or getting the money to launch a business, will be more difficult. In addition, some landlords run credit checks on potential renters to determine whether or not they’ll rent their apartment to a person.”

5. Credit Cards for Students

Many financial institutions and banks are creating credit cards specifically for students. Contact your school’s financial aid office for information pertaining to student credit cards.

6. Don’t Miss Payments

Missing payments is what makes credit cards dangerous. Payment history is the #1 factor in determining credit score. In addition, interest and late fees add up and become overwhelming very quickly. Be sure to always pay your bills on time. Being delinquent on your bills will hurt your credit history. If you manage to get a credit card be sure to pay off your entire balance every month. Making minimum payments will keep your credit in good standing but will cost you dearly in avoidable high-interest fees.


The United States is changing their policies when it comes to foreigners working and studying in the country. In addition, many lenders realize that foreign workers and international students need credit cards. Follow the tips in this article and start building your credit history!

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